Since 1927 St John’s-on-the-Lake has been an iconic public landmark on the Winnipesaukee islands and especially Bear Island.  For decades, generations of islanders have valued the Chapel and its tranquil setting and lovingly committed to its care and public availability. 

The bold vision to design, construct, and fill the pews of this remarkable chapel confirms that the vacationers of the period did not leave their religious practices at home and wanted a community gathering place.  The Chapel has been the site of religious worship on summer Sundays and host for countless private weddings, baptisms and memorial services.

St. John’s occupies a special place in NH Lakes Region History.  It is the largest enclosed public space on the Winnipesaukee islands and is valued by historic preservationists for its unique architectural style and association with early 20th century summer tourism and recreation.  In 2019 St. John’s was listed in the New Hampshire State Register of Historic Places.  The Register noted that the Chapel’s Landscape of stonewalls and wooded pathways “are integral to the overall historic setting of the resource.

The Challenge Ahead

A 2024 Historic Building Assessment, funded with a grant from the NH Preservation Alliance, found that after more than 90 years of hard winters and rain, the tower structure requires major restoration.  The restoration plan recommended removal and replacement of the cedar siding surrounding the tower, creating a perimeter drainage system, strengthening the stairs and railing to allow future public access to the observation platform and installing lightening protection to further reduce the risk of fire to the structure. 

Since 1955 the St John’s-on-the-Lake Association has cared for this precious structure and its natural site. The cost of undertaking this important but expensive restoration greatly exceeds the Association’s annual budget. 

Help Us Preserve St John’s

The Association has applied for support from the NH Land & Community Heritage Investment Program (LCHIP).  The requested LCHIP grant requires the raising of matching funds. The goal for the St. John’s-on-the-Lake Centennial Campaign is to raise $100,000 from individuals and local Lakes Region businesses.  Any funds raised in excess of our target goal will be added to the Chapel’s Preservation Fund which is dedicated to protecting the chapel in the event of catastrophic damage not covered by insurance.

Please join us in assuring the preservation of St. John’s for current and future generations.  For additional information about making a donation to the Centennial Campaign please CLICK HERE to reach out to us and one of our team members will contact you.

For more information on New Hampshire’s historic preservation efforts, check out these resources: