July History, White Mountains

July history, Middle Sister Fire tower on Middle Sister Mountain in Albany, New Hampshire USA during a summer night. This fire tower was in operation from 1927-1948.
Middle Sister Mountain – Albany, New Hampshire

July History, White Mountains – July in the New Hampshire White Mountains is a great time of year. Hikers are exploring the trails, fishermen are fishing the rivers, and campers are enjoying the campgrounds. Throughout the history of the White Mountains, outdoor recreation has been a favorite pastime for many families during this month. And some interesting historical events took place during July.

Named for Matthew Thornton, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, the town of Thornton was granted to Matthew Thornton and others on July 6, 1763. The charter consisted of 23,000 acres divided into seventy-three shares. However, no settlements were made under the original grant, and a new charter was given in October 1768. But because of slow development, the town would not be officially incorporated until November 1781.

July history, the Gulfside Trail (Appalachian Trail), near the summit of Mt Washington, in Thompson and Meserve's Purchase, New Hampshire.
Northern Presidential Range – White Mountains, New Hampshire

In July 1820, the Weeks-Brackett party, guided by Ethan Allen Crawford, hiked Mount Washington. The purpose of this hike was to give names to all the mountains in the Presidential Range (Mount Washington was already named). Mount Adams, Jefferson, Madison, and Monroe were named after the four presidents that held the position up until that point. When the Weeks-Brackett party ran out of presidents, they named the remaining mountains in the Presidential Range after notable individuals.

Cascade #7 on Cold Brook in Low and Burbank's Grant, New Hampshire during the summer months.
Cascade #7 on Cold Brook – Low and Burbank's Grant, New Hampshire

Land grants were given during July. Clovis Low and Barker Burbank were granted Low and Burbank’s Grant on July 2, 1831; Jeremiah Chandler was granted Chandler’s Purchase on July 9, 1835; Samuel W. Thompson and George P. Meserve were granted Thompson and Meserve's Purchase on July 28, 1835.

Remnants of the old trestle that once crossed over Lafayette Brook along the Profile & Franconia Notch Railroad in Franconia, New Hampshire.
Remnants of the "Great Trestle" – Profile & Franconia Notch Railroad

Railroads once dominated the White Mountains. The Mount Washington Railway officially opened to the public on July 3, 1869. Boston & Maine Railroad’s Pemigewasset Valley Railroad was incorporated on July 9, 1874. The Profile & Franconia Notch Railroad, a passenger railroad incorporated on July 11, 1878, and in operation from 1879-1921, serviced only the Profile House in Franconia Notch. And one of the last logging railroads to operate in the White Mountains was incorporated on July 2, 1875 – the Sawyer River Railroad.

June history, Zealand Notch from along the Appalachian Trail (Ethan Pond Trail) in the New Hampshire White Mountains during the summer months.
Zealand Notch – Ethan Pond Trail, White Mountains

The Zealand Valley Railroad opened for business in February 1886. However, it was originally incorporated as the New Zealand River Railroad on July 18, 1878. Including sidings and spur lines, the railroad was 13-15 miles long, more or less; it traveled from the now gone village of Zealand (located along today’s Route 302 in Carrol) to Zealand Notch and beyond. The scenic Zealand Trail and Ethan Pond Trail utilize the old railroad bed.

Flat Mountain Ponds in the Sandwich Range Wilderness of Waterville Valley, New Hampshire during the autumn months.
Flat Mountain Ponds – Sandwich Range Wilderness, New Hampshire

During the railroad logging era, forest fires were a major concern. The logging slash left behind from poor logging practices fueled many fires. And during a stretch of dry weather in July 1923, an estimated 3,500 acres burned along the Beebe River Railroad: the Flat Mountain fire. The fire destroyed both logging Camps 11 and 12. Railroad operations likely caused the fire, and blame was placed on the Woodstock Lumber Company. This was the last major fire in the White Mountains.

Crash site of the Maine Central Railroad Engine 505 on July 3, 1927 along the Maine Central Railroad in Crawford Notch of the New Hampshire White Mountains. Oscar W. Clemons and Robert B. Morse, who were operating locomotive 505, lost their lives during the explosion.
Maine Central Railroad Engine 505 Explosion Site – Crawford Notch

Maine Central Railroad’s Engine 505 exploded along the railroad right-of-way in Crawford Notch on July 3, 1927. Oscar W. Clemons and Robert B. Morse were operating locomotive 505 and lost their lives during the explosion.

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

Happy image making..


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Donovan, Erin Paul. “Presidential Range, Random History.” ScenicNH Photography LLC, 30 Jul 2019, https://www.scenicnh.com/blog/2019/07/presidential-range-history/.

Donovan, Erin Paul. “Sawyer River Railroad, New Hampshire.” ScenicNH Photography LLC, 22 Feb 2010, https://www.scenicnh.com/blog/2010/02/sawyer-river-railroad-livermore-nh/.

Donovan, Erin Paul. “Beebe River Railroad, New Hampshire.” ScenicNH Photography LLC, 19 Apr 2018, https://www.scenicnh.com/blog/2018/04/beebe-river-railroad/.

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