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Rattlesnake Gal 03-10-2005 03:22 PM

The Lavallee Era

After the death of Windemere owner, Dr. F. E. Greene, Leander Lavallee purchased the yacht.
After a complete overhaul and remodel it was then named Marshall Foch.
Steamer Governor Endicott 1908

In 1919 Captain L. Lavallee purchased the Governor Endicott from the Winnipesaukee Transportation Company.
Steamer Mt. Washington leaving Wharf at The Weirs 1906

Leander Lavallee purchased the Mt. Washington for supposedly $3,000 from the Boston and Maine Railroad. Taking possession of her in 1922. Upon buying the Mt. Washington, he sold the Governor Endicott to his son Captain Edward Lavallee. Edward ran her successfully until 1927. After two final years of operation under the new owners as an excursion steamer, she was dismantled.

With thoughts of retiring after a prosperous steamboating career, Leander sold Mt. Washington to Sidney Baker of Lakeport in 1932. Captain Baker made a few modifications to the excursion steamer making her more attractive, also changing the pitch of the paddleboards, increasing her speed. He operated with some success during these early depression years.

During the years of 1932 and 1933, Captain Lavallee used his personal boat, Marshall Foch for the mail service on the lake.

Uncle Sam Mail Steamer taken between 1900 - 1910

As a result of a lawsuit settlement in 1934, Captain Leander Lavallee took possession of Uncle Sam from Captain Archie Lewis. Following the acquisition, Captain Edward Lavallee purchased the former mail steamer and took over the mail route from Marshall Foch. Uncle Sam operated as a steamboat until 1944 when she was converted to a diesel engine, ending the era of scheduled commercial steamboat navigation on Lake Winnipesaukee. Retiring in 1961 with Sophie C. taking over the mail service.

Unable to resist the lure of steamboating, Captain Lavallee came out of retirement when he repurchased Mt. Washington from Captain Baker in 1935. Leander and had four more years with his beloved ship. The last voyage was on Columbus Day 1939, on what they customarily called the Foliage Excursion.

Two men who worked on the Mt. Washington during their college vacation, liked steamboating so well that they made an offer that fall to Leander to purchase the Mt. A down payment was taken with provisions that certain maintenance and repairs were to be completed by April of 1940. The second and final payment would then transfer title of ownership.

Captain Lavallee and Mrs. Lavallee usually lived aboard the vessel. Upon the sale of the Mt., they purchased a home at The Weirs and moved ashore. Customarily in the winter the ship was moored in the Weirs Channel near Endicott Rock to prevent formation of heavy ice. Due to the repairs she was moored, with the bow to the shore, at The Weirs dock.
Mt. Washington at Winter Mooring.

December 22, 1939, with work on the Mount almost completed, a fire broke out in the railroad station. Workers tried desperately to break away the inch thick layer of ice to free her, but due to the seasonal lowering of the lake level she was hard aground at the bow. The fire destroyed the buildings and the majestic S.S. Mt. Washington, ending her 67-year rein on Lake Winnipesaukee.
Photo of Mt. Washington, the day after the fire.

Leander Lavallee immediately started searching for a new ship to replace the Mt. Washington. On December 28, 1939, Edward Lavallee received a telephone call from his father telling him that he was in Burlington Vermont and had just purchased the side-wheel steamboat, Chateaugay from the Vermont Transportation Company.

On August 12, 1940, the steamer Mt. Washington II was launched in Lakeport with a large, enthusiastic crowd on hand to wish her well.

With a short season, in 1940, there was not much money taken in to cover the cost of the new vessel. By 1941, with the war and the cost of fuel oil and supplies and their limitability, the income was inadequate. The company went into bankruptcy in April of 1942. After the bankruptcy, the steam engines were commandeered for the war, laying up the Mt. Washington II for the duration of the war.

Sadly Captain Lavallee died prior to the end of the war, before making the new Mt. Washington a success. With him, the era of steamboating on Lake Winnipesaukee died.

Interesting fact: It wasn’t until 1946 when the new owners of the Mt. Washington II upgraded her to become M.V. Mount Washington. The II was dropped and the full spelling of Mount was implemented.

There's more to come on the history of the Chateaugay and how she was brought to our great lake.

Source of information, but not copied from:
Farewell Old Mount Washington, by Edward H. Blackstone.
Published by the Steamship Historical Society of America in 1969.

More photos of Mt. Washington
More pictures of Governor Endicott

Just Sold 03-10-2005 07:45 PM

Another Great Post!
Thanks RG for a great post. :D

Keep it up!

mcdude 03-20-2005 05:31 PM

Very nicely done RG. It's great to have all the photos of the Mount in the same gallery.

Misty Blue 05-20-2005 06:20 AM

Capt. Lavallee
Nice job RIG!

'just came across this thread.

One of my favorite memories is when my step father (Uncle Bill) hired Capt Ed Lavallee to wire lights to our dock. (No licenses back then, I guess)

Uncle Bill, an engineer, always had to put in his 2 cents. I can still remember Capt. Ed up in a tree, wires hanging down yell'en at Unc "G.. damit Bill, if you know so much why arn't you up here in this tree!"

The wires are long gone as are Ed and Bill but the memories still remain.

Misty Blue.

carguy 08-07-2013 12:30 AM

Old Mount Summer of 1939
1 Attachment(s)
I have attached a photo of the Old Mount Washington leaving the Weirs in July of 1939. This could be one of the last photos taken underway of the old side-wheeler prior to her being destroyed by fire on Dec. 23, 1939. I copied this picture from my hardbound copy of Blackstone's "Farewell Mount Washington'.

SunsetPointWentworth 08-07-2013 06:49 PM

I can see'Rattlesnakegals' lunette! What a great pic carguy. Shows her size.

Top-Water 10-31-2019 09:36 PM

Awesome thread Rattlesnake Gal :):) One of the hidden historical gems on the forum.

Thank you.

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