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Barber's Pole Question

OK so over by Cow Island there is a Barber's Pole in the water....What the heck is this all about? I've known about it for many many years and just now have become overly curious as to why it is there! Hopefully someone on this board has a theory or an actual answer!

Re: Barber's Pole Question

The following story appeared in the August 9, 2001 edition of the Citizen newspaper.


Stripes of old

Barber pole buoy back off Cow Island

Staff Writer

TUFTONBORO — A little bit of history returned to the waters of Lake Winnipesaukee on Wednesday when the New Hampshire Marine Patrol’s maintenance staff installed a buoyed painted like a barber pole off Cow Island.

John Veazey, owner of Boulia-Gorrell Lumber Co., recounted the original striped buoy was a tribute to his paternal grandfather, William D. Veazey, and his father, Allen G. Veazey, who rafted sawed logs on the lake.

To guide the logs through a narrow area on Tuftonboro Neck between Cow Island and Pick Point, the Veazeys used a cable to attach a 24-inch pulley to a lakeside oak tree.

As a steamboat pulled the logs through the channel, it caused the cable to wrap around the tree, stripping the bark off in a spiral pattern that mimicked the distinctive stripes of a barber pole. Early boaters soon dubbed the area Barber Pole, and the name came into common usage. It still can be found listed on today’s lake charts.

Years after the oak had died, someone put an old wooden barber pole on a rocky outcropping in the middle of the channel. The pole stayed on the boulder for years, but sometime later disappeared, probably a victim of the winter ice.

About three years ago, Veazey said he began thinking about trying to get permission from the state to replace the pole. The former state representative said he approached David Barrett, director of Safety Services, Marine Patrol Bureau and found a willing partner in the project.

After locating a suitable piece of New Hampshire pine, Veazey recounted, he had planned to have Nicholas Salta turn the pole on a lathe. Salta, a talented woodworker, died unexpectedly of cancer in March, having completed just the ball-shaped top. Veazey’s son, Allen, took over the project hand-shaping the pole and then mounting the ball top.

Stephanie Benard, a dispatcher at Marine Patrol, hand-painted the red and blue stripes on the pole with the assistance of John Howard, a member of the department’s maintenance staff.

Late Wednesday morning, James Beach and Stephen Whelton both with Marine Patrol’s maintenance crew, used a cable to attach the freshly painted barber pole to a 350-pound piece of cement. While Beach balanced the wooden spar on his shoulder, he and Whelton heaved the cement block over the side of a Marine Patrol boat with a splash. As a crowd of appreciative boaters looked on, the pole bobbed upright drawing both applause and plenty of photographs.

"Yes, I think they’d both have a smile on their faces," Veazey said, when asked if he thought his ancestors would be pleased with the pole’s return.

"It’s a piece of good New Hampshire pine. When I die I want to be buried in a pine box because pine has been good to my family," Veazey said with a smile.

Growing up on the Big Lake, Veazey has fond memories of helping his grandfather and father haul logs from Melvin Bay to The Weirs, a trip that took six days. Much of the work was done at night, when the water was glassy and the wind was calm.

The logs were contained inside a tear-shaped boom made of other logs that were chained together. Because hardwood trees will sink, Veazey said, each one had to be lashed to two pine logs to keep it afloat.

Once the steamboat pulled the logs through the barber pole area into Middle Ground Shoal, the boom was taken down the lake towards Lakeport. The raft was towed down the south side of Welch Island, then past Timber and over The Witches to the north and east side of Eagle Island into Weirs Bay.

The rafts of logs would accumulate off Pendleton Beach until the Lakeport Dam was opened, creating a current that would help draw the rafts down through Paugus Bay to a sawmill which was located where Burger King is today. Once the timber reached Paugus Bay, the softwoods would be directed to the sawmill to make lumber and the hardwoods taken to the TEK Plywood mill, which was where Spinnaker Cove is now located.

In his early years on the lake, Veazey, 71, said the many navigational hazards on Winnipesaukee were marked by fellow boaters.

"They used anything that would float. Mostly wooden barrels," he said. The first lighted buoy on the lake marked the infamous rock pile known as "The Witches," Veazey added.

"It was a wooden barrel from the Rose Cement Co. There was a kerosene lamp on the top. They would go out and refill it once a week," Veazey recounted.

He concedes he learned the whereabouts of the majority of rocks in the lake the old-fashioned way — up close and personal.

"The biggest rock in the lake is off the back side of Diamond Island. It’s the size of a freight car," he cautioned.

Veazey helped haul logs aboard his grandfather’s boat "The Eagle," and also recalls being a passenger on "West Wind" and "The Swallow."

"I got a meal, a new suit of clothes at the end of the year and got to spend the whole summer on the lake," Veazey said of the experience.

Bea Lewis can be reached at 524-3800 ext. 5969 or by e-mail at merbur@ncia.net

Re: Re: Barber's Pole Question

wow great story. I never knew the origin of the Barber's Pole but I have fished the area and know others who fish it often. You really do learn something new everyday. Thanks Lucky Devil!

Re: Re: Barber's Pole Question

Thanks for the answer! Learn something new everyday. Never in a million years would I have guessed it had to do with logging