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Nichols Variety Store in the early 50’s.  The attached building wing on the right was the Center Harbor Post Office.  After the Post Office moved, the wing became the greeting card and magazine section for Nichols.  Today Harbor Scoops occupies the wing.  The building to the extreme left, an empty field today, was the Garnet Inn Annex.

Nichols Variety Store was were you could go to get a drink from a real soda fountain, by a comic book or greeting card, get your TV tubes checked, buy penny candy,  find a souvenir  for friends back home,  pick out an ice cream “rocket cone” from the freezer, fill your car up with gas, or just pick up the daily paper.  They had a sign that read “If you don’t see it just ask, we probably have it somewhere in the store”.  Between Nichols and Heath’s “Dealer in Most Everything” you could get almost anything you wanted.

Remember When

by Barbara Lauterwasser
Several summers ago a few long-time Kanasatka summer residents (Lee Sharp Hart, Retie Sharp Johnson, Elinor Jenkins Charles, Lynn Jenkins Youtz, Ted and Helen Hilton, Barbara Bates Lauterwasser and Herb Lauterwasser) met at the Hilton’s Deer Hill Camp to reminisce about what fun it was to summer on Kanasatka starting in the 1920’s. We filled both sides of a cassette tape remember when. 

Listen to their remembrances below from August 29, 2000,  narrated by Lee Sharp Hart    …..


  • Chester Davis operated a saw mill at the end of Red Hill Road which was a gravel road.
  • The only two cottages on the cove and beach on the north side of the lake were the Dick cottage and the Cross cottage.
  • The only boats on the lake were canoes and rowboats.
  • Mary Blake’s campground, first discovered by the Richards family in 1924, became the gathering spot for several other New Jersey families – Handforths, Ripleys, Bateses, Ramages, and Thornells.
  • Fletcher’s cottages were the summer base for the Sharp, Koch and Jenkins’ families.
  • Bells from the Vonhurst camp rang twice daily announcing mealtimes. Sunday evenings at Vonhurst were hymn sings and often the accompanist was Jeffrey O’Hara, composer of “K-K-K-Katie, Beautiful Katie.”
  • In 1944 Marian Reid and Margaret Arnold built Thrushland (previously destroyed by fire) and operated a kennel for cocker spaniels. The kennel became known as the “Doghouse” by succeeding owners, the Condits, McDonalds, and now Mark and Mary Diette.

  • Grocery shopping was done in Center Harbor at Lunt’s I.G.A. Store – Dealer in Most Everything. The store was subsequently bought and operated Kanasatka resident, Everett Heath.
  • Summer cottages, built by the Ramage, Richards, Bates and Budd families of Chatham, NJ, were completed before the power lines came through in 1951. Along with Harry Thornells’ cottage, it was know as the “Jersey Shore.” In the other direction, along the new Bishop Shore Rd., more Jersey residents, the Jenkins, Sharps and Meloneys, became neighbors.
  • Further up Red Hill Road, Ted and Helen Hilton started Deer Hill Camp in a new location, having bought the Hotchkiss property with the very visible red house and barn. New buildings were added to accommodate the campers – and paint was applied..
  • In 1972, Ted Hilton, Art Ramage and Bob Foster formed the Lake Kanasatka Watershed Association and did yeoman work in protecting the lake from over development in the wetlands. Their efforts limited the size of the funnel development known as Kilnwood.
  • Myron Sharp, an artist, designed the logo for the Kanasatka Watershed Association as well as for the Loon Committee.
  • In recent years the Cross cottage was purchased by Marian & Bill Zerman and the Budd-May cottage by Rachel and Mike Brooker, both families having spent many summers in other cottages on Kanasatka.
  •  The Center Harbor Post Office was in the building now occupied by Harbor Scoops Ice Cream Parlor.

In conclusion, it seems as though Kanasatka and the surrounding area has a special draw for quite a few of the original campers of the early days. Full-time residents on the lake now include Ruth and Marjorie Ramage, Hal Richards and son Chip, and in nearby Laconia, Lee and Dave Hart and Barbara and Herb Lauterwasser. Fourth generation members are visibly present throughout the summer.