In , Laconia had been incorporated as a town from lands at Meredith Bridge, Lakeport, Weirs, and from a part of Gilmanton. The town's name was likely taken from the name of the original company formed by the Captain John Mason and the Masonian proprietors in order to sell parcels to the original colonists during the colonial era: the Laconia Company. County Seat Laconia is the county seat for New Hampshire's Belknap County which was established by the legislature in and named in honor of one of the most notable historians of the state, Dr. Jeremy Belknap.
Prior to the establishment of Belknap County, the area now Laconia was in Strafford County to and prior to that, the area was originally in Rockingham County to Currently, Belknap County includes Laconia from Meredith in and ten towns.
Early Settlement The native inhabitants had long established one of the region's largest settlements at the Acquadocton Village located at the point now known as the Weirs, named after the wooden fishing weirs of woven branches set in the waterway at that point by the native peoples. The Weirs location had been visited by Europeans as early as by the Endicott surveying party, a point now marked by Endicott Rock. The Europeans did not return to permanently settle the area for quite some time owing to the series of colonial wars being waged across northeastern America during this period between the English along with their Indian allies and the French along with their Indian allies.
The last of these wars, the one Americans commonly call the French and Indian War, was ended by the Treaty of Paris in The township of Gilmanton was granted east of the Winnipesaukee River in , and a colonial fort was built in the location now Laconia in European colonists, however, did not finally settle in the Laconia area until , that settlement being called Meredith Bridge and situated in what is now downtown Laconia.
Economic Development The settlement was for the most part self-sufficient, the settlers producing their own food, clothing and other necessities. The main trade center for New Hampshire was Portsmouth and the settlement was connected to Portsmouth by a road initiated by Governor John Wentworth, who wished to have a route from Portsmouth to Canada other than the Connecticut River.
Starting in , lumber, wheat and corn mills were quickly established near what is now Mill Street. Manufacturing Mills Manufacturing mills began to appear early in the 19th century; indeed, in , the Bean Carding Mill was built.
In , the Avery Mill was opened. The importance of the thriving settlement to the region can be seen by its selection as a site for the court, built about In , regional industrial growth based on water power was marked by the building of the Belknap Mill. Currently restored but nearly unaltered, this textile mill, still standing in the heart of Laconia, is listed on the National Register of Historic Landmarks and is the oldest such structure in the United States.
A second distinction for the Mill is that its water-powered wheelhouse from the early s that once supplied electricity to the downtown area is the last of its kind in America. At the formation of Belknap County in , the courthouse was designated the county court, establishing the settlement as the county seat.
Transportation This period was also notable for the expansion and improvement of the regional roads with many major routes being established. Not only did the roadways in the region improve throughout the 19th century, but railroads also arrived in the area. During the same period, steamboats were appearing on Lake Winnipesaukee. The first such vessel, built at Lake Village in , was the SS. Belknap like the county, named for Jeremy Belknap. The agent, Kim, in Charleroi, PA does not respond either.
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