The original Hampshire Shores development was initiated in late 1964 by Walter and Marjorie Eccleston who lived in Rhode Island at the time. The Ecclestons purchased a large parcel of land on Sunrise Lake, constructed roads and made other improvements, began selling lots for summer residences, and formed Hampshire Shores Inc. in 1965. They retained two lots on the lake and spent many summers at their cottage on Shore Drive until Mr. Eccleston's recent death.
After much of the development had been completed, the roads, beach area, boat launch, and other common properties were turned over to the newly formed Hampshire Shores Association of homeowners. The Association was incorporated in February 1970 and its by-laws adopted on July 4, 1970.
Hampshire Shores Association is composed of all the homeowners in the development. When property is purchased, the owner automatically becomes a member of the organization as dictated in the original Declaration. Each property owner has a single vote in Association business typically conducted at the annual meeting. Among its purposes and duties are the enforcement of the provisions of the Declaration and By-Laws plus maintenance and preservation of all common properties, easements, and rights of way. The Association has constructed and maintains a sandy beach with excellent swimming conditions at the end of Shore Drive and a newly renovated, centrally located boat launch on Pinkham Road. Issues related to the lake, such as property assessments, safe handling of watercraft, and the problem of milfoil infestation have been among topics of discussion and action.
Association activities include a 4th of July picnic with food, games, and, water sports. A membership breakfast, lunch, or dinner preceding the annual Association meeting is held on the Saturday before Labor Day. Other informal meetings often are scheduled on the Saturdays before Memorial Day and the 4th of July. Social activities may be organized during the year and in the past have included dinners and visits to local theater performances. In addition, the Association provides liaison with the Town of Middleton, needed signage, and communication with the membership.
Sunrise Lake is approximately one mile long and one-half mile wide. It spreads over 257 acres (about 0.4 square mile) and has an elevation of 666 feet above sea level. Relatively shallow, Sunrise Lake has a mean depth of only 6 feet with the deepest spot around 14 feet. A man-made impounded water body, the lake is stream-fed and has a dam located along the west shore.
Originally intended as a controllable supplementary supply of water to the Cocheco River which powered factories in Rochester and Dover before emptying into Great Bay, Sunrise Lake is classed as a warm water lake by the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services. The dam is owned by the Sunrise Lake Village District.
Water depth is controlled by the opening and closing of a low-level gate at the bottom of the spillway. In addition, 24 inch-high flash boards are at the top of the dam to bring the lake to a height of 666 feet for summer use. Typically, the lake is drawn down in early- to mid-October primarily to protect the dam from ice during the winter but also allowing owners to maintain docks and waterfronts. The boards are replaced when ice has left the lake so that it can reach its normal depth for summer swimming and boating activities.
Officials of the Sunrise Lake Village District Commission contract with the State Dam Bureau for the safe operation and maintenance of the dam.