Historic Stone Structures, White Mountains

Historic Stone Structures, remnants of the old 1800s Summit House (foundation) on the summit of Mount Lafayette in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. The Appalachian Trail travels across this summit.
1800s Summit House Site – Mount Lafayette, New Hampshire
 

Historic Stone Structures, White Mountains – In my work documenting historic sites in the New Hampshire White Mountains I have photographed some interesting and unique stone structures. Visiting an abandoned 1800s homestead in the middle of the forest is a surreal experience. And today I want to share with you some of the interesting structures that remain in the forest.

I realize that everyone interprets the term “historic” differently. So for this blog article, a historic stone structure is anything over fifty years old. And these structures can be anything from old cellar holes to abandoned stone staircases that seem to lead to nowhere. Keep in mind, historic sites are protected and should not be disturbed.

Remnants of a stone bridge along an abandoned road off the Cobble Hill Trail in Landaff, New Hampshire. This area was part of an 1800s hill farming community.
Old Stone Bridge – Landaff, New Hampshire
 

Above is the side view of a stone bridge along an abandoned road off the Cobble Hill Trail in Landaff. Nature has reclaimed the road, but for the most part, the bridge is still in working order. At the time this photo was taken, the stream the bridge crosses was dried up. This area was part of an 1800s hill farming community, and today cellar holes and stone walls help tell the story of a long forgotten settlement.

Remnants of an old mill along Talford Brook at Thornton Gore in Thornton, New Hampshire during the autumn months. This was an old hill farm community abandoned during the 19th century.
Talford Brook Mill Site – Thornton Gore, New Hampshire
 

One of my favorite stone structures is an old mill site (above) along Talford Brook at Thornton Gore. Thornton Gore is the site of an old hill farming settlement abandoned during the 19th century. The metal circular object you see is the centerpiece of the water wheel that was at this mill.

Looking down a stoned lined dug well at an abandoned homestead along an old road off Tunnel Brook Road in Easton, New Hampshire. Based on an 1860 historical map of Grafton County this was the O. Brook homestead. Today, this well is still about 15 feet deep.
Abandoned Dug Well – Easton, New Hampshire
 

Of the many different types of stone structures built during the early days of New Hampshire, dug wells must have been back-breaking work. To dig a hole fifteen to thirty feet deep, and then line it with stones all by hand is an amazing accomplishment. And some of these old dug wells (above) can still be found at abandoned homesteads. Even after all these years, this well is still about fifteen feet deep.

Abandoned cellar hole along an old dirt road, near Black Brook, in Warren, New Hampshire. Based on an 1860 historical map of Grafton County this was the homestead of S.T. Hayt.
Abandoned Homestead – Warren, New Hampshire
 

Located along a dirt road, near Black Brook, in Warren is the above cellar hole. Based my observation of this cellar hole, I believe this is the arch (split stone chimney arch) that supported the chimney structure. This kind of chimney arch consisted of two walls of stones topped with horizontal stones. There were variations of these arches and based on factors not seen in this image this one seems to be a variant.

Remnants of a stone water holding tank near the old Civilian Conservation Corps camp in Harts Location, New Hampshire.
Water Holding Tank – Hart's Location, New Hampshire
 

Along the Sawyer River, at the site of the Civilian Conservation Corps camp, in Hart’s Location is what I believe to be a water holding tank (above). The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) was a public work relief program in operation from 1933 to 1942. The CCC did many things during their existence, but they are known mostly for planting millions of trees across America, which helped with reforestation. Admittedly, I have never researched the intended purpose of this structure or its connection to the CCC camp.

Smith Burying ground in Sandwich, New Hampshire.
Smith Graveyard – Sandwich, New Hampshire
 

Historic stone headstones like the above one at the Smith graveyard in Sandwich are throughout the White Mountains. The Smith farmstead was part of the historic Sandwich Notch hill farm community. And today this small headstone reminds us of the ones who came before us. As you can see, this graveyard is still honored and respected.

Granite culvert along the old Boston and Maine Railroad in Carroll, New Hampshire.
Boston & Maine Railroad – Carroll, New Hampshire
 

The old railroads used granite blocks for bridges and culverts, and many of these structures are still standing today. Along the abandoned Boston & Maine Railroad in Carroll, the culvert above is still doing its job. More than likely it was built in the late 1800s.

Remnants of an abandoned homestead along Tunnel Brook in Benton, New Hampshire. This area was once known as Coventry, and based on an 1860 historical map of Grafton County this is believed to have been the Jonathan Hunkings homestead. This is also the site of the old Parker House, a small hotel that operated from 1904 to about 1930.
Parker House Site – Benton, New Hampshire
 

Nature is slowly reclaiming historic sites in the White Mountains, and at some point, the stone structures that remain at these sites will be unrecognizable. Based on an 1860 historical map, above is believed to have been the Jonathan Hunkings homestead along Tunnel Brook in Coventry (now Benton). Not much of the cellar hole is left, and it won’t be long before nature swallows it up. This site is unique in White Mountains history because it is also the site of the Parker House. The Parker House was a hotel that operated from 1904 to about 1930.

The ruins of Madame Antoinette Sherri’s castle in Madame Sherri Forest of Chesterfield, New Hampshire during the autumn months. Madame Antoinette Sherri was a 1920s costume designer from New York, who was known for throwing parties for visitors from the city. The castle was destroyed by fire on October 18, 1962. The foundation and a stone staircase are all that remains.
Madame Antoinette Sherri’s Castle – Chesterfield, New Hampshire
 

There are historic stone structures throughout New Hampshire. And one of the more interesting ones is Madame Antoinette Sherri’s castle in Chesterfield. Madame Antoinette Sherri was a 1920s costume designer from New York, who was known for throwing parties for visitors from the city. The castle burnt down on October 18, 1962. The foundation and a stone staircase (above) are all that remains.

You can license any of the above images for usage in publications by clicking on the image you are interested in, and you can view more images of historic stone structures 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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