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An Interesting History


A prime vacation spot for over a century, the Half Moon Motel & Cottages are located on the grounds where once stood a magnificent grand hotel—the former New Hotel Weirs (1880-1924).

History of the Half Moon

Lakeside Avenue Unknown Date

A rare wintertime view - and possibly the only close-up available of the Korner Kubbard convenience store. Click here to enlarge the photo and for some more wintertime pictures of the Half Moon

View from the Property - 1930's

A view from the SW corner of the property, late 1930's

Aerial Photo - 1937

In the upper right corner of this aerial photo from 1937 is seen the original tea room before expansion; and only one row of ten cottages! The photo demonstrates that the back row of cottages was built first, and that the front row of nine cottages was built later. In the foreground of the photo are the Weirs Seaplane Base and the Mount Washington Wharf with attached Weirs Cafe.

The Half Moon Cabins

A view of the Lake, late 1930's. The old Mount Washington steamer is visible departing Weirs Bay, as is the train canopy over the boardwalk. That dates this photo as having been taken before the fire of December 22, 1939. Note also the back of the Half Moon Restaurant. That means the expansion of the original Half Moon Tea Room into the Half Moon Restaurant must have occured before 1940. Somebody needs to mow that lawn!

Read more: The Half Moon Cabins

Late 1950's

This late 1950's photo (click here to supersize) of the boardwalk area shows the right half of the Half Moon Restaurant building, which included an entrance to the original Half Moon Gift Shop. In the late 1960's the Gift Shop was turned into a cocktail lounge. During the 1974 season, the lounge was revamped and renamed the Lunar Lounge, a popular discotheque with a wooden dance floor, a colored lighting system, and a plagiarized marketing slogan, "Space is the Place".

Read more: Late 1950's

Sid Ames

Below, a very youthful looking Sid Ames poses with the waitstaff of his Half Moon Restaurant in 1951. By this time many of the chairs and tables had been replaced by dining booths, with one circular, corner booth being the most popular table in the entire restaurant. The sides of each booth were engraved with the Half Moon logo.

Read more: Sid Ames

Banquet Hall


Upstairs, a banquet hall, serviced by a dumbwaiter, was available for large private gatherings. The former dining room now houses Cook's Candy Kitchen; the stone fireplace is still there. The banquet hall now serves as a storage area for the Half Moon Gift Shop.

Dining Room


The dining room of the Half Moon Restaurant. A view towards the stone fireplace; while below, a view in the opposite direction, towards the entrance from the refreshment stand.

1949 Advertisement


By the late 1940's, the restaurant sported a new neon sign and a new front entrance. The parking pattern in front of the restaurant had also changed. Photo from an ad in the 1949 Lakes Region Association's Where To guidebook.

Howard Ballou's Early 1940's


Click here to supersize the above early 1940's photo of Howard Ballou's

Howard Ballou's Postcard


The photo in this postcard was taken within a few minutes of the photo in the promotional brochure, but from a slightly different angle. Click here to SuperSize (2.7 MB) this photo.

Howard Ballou's

  From a 1950 promotional brochure, "Where To in the Lakes Region".

View from Half Moon


In the above photo one can see the train canopy over the boardwalk - dating this photo before the fire of December 22, 1939. Click here to enlarge the photo. Later, part of the same photo was re-used in a promotional brochure for the cabins, the words "Tea Room" having been dropped from the name.

Tea Room Menu


Below, the Half Moon Tea Room menu. Click here to enlarge the menu.

Postcard 1938


Above, postcard circa 1938. Click here to supersize this postcard. Here showing the tea room shortly after it had been rebuilt; the building looks fresh and new. Notice the "Tea Room" had been dropped from the name; the new sign on the front of the building proclamed the "Half Moon Restaurant".

Half Moon Tea Room 1933


Postcard circa 1933. This same photo was used in a 1930's brochure, "City on the Lakes - The Year Round Vacation Land - Laconia, New Hampshire", advertising "BOWLING...CABINS...BICYCLES FOR HIRE. A sandwich or full course dinner—Try our delicious fried clams". Notice the sign on the left side of the building. It says "The Half Moon Tea Room" and features a left-facing moon on the left, and a right-facing moon on the right. On the front of the building we see the dining room sign, with a larger moon facing to the left. Further down is a bowling alley sign with a moon facing to the right.

Read more: Half Moon Tea Room 1933

Phone Listing 1930s


Telephone listings, Central New Hampshire Bell Telephone Company, Weirs NH Dial System, September, 1930

Weirs Dock 1928


Mount Washington wharf. Post fire - In the photo below from 1928, the same hillside is conspicuously empty. 

"Although Messrs. Williams and Wagner have made no definite plans for the development of the property present tentative plans provide for the establishment of a recreational center on the site. Both men are enthusiastic over the possibilities of the lake region as a more extensive summer colony and believe in the future of the resort. Definite plans will be announced at a later date." - From the Laconia Democrat, 1931

Weirs Dock Pre-1928


Mount Washington wharf. Note the imposing Hotel looming overhead in the undated postcard, above.

History of the Half Moon Motel & Cottages



Half Moon Tea Room


In the early 1930's, Robert 'Bob' Wagner and Carleton C. Williams constructed the Half Moon Tea Room – a restaurant, snack bar, bowling alley, and cabins – on the Lakeside Avenue site of the former hotel. They had purchased the empty land in mid-March, 1931, from the Minor Robinson estate.

Bob Wagner already had experience in providing accommodations for visitors, as he owned the nearby Hotel Samoset on Centenary Avenue, and the original Half Moon Tea Room, which had been located further up on Lakeside Avenue, on the site of what was later to become the 1936 Weirs Beach fire station. In fact, Mr. Wagner recycled the original 1927 Half Moon Tea Room building. In late 1931, he moved it down Lakeside Avenue to his new property. In 1932 he added the new Half Moon Tea Room to the left of the old building. Later, he added the bowling alleys to the right.

At some point, Mr. Wagner seems to have become the sole owner of the Half Moon property.


Howard Ballouimg10

In 1935, local postmaster Howard Ballou purchased the Half Moon and Hotel Samoset properties from Bob Wagner. Ballou quickly sold the Hotel Samoset, but he held onto the Half Moon for many years. Eventually, he renamed the business after himself. However, old habits die hard; the general public continued to refer to the business as "the Half Moon", and when Sidney Ames purchased the restaurant, snack bar, and bowling alley half of the property in 1950, the old name was back. Howard Ballou returned to the Postal Service, where he was Postmaster of Laconia from February 28, 1953, until August 14, img111970.


In December of 1956, Sidney Ames purchased the cabin half of the property from Howard Ballou.

Family owned and operated for 50 years, the Ames family continues to offer the same friendly service and reasonable rates that generations of tourists have enjoyed, while adding all the modern conveniences the present-day traveler expects.


More about the Half Moon Cottages