Sunapee Historical Society Museum to hold Open House

Sunapee Historical Society MuseumSunapee, N.H.– Have you ever wondered what is in the large gray shed opposite the Anchorage in Sunapee Harbor? It’s the Sunapee Historical Society Museum and its directors would like to show you what is there during a special Open House on Sunday, July 27 from 4 to 7 p.m.

The directors will be giving tours explaining some of the items in the collection and their vision for taking better care of some of it. Also, they’ll be running the equipment from the machine shop that serviced the Woodsum steamboats and serving refreshments. Everyone is welcome.

The museum’s regular hours during July and August: Open afternoons 1-4 on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays and on Wednesday evenings, 7-9.  Closed on Mondays.  Admission is free, though donations are always welcome.

Free programs at the museum coming up:

  •  July 24, 7 p.m.: A Magic Lantern Show featuring slides from the collection.
  •  August 7, 7 p.m.: Woodbine Dessert Night with refreshments from the cookbook.
  •  August 21, 7 p.m.:  The Wooden Launches of Lake Sunapee.
For more information, email or call 603-763-8809.

Historical Society program: Notable Women of Sunapee

SunapeeHistoricalSocietySunapee, N.H. — The Sunapee Historical Society will host its spring program—Notable Women of Sunapee—on Wednesday evening, April 30, at 7 p.m. at the Lake Sunapee United Methodist Church, Lower Main Street at Route 11, Sunapee. Everyone is welcome at this free event; refreshments will be served.

Ron Garceau will show photos and lead a discussion recalling the contributions of several memorable women from Sunapee’s past. Come and learn or share your memories. Garceau is well-known around the Sunapee area as the publisher of SooNipi Magazine and past president of the Sunapee Historical Society.

The spring program will be a precursor for a homemaker’s exhibit at the Sunapee Historical Society Museum, 74 Main Street, Sunapee Harbor, and a summer program on women’s organizations. woodbinecottage

Other summer programs will be about the Woodbine Cottage and the wooden launches that used to frequent Lake Sunapee.

The museum will reopen (weekends only, 1-4 p.m., through June) on May 24.

The Sunapee Historical Society is a non-profit organization that strives to preserve and promote Sunapee’s varied history. For more information, contact the Society’s President, Becky Rylander, at 603-763-8809 or

Sunapee Historical Society program: Industry along the Sugar River

Sunapee Historical Society Museum

Photo: Sunapee Historical Society Museum at Sunapee Harbor. Summer hours: Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, 1 to 4 p.m., and Wednesday evenings, 7 to 9 p.m.

Sunapee Historical Society Event: Thursday, July 25 at 7 p.m. at the Sunapee Historical Society Museum, Sunapee Harbor

History of Business and Industry Along the Sugar River

The Sugar River begins at Sunapee Harbor and travels down through the village.  Sawmills, machine shops, and many other businesses depended on the river for power. Come learn about this aspect of Sunapee’s historic past. Open to the public free of charge.

Sunapee dedicates Herbert Welsh Trail on July 6

WelshTrailMapSunapee, NH — On  Saturday, July 6, at 2 p.m., Sunapee will dedicate a new hiking trail that honors Herbert Welsh (1851‐1941), the little‐known leader of land conservation efforts in the Sunapee Region.

The Sunapee Conservation Commission and Sunapee Historical Society, the event sponsors, invite the public to attend.

The dedication will be held along the marsh shore, a short walk in from the road. A hike to the top of Garnet Hill will follow the dedication.  Meet at the trail head parking area near intersection of Jobs Creek Road and Garnet Hill Road.

The Herbert Welsh Trail adds public hiking access to more of the town’s conservation land at Dewey Woods, including the Rogers Brook Marsh and the top of Garnet Hill. The trail was designed and completed last year.

Nature Art Walk

From July 1 to August 31, 2013, the trail will be marked with more than 30 images of historical Sunapee landscapes connected to Dewey Woods, Garnet Hill and Lake Sunapee, as well as Herbert Welsh’s art. The images will also be on display at the Sunapee Historical Society Museum at Sunapee Harbor.

“These historical images tell a story of the evolution of our landscape since 1900 and bring together a display of some of his paintings, many with Sunapee connections,” says Barbara Chalmers, Sunapee, who led the effort to create the Herbert Welsh Trail and the Nature Art Walk.

“Welsh was THE advocate and leader of conservation efforts for Mount Sunapee and the Dewey Woods,” says Chalmers.

The walking crusader Herbert Welsh (1851-1941). Image from his book The New Gentleman of the Road, which chronciled his 450-mile treks from Philadelphia to Sunapee.

The walking crusader Herbert Welsh (1851-1941). Image from his book “The New Gentleman of the Road” that describes his 450-mile treks from Philadelphia to Sunapee.

“A truly renaissance man, Welsh was an artist by training, writer, publisher, conservationist and civil rights advocate. He devoted his life to a variety of causes to aid others less fortunate and to conserve beautiful lands for the enjoyment of future generations.”

Welsh was a founder of the Indian Rights Association, which for 110 years advocated for the American Indian, the International Arbitration Commission, a forerunner of the World Court, the National Municipal League, which still exists today.

He met with three U.S. Presidents regarding Indian rights, civil service reform and good government policies, and in 1892, rode horseback through the Dakota Sioux Reservation with Teddy Roosevelt.

Welsh also was the founder of the Sunapee Chapter of the Society for Protection of New Hampshire Forests.

The Walking Crusader

For many years, beginning at age 64, Welsh walked each June from his home in Philadelphia to Sunapee, then back in early fall.

His last ambitious project, in 1929, was to raise funds to build a conference center on land he had bought in Vermont for men and women of all faiths and cultures to meet and discuss the important societal concerns of the day. His dream went unrealized with the Great Depression of the 1930s, explains Chalmers.

Chalmers began researching Welsh’s life a few years back for the 2011 Mount Sunapee Centennial Celebration. She was amazed at what she discovered.

“He was so ahead of his time. His societal concerns became his life’s work: economic and social justice for the American Indian,  fighting corruption in government and the civil service, and land preservation for future generations.  Welsh not only led the effort to conserve land on Mount Sunapee, but he was responsible for conserving Dewey Woods too.”

Among the images along the Nature Art Walk is this “penny postcard” view from 1916: Garnet Hill looking across the lake to Mount Sunapee.

Penny Postcard Garnet Hill to Mt Sunapee

Related articles: New hiking trail in Sunapee honors Herbert Welsh (

MV Kearsarge and Steamboat Kearsarge “Sunk in Ice”

Kearsarge photos_SHSLake Sunapee, N.H. – The similar look of being sunk in ice. The MV Kearsarge (left) sank into the ice on Lake Sunapee in January 2013, and the steamboat Kearsarge (shown in the photo on the right) had a similar experience… some 80 years ago.

The old photo (on the right) reads: “Steamboat Kearsarge, Sunk in ice near Davis Cabins, Lake Sunapee – Circa 1933?, Sunapee Historical Society Collection.”

Photos courtesy of the Sunapee Historical Society and local historian Ron Garceau.

Look for these photos in the March 2013 issue of SooNipi Magazine.

Read related articles:

MV Kearsarge is afloat! (

MV Kearsarge back afloat after small hole detected (

Sunapee Historical Society: Winter newsletter previews summer projects

SunapeeHistoricalSocietyAlthough the Sunapee Historical Society Museum at Sunapee Harbor is closed during winter, members are open for business researching and seeking out information for the Society’s summer projects.

In the recently published SHS Winter 2013 newsletter, President Becky Fitts Rylander previewed each of these programs:

  • A program on summer camps. This will be done in conjunction with our friends in other towns, coordinated through PALS (our Partners Around Lake Sunapee). Each town will focus on camps that operated within its boundaries. If you have any information about or photos of Camp Sunapee (a boy’s camp on Lake Ave. 100 years ago), please let us know. We have a photo and brochure for Camp Manauke, a girl’s camp on Star Island in the 1920s, but would welcome more. Any others?
  • Industries along the Sugar River. With a new pedestrian bridge being built in the spring behind the Harbor House Livery, we think this year will be a good time to explore all the industries that lined the river between the Harbor and Coffin Park. That area looked quite different a century ago. We have some information and photos, but would welcome more.
  • The old information booth. Despite our best intentions last summer, this 1929 vintage building still needs to be restored—and we still need help to get that done. If carpentry is up your alley, please let us know.

To volunteer or exchange information, email

To download/view the Winter 2013 newsletter, visit the Society’s website: A membership form is also posted on the website.

Behind the name: Georges Mills

Welcome to Georges Mills. Photo by Charlotte Carlson, Sunapee.

Welcome to Georges Mills. Photo by Charlotte Carlson, Sunapee.

Sunapee, N.H. – Georges Mills, Muzzey Hill, Cooper Street, Russell Place, all tell interesting stories. However, sometimes the stories behind village names are not readily apparent.

Along busy Route 11, the Newport Road, between exits 12 and 12A off Interstate-89, a sign welcomes you to Georges Mills in the Lake Sunapee area. Georges Mills is an unincorporated village of Sunapee. Daniel George was one of the town’s early settlers and a mill owner.

Sunapee is another New England town shaped by forces of nature and man. Thriving mills once dotted the region’s rivers and streams.

The road skirts the southern shore of Otter Pond and then passes Georges Mills Harbor, at the northern tip of Lake Sunapee, and passes over streams that feed the lake.

In the early 1800s, George built and operated mills along these streams. He operated a grist mill, the first mill in the village, built by Archibald Hersey in 1798. Back then families grew their grains for milling… into flour, cornmeal, buckwheat, and barley.

George was industrious and later built a new grist mill and a saw mill. He also built his home in the village, on the corner of the Springfield and Newport roads. It is nestled next to the present day Georges Mills General Store, which has its own story to tell: It once housed horses and carriages used by “Uncle Charles Russell,” who transported mail from Georges Mills to Sunapee.

Cooper, Muzzey and Russell

Although long gone, another mill built in the village operated under different owners from the 1820s to 1920s. The mill started by carding and dressing wool. Later it turned into a shingling, planing and board sawing mill.

Across the stream from the shingle mill was a cooper shop (1820 – 1825), which bustled with activity manufacturing a variety of wooden measures, barrels, scoops and containers.

These businesses were by the dam on Cooper Street, which loops down to Georges Mills Harbor.

On the hill heading toward Sunapee, in 1818, Moses Muzzey built the first blacksmith shop in Georges Mills. Muzzey Hill remains a common reference point.

Russell Place, now the home of condominiums at the bottom of Prospect Hill Road, also has a story. The building once served as the village post office and store under several owners including the Russell family.


Old Georges Mills, N.H. photo shows T. O. Russell Meats and Groceries (1936-1948) on Prospect HilL Road. Tony Russell owned the store at the time. It also housed village the post office.

In 1898, Charles Russell installed the first telephone company in Georges Mills; it connected the store with Newport. Until 1906 and again from 1936 to 1948, the Russells operated the store, thought to be the oldest in the village and built about 1835 by Burpee & Colcord.

You can find pictures and stories about the enterprising people who settled the area in the “Sunapee Bicentennial 1768-1968,” a booklet reproduced for the Sunapee Historical Society. It’s available for sale ($10) at the Sunapee Historical Society and SooNipi Publishing Company.

Have a local story to share? Contact

Sunapee Historical Society plans a “walk back in time”

The Sunapee Historic Society will follow-up its 2010 history walk along Lower Main Street with another “walk back in time.” This year the scene is Central Street in Sunapee.

Lots of interesting people lived on Central Street, according to Barbara Chalmers, Sunapee, a researcher for the event.

On the day of the event, July 28 (9 a.m. to noon), volunteers stationed street-side along the tour will assume the persona of people from Sunapee’s past… people with a connection to Central Street.

Outfitted in costume and versed from prepared scripts, the actors will relate their character’s personal history as well as town history.

The cast of characters will include: George Bartlett, founder of U.S. Hames Company; his son Ernest Bartlett, who built Indian Cave Lodge; Henry Goss, the town undertaker; Dr. Edwin Fisher, the town doctor;  Marcia Runals, talking about her father Albert Runals, who built the Runals House Hotel in the Harbor (predecessor to the Ben Mere Inn); Albert Stocker, builder of many homes, cottages and buildings in town; and John Young, an itinerant preacher with the leather tannery on the river. A supporting cast will add to the feel of Central Street circa 1900-1910.

The historical society will sell tickets for the tour.

The organizing committee meets at the historical society museum at Sunapee Harbor and invites participation.

For more information, contact Ron Garceau (

History of Lake Sunapee told through postcards. Book signing at Sunapee Harbor, May 27

The Sunapee Historical Society will  host a book signing with local author Paul D. Rheingold on Sunday, May 27, from 2 to 4 p.m. at the historical society museum at Sunapee Harbor.

Rheingold, a summer resident of Sunapee for 33 years, authored “Lake Sunapee” — the newest addition to Arcadia Publishing’s Postcard History series. It includes a forward by Becky Fitts Rylander and Ron Garceau.

The book boasts more than 200 vintage postcards and memories of days gone by.

The lakeshore has an unusually interesting history, traced here in postcard views, many from the start of the 20th century.

They tell a story of large resort hotels, steamboat travel, and trains, all in the era before the automobile.

The towns on the lake as they were a century ago are also fully illustrated—Sunapee Harbor, Georges Mills, New London, Blodgett Landing, Newbury, and Burkehaven.

Rheingold is a member of the Sunapee Historical Society and the Lake Sunapee Protective Association. He is a practicing lawyer with his home in Rye, N.Y., which is the subject of his previous book in the Postcard History series.

“Lake Sunapee” (Arcadia Publishing, Postcard History Series, 128 pages, $21.99) by Paul D. Rheingold. Books will be available for purchase at the Sunapee Historical Society event. The public is invited to attend and meet the author. Refreshments will be served.

Sunapee Happenings: Harbor festivities to Transit of Venus

♦ Sunapee Harbor businesses will kick off the season on Thursday, May 24, from 5:30-8 p.m., with festivities for all: music, local culinary treats, boat tours, door prizes and area artists. The Sunapee Historical Society will also be open.

♦ The Sunapee Historical Society will host a book signing on Sunday, May 27, 2-4 p.m., at the historical society museum at Sunapee Harbor. “The ‘Lake Sunapee’ books have arrived!” writes Becky Rylander, SHS president. “Paul Rheingold will be present to sign his wonderful new postcard history book.” Books will be available for purchase, and are now available at Ron Garceau’s SooNipi office on Central Street, Sunapee.

♦ Second Beginnings Children’s Boutique invites you to its Grand Opening celebration at its Sunapee store, Sunapee Center, Sargent Road, on Saturday, June 2, from 10 to 4.  The shop offers new and gently used children’s clothing, books, toys and equipment at affordable prices. All proceeds support Good Beginnings of Sullivan County, a non-profit serving area families.

♦ Attention, star-gazer! Join a Transit of Venus Party in Sunapee on June 5, 2012. (On Facebook, go to

One of the rarest astronomical phenomena will occur for the last time in our lifetimes. The transit of Venus across the Sun takes place when the planet Venus passes directly between the Sun and Earth. The planet is seen as a small black dot against the large Sun.

We are looking for volunteers to help make viewing apparatuses, informational posters, and help with getting the word out to friends. Most importantly, we are looking for suggestions for a great location to view the western sky. – David Rowell

Sunapee Historical Society: Spring Meeting is May 9

What’s on the Sunapee Historical Society calendar for May (2012)?

  • Wednesday, May 9, 7 p.m., at the Sunapee Community Methodist Church.  Spring meeting and program:  The Life and Times of William Cant Sturoc, Sunapee lawyer, politician, farmer, and poet. Presented by Bev Cutts and Ron Garceau with readings from Sturoc’s diary, photos and more. All welcome. Refreshments.
  • Saturday, May 19, from 10 to noon, at the historical society museum at Sunapee Harbor. Clean Up Day.
  • Sunday, May 27, from 2 to 4 p.m., at the museum.  A book signing with Paul Rheingold, author of the recently published postcard history book, “Lake Sunapee.”

For more info and current SHS newsletter, visit: Sunapee Historical Society.

And to view/download the 2012 guide for “Then and Now – History Around Lake Sunapee” from Partners Around Lake Sunapee click on Pals Map and Brochure 2012 (Note the file size: PDF 2.5 MB).

Sunapee Seniors: “Sunapee’s Brave Boys”

“Sunapee’s Brave Boys: A Talk on Sunapee’s Civil War Experience” will be presented by Becky Rylander on Monday, March 26, 2012, at the next meeting of the Sunapee Seniors. The program starts at 1 p.m. at the Sunapee Methodist Church, Lower Main Street. The public is invited to attend. Light refreshments will be offered. Rylander, president of the Sunapee Historical Society, will focus on the local war experience and the lives of some of Sunapee’s veterans after the war. For more information, contact Joe Internicola, president of the Sunapee Seniors, at 603-763-1048 or

Sunapee Echoes reports historical society happenings

The latest issue  of Echoes, the Sunapee Historical Society newsletter, is now available and, as always, includes program announcements and interesting tidbits about Sunapee’s past, its people, places and practices. The summer 2011 issue is viewable on-line.

  • Sandy Alexander for the Society’s historical properties project relates from legal transfers the “drama”– the ups and downs — of  an old brick house in the Garnet Hill area of town.
  • Nancy Dutton tells us about the Great Isle Bowling Alley…”It was being built in June of 1878 when it appears in the Argus and Spectator, in a general article about various activities on the lake. ‘Messrs. Tasker and Dyer are erecting a bowling alley and refreshment rooms on Great Island.’…..”
  • Becky Rylander announces a newly completed map of Sunapee’s cemeteries and notes “how all of the cemeteries are now on what we would consider back roads but which were the main thoroughfares at the time they were established.” (The map is available on the historical society website and at the museum.)
  • And you can learn about upcoming events…open to all free of charge. Summer SHS programs are held at the museum at Sunapee Harbor.

Thursday, August 4 at 7 pm

Cracker Barrel Talk: Life on Trow Hill with Lee Salonen & Others

Lee Salonen grew up summering with his Finnish aunt and uncle on Trow Hill.  Fluent in both Finnish and English from a young age, he was often called on to translate for his relatives and their neighbors during the 1940-50s.  He will talk about life on Trow Hill and in the Finnish community in those days.  Other Trow Hill residents are invited to participate.

Sunday, August 7 at 3 pm

SHS Annual Meeting & Program: Leone Family Stories

The family of Carroll Leone has granted the Sunapee Historical Society permission to republish his book of short tales of life in Sunapee, originally  published in 1991.  A slide-show of old family photos will be shown, with comments from family members. Books will be available for purchase with proceeds going to the Sunapee Historical Society.

Thursday, August 25 at 7 pm

Cracker Barrel Talk: Sunapee’s Civil War Soldiers — Their Service & Their Families

Come to our cracker barrel talk on 25 August to learn about where Sunapee’s Civil War soldiers served, who came home, and in what shape. Suffice it to say that Sunapee families sacrificed much to help preserve our Union.

For Sunapee Historical Society info, visit:

Sunapee Hosts Cracker Barrel Talk with Bill Roach

The Sunapee Historical Society will host a Cracker Barrel talk with Bill Roach on Wednesday, April 27th at the Community Methodist Church, Lower Main Street, Sunapee at 7 p.m. Bill, a graduate of Sunapee High School and now a selectman, will share stories of Sunapee. The program is open to the public free of charge.

The Cracker Barrel talk is amongst the announcements published in Sunapee Echoes, the historical society newsletter. Newsletters are now available on-line at the SHS website:

To contact the Sunapee Historical Society, email or phone the museum and leave a message at 603-763-9872.

Memberships can be mailed to: Sunapee, NH Historical Society, PO Box 501, Sunapee, NH 03782.

Sunapee Historical Society Hosts Fall Program Oct 27th

The Sunapee Historical Society Fall Meeting is Wednesday, Oct. 27th at 7 pm at the Sunapee Community Methodist Church, Lower Main Street.

“We’ll draw the lucky winning ticket for the lovely Lower Main Street painting that Barbara Chalmers painted during our Main Street Walk and then see a demonstration of our Magic Lantern projector and take a look at a selection of slides from the collection,” said Historical Society President Becky Rylander. “As usual, refreshments will be served.”

“And when you have a chance, go past the museum [at Sunapee Harbor] and take a look at our Halloween decorations through the door,” added Becky. “See if you recognize the familiar characters who have dressed up as ghosts?!”

Read related Sunapee News article: Sunapee Historical Society raffles painting

Read Echoes, the Historical Society’s Fall 2010 Newsletter.


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