April History, White Mountains

White Mountains, April history; moonrise behind Mount Eisenhower in the White Mountains of New Hampshire USA during the spring months.
Mount Eisenhower Moonrise (April, 2015) – White Mountains, New Hampshire

April History, White Mountains – When it comes to the history of the New Hampshire White Mountains, like March, so many historical events took place throughout the years during the month of April that listing all of them isn’t possible. So included here are just a few interesting historical events.

The first reference is for the hikers. In April 1863, Professor Albert Hopkins, a professor at Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts, founded the Alpine Club of Williamstown. Recognized by most as the first hiking club in America, the club remained active only until 1865, but they did hike in the White Mountains.

Crawford Notch from Mount Willard in the White Mountains, New Hampshire.
Crawford Notch from Mount Willard – Hart's Location, New Hampshire

Hart’s Location was originally granted on April 27, 1772, to Thomas Chadbourne of Portsmouth, New Hampshire for his services in the French and Indian War. First known as Chadbourne’s Location, Chadbourne sold the land to one of the Hart’s (some say Col. John Hart, others say Richard Hart), and then the name was changed to Hart’s Location.

Appalachian Mountain Club's Highland Center located at the start of Crawford Notch in the White Mountains, New Hampshire.
Appalachian Mountain Club's Highland Center, New Hampshire

The First Crawford House, built around 1852, burned to the ground on April 30, 1859. But the story of this grand resort did not end on this day. Amazingly, it was rebuilt in less than 60 days! The second Crawford House survived until November 1977, when it burned down. It wasn’t rebuilt. Today, the Appalachian Mountain Club’s Highland Center occupies the site of the Crawford House.

White Mountains, April history, Southern Presidential Range from the Jewell Trail in Thompson and Meserve's Purchase in the New Hampshire White Mountains on a cloudy summer day.
Jewell Trail – Presidential Range, New Hampshire

On April 12, 1884, while on the Greely expedition to the Arctic (Lady Franklin Bay Expedition), Sergeant Winfield S. Jewell died of starvation. Out of the 25 men on the three year Greeley expedition (1881–1884), only six survived. Jewell was from Lisbon, New Hampshire, and he was an Army Signal Corps observer on Mount Washington from 1878-1880. The Jewell Trail is named for him.

April history; remnants of a trestle (may have been more of a bridge) at the Jackman Brook crossing along the Jackman Brook Branch of the Gordon Pond Railroad (logging railroad, 1907-1916) in Woodstock, New Hampshire.
Remnants of a Bridge – Gordon Pond Railroad, New Hampshire

The Gordon Pond Railroad Company was incorporated on April 2, 1907. It began about one mile south of the company’s mill in North Lincoln and traveled into the Moosilauke Brook drainage and Lost River drainage in North Woodstock, where they had a second mill. The railroad went beyond the second mill and ended below the Lost River Reservation in Kinsman Notch. Branches of the railroad traveled into the Gordon Pond Brook drainage, Walker Brook drainage, and the Elbow Pond area. The company's North Lincoln mill burned down on April 10, 1915.

April history; a hiker takes in the view of the Pemigewasset Wilderness from the summit of Zeacliff during the summer months. This view point is along the Appalachian Trail in the White Mountains, New Hampshire. Much of this forest was logged during the East Branch & Lincoln Railroad era, which was a logging railroad in operation from 1893-1948.
Pemigewasset Wilderness – Zeacliff, New Hampshire

James Everell Henry (April 21, 1831 – April 18, 1912) died at his home on April 18, 1912. He was a 19th and 20th-century timber baron best known for his "cut it all" logging practices and the building of the Zealand Valley and East Branch & Lincoln Railroads in the White Mountains. Henry's East Branch & Lincoln Railroad traveled deep into the Pemigewasset Wilderness. He is the reason why Lincoln is on the map today.

Hermit of Crawford Notch ( John Vials ) gravestone at Straw Road Cemetery in Twin Mountain, New Hampshire.
English Jack – Hermit of Crawford Notch, New Hampshire

English Jack, known as the "Hermit of Crawford Notch”, died on April 24, 1912. Born in the 1820s in London, and believed to have been orphaned at age 12, his real name was John Vials. He spent years working on ships (England) but ended up coming to New Hampshire to help build the Portland & Ogdensburg Railroad through Crawford Notch. He stayed in the area after the railroad was completed, and in 1891, James E. Mitchell wrote a book about this fascinating character of the White Mountains.

Mount Eisenhower (center); Mount Washington (behind right) and Mount Jefferson (left) from near the summit of Mount Pierce in the White Mountains, New Hampshire USA.
Mount Washington (center, right) – White Mountains, New Hampshire

The most well known historical event in the White Mountains happened on April 12, 1934. On this day, the Mount Washington Observatory staff recorded a wind gust of 231-miles per hour on Mount Washington. It was the fastest wind gust ever recorded on the surface of the Earth, and it wasn’t until sixty-two years later, in April 1996, that an unmanned instrument station in Barrow Island, Australia broke the record with a recording of 253 miles per hour during Tropical Cyclone Olivia.

To license any of the photos in this blog article for publications, click on the photo. Read more about the White Mountains here.

Happy image making..


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Donovan, Erin Paul. “Hart's Location, NH.” ScenicNH Photography LLC, https://archive.scenicnh.com/gallery/Harts-Location-NH/G0000TcaivGZJx_A/C00008zLChyfHUDI.

Donovan, Erin Paul. “Crawford House, Gibbs Brook Dam.” ScenicNH Photography LLC, 15 Jul 2018, https://www.scenicnh.com/blog/2018/07/crawford-house-gibbs-brook-dam/.

“The Greely Expedition.” PBS, Public Broadcasting Service, https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/films/greely/.

Donovan, Erin Paul. “James Everell Henry, White Mountains History.” ScenicNH Photography LLC, 19 Apr 2013, https://www.scenicnh.com/blog/2013/04/pemi-wilderness-history-james-e-henry/.

Donovan, Erin Paul. “English Jack, Hermit of Crawford Notch.” ScenicNH Photography LLC, 24 Apr 2013, https://www.scenicnh.com/blog/2013/04/english-jack-hermit-of-crawford-notch/.

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