Decorative watering trough returned to Lakeport after more than 60 years away

LACONIA — A watering trough which for years stood in front of the Harold Tefft house on Elm Street in Lakeport has been located and returned to Lakeport, where it now will serve as a colorful planter.
Ginger Tefft Ryan, vice president of the Lakeport Community Association, says that she can remember seeing the trough in McGrath Square right up through the mid-1940s, but that it disappeared shortly after World War II.
''Old postcards show it in McGrath Square around 1904-05 and it had been there since before the turn of the century,'' says Ryan.
She said that the watering trough was finally located when she and Charlie Hopkins were going through the postcards at the Lakeport Community Association's museum and she pointed the postcard out to him.
''He said that he knew exactly where it was and that was in a field off from High Street in Gilmanton,'' said Ryan, who later visited the Clark property in Gilmanton, bringing the postcard along with her.
She was able to contact the daughter of Al Clark, who had owned the property when the watering trough was moved to Gilmanton, and told her she would like to bring it back to Lakeport.
''She said we could take it back so Bob Fortier and Armand Bolduc went down to Gilmanton and brought it back in Armand's pickup truck after it was loaded in with a bucket loader,'' said Ryan.
She said that it was through the Clark family that she was able to learn what had happened over the years to the watering trough.
''After it left Lakeport it went to the Norman Hubbard Farm in Gilford. Hubbard was a Belknap County Commissioner and friendly with my father, who later served on the Laconia City Council,'' said Ryan.
She said that her father, who was a paving contractor, partnered with Jim Irwin in starting the Gilford Bowl race track in the late 1940s, which was on land at the end of the runway a short distance from where Patrick's Pub is now located. The last vestiges of the one-third of a mile oval track were removed during the Laconia Airport's runway extension project several years ago.
Ryan said that the watering trough remained at the farm until the property was converted into a golf course, now Pheasant Ridge, in the early 1960s.
''Apparently Hubbard gave it away or sold it to Clark and it's been in Gilmanton for nearly 50 years.''
Since the trough was returned to Lakeport it has been set up underneath a tent just across the railroad tracks from the Lakeport fire station in an area where the community association has set up a flagpole and a memorial marker in honor of Wanda Tibbetts, one of the founders of the Lakeport Community Association.
She said that Charlie Beede sandblasted the trough, which was then painted white with all of its trim done on black by Mike Plunkett. The paint for the project was donated by Sanel Auto Parts.
Ryan said that work on the trough will continue with a post being welded into the middle of the trough which will hold a sign which reads McGrath Square.
''It's a really exciting project. When all the work is completed we're going to have a ceremony
and invite the public,'' she said.

A watering trough which once was in McGrath Square in Lakeport has been brought back to Lakeport from Gilmanton and is being restored and will be used as a planter. (Roger Amsden photo for the Laconia Daily Sun)