Reprinted by Permission of the Weirs Publishing Company, Inc (2024)

"Reprintedby permission of The Weirs Publishing Company, Inc.Article was originallypublished in The Weirs Times newspaper in two parts (November23 and December 7, 2006). Free access to past issues is available at

RAMBLING THROUGH HISTORY!

BY Mal Fuller

I’d like to begin this column by thanking the Weirs Times readers who have taken their time to wish me well following their having learned of my having had a stroke. Your good wishes are very meaningful to me. I’m making slow but steady progress since I returned home.

An iron I’ve had in the fire for this column since last August included my hopes of receiving enough material from readers for an article about Belknap College. Belknap College was a school whose campus was located mostly on New Hampshire Route 25B, which runs from New Hampshire Route 25 in Center Harbor to New Hampshire Route 3, midway between Meredith and Holderness. Route 25B is very steep over most of its length.

And so it was that during this past August I mentioned in this column that I was looking for people who could provide me with information about Belknap College. I had all but given up hope of hearing from any volunteers when I was contacted by Russ Hobby, who attended the school for four years and graduated in 1969 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Meteorology.

Anne Marie Tardiff was the Belknap College Bursar while Russ was attending the college. (Bursar was a new word for me. It means the person at a school who handles both incoming and outgoing monies.) Russ, while making his tuition payments to the school’s bursar, became sufficiently smitten with her and she with him it would seem, that they got married in 1970! In fact, the 1971 Belknap College yearbook, The Northwind, has a picture of the school’s “new” bursar that’s captioned, “Mrs. Russ Hobby.”

Russ and Anne put together their recollections in response to a list of questions I sent to them by email. I then tape-recorded a phone interview that I did with Russ on a recent Saturday morning. The backbone of what I’ve written about Belknap College is a result of that interview.

A trademark of the interesting articles that appear in the Weirs Times is the pictures that accompany most articles. And so, I hunted, begged and pleaded for pictures that were taken of the college during its heyday. I found but one photo. It was of the Garnet Inn, a building which had been used for housing male students who were attending Belknap College. The Garnet Inn has since been demolished.

Then Rod Weinberg of Sandwich, New Hampshire came forward with an email offering help. Mr. Weinberg was a professor of biology at the school beginning in 1969 and remained there in that capacity until the school closed in 1973. His wife, Linda Weinberg operated the Belknap College bookstore. The Weinbergs had met and married before joining the staff at the college. The Weinbergs loaned me two Belknap College yearbooks from which I have been able to digitally photograph some yearbook pages for you to enjoy.

The school was founded in 1963 by Virginia M. Brigham and Dr. Royal M. Frye. Dr. Edward Dane was the school’s largest benefactor both with his personal largess and apparently also loans from the State Street Bank in Boston. Much of the Belknap College campus was on land and in buildings that were part of the Dane Estate. Dr. Dane is now a trustee of the recently organized New Hampshire Music Festival the headquarters of which are located in the Red Hill Inn, which was once part of the Belknap College campus.

The Coe House in Center Harbor was a women’s dorm at Belknap College. As mentioned, the Garnet Inn, a four story flat roofed hotel on Route 25B was a dormitory for male students. The Garnet Inn has since been demolished. The school also built a large new building that housed classrooms on its first floor and a gymnasium on its second floor. Unfortunately, as basketballs bounced on the floor above, serious classroom study and lectures were impossible. The building was so unsuitable that it was torn down only a few years following its construction.

The school had its own fire department housed under the large barn on Route 25B. Russ Hobby was the college’s student fire chief during his years as a student. The college’s fire department was run with student volunteers who trained with the volunteers of the Center Harbor Fire Department. The School’s firehouse, being situated near Route 3 and hence handy to Meredith, Holderness and Center Harbor allowed the school’s fire department quick access to fires in those three communities. The school’s able department served the college well by fostering good community relations between those towns and the college.

The college also had a sizable maintenance department to maintain its buildings and other infrastructure and its own post office and zip code! The payroll of the college had to have been very substantial. Most department heads had their own secretaries. The classrooms and labs had up-to-date equipment. In 1970 the school offered courses in meteorology (3 professors), English (2 professors and 2 instructors) foreign languages (2 professors and 3 instructors), art (1 instructor), chemistry (2 professors), mathematics (3 professors and 1 instructor), physics, (3 professors), biology (2 professors), philosophy (1 professor, 1 instructor and 1 lecturer) humanities ( 1 lecturer) history (2 professors and 2 instructors), education (1 professor and 1 instructor), business administration (1 professor, 1 instructor and 1 lecturer), accounting (1 instructor) business law (1 lecturer), economics (1 professor and 1 instructor), psychology (2 professors and 1 instructor) and medical technology.

When I asked Russ Hobby if Belknap College was a “party school” he said, “no.” He added that most of the college’s students were pretty serious about pursuing their education and making their way forward in the working world. Many graduates went on to do exactly that. Russ Hobby went to work for the Mount Washington Observatory and appeared occasionally on WMTW-TV from the summit along with Marty Ingstrom who you probably remember.

Bill Hovey who was one of Belknap College’s meteorology professors forecast the weather from many radio stations located around Lake Winnipesaukee. He operated a business called New England Weather Service which was headquartered in Center Harbor. Russ Hobby, one of Bill Hovey’s students likes to tell about one of Bill Hovey’s most notorious forecasts. Bill predicted a “high, thin overcast” for the next day. When the next day came, area residents were surprised to have to shovel 6 inches of Bill’s “high, thin overcast” from their walkways and drives!

By 1973 this young and thriving little school, tucked away right here in the Lakes Region was forced to close. In the next Rambling Through History we’ll try to examine what went wrong. Hope you all return in two weeks!

Note: The author, Mal Fuller, hopes to recover his health sufficiently to once again be available to provide the electrical restoration of your vintage tube-type radio. Mal’s phone number is (603) 569-1946. Mal’s E-mail address is .

Reprinted by Permission of the Weirs Publishing Company, Inc (2024)
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