Blog: A River Runs Through It

By GSA Roberta Wells, The Hotel Concord Class of 2019

Periodically, the NH DES draws down (ie, lowers the level of) various lakes around the state. This allows for maintenance of critical structures such as dams as well as for property owners to do shore side repairs. It is a fascinating process. I own a home on Lake Winnisquam and when the draw down occurs I go from having water come right up to my retaining wall to having hundreds of feet of dry land out in front of my home.

The draw down is currently underway so I was curious and took a drive to see what I could see around the area. I know that one lake feeds another and finally drains out into the Winnipesaukee River at the southern end of Lake Winnisquam. Wakewaun feeds into Winnepesaukee which drains into Opechee which feeds into Winnisquam that then feeds into Silver Lake and the Winnipesaukee River. What I didn’t know until I followed the waterway was that in the area between Lake Winnisquam and Silver Lake is the historically significant site of Lochmere. This area was once occupied by a part of the Pennacook Peoples. Later white settler’s harnessed the power of this river for industrial uses such as mills, most of which laid in ruins by 1882 as the larger and wealthier interests of the Mills in Manchester and Lowell bought out the major water rights.

Many of the sites have since been compromised by both home construction in the area and the state’s dredging efforts to widen the river channel. But one of the State’s Historic Markers faithfully reminds us of the significance of this area.