Residents Summoned to Research Historic Tome on Ossipee Lake

Freedom — September 29, 2006 — A lake group and a local historian are calling on history bugs to scour area annals and the brains of locals with long memories in hopes of filling a tome on the area’s marquee attraction, Ossipee Lake.

Barry Hill, the soft-spoken Ossipee Historical Society president who won a hard-fought stewardship for the society of the county’s 1919 brick courthouse, envisions a published chronology stretching from prehistory to present, according to David Smith, a co-director of the Ossipee Lake Alliance. Smith said Hill’s haunting lecture last year on the “Ghost of Ossipee Lake” spawned talk of a community book-making effort. Since Hill’s talk in the lake alliance’s “Tales” series of oral histories, the idea of a book has gained traction.

“We have been talking with him about a book about the lake ever since,” Smith said.

The bunch will gather on Saturday, Oct. 14 at 9 a.m. at Freedom’s Camp Calumet. Attendees at the first meeting will not be saddled with a job and are not under any obligation to volunteer. But those who want to pitch in and peruse old photos and geologic records, or sift through dusty deed halls, can come back for a second meeting in November when they will be handed a research assignment.

Alliance co-director Susan Marks sees several years of interviews and eye-opening legwork uniting residents new and old around a beloved attraction.

“The lake is one of the main focal points of our area, and this is an opportunity for newcomers to learn more about their community and meet long-time residents at the same time,” she said.

The fifth largest in the state and an anchor of local culture and economics, Ossipee Lake has lived alongside rocks, trees, Native American tribes, European settlers, a dam, and an explosion of tourists, inns and camps. The book, Smith says, will chronicle them all.

“A project like this requires a lot of research,” said Smith, “and we think making it a community effort is a great way to launch it and build momentum. No matter what you’re interested in, we will find an assignment for you to work on.”

Directions to the October meeting are online at For additional information on the book, Marks can be reached at

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