Many of you may have passed a tiny island in the northern end of Lake Winnipesaukee, south of Center Harbor, between Two Mile Island and Three Mile Island with a TINY TINY house on it. This is Becky’s Garden, one of the uninhabited islands on the lake at only about 10 feet across.
Becky’s Garden has a rich history – according to the Like Winnipesaukee Historical Society “An early settler of Center Harbor had several daughters, of whom the loveliest was Rebecca. While her sisters were frivolous and spoiled, Rebecca was a model young lady, and she beautified the surroundings of her father’s house by her care of her garden, of which she was justly proud. One day her father’s cattle escaped, and, before they were noticed, they had laid waste the beautiful garden plot. Rebecca was heartbroken, and her father, by way of consolation, offered her as a gift any one of the numerous islands in the lake which she might care to choose. Her sisters clamored for the same dower, and their father finally consented, giving Becky her first choice. This caused her sisters to be so envious that Becky decided to choose the smallest island she could find, and selected the one which bears her name today, an island that is scarcely more than a bush-covered rock. The other daughters picked out large, verdant islands. The story of Becky’s choice travelled far, as stories will; and a wealthy young farmer in the vicinity became so interested in hearing of the unselfish young maiden that he sought her acquaintance, and, finding her an attractive young lady, wooed and won her for his bride. Thus it was said that Becky’s Garden, though the smallest of islands, produced the greatest results. Today, each year, a model house, complete in every detail, is placed on the island to distinguish it as inhabited despite its size— all in memory of the unspoiled Becky.”
Over the years, small houses have been placed on the island during the summer season by various Lake Winnipesaukee lovers. For almost 20 years, the ownership and care of Becky’s Garden has fallen to Stephanie and (the late and much beloved) Bill Knighton. They owned the spectacular lake residence on 1 Two Mile Island until Lake & Island Properties – Maxfield Real Estate sold it in 2022. “We researched as far back as the 1700’s and no one has ever owned Becky’s Garden,” Bill Knighton was quoted as saying in the Weirs Times in 2019. At one time, the island had been under the name of John Wentworth who served as Lieutenant Governor for the Province of New Hampshire from 1717 to 1730. Stephanie and Bill purchased Becky’s Garden in 2004. “Before we bought it an older couple who we think may have lived on Bear Island took care of Becky’s Garden for many years,” said Stephanie Knighton “As far as we know, this might only be the third house that has been on Becky’s since a house was first put out.” The current Becky’s Garden house was built by a friend of the Knighton’s, weighs about 100 pounds, and is made of ¾-inch plywood. Up until last summer, Stephanie lovingly repaired and repainted the house, replacing the American Flag and various figures/furniture every year. Now Island Service Company of Meredith stores and transports the house every year. You can check out the “Becky’s Garden on Lake Winnipesaukee, NH” Facebook page created by Stephanie to share photos and stories about the island.