Windham Life and Times – April 2, 2015

windham-cottage

In writing about the Worledge’s, Mitchell automobile, I was reminded about the fact that they were the owners of “Windham Cottage” located at Hampton Beach. So, I was curious to find more information about the property and its owners. I found the information I was looking for on the Hampton NH Historical Society web-site, in excerpts from the book, “Hampton: A Century of Town and Beach, 1888-1988” by Peter Evans Randall.
He writes the following, “Until 1893, Boar’s Head was center of Hampton Beach summer activity. In that year, the Boar’s Head House, owned and operated since 1866 by Colonel Stebbins H. Dumas, burned; after the fire, most of the Head remained empty until August 1904, when it was divided into lots that were sold at auction.”

“Despite the concern over the development of Boar’s Head, the auction was held on August 18 with 30 shorefront lots and 34 interior lots offered. Lot 61, about halfway up Cliff Avenue, was purchased by the Worledge family from Windham, New Hampshire. They had often visited the Beach, driving over in a horse and wagon. When the auction was held, they arrived to buy a lot. A nearby lot was purchased by Weinbecks, and the two families later acquired the long building that had been the hotel bowling alley. It was cut in half, a piece was moved to each lot, and the structures were rebuilt into cottages. The Worledge family cottage was named the Windham, and it was here that daughter Helen spent her early summers, playing with the children of Lewis Nudd, who owned the nearby Eagle House. Helen recalled playing near the New Boar’s Head Hotel windmill and the lovely hotel gardens. The hotel burned in 1907, the same year the standpipe was built on the Head, finally providing cottages with running water. Prior to this time, Lewis Nudd sold water to the cottages for $2 for the summer. Residents had to walk down to his well and carry the water back up for cooking and washing. Helen Worledge grew up to be Helen W. Hayden, Hampton’s first woman town clerk and selectman.”
“The Windham cottage was built beside a right-of-way down to the Lewis Nudd property. About 1908, Mrs. Nudd became too ill to cook meals for the Eagle House guests and Lewis Nudd feared he would lose his customers. Noticing that Mrs. Worledge often had many relatives staying at her cottage, Nudd asked her is she would agree to serve his guests three meals a day. Since she had been cooking for her own guests for free, Mrs. Worledge decided to try it for pay. Thus began a 35-year business for Mrs. Worledge, who later opened her own cottage to summer boarders, accommodating 24 people at a time. Some of these guests returned for 25 summers.

“In order to feed her guests, Mrs. Worledge relied on the various horse-drawn delivery wagons of the day. Helen Hayden recalls buying clams from Horace Bragg, who came twice a week, primarily in August, and purchasing meat from Jimmy Janvrin, who came three times weekly, making a separate evening trip if you needed a fresh-killed chicken. W. L. Redman delivered fresh fish and vegetables daily. Helen’s mother traded with H. G. Lane’s store in the Village. She recalls delivery man Warren Hobbs, a onetime Hampton selectman, as being “the most accommodating person I ever knew. He would come in, sit at your table and take the order. If you needed thread, shoestrings, medicine at the drug store, any notions, anything that came from another store, other than Lane’s, he would take your order, go downtown, buy the things for you, and bring them back in the afternoon.” She remembers as a child buying ice cream from an Exeter ice cream man. It came in a cardboard cup with a tin spoon for 5 cents.” The family moved back to Windham, and later to Derry Village, for the winter. They returned to Boar’s Head at Hampton Beach, each summer. Now you know the story of the boarding house named after the town of Windham. There was also a popular hotel on the beach named “The Pelham.”

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