George ‘The Chief’ Abdulla, owner of the Winnipesaukee Pier, dies at 83

LACONIA — The owner of the Winnipesaukee Pier at The Weirs, George J. Abdulla, passed away last weekend at the age of 83 in his hometown of Methuen, Mass.

Abdulla, who in partnership with his brother operated Joe's Ice Cream Stand in Salisbury, Mass.. and Abdulla's Bakery in Lawrence, Mass., became known as "the chief" after acquiring the pier from the Irwin Corporation in 1976.

The pier, in its current configuration, was built in 1924 by James Irwin, the bandleader, impresario, stockbroker and boat dealer, after fire destroyed the Weirs Music Hall. Irwin's Winnipesaukee Gardens opened on Memorial Day 1925 and for more than four decades served as a venue for the best big bands in the land while offering motorboat rides and hosting the Miss Winnipesaukee Contest.

Under Abdulla's ownership the pier became home to an amusement arcade, retail shops and a restaurant as well as nearly 50 boat slips. For several years the historic property has been listed for sale at an asking price of $2.6 million.