Author: Laconia Historical
This article appeared in The Laconia Daily Sun, Friday, Sept. 23, 2011.
A History Moment:
Laconia Grange — building still there, though smaller
The article and photo appeared in The Laconia Evening Citizen, May 22, 1971.
The late Dr. Fink, chiropractor, had his office here. Compare the windows on the side of the building and the iron grillwork with those of the 1971 Evening Citizen photo.
Daniel Avery was one of the early settlers in what is now Laconia
Recently, there has been inquiry about Daniel Avery. The following was written by Patrick Tierney, at our request:
So much of what we know about early 19th century Meredith Bridge, Gilmanton, Gilford, and Laconia is derived from old history books, church records, Masonic & Oddfellow Logs, personal journals, surviving newspapers and family Bibles. I enjoy this soup of recollection and the attempt to look at their world with real time eyes.
Without going into extensive detail, Daniel Avery was a very active member of Mt. Lebanon Lodge #32. His enthusiastic participation in Freemasonry is a story for another day.
According to Lancaster (p.138), “The History of Gilmanton” (1845): In the year 1790 he came to Meredith Bridge from Stratham and opened a store in a small building near the bridge. The Illustrated Laconian (p. 51) claims this store was on the site of what became the Old Corner Store eventually built in 1834 with son John Avery continuing as proprietor. The recap indicates that his business (post 1790) increased and soon became very extensive, and he did much in subsequent years by his factory and other ways, to enlarge and build up the village.
During the early 19th century, Avery bought significant portions of land that would later become much of downtown Laconia. Earlier settler lots owned by Jewett and Ladd were purchased by Avery including the Mill Street dam area, Avery Hill (the LRGH heights), land descending down Pine Street and back to the river, as well as the store itself. In that Stephen Perley arrived at Meredith Bridge in 1787, the two seem to have engaged in a friendly competition of business, real estate, craft guild enterprise, and citizen advocacy.
Apparently various attempts at damming the river in the area of the Mill Street Bridge had been attempted for many years. I don’t have the exact timeline as to how that all came together although I believe you probably have that file or info from Hurd (“History of Merrimack and Belknap Counties,” 1885). I know I’ve run across a breakdown in the archive that I hope to rediscover in the near future. I believe Avery bought the Meredith side land rights from Perley and the Gilmanton rights from Ladd. (Perley married a daughter of Ladd) Avery also bought Perley’s first cotton factory chartered as the Cotton and Woolen Manufacturing Company.
At any rate, to the point, you should have the info from Baldwin (“The Baldwin Papers,” by Nathan Baldwin, published in the 1880s in The Laconia Democrat) about Daniel Avery buying the church lot in Gilford in 1810. As trustee for the Inhabitants, it’s obvious he was a respected leader and catalyst for the building of the church edifice at the area of the Pine and Main Street intersection of today. Until I can get further access to this research, I can only add that we know he was also one of a dozen incorporators of the Gilford Academy on June 20, 1820. (A number of irons in the fire walking distance from his store!)
I’ll shut this down for now and will look for other tidbits. Otherwise Avery is just another in a group of fascinating characters who adopted and built Meredith Bridge.