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Collage of images portraying Squam Lake in Holderness, NH


We might think of Holderness back at the turn of the century as an isolated farming community. It was, however, in addition to that a bustling summer community with Lake Asquam and the mountains as the attraction from the heat of the cities to the south. The Asquam House atop Shepards Hill and the Mount Livermore on the lake shore at Livermore Cove were two flourishing hotels. Both of these succumbed to that ever present danger, fire.

Train service to Ashland on the Boston and Maine was excellent, and connections could be made for Boston and New York. You arrived amid cinders met by a horse drawn carriage that took you to the docks of the Asquam Transportation Company on the river just outside of Ashland. There you made your way up the lakes to Deephaven in one of the two passenger steamboats which plied the lake daily between Ashland and Sandwich Landing. These coal burning ships moved on a regular schedule of four trips a day. The S.S. Holcyon had a hinged smokestack that lowered to get under the Holderness bridge. The S.S. Chocorua was the other passenger vessel.

On the way the boats would stop at various docks to deliver mail and supplies, and more than a few pleasantries were exchanged in the process. The Deephaven dock was at the present site, and the mail was distributed from the Studio. The arrival of the steamer was a big event, and many congregated on the dock to await it.

In 1904 the camp supplied horse drawn transportation to town. The records show Surry to Ashland, $3.00, Buckboard to Holderness, $1.50. Miss Bacon went to Holderness in her buggy shopping each week, and it took all day. Everyone put in their orders, said farewell when she left and were there to greet her on her return. The Nellie J was a floating store and stopped at the Deephaven dock twice a week. Aboard were fruit, cookies, soda, candy, etc. to keep these active people going.

Tennis courts were installed at the Playhouse around 1908 but until then the lake and mountains supplied most of the recreation. Motorboats were almost unknown, and so it was with paddle, oar and sail that people made their way about.

Every Saturday night a picnic supper was served across the Bight on Needle Point followed by Miss Bacon's reading of contributions to the camp paper, The Barque and Bight.

There was prose and poetry, good and bad, from the literary worthy and unworthy. A bag hung on the office door into which contributors put their offerings, and after the feast Miss Bacon would bring forth the literary harvest of the week. She must have made an impressive sight standing by the fire reading from its light. To end the evening, campers joined the Hampton boys and girls to sing: The shadows deepen, quiet reigns, Camp calls us o're the Bight; The flicker of the campfire wanes, it's time to say goodnight. Rest safe in old Deephaven's arms, goodnight ye campers all.

A complex network of transportation existed to get people from eastern cities to the blossoming vacation spots in New Hampshire and Maine. Visitors to Rockywold and Deephaven arrived by train in Ashland. Passengers and trunks were unloaded, put on a wagon, and brought to the steam launch on Little Squam Lake.

~ from Roots and Recollections: A Century of Rockywold Deephaven Camps