In 1958, Elizabeth B. Moeckel and her husband, William J. Moeckel, purchased the Bestany Store on Lowell Road. William Moeckel had owned much of the surrounding property, and purchased the Bestany property following the death of Fred Bestany in 1957. In the years prior to his death, Bestany had been very involved in the establishment and growth of the Windham Fire Department. He also served as the town clerk in 1957. The Bestany's had acquired the property upon which the opened their store slightly more than a decade before they sold it to the Moeckel's, and was then renamed "Moeckel's Shopping Center." As noted on a 1959 receipt (pictured above) the store sold meat and groceries, as well as beer and newspapers. However, the store closed by 1964, when the property was sold to Ken Ray Laundromat.
Policy Pond Grove was the first summer attraction to open on the Windham shore of Canobie Lake; Canobie Lake was named Policy Pond at the time the grove opened and for several more decades to come. Although the name of the first owner has been lost to history, by 1867 the business was purchased by William H. Smith of Boston. Up until that time the most popular attractions at the grove had been swimming and boating; row boats and sailboats were available for rent. When Smith purchased the operation he added Windham's first bowling alley to the property, which soon became a major attraction. In 1877 Abel Dow purchased Policy Pond Grove and promptly renamed the business to Dow's Grove. In 1896 he again changed the name from Dow's Grove to Granite State Grove. By the turn of the 20th century the grove had grown to include a roller skating rink and a dance hall. Many local organizations held events and outings at the grove during the summer. One such group was the United British Societies of Lawrence. The United British Societies of Lawrence was formed in order to promote the welfare of various British fraternal organizations in Lawrence including several local Odd Fellows lodges, the Caledonian Society, and the English Social Club.
When they held their first annual field day at Granite State Grove (referred to as Dow's Grove on the program even 11 years following the name change) on Saturday, June 8, 1907, the outing consisted of primarily a performance by the Lawrence Brass Band and various sporting events. Directed by Fred S. Foss, the band played arrangements such as Victor Herbert's "Wonderland" and Jean Missud's "A Transatlantic Greeting." The program of sports included the following:
Unfortunately, Granite State Grove closed slightly over two years later following a devastating fire, which resulted in $15,000 in damages. Without being able to recover any money from insurance, Dow decided not to rebuild, and Canobie Lake Park then became the largest attraction on the lake.
Leonard Allison Morrison, Windham's foremost historian, was born into the historic Morrison family of Windham on February 21, 1843. Prior to publishing "The History of Windham in New Hampshire, 1719 - 1883", Morrison served as a selectman, trustee of the then fledgling Nesmith Library, and as a moderator of town meetings for nearly a decade. From 1880 to 1882, Morrison was a member of the Republican State Committee. It is possibly from this position that he acquired the New Hampshire Senate Office stationery he later used to write a letter to William H. Anderson (pictured above). In 1895, Morrison wrote Anderson from Canobie Lake, New Hampshire, concerning a note of $31 from a Clara Wilson, who had recently married. Morrison seems to have contacted Anderson, a lawyer, to recover what he can from Wilson for a debt she owes him. He instructs Anderson that, "If she has anything, I want it. Please let me know what she says and get it if you can."
In the late 1930s, James J. Gurry and his wife, Grace, opened their store located on Route 28 on the Windham-Salem line. The business remained a mainstay of the Canobie Lake area until it closed a few decades later. As seen on the signs in the above postcard, the lunch counter offered meals including grilled hamburgers, frankfurters, and Western sandwiches. Patrons could have finished off their meal with ice cream from the Jersey Ice Cream company.
The Gulf gas station located at the store was a two pump operation, and provided gas and oil to motorists. Although the gas prices are unreadable in the postcard, the price of gas would have been approximately 11 cents at the time the photograph was taken.
Below is an original ca. 1940 receipt from Gurry's Store. It looks to have been signed by James Gurry upon receipt of payment.
As noted on the receipt and the postcard image, the store also served as the Canobie Lake Post Office, of which Grace Gurry was the postmaster. She became postmaster in 1937, and remained at her post until the Canobie Lake Post Office itself closed in 1963. The post office was originally located across the street at Mason's Store, but when Franklin Roosevelt became President, his administration appointed a Democrat to take the place of the former Republican postmaster.
Derek Saffie is an avid Windham historian who enjoys researching and sharing his collection with all those interested in the history of the New England town.