Laconia, New Hampshire

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Laconia, New Hampshire
Bird's-eye view, Laconia c. 1911
Bird's-eye view, Laconia c. 1911
Official seal of Laconia, New Hampshire
Motto: City on the Lakes
Location in Belknap County, New Hampshire
Location in Belknap County, New Hampshire
Coordinates: Lua error in Module:Coordinates at line 668: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found.
Country United States
State New Hampshire
County Belknap
Incorporated 1855
 • Type Council–manager government
 • Mayor Edward Engler
 • City Manager Scott Myers
 • City Council Ava Doyle
David Bownes
Henry D. Lipman
Brenda R. Baer
Robert A. Hamel
Armand Bolduc
 • 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)
Population (2010)
 • Total 15,951
 • Density 795/sq mi (307.1/km2)
Time zone Eastern (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) Eastern (UTC-4)
ZIP codes 03246, 03247, 03249
Area code(s) 603
FIPS code 33-40180
GNIS feature ID 0867917

Laconia is a city in Belknap County, New Hampshire, United States. The population was 15,951 at the 2010 census.[1] It is the county seat of Belknap County.[2] 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 was also the site of the state's twenty-fifth annual Pumpkin Festival in 2015, having organized it after its former home of Keene rejected it due to riots in their neighborhoods the previous year.[3] The city also includes one of the colleges of the Community College System of New Hampshire.


Webster Square c. 1915

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 1832, the Belknap Mill was built to manufacture textiles; largely unaltered, 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.[citation needed] 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 at Lua error in Module:Coordinates at line 668: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found. (43.550769, -71.467935).[4] 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's downtown is located along the Winnipesaukee River between Opechee Bay to the north and Winnisquam Lake to the southwest. Other villages within the city limits include Lakeport, at the north end of Opechee Bay, and Weirs Beach, around the channel connecting Paugus Bay with Lake Winnipesaukee.

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, turning 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.

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) is land and 6.5 square miles (16.9 km2) is water, comprising 24.54% of the city.[5] 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.[6] 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.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1860 1,806
1870 2,309 27.9%
1880 3,790 64.1%
1890 6,143 62.1%
1900 8,042 30.9%
1910 10,183 26.6%
1920 10,897 7.0%
1930 12,471 14.4%
1940 13,484 8.1%
1950 14,745 9.4%
1960 15,288 3.7%
1970 14,888 −2.6%
1980 15,575 4.6%
1990 15,743 1.1%
2000 16,411 4.2%
2010 15,951 −2.8%
Est. 2014 16,067 [7] 0.7%
U.S. Decennial Census[8]
Shore Path c. 1915

As of the census[9] 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.


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.


Laconia High School, seen from Union Ave.

Laconia's public school system is run by the Laconia School District, School Administrative Unit 30.

Public schools

Laconia School District has one public high school, one middle school and three elementary schools:

  • Laconia High School
  • Laconia Middle School (formerly Memorial Middle School)
  • Elm Street Elementary School
  • Pleasant Street Elementary School
  • Woodland Heights Elementary School
Private schools

There are two parochial schools within the city limits of Laconia:

  • Laconia Christian School, serving grades K-12
  • Holy Trinity Catholic School, serving grades K-8
Post-secondary schools

There is one area institution of higher education with a total enrollment of approximately 1000 students:

Specialty schools



Laconia is home to the Laconia Muskrats of the New England Collegiate Baseball League (NECBL). The franchise began play in 2010 at Robbie Mills Field in Laconia. Starting in the 2014-15 season, the city will be home to the New Hampshire Fighting Spirit of the Northern States Junior Hockey League (NSHL).[10]

Pumpkin Fest 2015

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.[3] The twenty-fifth New Hampshire Pumpkin Fest was held on October 24, 2015 with less than ten thousand jack-o'-lanterns lit.[11]

Sites of interest

Notable people

See also


  1. United States Census Bureau, American FactFinder, 2010 Census figures. Retrieved March 23, 2011.
  2. "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. 3.0 3.1 Sexton, Adam (April 24, 2015). "It's official: Laconia will host this year's pumpkin festival". WMUR-TV. Retrieved September 23, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (G001) - Laconia city, New Hampshire". U.S. Census Bureau American Factfinder. Retrieved November 7, 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. Foster, Debra H.; Batorfalvy, Tatianna N.; Medalie, Laura (1995). Water Use in New Hampshire: An Activities Guide for Teachers. U.S. Department of the Interior and U.S. Geological Survey.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Retrieved June 4, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. Staff (March 14, 2014). "Fighting Spirit Laconia bound: Northern States Hockey League team will call Ice Arena home next winter". Retrieved June 2, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. Paula Tracy; Kristen Carosa (October 25, 2015). "First Laconia Pumpkin Fest does not break Keene's world record". WMUR-TV. Retrieved October 25, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links