SHADOW LAKE AND “SHADOWLAND”
“Shadowland” dance hall – pavilion on Shadow Lake. Cottages along Shadow Lake Road in Salem NH.
According to, At the Edge of Megalopolis, Shadow Lake was a “fair sheet of water hidden among the hills,” when surveyor Theophilus Satchwell discovered it in the 1600’s. It was known as Satchwell Pond while the area was claimed by Haverhill. The lake aquired its native American name of Hitty-Titty Pond when Salem became a town. Douglas Weed in his Images of America – Salem says that the name was changed to Shadow Lake in 1913. I am guessing that the change had something to do with the “Shadowland” recreation area which was developed on its shore. Shadow Lake lent itself to better marketing for cottages and a lake resort than did Hitty-Titty, primordial name or not. Shadowland included a store, a beautiful beach and a large dance-hall which hung out over the water on piers. People have been asking me for more history of Shadow Lake and I was so happy to find these beautiful photographs of the pond. Shadow Lake, like Canobie Lake is shared, as is their history, with our good neighbors in Salem.
The photograph above was probably taken in the 1930’s. At that time, it was Gurry’s Store with a lunch counter and is also housed the Canobie Lake Post Office. I don’t know why the post office moved from Mason’s Store across the railroad tracks? This place looked a heck of a lot different when I went there with my father in the 1960’s. It had been modernized with that mid-century modern, 1950’s look. I still remember sitting at the counter with my Dad as he talked with people like George Armstrong and George Merrill; Windham people and the Salem Contractors contingent. Breakfast cooked right in front of you in a compact space. Gurry’s used to be located at the corner of Route 28 and Shadow Lake Road.
The Robin’s Nest Tourist Camp was established by Mooney Robinson. It was another tourist operation that opened as a result of automobile travel and the improvements to Route 28 in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. It was soon one of the main routes to the lakes and mountains. Later the business was expanded. Rural Oasis states, “A well-known place that should not be forgotten (because it was the watering hole of the local establishment including Maurice Armstrong and George Dinsmore Sr.) was Mooney Robinson’s on Route 28 where the Robin’s Nest Motel is today. Mooney Robinson’s Restaurant and Beer Parlor was the official business name. It opened in 1928, closed in 1944, and was the most colorful places in town. It was a popular rendezvous for local people to discuss politics and other subjects. The restaurant had the first beer license. As the liquor flowed, so did the stories. From all reports no place came even near to replacing it.” My father tells a story of his father and Maurice Armstrong at Moody
Robinson’s place. After a few drinks an argument broke out over who was the fastest runner. The drinking continued and the argument got more and more heated. Finally, there was no more place for debate, it had to be settled, man to man in the street. The whole establishment including George and Maurice headed outside and an unofficial track was established down Route 28. The two slightly tipsy Windham Olympians then raced up Route 28, shouting at one another as they went. Who won? I would like to believe that it was my grandfather, George Dinsmore, however, no one has breathed a word since of who was victorious, or even if either one of them made it back to Mooney’s. My grandmother was a saint! Hey wait a minute, there’s an idea here, maybe the Dinsmore and Armstrong families should establish the “Mooney Robinson Memorial, Three Sheets to the Wind 1K Race.” I’m joking, I’m really joking, but that sure would make an interesting race and level the field, wouldn’t it!?
After Robinson sold, a Middle Eastern restaurant operated out of the place for awhile. Later the LaChance family purchased the property and constructed motel rooms. Of course, The Robin’s Nest, is now the Manor Motel.
I am sure you will be just dumbstruck, as I was, by this beautiful photograph of The J.B. Cover Co. Store. As most of your know, this was a very popular and successful store for many years under management of a variety of owners. The store had a prime location. It sat just across the street from the Canobie Lake Station of the Boston and Maine Railroad. It was also located at the Junction of Route 28 and Route 111. It served the tourist communities on Canobie Lake, Cobbett’s Pond and Shadow Lake. It was also the location of the Canobie Lake, N.H. Post Office.
Canobie Lake Station opened on November 9, 1885, with Albert Alexander as the staion agent. He then started construction on a store nearby. The Caobie Lake Post Office was established her on February 26, 1886, with Alexander as the the postmaster.
Bob Mason Sr. purchased the property and is seen is the photographs of his store. The many signs advertise groceries, camper’s supplies and Mason’s ice cream. A directional sign in the background advertises Hadley’s beach, Armstrong’s Beach, the Lakeview Golf Course, and the Windham Auto Inn.
Clif’s Place is a store and gas station that sprang up on Route 28 to serve the growing number of “auto tourists.” In another photograph of this location, Charles A. Dow Sr. was the proprietor and he offered camping grounds for auto tourists, overlooking Seavey Pond. This building is now a church. Courtesy of Penobscot Marine Museum.