The Lost City of East Weare

Blog written by: Sam Nunlist, Southern Rover Interpreter

Everyone knows about Atlantis, the city that was plunged into the depths of the ocean after their defeat to the Greeks.  That story is most likely made up by the philosopher Plato, but there is a closer city that is resting under the murky waters of Everett Lake (home of Clough State Park).  This was the old city of East Weare, New Hampshire and it has an interesting backstory relating to the dams built by the Army Corps of Engineers not much further downstream.

Old postcard image of East Weare (from Cow Hampshire – New Hampshire’s History Blog)
Old postcard image of East Weare RR Station (from Cow Hampshire – New Hampshire’s History Blog)

Now for a bit of history on the matter:

1927 – Most of New England’s rivers, including the Merrimack and all of its tributaries flood out of control.  A few people lose their lives and many homes and businesses are destroyed.

1936 – The worst flood in 300 years strikes the New England, ending 24 lives as well as causing 700,000 people to be homeless.  There was also water damage in the tens of millions of dollars (hundreds of millions if it happened today)

1938 – Plans for New Hampshire are set in place to set up a two-dam system to help prevent anything like the last flood from happening again.

1959 – Due to some roadblocks, especially the location of East Weare right up stream, the construction of the dams were held off until this year.

1962 – Everett dam was completed

1963 – The second dam, Hopkinton, was completed

Since its construction, the reservoirs for flood water have only needed to be utilized 7 times, but there is still an estimated $200 million saved from flooding of the Contoocook River and possibly saved lives as well.

Family picnic at Clough State Park, 1960s (newly completed Everett Dam in the background)
Clough State Park Beach after the completion of the Everett Dam in 1960s.

During this timeline, the city of East Weare was bought out and the people relocated all throughout the New Hampshire and Massachusetts area.  There are still building foundations under the water, from what I’ve been told by the excellent staff of Clough State Park which is upstream of the dam.  From Clough you have an amazing view of Everett Dam as well as a beach that is accessible through the day use park, where fishing, canoeing, kayaking, and family outings are all commonplace.

View of Everett Lake and Dam from Clough State Park.
Clough State Park Beach with Everett Dam in the background.
Clough State Park Beach with Everett Dam in the background.

Come down to Clough on Saturdays and take part in some interactive and educational programs such as ponding (the catching of small critters that live in the waters of Everett Lake,) history of furbears (where I will have animal pelts and will tell you New Hampshire’s trapping history,) or even my Everett Dam tabling where I recap the information here as well as give a demonstration on how the dam works! See you then!

On the beach of Clough State Park learning             about furbears and animal pelts

For more information about the Hopkington Everett Reservoir visit The US Army Corps of Engineers website.

Aerial view of Everett Lake and Dam (from US Army Corps of Engineers webpage)

Discover Power of Parks SCA Interpreters

Discover the Power of Parks is presented by New Hampshire State Parks in collaboration with the Student Conservation Association and AmeriCorps and made possible by generous financial support from Eversource. The program offers a look into the natural world through hands-on programming. Interpretive programs focus on connecting participants with nature and building appreciation for New Hampshire's unmatched natural heritage. Programs include guided hikes, interpretive tours, and imaginative environmental workshops for children and families. Programs are offered free to guests with paid park admission fee. No pre-registration is required.

5 thoughts to “The Lost City of East Weare”

  1. I wouldn’t call East Weare a city by a long shot. While the flooding of ’36 was bad, the ’38 hurricane was worse. The combination of the two sparked the flood control dam building era. I worked in Weare in the 1970s. I knew a woman whose family helped dismantle an removed the town.

    1. Thanks for the information! If you have any more tidbits that I could add to my history I would love to incorporate it into my program.

    2. Hello:

      I live about 2 miles from Clough. If you have any pics. or info I would love to hear it. I know of a person that
      drowned during the flood that has the same last name.

  2. UNH has posted some old topo maps online. Here is one from 1927 that shows the Village of East Weare. You can still follow the path of the old Bassett Mill Road all the way from Clough on up to Contoocook (several sections are used as snowmobile trails). Lot’s of great history back there!

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