‘Weirs Beach Civil War Reunions’ topic of  program, Sept. 16

LACONIA — “Civil War Reunions in Weirs Beach,” an illustrated talk by C. Ian Stevenson, will be presented by the Laconia Historical and Museum Society at the Laconia Public Library, Monday, Sept. 16, at 6:30 p.m.

Stevenson, who holds a Ph.D. from Boston University in American and New England Studies, recently completed his dissertation, “This Summer-Home of the Survivors: The Civil War Vacation in Architecture and Landscape, 1878-1918.”

Stevenson’s talk will focus on the NHVA waterfront site at the Weirs, discussing the ways that Civil War veterans used architecture and landscape to heal wartime trauma and to preserve their legacy.

Drawing from his dissertation, Stevenson will explore group vacation cottages and campgrounds constructed by Civil War veterans as places to merge memory and leisure among their comrades and families.

Founded in 1875, the New Hampshire Veterans Association held annual reunions or “encampments” every August at Weirs Beach from 1878 onward. 

Starting in 1880, numerous permanent structures were built on the nearly eight-acre Campground site, including the Headquarters Building (1885) located at the corner of New Hampshire Avenue. 

In 1980, the NHVA district was listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

The program, at Rotary Hall on the Lower Level of the library, is free and open to the public.