Granite State Stories: Local mob attacks dam on Lake Winnipesaukee 

  • Postcard of “Lakeport, N.H. The Dam.” Courtesy of N.H. Historical Society

Published: 5/14/2018 4:29:44 PM

On Sept. 28, 1859, a mob of laborers, loggers and farmers carrying axes and iron rods attempted to destroy a dam across an outlet of Lake Winnipesaukee in Lake Village, now part of Laconia.

The dam controlled the water flow into the Merrimack River, which powered industrial mills in Lowell and Lawrence, Mass. The industrialists who owned these factories formed the Lake Company to take control of New Hampshire’s waterways and insure a reliable supply of water.

Granite Staters resented the exploitation of the state’s natural resources for the benefit of powerful businessmen in Boston.

The 1859 attack, known as the “Lake Village Riot,” spawned a series of similar demonstrations elsewhere, but the Lake Company maintained its control over New Hampshire’s waterways until the 1900s.

N.H. Historical Society

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