Pinnacle House defined town’s ‘grand’ era

From the 1870s through the start of World War I, most towns in the area had at least one large hotel catering to summer visitors.

One the largest was The Grand on the hill overlooking Mont Vernon Village. Amherst had at least one on the common and another at Ponemah, where there was a railroad station. Wilton had Whiting House on Main Street.

After the 1920s, cars were more available and roads were improved. People were no longer constrained by railroad timetables and stagecoaches. The hotels closed, and most of them burned or were demolished.

Lyndeborough’s hotel was The Pinnacle House, which was built in 1876 by Edward Dunklee, who moved to town that year. It burned in May 1916 under what were considered “questionable circumstances.”

It was owned at the time by Emma Moody of Stoneham, Mass., who may have been Dunklee’s daughter. Some members of her family may have been living there at the time.

The Pinnacle House was located at an elevation of 1,100 feet on the side of Pinnacle Mountain. It offered, according to a brochure, “the purest of air, crystal spring water, and beautiful drives.” The hotel offered tennis, croquet, fishing, bicycling and the Pinnacle Mountain Golf Links, “one of the most interesting courses in New Hampshire.”

The brochure notes that Lyndeborough was on the Boston and Maine Railroad, and a pleasant drive from the station would show why the area was called “The Switzerland of New Hampshire.” Livery service was provided from the station in South Lyndeborough. The hotel had accommodations for teams for guests who drove themselves.

On the ground floor of the four-story hotel were a billiard room, ladies’ and gentlemen’s parlors, and a dining room. The table was supplied “with all the best vegetables, berries, milk and eggs” from the hotel farm.

It may be questionable, but the brochure says, because of the altitude, “in the perfect ozone of the mountain air, hay fever and mosquitoes are unknown.”

The hotel was open from June 1-Nov. 1 at a cost of $7-$12 per week.

The brochure is undated, but the proprietor is listed as J.H. McLeod, placing it around 1900. By the time of the fire, there were few guests listed.

The accompanying photo was taken by John Proctor, who lived in North Lyndeborough from 1872-1950. His collection of glass negatives is owned by family members who still own the family farm.

A selection of prints was recently given to the Lyndeborough Historical Society.

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