The Waumbek Hotel
The town of Jefferson, founded in 1796, became recognized as a tourist destination in the mid-19th century, in part through the writings of Unitarian minister Thomas Starr King. He convinced a local hotelier to build a larger hotel, called the Hotel Waumbek, in 1860. The availability of railroad transportation greatly increased the tourist trade in subsequent decades, and the hotel was repeatedly enlarged. By the 1890s it was one of the state’s grand hotels, accommodating up to 500 guests.
During the 1880s, a trend began in these resort properties to build separate houses for some of the hotel guests, and other long-time guests also purchased adjacent properties from real estate promoters to build their own, while taking advantage of the hotel's amenities. At the Hotel Waumbek, these trends resulted in the construction of eleven separate "cottages" near the hotel between 1889 and 1900. A major fire in 1928 destroyed the hotel and three cottages, two more were demolished later in the 20th century.
The Waumbek Cottages Historic District was added to the New Hampshire State Register of Historic Places on October 31, 2005. Located on Cottage Road and Starr King Road, these six "cottages" are all that survive of the large late-19th century resort complex that included the hotel and eleven cottages. The landscape and setting feature views of the White Mountains to the south. The cottages are surmised to have been designed, based on similarity to other work, by Alfred Barlow, who designed a major addition to the hotel. All of the cottages are in the Shingle style, with Queen Anne style porches.