August History, White Mountains

August history, Willey Boulders in Crawford Notch State Park in Hart’s Location, New Hampshire. These boulders saved the Willey House from destruction on August 28, 1826 when a massive landslide came down Mount Willey.
Willey Boulders – Crawford Notch, New Hampshire

August History, White Mountains – When it comes to White Mountains history, some interesting events happened during August. Landslides in 1885 changed the landscape of Mount Tripyramid, fire destroyed Woodstock Lumber Company’s huge mill complex in 1913, and a grand resort (Profile House) burned down in 1923. But this is just the beginning. Included here are a few more interesting events.

On August 28, 1826, the "Willey Boulders" in Crawford Notch saved the Willey House from destruction when a massive landslide came down Mount Willey. These boulders located just above the house caused the landslide to split into two debris flows around the house. The house was said to be untouched, but all seven members of the family and two hired men perished in the slide while trying to escape to a safe area.

August history, railroad crossing along the old Boston and Maine Railroad near Fabyan's in Carroll, New Hampshire.
Fabyan's – Bretton Woods, New Hampshire

The Portland & Ogdensburg Railroad reached Bartlett by 1873, and the track from Bartlett to Notchland in Hart's Location opened on August 31, 1874. Then in the following year, the Maine Central Railroad (successor to Portland & Ogdensburg Railroad) completed the railroad to Fabyan’s. The first train arrived at Fabyan’s on August 7, 1875.

Rock cairns along the Appalachian Trail (Beaver Brook Trail) near the summit of Mount Moosilauke in the New Hampshire White Mountains.
Mount Moosilauke – Benton, New Hampshire

An act to incorporate the Moosilauke Railroad Company was approved on August 14, 1889. It was going to begin off the Boston, Concord & Montreal Railroad in the town of Warren or Benton and travel to the top of Mount Moosilauke. From the summit, it was going to be extended down to Woodstock to connect with Boston & Maine Railroad’s Pemigewasset Valley Railroad. It never happened.

2014 Lincoln - Woodstock 4th of July parade in Lincoln, New Hampshire.
Lincoln – Woodstock 4th of July Parade – Lincoln, New Hampshire

In August 1892, James Everell Henry moved his logging operation from Zealand to Lincoln. He quickly transformed this struggling wilderness town into a thriving mill town and built the grandest logging railroad New England has ever seen – the East Branch & Lincoln Railroad.

1907 Owls Head Fire
U.S. Forest Service photograph, courtesy of the Upper Pemigewasset Historical Society.

The August 1907 Owl’s Head Mountain fire in the Pemigewasset Wilderness was started by a lightning strike on the eastern side of Owl’s Head in an area that had been previously logged by J.E. Henry and Sons. Logging slash (unwanted part of the tree left behind after an area is logged) left on the mountainsides fueled the forest fire. It burned for days, and the smoke could be seen from miles away. An estimated 10,610 acres of forest burned in the area surrounding Owl's Head. The above 1907 photograph shows the fire from the East Branch & Lincoln Railroad's Camp 13. This camp was located at the end of the Franconia Brook Branch of the railroad.

Mount Washington in the Presidential Range from along the Six Husbands Trail in Thompson and Meserve's Purchase, New Hampshire.
Mount Washington – Six Husbands Trail, Thompson and Meserve's Purchase

The original Six Husbands Trail was completed in August 1910. Cut in 1909 and 1910 by AMC Trail-builder Warren W. Hart and a volunteer AMC trail crew, the Six Husbands Trail was originally about 4.85 miles long. It began on the Tuckerman Ravine Trail, traveled across the alpine garden, crossed the Mount Washington auto road near mile marker six, descended into the Great Gulf, ascended the rocky ridge known as Jefferson’s knee, crossed the Gulfside Trail (Appalachian Trail), and ended on the summit of Mount Jefferson. From 1908-1910, Hart was AMC’s councilor of improvements, and he oversaw the building of 9 trails in the Great Gulf. He thought trails should be all about adventure, and was known for building rugged trails.

Memorial to J.R. Edmands and E.B. Cook and those other pioneer pathmakers along the Link Trail in Randolph, New Hampshire.
Pioneer Pathmakers Memorial – Randolph, New Hampshire

Built 1923-1924, Memorial Bridge crosses Cold Brook along “The Link” trail in Randolph. The bridge was dedicated as a memorial to Randolph's early pathmakers (19th-century trail-builders) on August 23, 1924. Responsible for cutting many of the trails in the Northern Presidential Range, these legendary pathmakers include Eugene B. Cook, J. Rayner Edmands, James Gordon, Hubbard Hunt, Charles E. Lowe, William G. Nowell, William H. Peek, George Sargent, and Laban Watson.

Side view of a decaying timber bridge along the abandoned Boston and Maine Railroad’s Mt Washington Branch (between Fabyans and the base of the Cog) in the White Mountains, New Hampshire.
Mt Washington Branch Extension – Boston & Maine Railroad, New Hampshire

Built by the Boston, Concord & Montreal Railroad, the thirteen and a half mile long Mt Washington Branch was completed in 1874. This branch began at Wing Road in Bethlehem and ended just east of Fabyan’s in Bretton Woods. At the time, there was growing interest in the Mount Washington Cog Railway, so the railroad added a roughly six and a half-mile long extension from Fabyan’s to the base of the Cog Railway in 1876. The railroad would be leased to the Boston & Maine Railroad in 1895. And the last passenger trains to the Base Station ran on August 31, 1931.

Aftermath of flash flood along the East Branch of the Pemigewasset River in Lincoln, New Hampshire from Tropical Storm Irene in 2011.
Aftermath of Tropical Storm Irene in 2011 – East Branch of the Pemigewasset River

From 6PM Saturday, August 27, 2011, through midnight Monday, August 29, 2011, the White Mountain National Forest was closed because of Tropical Storm Irene. This tropical storm caused massive damage along the East Coast of the United States and the White Mountain National Forest was officially closed during the storm.

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. “Forgotten Lincoln.” ScenicNH Photography LLC, 25 Feb 2018,

Donovan, Erin Paul. “1907 Owl’s Head Mountain Fire .” ScenicNH Photography LLC, 30 Sept 2017,

Donovan, Erin Paul. “Six Husbands Trail, Presidential Range .” ScenicNH Photography LLC, 25 Aug 2019,

Donovan, Erin Paul. “Memorial Bridge, Randolph.” ScenicNH Photography LLC, 29 Feb 2020,

Donovan, Erin Paul. “Tropical Storm Irene, White Mountains.” ScenicNH Photography LLC, 31 Aug 2011,

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