Baston Falls, Woodstock

Eastman Brook in Woodstock, New Hampshire during the autumn months.
Baston’s Mill / Fox’s Mill Site – Eastman Brook, Woodstock
 

Baston Falls, Woodstock – This forgotten waterfall on Baston Brook in Woodstock, New Hampshire is somewhat of a mystery. Using possibly the only historical reference that mentions this waterfall, it is easy to find, but it's not where we think it is. However, based on property maps of Woodstock, it is probably on private property.

In the 21st-century, the consensus is that Baston Falls is on Eastman Brook. Members of the Baston family were living near Eastman Brook in the 1800s. And because Baston’s Mill (the old Fox’s Mill site) was on the brook, the thought is the falls are also on the brook. This mill site, on Eastman Brook at the junction of Route 175 and Thornton Gore Road, dates back to the early 1800s. It changed hands a number of times; Daniel B. Baston (1866-1958), son of Gardner G. Baston* (1816-1895), was one of the owners, and it appears he took control of the mill in 1905. The ownership dates are a little foggy. It was common for the waterfall created from the mill dam to take on the name of the mill, so it should be easy to find Baston Falls right, not so fast.

The book, Franconia Notch and the Pemigewasset Valley by Frank O. Carpenter, published in 1898, puts Baston Falls on a different brook. In Carpenter’s book, the directions to Baston Falls say to take branch road to the right of Nathaniel Boynton’s boarding house in Woodstock and follow it up to the waterfall. He goes on to say that the brook is on the left side of the road and stays near the road. Two other points of interest in his book, Potato Hill and Elbow Pond, are also helpful. Directions to both of these locations begin at Boynton’s boarding house, use branch road, and pass by Baston Falls.

The headstone of Nathaniel Boynton (1818-1899) at Woodstock Cemetery in Woodstock, New Hampshire
Nathaniel Boynton (1818-1899) – Woodstock Cemetery, NH
 

Boynton’s boarding house was located in Woodstock Center, just south of the cemetery, near the junction of Potato Hill Road and Daniel Webster Highway. And the Gardner G. Baston dwelling (1860, 1892 map) was near Boynton’s. Both sites are in close proximity to Glover Brook. Knowing this information – when looking at the 1892 Town and City Atlas of the state of New Hampshire, the branch road Carpenter refers to is the old Potato Hill Road, which means the forgotten Baston Falls is on today’s Glover Brook, not Eastman Brook.

Could Carpenter’s 1898 book be wrong? Eastman Brook is mentioned in a number of 1870s publications and labeled on 1800s maps. And he does mention Baston Brook, Eastman Brook, and Glover Brook in his book. He was aware of these brooks, so why would he call either of the last two Baston Brook? Interestingly, a year later, on his 1899 map of the area, he labels Eastman Brook and Glovier Brook**, but Baston Brook isn't on the map. One hundred years later, and there is no reference to this brook on current maps.

The headstone of Gardner G. Baston (1816-1895) at Woodstock Cemetery in Woodstock, New Hampshire
Gardner G. Baston (1816-1895 ) – Woodstock, NH 1800s Justice of the Peace and Postmaster
 

There is also another forgotten waterfall linked to Glover Brook, Glendale Cascade***. The 1897 edition of the Granite Monthly, a New Hampshire Magazine, mentions the proposal of building a road to Mt Cilley. This road would follow the old Potato Hill Road, passing by Glendale Cascade on Glover Brook. Based on Carpenter’s book and the Granite Monthly, Baston Falls and Glendale Cascade may be one and the same.

Today, the only mention of Baston Brook is among waterfall enthusiasts trying to find Baston Falls. And this raises the question, regardless of Baston’s Mill being on Eastman Brook, was Glover Brook once known as Baston Brook? If so, it would have been in the early to mid-1800s.

Happy image making..


 

*Gardner G. Baston (1816-1895 ) was appointed postmaster of Woodstock on June 22, 1870. And he was Justice of the Peace during the mid-1800s.

**Glovier Brook is likely named for a family who lived in the area. Glovier is a variation of Glover.

***Possible name origin – A glen is a deep narrow valley. And a dale is an open valley that sometimes has a brook or river flowing through them, hence Glendale Cascade.

To license any of photos in this blog article for publications, click on the photo.

Sources (numbers 42, 43) | Historic Information Disclaimer | Purchase Our EB&L Railroad Book

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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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