Laconia is a city in Belknap County, New Hampshire, United States. The population was 15,951 at the 2010 census, and an estimated 16,464 as of 2017. It is the county seat of Belknap County. Laconia, situated between Lake Winnipesaukee and Winnisquam Lake, includes the villages of Lakeport and Weirs Beach. Each June for nine days beginning on the Saturday of the weekend before Father's Day and ending on Father's Day, the city hosts Laconia Motorcycle Week, also more simply known as 'bike week', one of the country's largest rallies, and each winter, the Laconia World Championship Sled Dog Derby. The city is also the site of the state's annual Pumpkin Festival since 2015, having organized it after its former home of Keene rejected it due to riots in their neighborhoods in 2014. The city also includes one of the colleges of the Community College System of New Hampshire.
Laconia, New Hampshire
Main Street in Laconia
City on the Lakes
Location in Belknap County, New Hampshire
|• Type||Council–manager government|
|• Mayor||Edward Engler|
|• City Council|
|• City Manager||Scott Myers|
|• Total||26.6 sq mi (68.8 km2)|
|• Land||20.0 sq mi (51.9 km2)|
|• Water||6.5 sq mi (16.9 km2) 24.54%|
|Elevation||502 ft (153 m)|
| • Estimate |
|• Density||822/sq mi (317.2/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC−5 (Eastern)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−4 (Eastern)|
03246, 03247, 03249
|GNIS feature ID||0867917|
A large Abenaki Indian settlement called Acquadocton Village once existed at the point now known as The Weirs, named by colonists for fishing weirs discovered at the outlet of the Winnipesaukee River. Early explorers had hoped to follow the Piscataqua River north to Lake Champlain in search of the great lakes and rivers of Canada mentioned in Indian folklore. About 1652, the Endicott surveying party visited the area, an event commemorated by Endicott Rock, a local landmark. A fort would be built at Laconia in 1746. But ongoing hostilities between the English, French, and their respective Native American allies prevented settlement until 1761, after which it remained for many years a part of Meredith and Gilford called Meredith Bridge.
Beginning in 1765, lumber and grist mills were established on Mill Street, with taverns built soon thereafter on Parade Street. About 1822, the courthouse was built, which would become county seat at the creation of Belknap County in 1840. In 1823, the Belknap Mill was built to manufacture textiles; in operation by 1828, the structure is today a museum listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is the oldest unaltered brick textile mill in the country. Local industry produced lumber, textiles, shoes, hosiery, knitting machinery and needles. But the city's largest employer would be the Laconia Car Company, builder of rail, trolley and subway cars. Started in 1848, it lasted until the 1930s. The railroad entered town in 1849, carrying both freight and an increasing number of summer tourists to popular Weirs Beach.
In 1855, Laconia was incorporated as a town from land in Meredith Bridge, Lakeport, Weirs and part of Gilmanton. The name was probably derived from the old Laconia Company, formed by Captain John Mason and the Masonian Proprietors to sell parcels of land during the colonial era. The Great Fire of 1860 destroyed most of Main Street from Mill to Water streets, followed by the Great Lakeport Fire of 1903, a blaze so fierce that fire companies were brought by train from as far away as Dover. Laconia was incorporated as a city in 1893.
Laconia is located northwest of the geographic center of Belknap County. The city lies at the center of New Hampshire's Lakes Region, and all or part of four major bodies of water lie within its limits: Lake Winnipesaukee, Winnisquam Lake, Opechee Bay and Paugus Bay (sometimes counted as an arm of Winnipesaukee, but historically a separate body of water).
Laconia contains three main villages. Downtown Laconia, where the Belknap County Courthouse is located, can be found in the southern tip of the city, along the Winnipesaukee River between Opechee Bay to the north and Winnisquam Lake to the southwest. Lakeport, located between Opeechee Bay and Paugus Bay, is near the geographic center of the city. Weirs Beach, around the channel connecting Paugus Bay with Lake Winnipesaukee, lies at the northern edge of the city.
U.S. Route 3 passes through parts of the city, bypassing downtown but passing through Weirs Beach. New Hampshire Route 11 bypasses the city in a concurrency with US 3. The two highways lead southwest from Laconia to Tilton and Franklin. New Hampshire Route 11A represents the old routes 11 and 3 through downtown as Court Street and Union Avenue, but then turns east on Gilford Avenue to lead to Gilford and West Alton. New Hampshire Route 106 runs north-south through downtown, leading south to Concord and north to Meredith. New Hampshire Route 107 leads southeast from downtown towards Gilmanton and Pittsfield. Route 107 turns north in downtown and follows Union Avenue (former Route 3) to a junction with US 3 near the north end of the Laconia Bypass. US 3 continues north along the east shore of Paugus Bay, through Weirs Beach and into Meredith. Route 11 leads east from the Laconia Bypass past Glendale and into Alton. New Hampshire Route 11B leads east from Weirs Beach into Gilford.
Laconia Municipal Airport is located just east of the city limits in Gilford.
A walking trail called the W.O.W. Trail (Winnipesaukee–Opechee–Winnisquam) links several parts of the city, following the railroad tracks from Winnisquam Lake, skirting the downtown area, and running to Lakeport. Plans to extend the trail to Weirs Beach have been contested by residents in private communities abutting the railway.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 26.6 square miles (68.8 km2), of which 20.0 square miles (51.9 km2) are land and 6.5 square miles (16.9 km2) are water, comprising 24.54% of the city. Laconia is drained by the Winnipesaukee River. It is bounded in the southwest by Winnisquam Lake, and by Lake Winnipesaukee in the northeast. Laconia lies fully within the Merrimack River watershed. The highest point in Laconia is a 960-foot (290 m) hill in the northern part of the city, west of Paugus Bay's Pickerel Cove and just east of Route 106.
|U.S. Decennial Census|
As of the census of 2000, there were 16,411 people, 6,724 households, and 4,168 families residing in the city. The population density was 809.3 people per square mile (312.4/km²). There were 8,554 housing units at an average density of 421.8 per square mile (162.9/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 96.79% White, 0.55% African American, 0.41% Native American, 0.73% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.27% from other races, and 1.22% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.99% of the population.
There were 6,724 households out of which 28.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.4% were married couples living together, 11.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 38.0% were non-families. 30.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.32 and the average family size was 2.87.
In the city, the population was spread out with 22.3% under the age of 18, 8.8% from 18 to 24, 28.1% from 25 to 44, 23.5% from 45 to 64, and 17.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females, there were 94.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.2 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $37,796, and the median income for a family was $45,307. Males had a median income of $31,714 versus $22,818 for females. The per capita income for the city was $19,540. About 7.5% of families and 8.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 10.9% of those under age 18 and 5.3% of those age 65 or over.
|2016||53.02% 4,303||40.70% 3,303||6.28% 510|
|2012||48.95% 3,859||49.95% 3,938||1.10% 87|
|2008||46.83% 3,750||52.67% 4,218||0.50% 40|
|2004||54.53% 4,286||44.67% 3,511||0.80 % 63|
|2000||53.76% 3,814||42.49% 3,015||3.75% 266|
|1996||45.21% 2,842||45.58% 2,865||9.21% 579|
|1992||43.68% 3,033||34.42% 2,390||21.89% 1,520|
Laconia is governed by a mayor-council and city manager system. The Mayor and council are elected in a citywide vote, while the city manager is hired by the council. The council consists of six members who are elected from the six single-member wards.
In the New Hampshire Senate, Laconia is in the 7th District, represented by Republican Harold F. French. On the New Hampshire Executive Council, Laconia is in the 1st District, represented by Democrat Michael J. Cryans. In the United States House of Representatives, Laconia is in New Hampshire's 1st congressional district, represented by Democrat Chris Pappas.
Laconia is a fairly independent or swing city at the presidential level.
Laconia's public school system is run by the Laconia School District, School Administrative Unit 30.
Laconia School District has one public high school, one middle school and three elementary schools:
There are two parochial schools within the city limits of Laconia:
There is one area institution of higher education with a total enrollment of approximately 1000 students:
One of the largest motorcycle rallies in the world takes place in Laconia during nine days in June, ending on Father's Day. Founded in 1923, attendance was 375,000 in 2004 and 188,000 in 2010. Events include races, shows, and a motorcycle hill climb competition.
Held annually, the Laconia Multicultural Festival is a community event that highlights the music, arts, crafts and cuisine of cultural artists. The festival was created by former Mayor Matthew Lahey and former Police Chief Bill Baker in 2000.
After the city council of Keene, New Hampshire, rejected the permit for their annual Pumpkin Festival to be held there following riots in the city's neighborhoods in 2014, it was announced that Laconia would host the festival for the city's first time in 2015. The twenty-fifth New Hampshire Pumpkin Fest was held on October 24, 2015, with fewer than ten thousand jack-o'-lanterns lit. The festival has continued to be held in Laconia annually since.
|url=value (help). Laconia Multicultural Festival. Retrieved March 5, 2019.
The Belknap-Sulloway Mill, now the Belknap Mill Museum, is a historic mill at 25 Beacon Street East in Laconia, New Hampshire, a city in Belknap County. Built sometime between 1823 and 1828, it is a rare well-preserved example of an early rural textile mill in New England, and was the business around which the city rose. The mill was in active use for the production of textiles until 1969, undergoing some modest alterations as well as the modernization of its power plant. It was opened as a museum in 1991, and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1971.Belknap County, New Hampshire
Belknap County () is a county in the U.S. state of New Hampshire. As of the 2010 census, the population was 60,088. The county seat is Laconia. It is located in New Hampshire's Lakes Region, slightly southeast of the state's geographic center. Belknap County comprises the Laconia, NH Micropolitan Statistical Area, which in turn constitutes a portion of the Boston-Worcester-Providence, MA-RI-NH-CT Combined Statistical Area.Charles A. Busiel
Charles Albert Busiel (November 24, 1842 – August 29, 1901) was an American manufacturer, politician, and the forty-fifth Governor of New Hampshire.Chas Guldemond
Charles 'Chas' Guldemond (born April 22, 1987) is an American snowboarder.Endicott Rock
Endicott Rock is a state park located on the shore of Lake Winnipesaukee in the Weirs Beach village of Laconia, New Hampshire. Its principal attraction is a large rock originally in the lake that was incised with lettering in 1652 by surveyors for the Massachusetts Bay Colony. The rock provides definitive evidence of one of the earliest incursions of Europeans into the area.
For many years the rock's existence was unknown, until it was rediscovered in the 19th century when the Weirs Channel was dredged. The state then undertook to protect the rock from the elements, building a pavilion over it and stabilizing cracks in the rock with iron fittings. The markings on the rock include "IOHN ENDICUT GOV", a reference to John Endecott, who was then governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, and the initials of the surveyors. The colony's boundaries, according to its charter, were 3 miles (4.8 km) north of the Merrimack River, and the rock was incorrectly believed by the English party to mark the northernmost head of the river (the headwaters of the Merrimack's main tributary, the Pemigewasset River, are significantly further north, but the survey party was misled by its Indian guides).
Admission to the small park is free and offers picnic facilities. (The parking fee in the immediate vicinity is $10.) Materials from the New Hampshire Division of Parks and Recreation sometimes identify the site as a historic site, and sometimes as a state park. A rectangular area surrounding the rock and its sheltering pavilion were listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.Evangelical Baptist Church (Laconia, New Hampshire)
The Evangelical Baptist Church (also known as Meredith Bridge Congregational Church or Laconia Congregational) is a historic church building on Veterans Square in Laconia, New Hampshire, United States. Built in 1836 and extensively restyled in 1871, it is a fine 19th-century building, illustrating adaptive alterations made over time to reflect changing uses and tastes. The building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1985. The building now houses a restaurant.Henry B. Quinby
Henry Brewer Quinby (June 10, 1846 – February 8, 1924) was an American physician, businessman, and Republican politician in the U.S. state of New Hampshire. He was the 52nd Governor of New Hampshire and served in the New Hampshire House of Representatives and the New Hampshire Senate.John B. Kennedy (politician)
John Boyle Kennedy (died January 26, 1983 in Laconia, New Hampshire) was an American city manager and politician. He was City Manager of Medford, Massachusetts and Town Manager of Norwood, Massachusetts and Saugus, Massachusetts. He was a candidate for Treasurer and Receiver-General of Massachusetts in 1960.Laconia High School (New Hampshire)
Laconia High School (LHS) is a public high school in Laconia, New Hampshire, United States, serving grades 9 through 12. Enrollment in the 2014-15 school year was 626 students. The school's athletic teams are the Sachems.
The J. Oliva Huot Technical Center, named for Joseph Oliva Huot, is located on the campus.Laconia Motorcycle Week
Laconia Motorcycle Week is a motorcycle rally held annually in June in Laconia, New Hampshire, USA. The rally has its origin in the Loudon Classic motorcycle race started in 1923 and the Gypsy tour, where many motorcyclists passed through Laconia. Events were scheduled, including races, shows and a motorcycle hill climb competition.Lakes Region Community College
Lakes Region Community College (LRCC) is a community college in Laconia, New Hampshire, United States. It is part of the seven-member Community College System of New Hampshire.Robbie Mills Field
Robbie Mills Field is a baseball venue located in Laconia, New Hampshire, United States. It is home to the Winnipesaukee Muskrats of the collegiate summer New England Collegiate Baseball League (NECBL). The Muskrats began play there in the 2010 season. The field was built in 2005 and is named after Robbie Mills, a Laconia boy who was killed and robbed of his bicycle in 1998.Robbie Mills Field has a seating capacity of 1,200 spectators, in uncovered bleachers beyond both the first-base and third-base dugouts. There is also a small bleacher section beyond centerfield, and fans can set up their own lawn chairs beyond the outfield and behind the backstop.Steve Stetson
Stephen Stetson (born January 24, 1951) is an American golf coach and former football player and coach. He is the current head men's and women's golf coach at Hamilton College in Clinton, New York. Stetson served as the head football coach at Hamilton from 1982 to 1984 and again from 2006 to 2011. He was also the head football coach at Boston University 1985 to 1987 and Hartwick College from 1992 to 2001, compiling a career college football coaching record of 89–111–2. Stetson was a University of New Hampshire assistant football coach from 2002 to 2005.
Stetson grew up in Laconia, New Hampshire and was a three-sport standout at Laconia High School. He went on to become an All-Ivy League quarterback at Dartmouth College during his senior season in 1972. In his three-year varsity career the Big Green went 24–2–1 with three straight Ivy League championships.The Citizen (Laconia)
The Citizen was a six-day-a-week, morning daily newspaper in Laconia, New Hampshire, United States, and it was the largest paid subscription local paper serving the Lakes Region of that state. It was owned since 2010 by Sample News Group of Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, and managed by Eagle Printing & Publishing of Claremont, New Hampshire.
The paper suspended publication with its edition of September 30, 2016, citing rising costs in printing and production and inability to find a buyer for the newspaper.The Laconia Daily Sun
The Laconia Daily Sun is a five-day (Tuesday through Saturday) free morning daily newspaper published in the city of Laconia, New Hampshire, United States, covering Belknap County and the Lakes Region. Each publication day, 18,000 copies of the paper are distributed by bulk drops at more than 300 locations. Home delivery is available for a fee. The paper also publishes a free online edition.
The newspaper draws many of its readers from Laconia, but also covers Alton (and Alton Bay), Belmont, Center Harbor, Gilford, Gilmanton, Meredith, Sanbornton and Tilton (including Winnisquam), all in Belknap County.Lakes Region News Club, Inc., which owns The Laconia Daily Sun, is a partnership between President Edward J. Engler, Publisher Adam Hirshan and Mark Guerringue, publisher of The Conway Daily Sun.
The Laconia Daily Sun was founded June 5, 2000, with Engler as publisher and John Hourihan as editor. The initial press run was 2,000 copies, and the paper was in direct competition with The (Laconia) Citizen, a paid circulation daily newspaper founded in 1926 and owned at the time by the Robert Foster family of Dover, New Hampshire. The two daily newspapers were head-to-head competitors for more than 16 years, until The (Laconia) Citizen ceased publication on Oct. 1, 2016.
Engler assumed the position of editor in 2002 and held it until November, 2015 when he retired and was succeeded by Ginger Kozlowski, formerly editor of The (Laconia) Citizen, (Engler was elected mayor of Laconia in 2013 and again in 2015.) Hirshan and Guerringue were not involved in the day-to-day operations of the newspaper in the early years, but Hirshan took over responsibility for the advertising department in 2006 and added oversight of the front office when he began working full-time in Laconia in 2007. He assumed the publisher's role in 2012.
The newspaper was initially printed by The Conway Daily Sun but began printing with the Dow Jones-owned Seacoast Media Group in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, in 2008 and with the Concord Monitor in 2014. The move to Seacoast Media Group also marked the beginning of a revolutionary "all color all the time" policy whereby display advertising rates were revised to reflect the fact that all display ads in the newspaper would thereafter be printed in full color.U.S. Route 3
U.S. Route 3 (US 3) is a United States highway running 277.9 miles (447.2 km) from Cambridge, Massachusetts, through New Hampshire, to the Canada–US border near Third Connecticut Lake, where it connects to Quebec Route 257.
Massachusetts Route 3 connects to the southern terminus of US 3 in Cambridge and continues south to Cape Cod. Though it shares a number, it has never been part of US 3. Both routes, which connect end-to-end, are treated as a single 91.3-mile (146.9 km) state highway by MassDOT. From Cambridge to Burlington, U.S. 3 is routed on surface streets through the dense suburbs in the Greater Boston area. After a brief concurrency with the Massachusetts Route 128 freeway, the route follows its own freeway northwest, bypassing Lowell and entering New Hampshire at Nashua.
In New Hampshire, current and former parts of US 3 are known as the Daniel Webster Highway. From Burlington, Massachusetts, to Nashua, New Hampshire, US 3 is a freeway. The segment in New Hampshire is a free portion of the Everett Turnpike, while the portion in Massachusetts is known as the Northwest Expressway. There are two super two freeway portions in northern New Hampshire, one on the Laconia Bypass, and one where US 3 and Interstate 93 use the Franconia Notch Parkway. Elsewhere the route is generally two to four lanes of undivided road with at-grade junctions.WEMJ
WEMJ (1490 AM) is a radio station broadcasting a News Talk Information format. Licensed to Laconia, New Hampshire, United States, the station is owned by Binnie Media and licensed to WBIN Media Co., Inc. WEMJ features programming from CBS News Radio, Westwood One and Premiere Networks. WEMJ is known on-air as 107.3 WEMJ (after its translator frequency).
WEMJ, along with 16 other stations in northern New England formerly owned by Nassau Broadcasting Partners, was purchased at bankruptcy auction by WBIN Media Company, a company controlled by Bill Binnie, on May 22, 2012. Binnie already owned WBIN-TV in Derry and WYCN-CD in Nashua. The deal was completed on November 30, 2012. In March 2016, WEMJ began a simulcast on W297BS (107.3 FM, referred to as "WEMJ-FM" by the New Hampshire Association of Broadcasters) and updated their branding to reflect this new over-the-air listening option.WEZS
WEZS (1350 AM) is a broadcast radio station licensed to Laconia, New Hampshire, serving the Laconia and Franklin, New Hampshire area. WEZS is owned and operated by Gary W. Hammond.Weirs Beach, New Hampshire
Weirs Beach is an area within the northern part of the city of Laconia in Belknap County, New Hampshire, United States. It is located on the southern shore of Lake Winnipesaukee. The cruise ship Mount Washington terminates there. It is a popular destination of bikers during Motorcycle Week every June.
Weirs Beach, or "The Weirs" as it is referred to by locals, is named for a wide, sandy, public beach on Lake Winnipesaukee. Adjacent to the beach and comprising the center of the village are a boulevard and boardwalk that run along a quarter mile stretch of Lakeside Ave. The main summer port of the Winnipesaukee Flagship Company's MS Mount Washington is located on the boulevard. A large public dock is also evident at this popular stop for boaters on Lake Winnipesaukee. On the opposite side of the street are several seasonal arcades and vendors that have been located there for many years. The Winnipesaukee Pier juts out into the lake from the main boulevard. The pier was constructed in 1925 and was a bustling spot for many years attracting many of the most famous big band groups of the time.The Weirs Beach area also contains the Winnipesaukee Playhouse, Funspot Family Fun Center, Mount Washington Cruises, the Winnipesaukee Scenic Railroad, Half Moon Amusement Arcades, and several motels and cottage complexes. Condominiums abound, and there are three marinas offering new and used boats, parts and accessories, dockspace, storage, and rental boats for outings on the "Big Lake".
Places adjacent to Laconia, New Hampshire
Municipalities and communities of Belknap County, New Hampshire, United States
County seat: Laconia
‡This populated place also has portions in an adjacent county or counties