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Sunapee, New Hampshire
Official seal of Sunapee, New Hampshire
Location in Sullivan County and the state of New Hampshire.
Location in Sullivan County and the state of New Hampshire.
Country United States
State New Hampshire
County Sullivan
Incorporated 1781
Villages Sunapee
Georges Mills
 • Total 25.15 sq mi (65.15 km2)
 • Land 21.05 sq mi (54.53 km2)
 • Water 4.10 sq mi (10.63 km2)  16.31%
1,020 ft (310 m)
 • Total 3,342
 • Density 159/sq mi (61.3/km2)
Time zone UTC-5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST) UTC-4 (Eastern)
ZIP codes
03782 (Sunapee)
03751 (Georges Mills)
Area code(s) 603
FIPS code 33-75060
GNIS feature ID 0873732

Sunapee is a town in Sullivan County, New Hampshire, United States. The population was 3,342 at the 2020 census. The town is home to part of Lake Sunapee and includes the village of Georges Mills.


Bird's-eye View, Sunapee Village, NH
Sunapee Village in 1909

Like many other towns, this one went through name changes before its incorporation in 1781: "Saville" in 1768, "Corey's Town", and then "Wendell", for one of the Masonian Proprietors, John Wendell. The marsh near Sunapee Middle High School still bears Wendell's name. The name "Sunapee" was substituted for "Wendell" by the legislature in 1850. The town, Lake Sunapee and Mount Sunapee share the name which comes from the Algonquian Indian words "suna" meaning "goose", and "apee", meaning "lake". The Indians called the area "Lake of the Wild Goose" because it is shaped like a goose, with the beak being in Sunapee Harbor.

SunapeeHarbor BurkehavenHill2005
Sunapee, 2005

Before Sunapee was a sizable tourist attraction, it was an industrial area. One factory produced 110 clothespins a minute. After the factories faded away, the major attraction became the pristine lake, once surrounded by a number of grand hotels. People used large ferries to get from hotel to hotel around the lake, but the ferries were mostly gone by 1915, when the automobile was widely introduced to the area. Lake Sunapee is the only lake in New Hampshire with three working lighthouses, which were originally built in the 1890s by the Woodsum brothers and are currently maintained by the Lake Sunapee Protective Association.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 25.2 square miles (65.3 km2), of which 21.1 sq mi (54.6 km2) is land and 4.1 sq mi (10.6 km2) is water, comprising 16.20% of the town. Sunapee is drained by the Sugar River. The highest point in town is about 1,600 feet (490 m) above sea level, along the town's northern border, just north of Ledge Pond.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1790 267
1800 355 33.0%
1810 447 25.9%
1820 603 34.9%
1830 637 5.6%
1840 795 24.8%
1850 787 −1.0%
1860 778 −1.1%
1870 808 3.9%
1880 895 10.8%
1890 900 0.6%
1900 946 5.1%
1910 1,071 13.2%
1920 898 −16.2%
1930 1,040 15.8%
1940 1,071 3.0%
1950 1,108 3.5%
1960 1,164 5.1%
1970 1,384 18.9%
1980 2,312 67.1%
1990 2,559 10.7%
2000 3,055 19.4%
2010 3,365 10.1%
2020 3,342 −0.7%
U.S. Decennial Census
Safety Services facility, completed August 2006

As of the census of 2010, there were 3,365 people, 1,443 households, and 973 families residing in the town. The population density was 159.5 people per square mile (61.5/km2). There were 2,431 housing units at an average density of 115.2 per square mile (44.4/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 97.6% White, 0.2% African American, 0.3% Native American, 0.6% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.3% some other race, and 1.0% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.8% of the population.

Bird's-eye View, Sunapee Harbor, NH
Sunapee Harbor c. 1905

There were 1,443 households, out of which 27.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.2% were headed by married couples living together, 7.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.6% were non-families. 25.5% of all households were made up of individuals, and 8.8% were someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.31, and the average family size was 2.74.

In the town, the population was spread out, with 19.6% under the age of 18, 6.7% from 18 to 24, 21.7% from 25 to 44, 32.8% from 45 to 64, and 19.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 46.2 years. For every 100 females, there were 98.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 96.9 males.

George's Mills from Lake Sunapee, NH
George's Mills c. 1905

For the period 2007–2011, the estimated median annual income for a household in the town was $66,741, and the median income for a family was $78,973. Male full-time workers had a median income of $52,870 versus $42,784 for females. The per capita income for the town was $38,737. About 0.8% of families and 6.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 5.7% of those under age 18 and 2.3% of those age 65 or over.

Fire safety

Sunapee's 100-foot ladder

The town of Sunapee maintains a volunteer Fire Safety Program. Despite the amount of waterfront property and the number of boaters coming from Sunapee, the fire department does not have a public safety diver.


Saint Joachim's Roman Catholic Church and the Sunapee Community Methodist Church are located in the town center, off Route 11. Saint James Episcopal Church is found in Burkehaven.

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Notable people

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Sunapee (Nuevo Hampshire) para niños

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