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The Sunapee Historical Society is pleased to announce the publication of two books:

Volume One-Updated and Volume Two

These books trace Sunapee's history through its buildings and places from 1768 when England's King George granted land to present times, and tell then and now stories of the people who lived, worked, owned, and died in them. An intricate web of family ties emerges through the history of the town's land, shaped by economic forces that moved farmers from outlying areas into four villages that formed around grist and sawmills. These same forces then brought thousands of visitors to our beautiful lake. Together these stories form a fascinating glimpse of how our village centers were created and lake colony established.

Nearly all of the 240 sites featured in these two volumes exist today in some form, Historic and iconic sites include homes, cottages, farms, schools, mills, quarries, stores, post offices, boarding houses, hotels, tourist cabins, dance halls, restaurants, parks, infrastructure, and cemeteries. More than 3000 people, organizations, and places are discussed in these books and can be found in a combined Volume One and Two index. Each Volume, with more than 240 pages, includes 400+ historical and current maps, photographs, and other images. A third and final volume with another 130 sites will be available by the end of 2021. For a complete listing of the sites included in these volumes, click here.

These books are selling for $48 each for non-members and $43.20 each for members and are available at the Sunapee Historical Society Museum or Sunapee Archives or via USPS mail.

For the information added to Volume I in the third edition, click here.

Whittier Perkins Clock
Circa 1805

As the end of the year approached, the Sunapee Historical Society board found out, quite by chance, that a grandfather clock made about 1805 in Sunapee (then known as Wendell) was for sale at Delaney Antique Clocks in Massachusetts. This clock was made by Whittier Perkins (1764-1813) who settled here in 1788 with his father, brother, and sister. In 1790 Whittier bought an 85-acre lot for 40 pounds. He cleared the land and built his homestead farm on North Road, the farm known for many years as Joyce and Doug Richardson’s Milestone Farm.

Whittier Perkins married Jenny Messer in 1793 and brought her home to this farm where Whittier built clock works and created clock faces. He was known as a mechanical genius and a highly skilled penman. Whittier served as a town selectman in 1800-1802.  He died at home in Sunapee in 1813 at age 49.

From the wooden geared clockworks construction, the experts at Delaney Clocks believe Whittier Perkins trained in Ashby, Massachusetts with clock makers there before moving to Sunapee with his family. Whittier’s hand-painted clock face is signed: W. Perkins / Wendell. Whittier Perkins clocks are rare. This clock has been in a Fitzwilliam, NH home for generations and is in excellent condition. We don’t know who built the wooden case, but it is very unusual in its simplicity and joinery. Sean Delaney thinks it may have been made by a wooden coffin maker.

While the Sunapee Historical Society has never purchased an artifact for the collection before and relies on donated items, we believe that this clock presents us with a unique opportunity. We traveled to Massachusetts to see first-hand this impressive 7’- 3” tall clock at the Delaney shop and spoke at length about it with John and Sean Delaney. This rare clock has been brought home to Sunapee, thanks to the generous donations of many friends. It can be seen at Sunapee Archives, open on Monday afternoons, 1-4.


Thanks to the generosity of our donors, we have been able to accomplish some renovations. In 2020, we replaced the HVAC system and now have a healthier, more energy-efficient, and more climate-controlled atmosphere for the artifacts stored and displayed there. In addition, we have replaced the main door sill with granite, replaced the exterior lights, added some new interior doors, a security system and installed a custom-made display case.

Next on the list are new interior lights and shades for UV light protection.

All of this enables us to do a better job of protecting many of the artifacts in our collection as well as making them much more accessible to the community. When COVID-19 allows, Sunapee Archives will be open on Monday afternoons from 1:00 to 4:00, with masks and distancing as necessary. If the "Open" flag is out, you're welcome to come in or call for an appointment.


Burkehaven to Gardner Bay

The fifth annual Lake Sunapee History Cruise aboard the MV Mt. Sunapee will set sail, social distancing permitting, Monday, JULY 5 and AUGUST 9, 2021 at 5:30 PM from Sunapee Harbor. From there we will explore shoreline development along the west shore of the lake including Burkehaven, Lake Avenue, Sunapee Harbor, and Gardner Bay.

Reservations are required and tickets are $35 per person. Tickets can be reserved by requesting a reservation at and sending us a check at Sunapee Historical Society, PO Box 501, Sunapee, NH 03782.