Meredith, New Hampshire
Bird's-eye view of Meredith village
Location in Belknap County, New Hampshire
|• Board of Selectmen||Nate Torr|
|• Town Manager||Phillip L. Warren, Jr.|
|• Total||54.2 sq mi (140.4 km2)|
|• Land||39.9 sq mi (103.4 km2)|
|• Water||14.3 sq mi (37.0 km2) 26.37%|
|Elevation||508 ft (155 m)|
|• Density||156/sq mi (60.4/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC-5 (Eastern)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC-4 (Eastern)|
|Area code(s)||603 Exchange: 279|
|GNIS feature ID||0873662|
Meredith is a town in Belknap County, New Hampshire, United States. The population was 6,241 at the 2010 census. Meredith is situated in the state's Lakes Region and serves as a major resort town. Meredith Village, the commercial center of the town, lies long the shores of Lake Winnipesaukee, and several other large lakes lie partially or completely within the town borders. It is home to the Stonedam Island Natural Area, the Winnipesaukee Scenic Railroad, and serves as one of the ports-of-call for the paddle steamer MS Mount Washington.
The primary village in town, where 1,718 people resided at the 2010 census, is defined as the Meredith census-designated place, and is located at the junction of U.S. Route 3 and New Hampshire Route 25 at the head of Meredith Bay on Lake Winnipesaukee.
Meredith was first known as Palmer's Town in honor of Samuel Palmer, a teacher of surveying and navigation who laid out much of the land surrounding Lake Winnipesaukee. In 1748, it was one of the first towns to have a charter granted by the Masonian Proprietors. Many grantees were from Salem, Massachusetts, so Palmer's Town was renamed New Salem. It was settled in 1766 by Jacob Eaton and Colonel Ebenezer Smith, then regranted in 1768 by Governor John Wentworth and named after Sir William Meredith, 3rd Baronet, a member of Parliament who opposed taxation on the colonies.
Farmers grew corn, wheat, rye and potatoes, but the area became noted for apple orchards. The outlet of Lake Waukewan provided water power sites, and by 1859 Meredith village had a sawmill, gristmill, shingle mill, blacksmith shop, harness-maker's shop and tannery. Situated at the outlet of Wickwas Lake, Meredith Center had a sawmill, gristmill and blacksmith shop. Connected by the Boston, Concord & Montreal Railroad in March 1849, the town became a summer resort. Passengers also arrived from the Alton Bay depot aboard steamboats, the most famous of which was the original SS Mount Washington, launched in 1872. Meredith remains a popular tourist destination.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 54.2 square miles (140.4 km2), of which 39.9 square miles (103.4 km2) is land and 14.3 square miles (37.0 km2) or 26.37% is water. The highest point in Meredith is the summit of Leavitt Mountain, elevation 1,414 feet (431 m) above sea level, in the southwestern part of town.
Meredith village is the commercial hub of the town, lying between the northern tip of Meredith Bay (one of several large arms of Lake Winnipesaukee) and Lake Waukewan. A second village, Meredith Center, is located near the shores of Lake Wickwas closer to the geographic center of the town. Meredith Center has much less commercial development than Meredith Village, being located near several protected state forests and wildlife areas.
The town is crossed by U.S. Route 3, New Hampshire Route 25, New Hampshire Route 104, and New Hampshire Route 106. It is bordered by the towns of Sanbornton to the southwest, New Hampton to the west, Center Harbor to the north, Moultonborough to the northeast across Lake Winnipesaukee, Gilford to the southeast, and Laconia to the south.
Like many other towns of the Lakes Region, Meredith is dominated by several large bodies of water. About half of the town's southeastern boundary with its neighbor Laconia is occupied by Lake Winnisquam, while the northern half of town lies within a peninsula, Meredith Neck, that separates Meredith Bay from the main body of Lake Winnipesaukee, giving Meredith an extensive coastline. Bear Island, the second largest on Winnipesaukee, and Stonedam Island, along with dozens of smaller islands are also part of the town. Several smaller lakes lie between Winnipesaukee and Winnisquam, including Wickwas Lake and Pemigewasset Lake. Lake Waukewan forms the western edge of the Meredith Village CDP and extends into neighboring New Hampton.
|U.S. Decennial Census|
As of the census of 2010, there were 6,241 people, 2,708 households, and 1,777 families residing in the town. There were 4,728 housing units, of which 2,020, or 42.7%, were vacant. 1,710 of the vacant units were for seasonal or recreational use. The racial makeup of the town was 97.3% white, 0.3% African American, 0.2% Native American, 0.9% Asian, 0.0% Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, 0.3% some other race, and 1.0% from two or more races. 1.1% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
Of the 2,941 households, 25.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.4% were headed by married couples living together, 9.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.4% were non-families. 27.5% of all households were made up of individuals, and 11.6% were someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.27, and the average family size was 2.71.
In the town, 18.6% of the population were under the age of 18, 5.8% were from 18 to 24, 19.7% from 25 to 44, 34.9% from 45 to 64, and 20.8% were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 48.7 years. For every 100 females, there were 93.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.3 males.
For the period 2011-2015, the estimated median annual income for a household was $63,028, and the median income for a family was $80,076. Male full-time workers had a median income of $62,944 versus $42,734 for females. The per capita income for the town was $36,510. 12.4% of the population and 8.7% of families were below the poverty line. 22.5% of the population under the age of 18 and 7.1% of those 65 or older were living in poverty.
In the New Hampshire Senate, Meredith is in the 2nd District, represented by Republican Bob Giuda. On the New Hampshire Executive Council, Meredith is in the 1st District, represented by Democrat Mike Cryans. In the United States House of Representatives, Meredith is in New Hampshire's 1st congressional district, represented by Democrat Chris Pappas.
Meredith's Inter-Lakes Middle High School is home to the Inter-Lakes Community Auditorium, which plays host to the Summer Theatre in Meredith Village (formerly the Lakes Region Summer Theater) every summer. Inter-Lakes Elementary School serves children from Meredith and neighboring Center Harbor. The high school also includes students from the town of Sandwich.