Kona Mansion is named after an Indian legend which tells a Romeo and Juliet story of an Indian warrior, Kona, who wooed and won the hand in marriage of a rival tribe’s beautiful maiden, Effacoya. Their love for one another brought peace to the tribes, and as they wed the sun shone across the lake. Believing that the spirits were happy, the lake was named Winnipesaukee: “Smile of the Great Spirit.”
Kona Mansion was built by Herbert Dumaresq, a Boston multi-millionaire of Jersey Island ancestry. Mr. Dumaresq worked for the Jordan Marsh Company in Boston, rising from coffee clerk at 16, to joint partner with Eben Jordan, the company’s founder. An unhappy marriage to Eben’s daughter Julia ended in divorce, and even today the records of the Jordan Marsh Company omit any reference to Herbert Dumaresq.
In retirement, Mr. Dumaresq searched for a retreat from life in Boston and returned to the Lakes Region in New Hampshire, where he had spent many vacations.
In the 1890’s, he bought nearly 2,000 acres of farmland in Moultonborough beside Lake Winnipesaukee, and work began soon after on the construction of a mansion. No expense was spared. The mansion was built of local fieldstone with mock Tudor styling above. The driveway was lined with 8-9 ft. high wrought iron and bronze lamps purchased from the St. Cloud Palace in France. In Mr. Dumaresq’s study stood a large mahogany desk once owned by Napoleon, and the sitting room contained a 5 ft. high globe.
Mr. Dumaresq remarried in 1905 and remained at Kona until 1939 when, affected by the Depression, he was forced to sell Kona. He spent his remaining years in Boston where he died at the age of 104.
The following four decades saw few changes at Kona. Initially owned by the New Hampshire bank, Kona was repeatedly offered for sale, once even to Calvin Coolidge.
In 1961, Kona became Kona Mansion Inn, and soon a golf course was added to the estate. The present owners, the Crowleys, purchased the property in 1971 and maintain the Inn and over 100 acres as a tribute to the elegant lifestyle of the 1900’s.