Center Harbor, New Hampshire

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Center Harbor is a town located in Belknap County, New Hampshire, United States. As of the 2000 census, the town had a total population of 996, a number which multiplies severalfold during the summer months. The 2009 population was estimated to be 1,093.[1] It is situated between Lake Winnipesaukee and Squam Lake.



Center Harbor separated from the town of New Hampton, and was first incorporated in 1797. The town gets its name from two sources: from its location, centered between Meredith and Moultonborough harbors, and also from the Senter family, who were owners of a large amount of property in the area. The town was a landing place for lake steamers and stagecoaches, making it a popular summer resort. Center Harbor was a favorite spot of John Greenleaf Whittier, and the home of Dudley Leavitt, author of the first Farmers' Almanac in 1797.[2] Center Harbor is the winter home of the paddle steamer MS Mount Washington, the largest boat on Lake Winnipesaukee.

Center Harbor witnessed the first intercollegiate sporting event in the United States, as Harvard defeated Yale by two lengths in the first Harvard-Yale Regatta on August 3, 1852 on Lake Winnipesaukee.[3]

Notable inhabitants

  • Brad Leighton, a former NASCAR driver who competed in five Busch Series events in his career, was born in Center Harbor in 1962.
  • Penny Pitou, Olympic downhill skier, began skiing in her Center Harbor backyard in the 1940s


According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 16.5 square miles (43 km2). 13.4 sq mi (35 km2) of it is land and 3.1 sq mi (8.0 km2) of it is water, comprising 18.90% of the town. It has several miles of shoreline on Squam Lake and another mile on Lake Winnipesaukee, where its main "harbor" lies. The town center sits eccentrically near Center Harbor's northeast border, where it rises gently from the shore at the junction of New Hampshire Routes 25 and 25B. The highest point in town, Sunset Hill, elevation 1,121 feet (342 m) above sea level, overlooks the town center to the west. Center Harbor lies fully within the Merrimack River watershed.[4]

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