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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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..