To The Daily Sun,
With the Hathaway House facing demolition, the Laconia Heritage Commission is currently searching for an alternative that would spare the building. The current owner has offered the house for a dollar to anyone who can move it, but there is a limited amount of time to do so. The Laconia Heritage Commission is seeking proposals for the moving, rehabilitation, and reuse of the Hathaway House. Anyone who is interested in saving it now has the opportunity to do so. Interested developers, organizations, and individuals are welcome to submit their proposal by June 18, 2014.
The house was constructed for Samuel C. Clark, who was a wealthy lawyer and an active member of his community. The Hathaway House was built on the site of the original home of Clark's parents. At this time, the original family home was moved down the street to the top of Black Brook hill, which was land owned by Clark.
Clark owned much land throughout Lakeport and Laconia, including a good portion of Union Avenue surrounding the Hathaway House. This property also comprised land on the other side of the road that extended from Black Brook to Stark Street. The Samuel C. Clark canal at the Lakeport Dam was named after him because of his involvement. Clark's Block on Elm Street was a building that he built and was where he practiced law.
He was clerk of the Superior Court of Belknap County, a member of the State Legislature, and assistant clerk to the House of Representatives. Becoming governor one day and utilizing the Hathaway House as the governor's mansion was one of his dreams; however, this never came to be. Clark was a director and promoter of the Laconia and Lakeport Street Railway. He helped to establish two banks in the area: the Lake Village Savings Bank and the Laconia National Bank, serving as director of both. During the Civil War he was a provost marshal and afterward became a Freemason of the third degree. Sadly, Clark died from pneumonia in 1897. After Clark's death, the house was the residence of his wife and was later inherited by their daughter Claribel and daughter-in-law Octavia Mable Clark.
After Claribel passed away in 1953, the house gracefully embraced the business district that was slowly growing up around it. This began with the Hathaway House dress boutique owned and operated by Richard and Constance St. Clair. Later, it went on to become the Hathaway Restaurant. More recently, it has been home to Summerfield's Restaurant, Florence Cummins Real Estate, Plant Petalers, and Star Gaze Pool and Spa.
As in the past, this building is adaptable to nearly any use. Despite its many past uses, it still retains its original floor plan. Regardless of its shabby appearance, the Hathaway House is a solid building and appears to be structurally sound. After assessment by several professionals, the house appears to be fit to move. Due to the cost of moving the structure, it is practical to limit the distance. The main house and ell are the two portions of the building that are original and should be moved. It has been speculated that they can be moved in one piece.
Sarah E. Anderson
- Category: Letters
- Hits: 347