White Mountains History & Culture

Possibly the hoisting system of an old steam-powered log loader at the end of the Camp 9 spur line of East Branch & Lincoln Railroad (1893 - 1948) in the Pemigewasset Wilderness of the New Hampshire White Mountains. Steam-powered log loaders were used to load logs on to railroad log trucks. This section of railroad was a spur line that started at Camp 9 and ended a short distance after crossing Franconia Brook.
Steam-Powered Log Loader – East Branch & Lincoln Railraod
 

White Mountains History & Culture – For the past couple of weeks, I have been photographing nineteenth century sites linked to the history and culture of the White Mountains. When photographing these abandoned sites, I am reminded that conservation is not just about protecting a parcel of land for guaranteed future recreation. Conservation is also about the preservation of artifacts and historical sites. Today I want to share with you some interesting traces of the past.

Above is one of my favorite artifacts of the East Branch & Lincoln Railroad (1893-1948). It is located at the end of the Camp 9 spur line, close to Franconia Brook, in the Pemigewasset Wilderness. This artifact is possibly the hoisting system of an old steam-powered log loader. And more than likely it was used at the end of the Camp 9 spur line to load logs onto railroad log cars.

Remnants of an old stone culvert along the village road in the abandoned Peeling settlement (Mt. Cilley Settlement) in Woodstock, New Hampshire USA. History states Peeling was the original settlement of Woodstock. This village was abandoned by the 1860s (+/-). This stone culvert could have possibly been built during the Peeling era. It could also have built sometime in the 1900's when the area was logged.
Peeling (Mt. Cilley Settlement) – Woodstock, New Hampshire
 

In the abandoned settlement of Peeling (Mt. Cilley Settlement) is the above stone culvert along the old village road. History states Peeling was the original settlement of Woodstock New Hampshire and was abandoned by the 1860s. I read this stone culvert was possibly built during the Peeling era. But I have my doubts because the area has been logged in the past. And loggers could have very well built it. Either way, it is tied to the past.

What looks to be possibly (maybe, doubt it) a "Diamond" smokestack in the general area of the Sawyer River Station along the Sawyer River Railroad in Harts Location, New Hampshire USA. This could also be the top of an old mill building smoke stack. Both possibilities could be wrong.
Sawyer River Railroad – Harts Location, New Hampshire
 

At first glance, the above piece, near the Sawyer River Logging Railroad (1877-1928), looks to be a "Diamond" smokestack from a locomotive. It does look like one, but I think it might be the top (spark arrestor) of an old mill building chimney. I have a history book of the old Livermore Mill, located on the Sawyer River Railroad, and a chimney of one of the mill buildings has a nearly identical piece on the top of the chimney.

Remnants of the Anderson Brook gage from the 1911 study at Stillwater Junction in the Pemigewasset Wilderness of the White Mountains, New Hampshire USA. A timber trestle along the old East Branch & Lincoln Railroad was located just below this gage abutment. It crossed the brook at an angle, leading to Camp 19. This was a logging railroad, which operated from 1893 - 1948.
Stillwater Junction – Anderson Brook Gage Station 1911
 

Deep in Pemigewasset Wilderness at Stillwater Junction is the remains of the Anderson Brook gage (above) from the 1911 study. During the early 1900s, the United States Geological Survey built a handful of water gaging stations in the general area of Stillwater (Anderson Brook, Burnt Brook, and Shoal Pond Brook) to determine the effects of deforestation on stream flow. The above piece is no longer standing.

The East Branch & Lincoln Railroad split into two lines at Stillwater Junction. One traveled to Camp 19 and the other to Camp 21. A trestle was located below (foreground) this gage. It crossed the brook at an angle, and the railroad continued to Camp 19. Another trestle for the Camp 21 line was also located below this gage.

Mad River Drainage Logging Era - Remnants of an splash dam made of logs along Flume Brook near the old Camp 5 site in Waterville, New Hampshire USA. Splash dams were used to hold back rushing water during spring melt . When the gates were opened the strong flow of the brook would push four foot cut logs down the brook to the Mad River.
Splash Dam – Mad River Logging Era, New Hampshire
 

Above is the remnants of a splash dam, along Flume Brook, in Waterville Valley from the Mad River logging era. Splash dams were used to hold back rushing water during spring snow melt. When the gates were opened, the strong flow of the brook would push cut logs down the brook to the Mad River. I have not been to this site since Tropical Storm Irene, but I suspect what remained of the dam was destroyed by Irene.

The information included in this article is based on my research and observations. And my identification of these artifacts could be completely wrong. Please keep this in mind if you are here doing research. To license any of the above images for usage in publications, click on the image. And you can view more culture history images here.

Happy image making..


 

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Erin Paul is a professional photographer who specializes mainly in the environment of New Hampshire. His work is published worldwide, and publication credits include the Appalachian Mountain Club, Appalachian Trail Conservancy, Backpacker Magazine, and The Wilderness Society. His blog articles are intended to create awareness for the environment and to promote his image archive.

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