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Meredith, New Hampshire
Bird's-eye view of Meredith village
Bird's-eye view of Meredith village
Official seal of Meredith, New Hampshire
Location in Belknap County, New Hampshire
Country United States
State New Hampshire
County Belknap
Incorporated 1768
Villages Meredith
Meredith Center
 • Total 54.6 sq mi (141.3 km2)
 • Land 40.1 sq mi (103.8 km2)
 • Water 14.5 sq mi (37.5 km2)  26.56%
508 ft (155 m)
 • Total 6,662
 • Density 166/sq mi (64.2/km2)
Time zone UTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−4 (Eastern)
ZIP Code
Area code(s) 603 Exchange: 279
FIPS code 33-47140
GNIS feature ID 0873662

Meredith is a town in Belknap County, New Hampshire, United States. The population was 6,662 at the 2020 census. Meredith is situated in the state's Lakes Region and serves as a major resort town. Meredith Village, the commercial center of the town, lies long the shores of Lake Winnipesaukee, and several other large lakes lie partially or completely within the town borders. It is home to the Stonedam Island Natural Area and the Winnipesaukee Scenic Railroad, and it serves as one of the ports of call for the paddle steamer MS Mount Washington.

Meredith Village, where 2,527 people resided at the 2020 census, is defined as the Meredith census-designated place, and is located at the junction of U.S. Route 3 and New Hampshire Route 25 at the head of Meredith Bay on Lake Winnipesaukee.


Bird's-eye View, Meredith, NH
Meredith village c. 1905

Meredith was first known as Palmer's Town in honor of Samuel Palmer, a teacher of surveying and navigation who laid out much of the land surrounding Lake Winnipesaukee. In 1748, it was one of the first towns to have a charter granted by the Masonian Proprietors. Many grantees were from Salem, Massachusetts, so Palmer's Town was renamed New Salem. It was settled in 1766 by Jacob Eaton and Colonel Ebenezer Smith, then regranted in 1768 by Governor John Wentworth and named after Sir William Meredith, 3rd Baronet, a member of Parliament who opposed taxation on the colonies.

Farmers grew corn, wheat, rye and potatoes, but the area became noted for apple orchards. The outlet of Lake Waukewan provided water power sites, and by 1859 Meredith village had a sawmill, gristmill, shingle mill, blacksmith shop, harness-maker's shop and tannery. Situated at the outlet of Wickwas Lake, Meredith Center had a sawmill, gristmill and blacksmith shop. Connected by the Boston, Concord & Montreal Railroad in March 1849, the town became a summer resort. Passengers also arrived from the Alton Bay depot aboard steamboats, the most famous of which was the original SS Mount Washington, launched in 1872. Meredith remains a popular tourist destination.


Plymouth Street, Looking North, Meredith, NH
Plymouth Street c. 1920

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 54.2 square miles (140.4 km2), of which 39.9 square miles (103.4 km2) is land and 14.3 square miles (37.0 km2) or 26.37% is water. The highest point in Meredith is the summit of Leavitt Mountain, elevation 1,414 feet (431 m) above sea level, in the southwestern part of town.

Meredith village, formally defined by the U.S. Census Bureau as the Meredith census-designated place (CDP), has a total area of 1.9 sq mi (4.8 km2). 1.5 sq mi (3.8 km2) of it is land and 0.39 sq mi (1.0 km2) of it (20.08%) is water. Meredith village is the commercial hub of the town, and lies between the northern tip of Meredith Bay, one of several large arms of Lake Winnipesaukee and Lake Waukewan. A second village, Meredith Center, is located near the shores of Lake Wickwas closer the geographic center of the town. Meredith Center has much less commercial development than Meredith Village, being located near several protected state forests and wildlife areas.

The town is crossed by U.S. Route 3, New Hampshire Route 25, New Hampshire Route 104, and New Hampshire Route 106. It is bordered by the towns of Sanbornton to the southwest, New Hampton to the west, Center Harbor to the north, Moultonborough to the northeast across Lake Winnipesaukee, Gilford to the southeast, and Laconia to the south.

Like many other towns of the Lakes Region, Meredith is dominated by several large bodies of water. About half of the town's southeastern boundary with its neighbor Laconia is occupied by Winnisquam Lake, while the northern half of town lies within a peninsula, Meredith Neck, that separates Meredith Bay from the main body of Lake Winnipesaukee, giving Meredith an extensive coastline. Bear Island, the second largest on Winnipesaukee, and Stonedam Island, along with dozens of smaller islands are also part of the town. Several smaller lakes lie between Winnipesaukee and Winnisquam, including Wickwas Lake and Pemigewasset Lake. Lake Waukewan forms the western edge of the Meredith Village CDP and extends into neighboring New Hampton.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1790 881
1800 1,609 82.6%
1810 1,940 20.6%
1820 2,416 24.5%
1830 2,683 11.1%
1840 3,344 24.6%
1850 3,521 5.3%
1860 1,944 −44.8%
1870 1,807 −7.0%
1880 1,800 −0.4%
1890 1,642 −8.8%
1900 1,713 4.3%
1910 1,638 −4.4%
1920 1,680 2.6%
1930 1,902 13.2%
1940 2,192 15.2%
1950 2,222 1.4%
1960 2,434 9.5%
1970 2,904 19.3%
1980 4,646 60.0%
1990 4,837 4.1%
2000 5,943 22.9%
2010 6,241 5.0%
2020 6,662 6.7%
U.S. Decennial Census
Road to Big Barn Doors, Meredith Center, NH
Street scene in Meredith Center c. 1912

As of the census of 2010, there were 6,241 people, 2,708 households, and 1,777 families residing in the town. There were 4,728 housing units, of which 2,020, or 42.7%, were vacant. Of the vacant units, 1,710 were for seasonal or recreational use. The racial makeup of the town was 97.3% white, 0.3% African American, 0.2% Native American, 0.9% Asian, 0.0% Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, 0.3% some other race, and 1.0% from two or more races. Of the population, 1.1% were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

Of the 2,941 households, 25.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.4% were headed by married couples living together, 9.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.4% were non-families. Of all households, 27.5% were made up of individuals, and 11.6% were someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.27, and the average family size was 2.71.

In the town, 18.6% of the population were under the age of 18, 5.8% were from 18 to 24, 19.7% from 25 to 44, 34.9% from 45 to 64, and 20.8% were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 48.7 years. For every 100 females, there were 93.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.3 males.

For the period 2011–2015, the estimated median annual income for a household was $63,028, and the median income for a family was $80,076. Male full-time workers had a median income of $62,944 versus $42,734 for females. The per capita income for the town was $36,510; 12.4% of the population and 8.7% of families were below the poverty line. Of the population, 22.5% under the age of 18 and 7.1% of those 65 or older were living in poverty.

Sites of interest

Ridgefield Farm in Meredith, NH
Ridgefield Farm in 1917
Regional theatres and summer stock
  • In 2008 the Winnipesaukee Playhouse purchased the former Annalee Dolls factory in Meredith. In 2013, the theatre completed construction of its new facility and moved from its former site in Weirs Beach to the site of the former Annalee gift shop.


Meredith's Inter-Lakes Middle High School is home to the Inter-Lakes Community Auditorium, which plays host to the Summer Theatre in Meredith Village (formerly the Lakes Region Summer Theater) every summer. Inter-Lakes Elementary School serves children from Meredith and neighboring Center Harbor. The high school also includes students from the town of Sandwich.

Notable people

Steamer Mt. Washington, Lake Winnipesaukee, NH
Original SS Mount Washington (1872–1939). Image c. 1920
  • Bradford Anderson (born 1979), actor
  • Samuel Newell Bell (1829–1889), US congressman
  • Charles A. Busiel (1842–1901), manufacturer; US congressman and the 45th governor of New Hampshire
  • Joseph Libbey Folsom (1817–1855), army officer, real estate investor
  • George G. Fogg (1813–1881), US senator, diplomat
  • Dudley Leavitt (1772–1851), publisher
  • Bob Montana (1920–1975), illustrator of Archie Comics
  • George Orton (1873–1958), Canadian middle-distance runner; Olympic gold medalist
  • Eben Ezra Roberts (1866–1943), architect
  • Daniel E. Somes (1815–1888), US congressman
  • Annalee Thorndike (1915–2002), doll designer
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