Hotels and camps flourished on Kezar Lake in past times.
The Follansbee Inn is the sole survivor.
The late 1800s and 1900s saw hotels and camps rise in popularity in North Sutton. As farming activity decreased around the town, people turned their farmhouses into summer retreats; some lodgers stayed all year. Trains from Boston and New York brought folks pursuing vacation spots and relief from the heat; railroads had depots in Warner and Bradford, and later Potter Place in Andover, and stage coaches ferried guests to their hotels.
Old homes along Keyser Street that became boarding houses, hotels and/or camps include the Follansbee Inn, Twin Pines, Prospect House, and Huntoon House. Several had dance halls, also called casinos. The North Sutton village along Keyser Street where hotels and lodging houses evolved primarily, was known as Kezarville.
The Follansbee Inn was on the shore of Kezar with a schoolhouse next door. Its barn, for horses and square dances, was across Wadleigh Hill Rd., on the edge of Smiley Grove, next to the current Horse Beach parking area (see photo below). The Follansbee annex was built across Keyser Street and behind the church, and is the site of the current Follanbee Inn. The original inn had many owners but was torn down in the late sixties after being used as apartments.
Twin Pines House (now the Sweet/Digilio house) has seen several incarnations. First an early settlers' house, it became a boarding place for summer visitors. In the early 1900s, Mildred Lefferts and a friend, both teachers from a girls' school in Philadelphia, brought a small group of students to North Sutton for vacation. The following year, the teachers returned to purchase and create Camp Bueno. This was a very popular place for girls; the camp for young children was co-ed. It had many sports from swimming and sailing to horseback riding and field hockey. Years later, it became Twin Pines Camp and then Birch Brook Camp. The small lighthouse, counselors' cabin and swim house are still by the shore. A "Bridge of Sighs," erected over Keyser Street for safe crossing, lasted a few years and is remembered today by Sutton residents.
Across the lake, Camp Penacook for boys was established by the Matterns. There were many tents, bunk buildings, a mess hall, main lodge for counselors and administration, a boathouse and recreational areas. Campers took trips to climb Mt. Kearsarge and engaged in sports and other camp activities. The "Courthouse" and "Old Well" are still on the shore, as well as "Penacook Lodge" (now the Del Vecchio/Lopez home) and several other buildings that have become residences.
The Whip o' Will Bowling Alley was built on the east side of Keyser Street just south of the Lefferts/Enroth Natural Area. Many people today have memories of working or bowling at the alley but photographs have not been found. The stonewall next to the trailhead, across from the stone bench and memorial plaque to Jody Connor, mark the location. Another more recent recreational spot was the Maple Leaf Golf Course, "The Friendly Nine," on Hominy Pot Rd, near the corner of Kings Hill Rd. and Keyser Street. An area near here was considered for the new Kearsarge Regional High School in 1968, prior to the current site choice on North Road.
Stage Coach, Fred Keyser Store 1905
Huntoon Boat House