Newfound Lake

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Newfound Lake
Newfound Lake Sept 2005.jpg
Newfound Lake from Wellington State Park, Bristol, NH
Location Grafton County, New Hampshire
Coordinates 43°39′46″N 71°46′31″W / 43.66278°N 71.77528°W / 43.66278; -71.77528Coordinates: 43°39′46″N 71°46′31″W / 43.66278°N 71.77528°W / 43.66278; -71.77528
Primary inflows Fowler River; Cockermouth River
Primary outflows Newfound River
Basin countries United States
Max. length 6.0 miles (9.7 km)
Max. width 2.4 miles (3.9 km)
Surface area 4,451 acres (18.01 km2)
Max. depth 183 feet (56 m)
Surface elevation 588 feet (179 m)
Islands Mayhew Island; Wolf Island; Cliff Island; Belle Island; and Loon Island
Settlements Bristol; Bridgewater; Alexandria; Hebron

Newfound Lake is a large, scenic lake located in Grafton County, New Hampshire, United States. It is situated in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire, in the towns of Alexandria, Bridgewater, Bristol, and Hebron. Its area of 4,451 acres (1,801 ha) places it behind only Lake Winnipesaukee and Squam Lake among lakes located entirely within New Hampshire, and fourth in the state overall, when Umbagog Lake on the Maine border is included. Newfound Lake is refreshed twice a year by eight underground springs and has 22 miles (35 km) of shore line.[1] The lake is about 2.5 miles (4.0 km) wide and 6 miles (10 km) long. The deepest point is 183 feet (56 m). Major tributaries include the Fowler River and the Cockermouth River. Its outlet is the Newfound River, flowing through Bristol village into the Pemigewasset River. The lake volume is 98 billion gallons of water.[2]

Wellington State Park, containing the largest freshwater swimming beach in the New Hampshire state park system, is a 204-acre (83 ha) property located on the lake's west shore in the town of Bristol.[3]

Name origin[edit]

The origin of the lake's name is a mystery. An uncertain tradition says that the Native Americans called it "Pasquaney", meaning "the place where birch bark for canoes is found". Multiple maps from the 1700s detail the lake but do not list a name. For example, when in 1752 Emmanuel Brown published a New and Accurate Map of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York, and New England, the lake was not referenced with a name. In 1755, Thomas Jefferys published a Map of the Most Inhabited Parts of New England with the lake shown, but still it had no name. Six years later, in 1761, a map called the Accurate Map of his Majesty's Province of New Hampshire detailed the map of the area without acknowledging the name of the lake.[4]

In 1751, John Kendall and Jonathan Farwell participated in marking the western lands of the Masonian proprietors. At this time, they referred to lake as Newfound or Baker's Pond. In 1791, Jeremy Belknap referred to the lake as New Chester Pond in his History of New Hampshire. The first written records appear in 1766 when the New Chester proprietors refer to the lake as "Newfound pond".[5]

In his poem "Pasquaney Lake", Bristol native Fred Lewis Pattee twice refers to Newfound Lake as Pasquaney.[6]

Original landowners[edit]

The lake was originally fought over by John Mason and Peter Wheelright, who both claimed they owned a large plot of land with the lake being inside that plot. On November 7, 1629, Mason, a merchant from London, had the land from Newfound Lake to the Merrimack River in Massachusetts granted to him. Six months earlier, Reverend Peter Wheelright bought a large plot of land from native Indians that was similar to the land John Mason received. The argument went to court and lasted for more than one hundred years.[8]

Eventually, Mason's sixth heir, John Tufton Mason, won the case and sold the land to a syndicate known as the Masonian proprietors. On September 14, 1753, a syndicate living in Chester, New Hampshire, bought the land from the Mason proprietors and the land became known as New Chester. On February 12, 1788, the territory was divided up, and the territory north and east of Newfound Lake and the Newfound River was incorporated as Bridgewater. Two thirds of the lake was incorporated as Bristol on June 24, 1819.[9]

Current fish[edit]

There are twenty-two identified different species of fish that can be found in the Newfound Lake watershed.

Of these twenty-two fish species, six of them have been selected as needing special consideration from the 2006 New Hampshire Wildlife Action Plan. The six species are brook trout, burbot, lake trout, rainbow smelt, round whitefish, and slimy sculpin. This is based on population status, integral ecological function of a species, or the ability of a species to indicate a healthy aquatic ecosystem.[10]

Every year, the lake is stocked with additional fish. The fish stocking that occurs in Newfound Lake happens between mid-March and early July. In 2011, Newfound Lake was stocked with 305 landlocked salmon, with a total weight of 2,622 pounds (1,189 kg), and 1,845 rainbow trout weighing 2,589 pounds (1,174 kg).[11]

History of Newfound Lake fish[edit]

In 1890, the New Hampshire Fish and Game Commissioner stocked 15,000 landlocked salmon into the Fowler River, and in 1898, the NH Fish and Game Commission stocked 40,000 white fish from Lake Superior.[12]

In 1889, the state built a fish hatching house located on the Newfound River because of the "ease with which the trout could be dipped from the spawning beds and stripped of the spawn." The house was 20 by 34 feet (6.1 by 10.4 m) and could hold 750,000 eggs. In 1897 a larger house was constructed, which held 1,000,000 Lake Trout eggs, 125,000 Brook Trout eggs, and 65,000 Landlocked Salmon eggs all in its first year of operation. After years of declining trout numbers, a screen was built at the outlet of the lake to prevent the fish from swimming down the Newfound River.[13]

Steamboats[edit]

Newfound Lake has hosted multiple steamboats in its waters. The first steamboat, called the Pioneer, was owned by Capt. George W. Dow. It was first placed in the lake in 1865. It was eventually destroyed by a fire. In 1878, Edward M. Drake put his steamer the Cardigan into the lake. The Cardigan was 56 feet (17 m) long and was in use until 1883. That same year, the 28-foot-long (8.5 m) steamboat Lady Helen was put in the lake, but was also destroyed in a fire.[14] In May 1900, at Kimball's beach, the Stella-Marion was launched. It towed mail and passengers around for 15 years until it was destroyed in a fire on September 2, 1915.[15]

Lighthouses[edit]

Reed Lighthouse is located on West Shore Road next to the Ledges. It was built in 1932.

Newfound Lighthouse is located at the Paradise Point Lodge on Route 3A in Bridgewater.[16]

Lake conservation[edit]

In 1971, the Newfound Lake Region Association (NLRA) registered with the New Hampshire Secretary of State which created a group whose purpose was to protect the waters of Newfound Lake and the surrounding land. There are currently 6,653 acres (2,692 ha) of land in conservation.[17]

Major events[edit]

Newfound Lake is sometimes called "New Hampshire's best kept secret".[18] The lake is the site of several major events each year, including the New Hampshire Marathon, Granite Ledges Triathlon, Hebron Fair, Mooseman Triathlon, and Auto Racing on the Ice.[19]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Newfound Lake". New Hampshire Lakes Region Tourism Association. Retrieved 6 December 2012. 
  2. ^ "Statistics-Education-Conservation-Stewardship". Newfound Lake Region Association. Retrieved 6 December 2012. 
  3. ^ "Wellington State Park". New Hampshire Division of Parks and Recreation. Retrieved August 22, 2013. 
  4. ^ Musgrove, Richard (1904). History of the town of Bristol, Grafton County, New Hampshire. p. 358. 
  5. ^ Musgrove, Richard (1904). History of the town of Bristol, Grafton County, New Hampshire. pp. 358–359. 
  6. ^ Musgrove, Richard (1904). History of the town of Bristol, Grafton County, New Hampshire. p. 358. 
  7. ^ Musgrove, Richard (1921). A guide to Pasquaney Lake, or Newfound Lake, and the towns upon its borders. Musgrove Printing House. p. 14. 
  8. ^ Musgrove, Richard (1910). A guide to Pasquaney Lake (or Newfound Lake) and towns upon its borders. Bristol, N.H., Musgrove printing house. 
  9. ^ Musgrove, Richard (1910). A guide to Pasquaney Lake (or Newfound Lake) and towns upon its borders. Bristol, N.H., Musgrove printing house. 
  10. ^ "Fish Species within the Newfound Watershed". Retrieved 6 December 2012. 
  11. ^ "New Hampshire Fish Stocking Report for 2011". New Hampshire Fish and Game. Retrieved 6 December 2012. 
  12. ^ Musgrove, Richard (1904). History of the town of Bristol, Grafton County, New Hampshire. p. 360. 
  13. ^ Musgrove, Richard (1904). History of the town of Bristol, Grafton County, New Hampshire. p. 360. 
  14. ^ Musgrove, Richard (1904). History of the town of Bristol, Grafton County, New Hampshire. pp. 360–361. 
  15. ^ Collins, Ron. "The Story of the Steam Launch "Stella-Marion"". Retrieved 6 December 2012. 
  16. ^ "Newfound Lake". New Hampshire Lakes Region Tourism Association. Retrieved 6 December 2012. 
  17. ^ "History-Education-Conservation-Stewardship". Newfound Lake Region Association. Retrieved 6 December 2012. 
  18. ^ "Newfound Lake". NH Tour Guide. Retrieved 6 December 2012. 
  19. ^ "Newfound Lake". New Hampshire Lakes Region Tourism Association. Retrieved 6 December 2012.