Local History: The Runals House at Sunapee Harbor

runals-house-sunapee-harborBefore the gazebo graced the green on the hill overlooking Sunapee Harbor, and before the Ben Mere Inn came and went, Albert Runals and John Y. Gardner built the Runals House in 1877.

The Runals House sat above the harbor and looked across to the boat landing, where the earliest of steamers on Lake Sunapee, the Mountain Maid and Lady Woodsum, would pick up and drop off passengers and goods. As advertised in the “Newport Argus” in 1877: “Sunapee Harbor to Georges Mills 10 passengers or more 25c, Sunapee Harbor to Newbury 25c, around the Lake 50c.”

It was just 15 years later, in 1892, a stock company bought the the Runals House and moved the buildings about and re-built, what was then named the Ben Mere Inn. The hotel had four stories and 100 guestrooms. The Ben Mere was torn down in 1967.

Sources: “A History of Lake Sunapee” by Maureen L. McGrath (from “The Lake Sunapee Area of New Hampshire, 1990”); the “Sunapee, New Hampshire Bicentennial 1768-1968″ and “A History of Sunapee” by Dexter Richards, Insight, Spring 1982. All available at Abbott Library, Sunapee.

Note: Historical references vary on specific dates and the change over from the Runals House to the Ben Mere Inn. More information needed.

Related Articles

Local History: Sunapee – Ben Mere Inn

Panorama of Sunapee Harbor circa 1930 (Sunapee News)

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