Georgiana Falls, New Hampshire

Harvard Brook in the New Hampshire White Mountains.
Pool along Harvard Brook – Lincoln, New Hampshire
 

Georgiana Falls, New Hampshire – Georgiana Falls is a series of breathtaking cascades on Harvard Brook in Lincoln, New Hampshire. These falls consist of two sections the Lower and Upper Georgiana Falls. There has been confusion on what the proper name of these falls is since the day they were discovered.

According to the “Guide Book to the Franconia Notch and the Pemigewasset Valley” By Frank Oliver Carpenter Georgiana Falls was discovered and named in 1858. Now for the name confusion, a group of Harvard students claimed to have found Upper Georgiana Falls and named them "Harvard Falls" prior to 1858. Carpenter’s book, states that the State Geologist ended the naming issue by naming the brook Harvard Brook and keeping the falls named Georgiana Falls. To this day, the names are still interchanged.

Lower Georgiana Falls in Lincoln, New Hampshire. These falls are located along Harvard Brook.
Lower Georgiana Falls – Lincoln, New Hampshire
 

The lower falls (above) are referred to as Georgiana Falls and Lower Georgiana Falls. At some point, “Lower Georgiana Falls” started being used to distinguish lower falls from upper falls. And now in the 21st Century, it seems to be the accepted name. Many visitors to the lower falls mistakenly believe that lower falls are the main falls, but they are not. The most impressive falls, upper falls, are higher up Harvard Brook.

Just below Upper Georgiana Falls in Lincoln, New Hampshire. These falls are located along Harvard Brook and are also referred to as Harvard Falls.
Just below Upper Georgiana Falls – Lincoln, New Hampshire
 

As a photographer, I prefer locations that I can stay at all day and shoot. And Harvard Brook has endless possibilities for open minded photographers. One of my favorite sections of Harvard Brook is just below Upper Georgiana Falls (above). To reach this area you have to climb down into a rocky gorge, but the view is worth it.

Upper Georgiana Falls in Lincoln, New Hampshire. These falls are located along Harvard Brook and are also referred to as Georgiana Falls and Harvard Falls.
Upper Georgiana Falls – Lincoln, New Hampshire
 

Over the years, the upper falls (above) have been referred to as Georgiana Falls, Upper Georgiana Falls, and Harvard Falls. Harvard Cascade is another name in the mix, but the more research I do, the more I question this name. History books consider the upper falls be the actual “Georgiana Falls”, and the falls that the Harvard students discovered in the 1800s. In the 21st Century, Upper Georgiana Falls seems to be the accepted name.

With all these names used for one series of cascades, it is easy to understand the name confusion. On top of being a great waterfall, the view down the Pemigewasset Valley from Upper Georgiana Falls is excellent.

Georgiana Falls along Harvard Brook in the White Mountains, New Hampshire USA during the autumn months.
Upper Georgiana Falls – Lincoln, New Hampshire
 

Why these falls were named Georgiana Falls seems to be unknown. In some of the old books, Georgiana Falls is spelled with two N’s, which I thought was just a spelling mistake, but I am not sure anymore. Georgianna, a variant of Georgiana, is a female name. And the greek meaning of Georgianna is Farmer or Gracious Farmer. This information may be meaningless, but it could suggest that Georgiana Falls is named after a woman.

Small waterfall along Harvard Brook, above Upper Georgiana Falls, in Lincoln, New Hampshire during the spring months.
First Cascade Above Upper Georgiana Falls – Lincoln, New Hampshire
 

There are two cascades just above Upper Georgiana Falls. The first cascade (above) is about 400 feet above upper falls and can be reached in a few minutes. The second cascade is a short ways beyond the first one. There is evidence that suggests the first cascade may have been named in the late 1800s.

In Appalachia Vol IV 1884-1886, in the Path To Georgianna Falls By M. Isabella Stone, she suggests the next cascade above Upper Georgianna Falls (spelled with two N’s) be named "Harvard Cascade". And if the name is approved a sign will be placed at the falls next summer. She describes Harvard Cascade as being 1/8 mile 24 rods above Upper Georgiana Falls. 1/8 of a mile (660 feet) + 24 rods (1 rod = 16.5 feet) = 1056 feet.

In Moses Sweetser’s 1918 “A Guide to the White Mountains” the description of Georgianna Falls mentions that it is 1/3 of a mile from the falls to Harvard Cascade. 1/3 of mile equals 1,760 feet.

In Frank Carpenter’s 1898 “Guide Book to the Franconia Notch and the Pemigewasset Valley” the description of Georgianna Falls mentions that an old logging road crosses Harvard Brook about a 100 rods above Upper Georgiana Falls. 1 rod equals 16.5 feet, so 100 rods is 1,650 feet.

Cascade along Harvard Brook, above Upper Georgiana Falls, in Lincoln, New Hampshire.
Second Cascade Above Upper Georgiana Falls – Lincoln, New Hampshire
 

Based on the three guide books, Harvard Cascade should be in between Upper Georgiana Falls and where the old logging road crosses. The above two cascades are the only cascades in between these two landmarks. So it seems likely that one of them, maybe both, is Harvard Cascade.

Even though M. Isabella Stone mentions, Harvard Cascade is the first cascade above Upper Georgiana Falls her distance to it from the upper falls seems to be off and puts her closer to the second cascade (above). Is it possible she missed the first cascade? Probably not but it does make you wonder. Too many unknowns.

All of the above images can be licensed for publications by clicking on the image you are interested in. And you can view more images of Harvard Brook here.

Happy image making…


 

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Erin Paul is a professional photographer who specializes in environmental conservation and historic preservation photography in the New Hampshire White Mountains. His work is published worldwide, and credits include; Backpacker Magazine, Appalachian Trail Conservancy, the Appalachian Mountain Club, and The Wilderness Society.

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