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Old 08-14-2004, 09:05 AM   #1
Rattlesnake Gal
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Default History of the Lake Size

The topic of our lake having been nine separate bodies of water at one time was intriguing, but baffling. Here is what the Lake Winnipesaukee Historical Society reports on the subject.

LAKE WINNIPESAUKEE
In The Beginning...

Since the orbit and speeds of the earth were stabilized over four billion years ago, an extremely complex series of surface changes has occurred that are still taking place. Between various times and stages of relatively peaceful existence, like our present, cataclysmic events have upset
our land: monsterous earthquakes beyond conception, mountain and canyon forming upheavals in never to be recorded numbers, receding oceans and seas giving place to miles of depth of erosives and lava and ashes only to be replaced by other bodies of water, vast areas of volcanic action time and time again, Sahara-like deserts and post-glacial silt and sand barrens with storms beyond comprehension, and recently - several glacial periods; all of these and many more.

The landscape as we see it today is primarily as it was prior to the start of the last glacial period of about 50,000 years ago, plus the eskers, drumlins, boulder trains, cirques, kames, varves and other glacial remains. Few rocks that we can easily study are older than 350 millions of years (from the Cambrian and Ordovician parts of the Paleozoic Era). Some may be of Silurian date, since the oldest; but most have evolved from the igneous, metamorphosed, and sedimentary rocks during and since the Devonian time. Since the end of the Wisconsin Glacial Stage (nearly 14,000 years ago) in our present Cenozoic Era, topographic chn have been few and barely noticeable.

Here in our region there are no fossils (these are limited to the Littleton area), but many other geologic features are of interest: the meltwater channel which is Valley Street (Lakeport), the boulder trains from Red Hill socialite-nepheline-syenite and Ossipee Mts. Moat-volcanics and Conway-granite (reaching into the Atlantic), the world's most famous ring-dike formation of the Ossipee Mts., Rattlesnake Is. which is geologically part of the Belknap Mts., the huge water-shed boulder in the CoppleCrown Mts., the volcanic-vent on Mt. Belknap, and others. Your favorite library, rock-shop, or the N. H. Development Comm. will gladly help you with locations; but some of the books have misinterpreted the facts.

For the rock collector, mines and minerals in this region are limited to the iron deposit on Gunstock Mt., the sulphide prospects (gold, lead, zinc, etc.) off the Parade Rd., the quartz crystals on Ladd Hill (with a most magnificent view), the garnet sand of Paugus and Saunders Bays, the amethyst, sand of Long Is., Conwaygranite pockets in the Belknaps, the clay and quartz at the foot of Brickyard Mt., fluorescent socialite of Red Hill, crystals of the Ossipees, and very few others.

FORMATION OF WINNIPESAUKEE

Surficial and Bedrock Geology studies of New Hampshire indicate that prior to the Ice Age there was no lake here as we know it today. The quartz diorite (the primary rock of the Winnipesaukee basin) was decomposed in place before and during the glacial period, and the power of
the ice toward the end of the Pleistocene Epoch gouged out the loosened rock leaving hundreds of hills which are our picturesque islands in a hauntingly enticing water-world.

Geologists point out that the water level of this lake has remained about the same as today
. Studies of the hillsides, streams, meltwater channels; intervales, and varved deposits preclude the possibility of any glacial dams or deep waters such as Lake Hitchcock that once filled the present Connecticut R. valley. The conclusion is that the Winnipesaukee River of 1969 is very nearly the same drainage channel that the lake has always had.

THE LAKE

This "Beautiful Water of the High Place" has always been held in very high esteem since primitive man first came to its scenic shores. Known as Winnipisseoke, or Winnipiseogee Pond, and dozens of others very similar, the present Winnipesaukee name was made official by the New Hampshire legislature of 1933.

With 183 miles of shoreline, an area of 71.8 square miles (45,952 acres), dimensions at 91/2 miles wide by 21 miles long, an altitude of 504 feet, and a flotilla of islands often estimated at 365, our Lake ranks very high among the world's inland waters. It is the largest of nearly 1311 ponds and lakes in 9,302 square mile New Hampshire. The depth of 169 feet of water lies beneath your boat South-East of Rattlesnake Island, with most of the Lake resting between 20 and 100 feet deep. The elevation is changed by the annual Spring runoff and by an occasional drought (in 1941 the lake contained approximately 14,600,000,000 less cubic feet of water than normal, and in 1826 it may have been even lower). Before man dammed the falls at Lakeport over a 150 years ago, the level was more than three to five feet below the present. Prior to 1832 the Weirs channel was ' a shallow way, and a short "river", before the advent of down stream damming,. of about a three foot drop over a possible width of 150 feet, until the 1803 bridge was built.

Lake Winnipesaukee was marked in 1899 with the first inland waterway bouts in the United States, over 300 hazards being indicated, with the present number of markers, .light-bouys, and other navigation aids about 600.

Over 60 streams run into the Lake, from small hillside brooks to the short Hill River system in the North and the narrow Merrymeeting River of the South.. Several dozen small lakes and ponds drain into Winnipesaukee. It may never be known how such a large and wholesome lake can maintain itself from such a confined watershed.

In 1811 a charter was granted for a canal from Alton Bay to the Sea by way of Merrymeeting, Cocheco, and Piscataqua rivers. Though the Little Pequakit Canal Co. came into being in 1819, no work was done on a proposed project that was intended to eventually extend from the Atlantic Ocean through our Lake, to Squam Lake, and the Connecticut River, and on to Lake Champlain and the St. Lawrence.
Full article from Lake Winnipesaukee Historical Society
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Old 08-14-2004, 09:38 AM   #2
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Default Interesting maps of old

In an effort to find out how the lake looked way back when, I found these survey and rail road maps. They give you and idea of how similar Winnipesaukee is then and now.

1756 Map of His Magesty's Provence of NH


1771 Winipifsioket Pond


1794 Survey Map of Winnipesaukee


1845 Winnipesaukee RR Map (Crooked because the map was drawn with north in the wrong place.)


1894 RR Map of Winnipesaukee Area
These maps can be found on the PhotoPost for closer detail. I hope everyone enjoys these as much as I.

Last edited by Rattlesnake Gal; 10-17-2010 at 12:36 PM. Reason: Add Links & Missing Maps
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Old 08-14-2004, 04:52 PM   #3
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Thumbs up Somebody has been busy....

Rg,

We know what you have been doing the past few rainy days, what great information.

Thank You.
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Old 08-15-2004, 07:20 AM   #4
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Wow,Rattlesnake Gal........you're a star. That was so interesting
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Old 08-15-2004, 10:26 AM   #5
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RG,

Great reading.

You have unearthed a wonderful amount of information about the lake and its origins. Great research!

Thank you for your efforts.
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Old 08-15-2004, 05:20 PM   #6
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Default Old Maps

Where did you get the maps? I collect them and have never seen these. They are great.
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Old 08-15-2004, 05:54 PM   #7
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"Awesome, RG!" You are wonderful!.... And thank you!.... Pepper said so!!
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Old 08-15-2004, 10:20 PM   #8
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Wink Guess it's time to give up my sources

I am absolutely tickled that everyone seems to be enjoying my efforts. I uncovered these at the Library of Congress. It sure is a great place to get lost in. A bit difficult and time consuming to actually find what you are looking for though. For some reason, the site won't let me send the exact page with all the maps I found. This link should take you to a search page, where I searched Winnipesaukee New Hampshire Historical Maps. Link to LoC search The maps I posted were just pieces of larger ones. Once you get the list of maps, you can click on gallery view for thumbnails. Then click on your map and you will be on an information page. Click on the map again and you can go to the zoom in page. I then check size 640 x 480, check the appropriate zoom level I might want and point and click on the Navigator View picture in the right corner. Where you click, you zoom to. I was so happy to have found them. Like traveling back in time. This is one of my favorite sites, even though it is tough to navigate at times. All of the old photographs came from LoC. They have so many photos from around the country, just be sure you have plenty of time! Good luck and enjoy.

For some reason the link I provided doesn't work for me anymore. If I right click on the link and click on "open link in new window", it works. ???

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Old 08-16-2004, 07:13 AM   #9
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Default This is fun

Being a map lover, I am having a good time with these maps. If you go to http://www.lizardtech.com/download/d...n&platform=win you can download a viewer. This way you can download the whole image by clicking on "Download MrSid image" link under the chosen image and get the whole thing. I will try printing next.

Thanks RG for the info and maps.
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Old 08-16-2004, 07:44 AM   #10
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Default Map on ebay

There is a claimed old map of the lake on ebay right now. Not one I have seen before. In case anyone's interested.
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Old 08-17-2004, 12:00 PM   #11
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Thumbs up Great Job RG

Had some spare time on your hands did you Interesting stuff and I'd never have thought to look into the L o C.
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Old 08-17-2004, 02:50 PM   #12
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Wow,Wow,Wow RG.That is some GREAT stuff!!I too,like Island Girl am a map nut.I go to map class every morning on my porcelin students throne.Just one note:Paugus bay was called Lake Paugus before Lakeport dam was built and the channel dredged.Not sure when when the name was changed. SS
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Old 08-17-2004, 04:05 PM   #13
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Default RG Thanks

That was great! Thanks!
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Old 08-20-2004, 07:56 AM   #14
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Default Keeping the Lakes Region wholesome...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rattlesnake Gal
The topic of our lake having been nine separate bodies of water at one time was intriguing, but baffling...Geologists point out that the water level of this lake has remained about the same as today.
These maps certainly put an end to the 9-separate-lakes theory.

Because the Lake was perfectly healthy "back then", here's the most striking part of your post that I would have put in bold-font:

Quote:
"Several dozen small lakes and ponds drain into Winnipesaukee. It may never be known how such a large and wholesome lake can maintain itself from such a confined watershed."
There are some tidbits in today's Citizen that relate to how a wholesome lake can maintain itself from such a confined watershed: http://www4.citizen.com/august_2004/...l_08.19_04.asp

Excerpts:

"At a meeting Tuesday evening an official from the Department of Environmental Services confirmed what had been suspected earlier: that untreated sewage is leaching into Lake Winnisquam in the area of swimming area of the state park.

"...there is no plan in the works to correct the problem. And what is worse, DES does not appear ready to press for a solution.

"The state should be embarrassed and angry that the beach at a state park is for all practical purposes unsafe for swimmers because of pollution coming from a state facility.

"Instead, the state is resorting to hand-wringing. The state clearly needs to step up to the plate here."

In another of today's Citizen's apparently unrelated articles, I think I've found part of the problem:

"[Director of Safety Richard] Flynn, 76, has been safety commissioner for 32 years under eight governors. Most of those governors have relied on him not only as a skilled and hard-working administrator, but as an astute and discreet adviser on both politics and the inner workings of state government. Many people consider him the most powerful man in state government."

(Massachusetts residents can identify just such an individual in their own Commonwealth, who regularly overturns the voters' wishes).

A group of 25 lakefront owners (including myself) had hoped to meet with Safety Director Flynn a few years ago about establishing a No Wake Zone. (A cause that still makes this forum every year).

Flynn was a no-show; however, he did send a flack who stated up-front: "I've never been to this part of the lake".

Speakers -- all of them -- spoke in favor of a NWZ which, in its absense, had been washing their yards into the lake. It was denied anyway, probably because commmercial (read, fiberglass) pressure groups had caught the Director's attention.

I didn't speak up, as the NWZ was in different town than mine. (With respect to the other speakers, it would have been redundant).
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Old 11-29-2004, 12:59 PM   #15
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Default the "old" Lake

I was just reading this thread now that colder weather is here and I spend more time inside. The maps are great! Interesting about the water quality. One of the things that the Lake has going for it is the fact that it has so many springs which help replenish it. Also the large areas where the wind and blow and make waves which purify the water. I'm not sure what the impact has been of the modern developments which have been put in where marshes were before.
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Old 11-29-2004, 04:46 PM   #16
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Default Laconia Public Library

Great job RG! When I was a kid, (still am) I use to hang out at the Laconia Public Library and read all the old books and documents on the area. I remember reading a booklet that document a finding that there was a natural dam across Lakeport at one time. The water use to flow from Alton Bay to the sea. I'll see if I can find that booklet and see if I can make photocopies. It contradicts what you read about the lake level. It says the hill on Rattlesnake Isaland was just about the only island. Due to bad weather, I have a little time on my hands.
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Old 11-29-2004, 05:52 PM   #17
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Default Merrymeeting River

Hi BH:
I have read the same thing somewhere and in another post (brought up by you actually!) That fact was challenged by Bizer (of all people....I decided not to argue with a cartographer in his field of expertise!) Whether it is true or not remains to be seen but I sure would love to find the place where I read that. What little research I have read since that time seems to back up Bizer and agree with what RG quoted from the Winni Historical Society (great web page) in the original post in this thread.

Let us know if you find that reference at the Laconia Library! McD

click here for related link

PS - I can provide two references that companies were formed to dig a canal between the Cocheco River and Alton (Merrymeeting) Bay and thus connect the lake with the ocean. Obviously neither company was successful!

Last edited by mcdude; 11-29-2004 at 05:54 PM.
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Old 11-30-2004, 06:20 AM   #18
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Default

Great stuff, thanks to all.....I was wondering where you were RG.....Havent heard from you in a while...
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Old 12-01-2004, 12:02 AM   #19
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Question But what does it all mean?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rattlesnake Gal
...plus the eskers, drumlins, boulder trains, cirques, kames, varves and other glacial remains. Few rocks that we can easily study are older than 350 millions of years (from the Cambrian and Ordovician parts of the Paleozoic Era). Some may be of Silurian date, since the oldest; but most have evolved from the igneous, metamorphosed, and sedimentary rocks during and since the Devonian time. Since the end of the Wisconsin Glacial Stage (nearly 14,000 years ago) in our present Cenozoic Era, topographic chn have been few and barely noticeable. ...
Am I the only one that did not understand some of these words? Even spell checker doesn't recognize some of them.

Anyway, the article RG quotes seems to dispel the theory that the Lakeport Dam caused 8 lakes to form the one we now call Winnipeasukee.

The idea of building rivers so that Lake Winnipesaukee meets the Atlantic is intriguing. I wonder how long it would take a sailboat at 7 mph or one of those off shore boats at 80+ mph to make it from the lake to the ocean.

Thanks RG. Your photos, scans and posts are appreciated.
Good holidays to all
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Old 12-01-2004, 12:09 AM   #20
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I always wondered about that caslte on sleepers island, how they built it, or when they built it. Was sleepers island at one point in time not an island?
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Old 12-01-2004, 12:33 AM   #21
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Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Kerr
.
The idea of building rivers so that Lake Winnipesaukee meets the Atlantic is intriguing. I wonder how long it would take a sailboat at 7 mph or one of those off shore boats at 80+ mph to make it from the lake to the ocean.
Since there would have to be a lock system since Winni is about 500' above sea level it could give a whole new twist to the "Tortoise and the Hare" story
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Old 12-02-2004, 05:10 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike M.
I always wondered about that caslte on sleepers island, how they built it, or when they built it. Was sleepers island at one point in time not an island?
There have not been many references about Sleepers Island other than it used to be called Little Rattlesnake Island. Took a quick look in some of my books, but didnít turn up anything else. If memory serves me, I recall a reference of it being built around 1925, but not sure of that at all or where I saw it. Perhaps I should be making notes as I read.
A few weeks ago I goofed up my neck/back making the computer a bit difficult. When I am back to good, I have hopes of heading to the Tucks Library in Concord to have some fun digging around. Also need to visit the local historical societies too. Iíll let you know if there is anything to be found.
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Old 12-03-2004, 09:08 AM   #23
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Thumbs up

RG, Sorry to hear of your neck/back problem. I and I know your fellow Forum members hope you feel better real soon.

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Old 12-10-2004, 04:21 PM   #24
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Default Another Description Of The Ice Age

Thanks for the good wishes Just Sold. I'm making slow progress, but at least I can move a lot better than a few weeks ago.

According to Edgar H. Wilcomb in his publication "Winnipesaukee Lake Country Gleanings," 1923

The rough, broken region southwest of the Weirs, at the head of Lake Paugus, back to the Meredith hills, shows evidence of enormous volumes of water and ice having passed down this way, checked and turned in its southerly course by Racoon Mountain, forming a part of the westerly section of the great natural dam at Lakeport, indicating that the level of the water was high enough to flow north of Blacksnout Mountain, northwest of the Weirs, as well as between this mountain and the Gilford Mountains. Old Blacksnout must have withstood a terrific battering of water and ice cakes during the tremendous flow, before and after its tough old head was uncovered.

When the great dam broke at Lakeport, an immense flow of water must have started in that direction. Probably the bulk of the water first flowed through the valley comprising the present Intervale and Lily Pond section, east of the White Oaks hill, but it is obvious that there was another channel west of the White Oaks, at what is now the Weirs, and that the waters scoured out this channel so rapidly that it eventually became lower than the Intervale channel, until it constituted the only outlet of the lake.

Comparatively few people realize that all this great territory, in fact the greater part of New England, and probably a much larger section of the country, was once enshrouded in a solid mass of ice, estimated by geologists to have been hundreds of feet thick, and that when the climate changed, due to readjustments of the earth, constantly occurring, this ice-cap gradually melted and was carried along by enormous torrents of water, flowed down the valleys to the sea, as glaciers or moving ice-fields still do in Alaska and other parts of the world.

At this period the present site of Laconia and all the territory embraced in the basin bounded by the great natural dam at Lakeport, the hills east of Laconia, the Sanbornton hills and the elevated section west of Meredith Center was doubtless submerged by another lake of considerable size, somewhat lower than the others, held back by another big natural dam across the present valley between Belmont and Sanbornton, a considerable portion of which was swept away by the floods until the present valley and channel of the Winnipesaukee river was formed, leaving the small lake south of Lakeport and the larger one southwest of Laconia, separated by the sandbanks at Laconia.

The last ice flood which geologists have traced with care, traversed New England, crossed New Jersey, Pennsylvania and southern New York and followed the crooked course of the Ohio River. A branch also extended through the Dakotas, Montana and Nebraska, where numerous fossilized remains of animals and strange vegetation have been exhumed, unquestionably buried during the various glacial periods, millions of years ago in some instances.
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Old 02-18-2005, 08:12 AM   #25
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Default The Gunstock Parish

Rattlesnake Gal is right on. And all lake history buffs should add "The Gunstock Parish" by Adair Mulligan (1995) to their references. Among other things, Ms. Mulligan capably describes pre-human history when the flow WAS out of Alton Bay and there WAS a natural dam preventing where it now goes. All this changed about 10,000 years ago when there was a tilting of the earth that changed the direction of flow.

Copies of Ms. Mulligan's excellent history may be purchased at Thompson-Ames Historical Society in Gilford for $35. It may be in other bookstores, like Inglenook. I consider it the most important recent addition to my own library.
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Old 02-18-2005, 12:22 PM   #26
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Exclamation lakport dam

I mentioned in another thread that I read a book many moons ago at the Laconia library on the subject. The water use to flow out from Alton Bay down to Portsmouth. I was asked to find the book and I have yet was able to go back to the library. have anyone able to check on this?
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Old 02-25-2005, 07:59 PM   #27
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Default ....that would be me


From a series of booklets about the lake by Edgar Harlan Wilcomb - "Winnipesaukee Lake Country Gleanings: The Lakeport Cleft and Great Prehistoric Dam" - Wilcomb Printers - Worcester, MA - 1923

Here's the map that was provided with the article that I enhanced a bit. Note how New Durham really lost out on a lot of lakefront property!

Snowbird: Thanks for that wonderful recommendation. "The Gunstock Parish" is a treasure.

Click here to SUPER-SIZE this map
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Old 03-09-2005, 05:13 PM   #28
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Thanks McDude for taking the time to find this interesting information.
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Old 09-19-2006, 03:44 PM   #29
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Default Indian Cove

In the article from the historical society ther is a reference to an Indian Cove.

"At the height of the Algonquian Indian life in central New Hampshire, the village of Aquedoctan, of the Winnipesaukee branch of the Southern fringe of the Abnaki Tribes Confederacy, was the largest village in the Northeast; and it covered the shore of what is now Lake Paugus from below Indian Cove up the Weirs Channel and along the Weirs Beach area to the foot of Brickyard Mt. Little is recorded of this great community since its discovery about 1632, and less is passed down by word of mouth. We do know that this was a fishing and assembly hamlet of the Woodland People, utilizing the Winnipesaukee Channel as the prime place to annually install sapling-and-branch "fish-weirs" to trap the shad run, hence the name Weirs. At the foot of Brickyard Mt. the Indians mined good clay for pottery production (one of the few such enterprises in Northern New England). A large hollowed rock, still on the hillside at the Weirs Beach, was used as a corn-mill mortar. Their "council" rock lies in the woods at the top of the hill. The boulder with a concave spot on Stone Dam Is. came into use as the place to heat pitch for the birch-bark canoe manufacture and repair. Maple sugar was produced from the abundant maples, and sweet "sliver" from the virgin pines provided a toothsome snack. It is not likely that many garden plants were grown."

Does anyone know if Pickerel Cove or Moultons Cove on Paugus Bay has ever been referred to as "Indian Cove".? My son found a stone tool know as a plummet along that area. According to what I have reseached it was used any where from 8000- 2700 years ago.
It is kind of wild to know that this was something that was used about 4500 years before the pyramids were built.
Has anyone else found anything of interest in that area?
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