James E. Henry, White Mountains History

Grave site of James E. Henry (1831-1912) at Glenwood Cemetery in Littleton, New Hampshire USA. J.E. Henry was a 19th and 20th-century timber baron known for his East Branch & Lincoln Railroad in Lincoln, New Hampshire. Historians suggest he was born in 1831 and died on April 19, 1912.
J.E. Henry Burial Site (1831 – 1912) – Glenwood Cemetery, Littleton

James Everell Henry (April 21, 1831 – April 18, 1912) – James E. Henry died at his home on April 18, 1912. He was a 19th and 20th-century timber baron best known for his logging practices and building of the Zealand Valley and East Branch & Lincoln Railroads in the New Hampshire White Mountains. He forever changed the landscape of the White Mountains with his "cut it all" logging practices.

Porter 50 ton saddle tank engine locomotive on display at Loon Mountain along the Kancamagus Scenic Byway in Lincoln, New Hampshire.
East Branch & Lincoln Railroad (1893-1948) – White Mountains, New Hampshire

More than likely, he will always be remembered as a timber baron, but he unknowingly made a contribution to the White Mountain National Forest that benefits us today. The old railroad grade of the East Branch & Lincoln Railroad has given outdoors enthusiasts access to some of the most remote regions of New England.

Franconia Brook Trail in the Pemigewasset Wilderness of New Hampshire during the summer months. This trail follows the old East Branch & Lincoln Railroad (1893-1948).
Franconia Brook Trail – Pemigewasset Wilderness, New Hampshire

If Henry didn't push his logging operations into the Pemigewasset Wilderness, it seems possible no established trails would exist today in this wilderness; it's often overlooked that many of the trails in the Pemigewasset Wilderness follow or utilize sections of the old East Branch & Lincoln railroad grade.

So the next time you are hiking along a trail in the Pemigewasset Wilderness, take a moment to realize you are more than likely following one of James E. Henry's railroad beds. You can read more about J.E. Henry's East Branch & Lincoln Railroad here

Happy image making..


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