Lake Winnipesaukee And The MS Mount Washington
Glittering within New Hampshire’s Lakes Area, itself created by the likes of Little Squam, Silver, Squam, Waukewan, and Winnisquam lakes, is Lake Winnipesaukee, one of many three largest to lie inside the borders of a single state. And plying it for 3-quarters of a century is its flagship, the “M/S Mount Washington.” A cruise on this very, and venerable, image is obligatory for becoming acquainted with the realm.
Sandwiched between volcanic Belknap and Ossipee mountains, the glacially-formed and spring-fed lake was first discovered by white men in 1652 when surveyors dispatched by the Massachusetts Colony to find out its northern boundaries realized that the purpose they sought lay three miles up the Merrimack River. Embarking on a secondary expedition in a sailboat, they reached the village of Aquadoctan, then the biggest Indian neighborhood in the world, positioned in the north and west foothills.
The purpose itself, marked by a plaque on as we speak’s Endicott Rock, stands in current-day Weirs Beach, named after the triangular, rock-and-log-fishing trap found nearby. The 72-square-mile lake of Winnipesaukee, with a 25-mile length, one- to 15-mile width, and 182.89-mile shore line, equally derives its title from an Indian phrase which has a number of translations, including “the smile of the great spirit,” “beautiful water in a excessive place,” and even “smiling water between hills.”
Encircled by the main port towns of Alton Bay, Center Harbor, Meredith, Wolfeboro, and Weirs Seashore, and comprised of 274 habitable islands, it’s a magnet for summer vacationers, offering an array of accommodation varieties, eating places, retailers, water sports, and boating activities.
Because of its dimension and its number of communities, intra-lake transportation had been important and integral to its existence, whether or not or not it’s for passengers, freight, or mail, since floor, lake-perimeter conveyance, significantly throughout pre-motorized days, had been laboriously gradual.
The primary such aquatic surface car mixed the buoyancy of a hull with the horsepower of the actual animal. Two such horses, positioned at its aft treadmill on an open, 60- to 70-foot boat, turned its facet paddle wheels as they trotted, producing a two-mph speed.
Additional integrating journey fashions, railroads strategically positioned stations subsequent to steamboat docks, facilitating passenger interchange.
One of the lake’s first such boats, the 96-foot-lengthy, 33-foot-large “Belknap,” was inaugurated into service at Lake Village in 1833, propelled by a retrofitted sawmill steam engine. Redirected onto rocks by gale force winds eight years later, it sank from sight.
Succeeded by what became a virtual image of the area, it passed its wake to the “Lady of the Lake.” Constructed by the Winnipesaukee Steamboat Company in 1849, the 125-foot-long boat was launched from Lake Village and carried four hundred passengers during its maiden voyage to the Weirs, Heart Harbor, and Wolfeboro.
But even the “Lady of the Lake” could not covet the crown earned by its competitor, the “Mount Washington,” which became reining queen after the elderly lady herself had been retired in 1893.
Powered by a single, forty two-inch-diameter piston which generated 450 hp, the picket hulled, facet-wheel steamer was launched in 1872 from Alton Bay and exceeded 20-mph cruise speeds.
Expertise climbed a step on the “Mineola.” Constructed in 1877 in Newburgh, New Hampshire, it was each the first propeller-as opposed to paddle wheel-steamer and the primary to have been giant enough to hold both passengers and cargo.
What was to become the top of the “Mount Washington’s” long, illustrious career in the 1920s solely turned its beginning. The Boston and Maine Company, its owner, withdrew it from service, however Captain Leander Lavallee, unable to simply accept the icon’s demise, bought it and operated lake excursions for vacationers during the summer months till even this resuscitation abruptly misplaced its air when a fireplace unexplainably erupted on the Weirs practice station and unfold toward the dock where it had been moored solely two days before Christmas in 1939, decreasing it to a mostly submerged char and ending its profession within the very water which, for 67 years, had ironically given it life.
Still undeterred, Lavallee could not see its identify sink with it. Citing the $250,000 of an all-new design as prohibitive, he embarked on a search for a second-hand “Mount Washington II” alternative as an alternative that was finally located on Lake Champlain in the form of the “Chateaugay.” Built in 1888, the iron-hulled, aspect-wheel steamer, owned by the Champlain Transportation Firm, had been operated between Burlington, Vermont, and Plattsburgh, New York.
The $20,000 value did not pose an obstacle, however the one hundred fifty miles of floor transport to its new Lake Winnipesaukee home did. Since he solely stone island down jacket needed the hull, he diminished it to 20 severed sections and transported them on flatbed rail cars on April 3, 1940. It only provided a part of Lavallee’s intended flapship.
Insisting on now not manufactured steam stone island down jacket engines, he acquired a second boat, the “Crescent III,” for $25,000, cannibalizing it and transplanting its vital, engine, boiler, shaft, and propeller arteries into his new aquatic creation.
After an extensive strategy of naval engineering symbiosis, the reconstructed, repackaged, twin-screw “Mount Washington II” was baptized with Lake Winnipesaukee waters when it was floated out at Lakeport on August 12, 1940.
In sheer dimension, this hybrid, given beginning by two parental boats that had by no means even met each other, was slated to rein supreme-and lengthy. Stretching 205 feet from bow to stern, it weighed 500 tons, was propelled by two screws, and featured a 35-foot beam and seven-foot draft.
In response to its 1941 summer time timetable, it provided precisely the sort and magnificence of service Lavallee had envisioned for the unique steamboat’s successor. It operated two each day round trip excursions, besides on Sundays, on the 65-mile run from the Weirs at 08:00 and thirteen:00, calling at Bear Island, Heart Harbor, Wolfeboro, and Alton Bay. Passenger fares were set at $1.00.
Because the venerable and seemingly timeless symbol of Lake Winnipesaukee, which reflected Lavallee’s almost-infinite imaginative and prescient, it neither ceased to sail, nor evolve. Certainly, its hybrid assembly would only characterize its continuous dry dock surgical procedure.
In the spring of 1946, as an example, it was retrofitted with two, 615-hp Enterprise diesel engines, facilitating the conversion of all earlier steam equipment to electrical, and visibility was improved with the elevation of the wheel house from its former second to a current third deck location.
Five years later, elimination of its boat deck enabled passengers to be accommodated on the now reconfigured third deck.
Yet, its most in depth reconfiguration, mimicking its very hull-sectioned birth, occurred on October 31, 1982 at its Middle Harbor shipyard and winter headquarters, when the Winnipesaukee Flagship Company, its present proprietor and operator, once again sliced it in half, just forward of its engine room bulkhead, and inserted a 24-foot, prefabricated hull section, increasing its general size to 230 ft.
The elongated ship, accommodating 1,250 passengers on four decks with a 9-foot draft and weighing 750 tons, was refloated on April 30, 1983 after six months of reconstruction facilitated by the Marine Railway particularly constructed for this objective as far again as 1949. Crewed by 15, the boat, beforehand designated the “MV Mount Washington”–for “motor vessel”–now carried the “MS”-or “motor ship”-prefix. It might almost have been called the “Mount Washington III.” As a way to cater to its size and gross weight increases, the Weirs Beach dock services had been modified.
Subsequently retrofitted with clean-burning, EPA-permitted CAT engines in 2010, this indisputable flagship of Lake Winnipesaukee had been ready to achieve virtually sixteen-knot speeds.
Principally docked at Weirs Beach, Laconia, the Winnipesaukee Flagship Company’s headquarters for passenger embarkation simply off Route 3, it presents a single every day, two-and-a-half-hour spherical trip from mid-Could to mid-October, with a second throughout the excessive summer time season. Morning departures permit visits to Alton Bay, Meredith, or Wolfeboro, with return service within the afternoon.
Sunday brunch, holiday, and theme-related sailings, comparable to for birthdays, reunions, anniversaries, and weddings, include meals, leisure, and even in a single day accommodations.
Weis Beach itself traces its origins to 1736 when the primary recorded construction, a log fort, rose from the hitherto untouched space, and the first rail hyperlink, integral to the country’s westward expansion movement and the Gold Rush fever that principally filled the air with delusional greenback signs, adopted greater than a century later. A rudimentary station, facilitating transportation mode interchange, enabled passengers to continue their journey by steamer at the Weirs, located on the lake’s western shore.
A remnant of this rail travel takes its present form because the Weirs Railroad Station, solely steps above the dock-main ramp, and the only track, now plied by the one- and two-hour vacationer excursions to Meredith and Laconia undertaken by the Winnipesaukee Scenic Railroad in the course of the summer months, had as soon as existed in triplicate and been used by the White Mountain Division of the Boston and Maine Railroad.