Lake Wentworth New Hampshire

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Lake Wentworth is Located in Wolfeboro NH just east of Lake Winnipesaukee

Lake Wentworth, located in the eastern, central part of NH in the town of Wolfeboro, is known as the oldest summer resort in the state. It is four miles long and three miles wide with a total area of 3018 acres.

The lake has approximately twenty islands, most of which are located in the central part of the lake. There was some controversy surrounding the ownership of Stamp Act Island (formally known as Mill Island), the largest island on the lake. The island was offered to the Lake Wentworth Association (LWA) in 1975 for the sale price of $250,000. Working in cooperation with The Nature Conservancy, and facilitating a major fund-raising endeavor, LWA was able to purchase the island and insure that it would be maintained in its natural state.

There are 11 year-round streams which flow into Lake Wentworth. Willey Brook, which is the largest stream in the watershed, originates from Batson Pond. The water from Willey Brook was formerly used for hydropower for the nearby town. Many other streams which feed into Lake Wentworth once provided the power for grist and saw mills along their banks, such as Mink Brook in south Wolfeboro and the Smith River, which connects central Wentworth to the back bay of Lake Winnipesaukee.

The shores of Lake Wentworth slope gently. There are several sandy beaches along the shoreline. Meadows border several sections of the streams that flow into the lake. They were used by the earlier settlers of the town for furnishing hay. From Moose Point on the western shore, a natural sandy beach extends for a quarter of a mile. Near the outlet of Warren Brook a large deposit of alluvium lies along the stream banks, and is known as the "sands." Wolfeboro is not rich in minerals though small quantities of bog-iron can be found on the northeast shore. Coarse granite is common, as are deposits of clay. The soils of Wolfeboro and those surrounding Lake Wentworth are varied, but are considered to be generally fertile.

Many scenic views can be observed from Lake Wentworth. From the southeast, one can see Mt. Dick in Brookfield and Copple Crown in New Durham. From the south and west one can view the mountains of Alton, Gilmanton, and Gilford including the Belknap range. Visible from the north are the Ossipee and Chocorua mountains.

Lake Wentworth is named for the former royal governor of New Hampshire, John Wentworth. Before it received its current name, the waterbody was known as Smith's Pond. Governor Wentworth at one time had a summer home on Governor's Shore. The mansion burned down in 1820, and the land is now owned by the State of New Hampshire. The area where the summer resort once stood is under consideration for the construction of a park to commemorate the history of the area.

Governor Wentworth was responsible for much of the development of Wolfeboro and the surrounding area. He is known for having developed several roads, one spanning from Portsmouth to the Wolfeboro area, and another east-west route which is now overlaid by much of Route 109 (Goldthwait, 1968). Other well-known people originated from the Lake Wentworth area. The geologists, Richard and Lawrence Goldthwait, spent summers in this area since childhood. Richard Goldthwait provided much of the geologic data for the Wolfeboro area.

The establishment of summer camps can be traced as far back as 1884. The boom in cottage building occurred during this time, and people began erecting camps along the lake's shores and islands. Since this time, the shoreline has been slowly developed to accommodate a number of seasonal and some year-round residents. There are now approximately 500 developed properties around the lake and on the islands.

Recreational boating also began to increase. By 1910, pleasure boating became a popular sport. In 1916, Lake Wentworth was home to two utility boats and 28 private boats. The lake was becoming a prime focus of organized summertime activities as the amount of undeveloped shoreline diminished.

The lake quickly became a popular fishing and recreational area in the state. More people were brought to the Wolfeboro area when the railroad was built near the town in the 1870's. In an effort to insure the integrity of the lake and its varied uses in the future, the community around Lake Wentworth came together and formed the Lake Wentworth Association (LWA) in 1930. The first goal of the association was to develop a way to control the fluctuating water level of the lake. Since then, the association has become active in lake and watershed sampling and monitoring activities.

In 1984, the LWA became an active participant in the New Hampshire Lakes Lay Monitoring Program (NHLLMP) offered by the University of New Hampshire. Through their cooperation with NHLLMP, LWA has been monitoring the waters of Lake Wentworth throughout the spring and summer seasons for fourteen years.

For the past several years, there has been an increase in the amounts of algae which have been collected during these lake surveys. Specifically, an increase in the cyanobacteria, Microcystis, has been a matter of concern to the Lake Wentworth Association. Anoxic conditions which develop above the sediments late in the summer are also a concern to lake residents and biologists.

In 1997 the LWA entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the NH Department of Environmental Services to initiate a diagnostic study of the lake and watershed. This effort has been a large step in monitoring and protecting the future integrity of Lake Wentworth.

Lake Wentworth Webcam