Smith Corner, Lake Wicwas, Meredith Center, NH
Wicwas Lake House, Wicwas Lodge and Lakeland School
Lake Wicwas, Meredith Center, New Hampshire
Wicwas Lake House, 1920s -- Dean Dexter Collection
The Wicwas Lake House was a summer boarding house over-looking Lake Wicwas at Smith Corners, Meredith Center, N.H., operating from 1919 until the fall of 1935, when it was destroyed by a fire of unknown origin. It was replaced the following summer with the Wicwas Lodge, which continued to serve summer guests until the mid-1960s (see below). Wicwas Lakes House was originally built by Joseph F. Smith, Sr. (below, center). Joe Jr. purchased the property from his mother's estate upon her passing, and began operating it as summer hotel with his wife Marion, following their marriage in 1919.
The Joseph F. Smith, Sr. family in the parlor of the family homestead on the occasion of daughter Mary's wedding to John Ainsboro of Derby Line, Vt., August 15, 1915. Both Joseph F. Smith senior and junior, served as Belknap County Commissioners and in the N.H. House of Representatives. Joe Jr., also served the Town of Meredith as a Selectman and member of the school board. Both were successful in business. Dr. Robinson W. Smith, holds the record in number of terms as Mayor of the City of Laconia, and served as assistant N.H. Commissioner of Agriculture, under the state's first commissioner, Andrew L. Felker, also of Meredith Center. Robinson was appointed the state's first state veterinarian, serving in that post for over 30 years, until his death in 1964. A diagnostic laboratory is named in his honor at the University of New Hampshire. Frederick Smith was the long-time headmaster of New Hampton School, while brother Maurice P. Smith served as assistant headmaster for several terms before joining the Interlakes High School faculty. Rachel married a Boston attorney, William Smart, who lunched at the Parker House everyday. Mary raised a family, operated a tourist cabin business with her husband, John, and taught school all her life in Derby Line, Vermont. Barbara married a Boston accountant, Truman C. Edwards, of the firm, T.C. Edwards & Son. The Smith sons were fortunate to be successful in their chosen professions as adults, while the Smith daughters were also successful in what fortunate daughters did in their generation, they married well. All attended the one-room school house in Meredith Center, and were graduates of New Hampton School, then known as the New Hampton Literary and Biblical Institution. Pictured are, seated: Rachel, Joseph F., Sr, wife Clara Isabelle Robinson, Barbara. Standing: Robinson W., Joseph Frank, Jr., Mary, Frederick, and Maurice P.
After the Wicwas Lake House was destroyed by fire in the fall of 1935, Joe Smith, who operated a lumber company, dismantled an old, but very large barn he owned on Tucker Mountain Road, on what as known as the Mallard Farm, in the Chemung section of Meredith Center. Smith had the barn dismantled, with each beam marked, and the structure was moved from across Lake Wicwas to the present site, with the hotel opening for business the following summer, never missing a summer season of business. Clipping from the Laconia Evening Citizen, July 3, 1936.
Wicwas Lodge, south side of the Great Room by the first fireplace, Dean Dexter collection
The Great Room facing north, Wicwas Lodge
Dining room, Wicwas Lodge
Pictured is a newly completed Wicwas Lodge just before it opened for summer guests in June of 1936, after a fire leveled the Wicwas Lake House (above). Shown is "Nana" Putney, an accomplished artist in water colors and the family's beloved cook and housekeeper walking the dog by the barn. The chimney on the kitchen ell is still under construction. The building now houses Lakeland School. The porch is no longer enclosed and the barn has since been replaced by a parking lot.
Lakeland School, September, 2006
1952 before construction of a state road (Route 104) in the 1960s that cut through the back pasture.
Fall 2006, Lakeland School from the edge of Route 104
View of Sheep Island, Lake Wicwas, Meredith Center, New Hampshire as seen from Wicwas Lodge driveway, March 1949. A maple sugar tank on a skidder is shown in foreground.
Summer scene, (circa) 1951
The late Hilda Brungot, R-Berlin, longest serving woman legislator in the United States (19 terms), one-time cook at the Wicwas Lodge, Meredith Center, N.H. State House portrait, second floor, senate side. Rep. Brungot served with Wicwas Lodge owner Rep. Joseph F. Smith, R-Meredith in the state House of Representatives, during the 1940s through the 1960s.
N.H. First District Congressman Chester E. Merrow (R-Ossipee) is a guest at Wicwas Lodge, summer 1961. Here in the kitchen is Florence "Flossy" Dolloff of Chemung Road, longtime Wicwas Lodge fiend and employee, Congressman Merrow, Belknap County Commissioner Joseph F. Smith (owner), "Missy" Smith, Wicwas Lodge cook that summer, and Mrs. Joseph F. Smith (owner). Dean Dexter collection.
From the Smith Family Scrapbook at Lake Wicwas
Helen Smith Dexter, on her horse Lottie Booth in the driveway of Wicwas Lodge over-looking Wicwas Lake, Meredith Center, N.H. circa 1941. The front tip of Sheep Island can be seen behind and just above her. The island's pasture is at the left, spreading across the back of the photo. Sheep grazed on the island each summer until the early 1960s. The island is now covered with timber growth. The view from the Lodge, now known as Lakeland School, is presently nearly obscured from this angle due to growth of trees and bushes on the mainland. Note the tennis court at left, just across the road, which is now also over-grown. Before it was a tennis court, the overlook was once the Smith Family Cemetery, which was moved to Oakland Cemetery about a mile away in 1893.
Commissioner and Mrs. Joseph F. Smith, Jr. pose for a family portrait in the lodge Great Room with daughters Helen Robinson Smith (Dexter), and Mary Louise Smith (Morse), in the summer of 1944.
Wedding of Mary Louise Smith and Dr. Roger A. Morse, Wicwas Lodge, Meredith Center, NH, 1953
Smith Corner was always a delight for children, and that tradition continues as the site of Lakeland School. No, this is not a scene from an old "Little Rascals" movie. This is Helen Robinson Smith (Dexter), left, and her sister Sister Mary Louise Smith (Morse), second from right, with their several of their cousins at their playhouse by the apple orchard overlooking Wicwas Lake. With them are Norma Jean "Jinga" Smith (later Mrs. T. Holmes Moore), Robinson V. Smith., and Dr. M. Daniel Smith (far right) . Maurice P. Smith photo.
Mrs. Smith playing her baby grand piano at the north end of the Great Room, Wicwas Lodge, October, 1963
On Chief, in the upper pasture behind Wicwas Lodge, Summer 1957. The field between this pasture and the Wicwas Lodge (now Lakeland School) is not yet divided by NH Route 104, constructed in 1959.
Save the Islands of Lake Wicwas! -- OpEd by Dean Dexter
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