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Discover the Rich History

of Mill Falls

Building a Legacy

Swasey then undertook a project that was to have great significance for the town of Meredith.  A project that marked the beginning of the development of the present Mill Falls Marketplace site.  Starting from the frontage on Lake Waukewan that is now called John Bond Swasey Park, Swasey built a rock-lined canal over 600 feet in length channeling the water under the Main Street horse path to where the land drops sharply to Lake Winnipesaukee.  Waterpower was now concentrated into one fall of about 40 feet.

The Waukewan Canal and the falls were probably completed by 1818.  Now, Swasey was about to build a number of profitable mills for sawing lumber, grinding flour, combing cotton flax and weaving cloth.  All these mills helped stock the shelves of the Swasey store.  Swasey’s man-made waterfall was considered among the best mill drivers in the state.  Swasey died in 1828 at the age of 46.  He had carved out an industrial center that became the hub of Meredith.  Town citizens today still credit him with nursing the village through its infancy and setting the town on the road to prosperity.

The Meredith Village Cotton Factory

The current restored mill at Mill Falls may have produced textiles originally.  Some historical evidence indicated the large mill was a gristmill until Joseph W. Lang and several partners founded the Meredith Village Cotton Factory Company at the site in the 1830’s after purchasing it from the Swasey estate.  The cotton mill evidently did not prosper for very long.  The same history book says the mill was “an idle cotton mill by 1850.”  Soon after, a man named Seneca Ladd leased the mill and installed new machinery “for the manufacture of pianos and melodeons.”  At that time, Meredith covered a much larger area than it does today.  Meredith settlements consisted of Meredith Village, Meredith Bridge (now Laconia), Weirs Beach, Lake Village (now known as Lakeport) and Meredith Center.

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