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.
Clippings, the Laconia Evening Citizen. Left: October 3, 1935. Right: July 3, 1936 Bottom: December 28, 1965, "Our Yesterdays Column: 50 years ago" by Gilbert S. Center, December 28, 1965.
After the Wicwas Lake House was destroyed by fire in October of 1935, Joe Smith, who operated a lumber company, dismantled an old, but large barn he owned on Tucker Mountain Road, on what was 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.
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.
Summer and winter 1956
Lakeland School, September, 2006
The Great Room facing north, Wicwas Lodge
Dining room, Wicwas Lodge
On chilly nights, Joe Smith would light up the two great fireplaces in the Great Room
Wicwas Lodge, south side of the Great Room by the first fireplace, Dean Dexter collection
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
Kodachromes by Norman M Dexter from the driveway overlook Lake Wicwas c 1950s
A maple sugar tank on a skidder is in foreground, ready for the spring sap run..
Sheep Island at center 1930s. Robinson W. Smith's RuDoc Cottage bottom left, now site of Ramsey home.
Main House closed for the winter, 1952.
Not quite spring but getting there on this April Day, 1951. Joe Smith with grandson are seen here after the sheep were shorn of their winter wool.. Besides operated as boarding houses, Wicwas Lake House, and later Wicwas Lodge were busy year 'round as working farms, even after the boarders went home and the main house closed for the season in September. The place remained alive with milking cows, horses for riding, racing at county fairs, and draft horses that worked the hay fields and pulled logs from the woods; sheep, goats, chickens. There was even a piggery.
From the Smith Family Scrapbook at Lake Wicwas
Helen and Mary Lou on their see-saw, Wicwas Lake House, 1920s
Joseph F. and Marian S. Smith, 20th wedding anniversary, 1944 at Wicwas Lodge with daughters Helen Robinson Smith and Mary Louise Smith
Mary Lou Smith marries Dr. Roger A. Morse on the lawn of Wicwas Lodge 1953. Brother-in-Law Norman M. Dexter at left from bride and groom. Nephew Dean Dexter in foreground in Fauntleroy shorts.
Hilda Brungot, R-Berlin, at the time the longest serving woman legislator in the US (19 terms), one-time Wicwas Lodge cook. Portrait, New Hampshire State House, senate side. Ms. Brungot served with Wicwas Lodge owner Joseph F. Smith, who represented Meredith in the House during the l940s through the 1960s.
1949 Session, New Hampshire House of Representatives. Rep. Joseph F. Smith of Meredith, seated second row, first seat at left. Rep. Hilda Brungot of Berlin is the lady in the third row behind, second seat in. At left of Smith is future Governor, and Assistant US Secretary of State Lane Dwinell of Lebanon.
NH First District Congressman Chester Merrow drops by Wicwas Lodge prior to the 1960 general election. With Joe and Marian Smith is longtime staff members Florence "Flossy" Dolloff, and Ms Madeline Smith, who served as the cook that summer.
Helen Smith Dexter, on her horse Lottie Booth in the driveway of Wicwas Lodge over-looking Lake Wicws, 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.
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 Lake Wicwas. 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. Marian S. 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) has not yet been divided by NH Route 104, constructed in 1959. Loved that horse. Now what's left of the field is nearly gone to forest.
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