By VICTORIA GUAY
LACONIA ó "It looks like time has run out for the Lakeport
Railroad Station," said Don Leavitt, current co-owner of the
station along with Don Miller.
The business duo have owned the station since 1992, when they
planned to incorporate the circa 1900 former Boston and Maine train
station into a renovation plan for Kimballís Castle.
The Laconia Airport Authority contacted Miller and Leavitt this
summer, giving them a deadline of Aug. 31 for the stationís
removal, but the deadline was extended several times. The last
extension was to Jan. 31, 2001, after which the Authority requested
the city take action if the owners failed to do so.
"Itís supposed to be destroyed by the end of the
month," said Interim City Manager Eileen Cabanel.
Cabanel said there had been some interest in the building, but it
was discovered this month that if the structure was moved it would
probably fall apart.
"They discovered if they wouldíve picked up the structure,
it wouldíve fallen apart because itís been out there so
long," Cabanel said of the structure which has been roofless
and exposed to the elements for nine years.
"We had a number of interested parties, but none of them
stepped forward in time," Leavitt said. "Itís a shame to
lose the building but we had an agreement with the Airport Authority
and it will be destroyed on February 1," Leavitt said.
Miller and Leavitt have signed a contract with Spears Brothers,
who will move and destroy the structure by the end of the month. A
private group that Spears Brothers has contracted with will remove
the asbestos shingles that are on overhangs covering two wings of
Wanda Tibbetts, president of the Lakeport Community Association,
said that her group was given permission by the owners and city to
take anything it wanted from the station before it is demolished.
The Lakeport Community Association still plans to renovate the
abandoned Windoor building, which was formerly the freight depot at
the Lakeport Station, into a museum/community center.
Tibbetts said she was told by the city that they will have the
building; however, whether or not they will have to move the Windoor
building rests with the state and their final plans for the Elm
Street Bridge Project, a project that entails re-aligning Elm
Tibbetts said members of the Association worked during the end of
last week to remove wainscoting, beams, window casings, doors and
"We want to be able to say these walls came from the old
railroad station," Tibbetts said.
"It is still a still pretty good wooden structure,"
Tibbetts said, who added that she was surprised the inside wasnít
in more of a dilapidated condition considering the building sat
outside exposed to the elements with no roof for a number of years.
In its effort to restore the Windoor building, the Association
has raised nearly $5,000. Fund-raising efforts have included a
neighborhood calendar, yard sales and even charging $1 to all who
attend association meetings.
Tibbetts said the Association hopes to work with the vocational
center at Laconia High School and the New Hampshire Technical
College to have some of the restoration work done.
"They might like to work on the building to see how they did
things 100 years ago," Tibbetts said.
Victoria Guay can be reached by calling 524-3800 ext. 5930 or