Laconia is a city in Belknap County, New Hampshire, United States. The population was 15,951 at the 2010 census and an estimated 16,581 as of 2019. It is the county seat of Belknap County. Laconia, situated between Lake Winnipesaukee and Winnisquam Lake, includes the villages of Lakeport and Weirs Beach. Each June, for nine days, beginning on the Saturday of the weekend before Father’s Day and ending on Father’s Day, the city hosts Laconia Motorcycle Week, also more simply known as “Bike Week”, one of the country’s largest rallies, and each winter, the Laconia World Championship Sled Dog Derby. The city has been the site of the state’s annual Pumpkin Festival since 2015, and it is the home of Lakes Region Community College.
A large Abenaki Indian settlement called Acquadocton Village once existed at the point now known as The Weirs, named by colonists for fishing weirs discovered at the outlet of the Winnipesaukee River. Early explorers had hoped to follow the Piscataqua River north to Lake Champlain in search of the great lakes and rivers of Canada mentioned in Indian folklore. About 1652, the Endicott surveying party visited the area, an event commemorated by Endicott Rock, a local landmark. A fort would be built at Laconia in 1746. But ongoing hostilities between the English, French, and their respective Native American allies prevented settlement until 1761, after which it remained for many years a part of Meredith and Gilford called Meredith Bridge.
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