History of Lake Winona: Journey Along Old Province Road

There are claims that the first “highway” from the seacoast to Haverhill in the north came right by Lake Winona. The road is believed to have come through Laconia, up Parade Road, into Ashland and beyond. It seems improbable given the steep grade that exists at the railroad bridge.

Nonetheless, the southern corner of Hawkins Pond Road and Winona Road is bounded by a lot line called “Old Province Road.” As one comes along Winona Road north of Straits Road, there is a break in the stone wall on the left. Winona resident, Karl West, remembers in the 1950’s there had been a cart path from that opening that angled towards the lake. This could have been an old road, which would have gradually descended to the lake before the railroad was put in. The road would have then turned and continued along the present-day power lines.

If Winona Road was really the Old Province Road, what is the meaning of the sign “Old State Coach Road” on the Hatch Corner Road between Winona Road and Rt. 104? In Robert Fillion’s book Durham-Haverhill Province Road, Harold Wyatt writes, “the only road through Meredith in 1764 was the road built by the Proprietors of Sanbornton who wanted an overland route from Tilton to Ashland. The Province Road joined the Sanborn Road just short of the New Hampton/Ashland town line.”

Fillion’s map [click here] shows the road continued along good terrain probably along the Ames Brook as the railroad runs today, then arriving at Highland Street in Ashland. However, it seems improbable that workers would have laid out a road up such a steep hill.

In New Holderness in the Revolution, a privately printed book in 1976, there is an interesting map [click here], which shows a road which appears to be Highland Street. It also clearly shows the Province Road as it follows North Ashland Road to the west of Church Hill. It also shows the Province Road joining College Road just across the line in Holderness as North Ashland Road goes today.  Continuing through Holderness, the North Ashland Road comes to the Pemidgwasset River. The Province Road would have crossed the river near the fork on flat land.

The Old Province Road continues present day past the McDonald’s restaurant and Smith Bridge, into Rumney along the Quincy Road, which turns into Buffalo Road. The road continues into Wentworth.  Follow along Route 25 to Route 25C. This is the so called Coos Road, which is flanked by Lakes Tarleton and Catherine. At a fork, bear right on the Coos Turnpike/Lily Pond Road. Take a left onto Blake Road, which becomes Court Street. It will lead you to Route 10 in Haverhill and the historic marker indicating the end of the Old Province Road.

Source: Karl West