community connections
Another Reason
to Say Wow
If the journey of 1,000 miles begins with
a single step, then the journey of the
Lakeport Freighthouse from a decrepit
relic to a well-loved regional museum
began with pocket change. Using funds
raised primarily from yard sales, a local
volunteer group called the Lakeport
Community Association contributed
nearly $100,000 to rehabilitate the late
th-century building, the last standing
remnant of a once-busy railway hub.
We lost the B&M [Boston and
Maine Railroad] depot,” says Dorothy
Duffy, the association’s secretary. e
trains had stopped running by the early
s and the station was destroyed in
after long disuse. “We tried to save
it, but it just deteriorated. If we hadn’t
leased the freighthouse from the city, it
would probably have been razed, too,
and we’d have no history of the railroad.”
e ambitious project involved more
than a decade of upgrading the plumbing
and lighting, adding insulation, repairing
walls, roof, and windows, painting the
exterior, and making the freighthouse
handicap accessible, all while retaining
its historical integrity and character. e
group also purchased and renovated a
foot, 40-ton boxcar that now rests
outside the freighthouse, its once rusty
sides freshly painted in the maroon and
gold color scheme of the B&M line.
e museum opened to great fanfare
in November 2012. Weighing scales
that once were used in the freighthouse
can still be seen inside, as well as other
artifacts of historical significance, all
donated by locals. “When you have a
place, people are more apt to donate
items because they know they’re not
going in an attic or some damp base-
ment,” explains Duffy.
A short stroll from the freighthouse
is the WOW Trail, a 9-mile corridor
under development. e name comes
from Winnisquam, Opechee, and
Winnipesaukee, the three lakes that
the rail-with-trail will pass. “We’re a
tourist-based economy here in the Lakes
Region,” says Allan Beetle, board presi-
dent of the WOW Trail organization.
We have beautiful lakes and mountains,
and there’s a growing segment of the
population who want to commute or
recreate on these types of trails, so the
WOW Trail will be a big attraction.”
Currently just over a mile of
completed trail stretches between
Lakeport and downtown Laconia along
tracks used by the Winnipesaukee Scenic
Railroad. Future construction will
extend the trail south to Belmont and
north to Weirs Beach and Meredith.
An economic impact analysis by a local
economic development council estimat-
ed that, once complete, the WOW Trail
will serve more than 150,000 users each
year and generate nearly $1.8 million in
visitor spending annually.
Elm Street Elementary second graders visit
the Lakeport Freighthouse Museum.
e Lakeport Freighthouse Museum
Railroad Avenue) is open frequently
during the summer when the Lakeport
Community Association (
hosts its weekend yard sales inside
the boxcar. Visitors are encouraged to
call Dorothy Duffy at 603-524-7683
for an appointment to step aboard.
From “Soft American”
to Hard Walks
John F. Kennedy’s views on many things
are well-known. But few may know that
the President’s progressive thinking also
extended to physical fitness. Shortly
before taking office, Kennedy published
an article in
Sports Illustrated
that warned about
the dangers of inactivity and outlined a
program to get the general public more
fit. With two-thirds of adult Americans
overweight or obese today, this seems
especially prescient.
Inspired by the President’s 50-mile-
march challenge, then 15-year-old Paul
Kiczek began his first long walk in early
With a few friends, he walked 38
miles, and the experience left a lasting
Nearly 50 years later, Kiczek wanted
to challenge himself with long-distance
walks once again, but he didn’t want to
do it alone. After having difficulty find-
ing a group that matched his interests,
he founded an informal long-distance
FreeWalkers on the
Hudson LoopWalk.