Posts Categorized: White Mountains History



Crawford House, Gibbs Brook Dam

Crawford House c. 1906 in the New Hampshire White Mountains by the Detroit Publishing Company. Courtesy Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, Detroit Publishing Company Collection,[LC-DIG-det-4a13669].
c. 1906 Crawford House – Courtesy Library of Congress, LC-DIG-det-4a13669
 

Crawford House, Gibbs Brook Dam If you are familiar with New Hampshire’s forgotten grand resorts, then you know the historic Crawford House in Carroll. Abel Crawford and his son, Ethan Allen built the first Crawford House, known as the Notch House, in 1828. Fire would destroy the Notch House in 1854. A second Crawford House was built and destroyed by fire in 1859. And the third Crawford House, seen above in 1906, was built in 1859. It burned to the ground in November 1977.

Numerous improvements were made to the Crawford House over the years. And at one point Saco Lake was enlarged and deepened (M.F. Sweetser’s 1876 White Mountains: a handbook for travellers guide). The resort was known worldwide, and notable guests include Daniel Webster, Henry David Thoreau, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Thomas Starr King, and a few presidents.

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EB&L Railroad, Narrow Gauge Line

This map shows the general layout of the East Branch & Lincoln Railroad’s “Narrow Gauge”. The EB&L Railroad was a standard gauge railroad, but in 1901 J.E. Henry and Sons attempted to use a narrow gauge line at Camp 8 to harvest timber from the slopes of Whaleback Mountain. This roughly 1.25 mile +/- long line,  consisting of a series of switchbacks, traveled into the Osseo Brook drainage. It lasted only for a few years and was discontinued after a brakeman was killed when a loaded log car ran out control down the track.
1900s EB&L Narrow Gauge Railroad – Courtesy of the Upper Pemigewasset Historical Society
 

EB&L Railroad, Narrow Gauge Line – In operation from 1893-1948, the East Branch & Lincoln (EB&L) was a standard gauge railroad. But in 1901 J.E. Henry and Sons attempted to use a narrow gauge railroad to harvest timber from the Whaleback Mountain (Mt Osseo) area. With the exception of a May 1902 article by Albert W. Cooper and T.S. Woolsey, Jr. in Forestry & Irrigation little is known about this short-lived railroad. There are only a few photos (above) of the railroad, and over the years the actual location has been in question.

The difference between standard gauge and narrow gauge railroads is the spacing between the rails. The spacing on standard gauge railroads is 4 feet 8 1⁄2 inches, while the spacing on narrow gauge railroads is 3 feet 6 inches (this can range some). Narrow gauge railroads usually cost less to build and operate, but the major drawback is they can't handle heavy loads. The logging railroads in the White Mountains preferred the heavy standard gauge lines for hauling timber.

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Village of Wildwood, New Hampshire

Site of the Wildwood settlement along Route 112 in the town of Easton, New Hampshire. Wildwood was a logging settlement during the 20th century along the Wild Ammonoosuc River. The first Civilian Conservation Corps camp authorized in New Hampshire was also located at Wildwood.
Wildwood – Easton, New Hampshire
 

Village of Wildwood, New Hampshire – When it comes to the abandoned villages in New Hampshire, the logging village of Livermore is often included in the conversation. But the story of the lesser known village of Wildwood is a fascinating piece of White Mountains history. The area known as Wildwood is located along the Wild Ammonoosuc River in the general area of the junction of Route 112 and Tunnel Brook Road in Easton, New Hampshire. Today’s Route 112 travels through Wildwood.

Easton was incorporated into a separate township by an act passed in July 1876. The section of Easton known as Wildwood was once part of Landaff and before that part of Lincoln. And the scenic Wild Ammonoosuc River, known for the early log drives done on it, flows through Easton.

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Beebe River Railroad, New Hampshire

Beebe River Railroad country - Reflection of autumn foliage in Kiah Pond in Sandwich, New Hampshire on a cloudy autumn day.
Kiah Pond – Beebe River Railroad Country
 

Beebe River Railroad, New Hampshire – In January 1917, the Publishers Paper Company sold the Beebe River land tract (around 22,000 acres) to the Parker-Young Company. And in March 1917, the New Hampshire legislature approved the incorporation of the Beebe River Railroad. Also in the same year, the Woodstock Lumber Company, an affiliate of Parker-Young, built the Beebe River sawmill and mill village in Campton.

From 1917-1924, the Woodstock Lumber Company and Parker-Young operated the mill and railroad. Including sidings and spur lines, the railroad was roughly 25-miles long. It began off the Boston & Maine Railroad in Campton, followed the Beebe River drainage up into Sandwich, and ended near logging Camp 12 at the base of Mount Whiteface in Waterville. Some of the spruce harvested by this railroad was used in the manufacturing of airplanes during World War 1.

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Forgotten Lincoln, New Hampshire

RiverWalk Resort at Loon Mountain in Lincoln, New Hampshire during the autumn months. This resort occupies the site of the old mill complex that J.E Henry and Sons built in the early 1900s.
RiverWalk Resort – Village of Lincoln, New Hampshire
 

Forgotten Lincoln, New Hampshire – On January 31, 1764, Governor Benning Wentworth granted 24,000 acres of land to James Avery of Connecticut and others. Avery was also granted the town of Landaff on the same day. None of the grantees lived in Lincoln, and it is likely that they never visited the township. Lincoln was named after Henry Fiennes Pelham-Clinton, 2nd Duke of Newcastle, 9th Earl of Lincoln.

Per the charter, the grantees failed to settle the town in time. And in 1772 the Governor declared the Lincoln charter a forfeit and re-granted Lincoln, along with most of Franconia, to Sir Francis Bernard and others. The name of the new township was Morristown in honor of Corbin Morris, one of the grantees.

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Forgotten Woodstock, New Hampshire

Mirror Lake in New Hampshire during the summer months.
Mirror Lake – Woodstock, New Hampshire
 

Forgotten Woodstock, New Hampshire – Chartered in September 1763 by Governor Benning Wentworth, the town of Woodstock was first incorporated as Peeling. The charter, consisting of 25,000 acres, was granted to Eli Demerit and others and was divided into ninety-eight equal shares. In 1771, the land was regranted to Nathaniel Cushman and others and divided into seventy equal shares and renamed Fairfield. Then in 1773, it was regranted as Peeling back to some of the original proprietors. The name was changed to Woodstock in 1840.

Today the mountainous landscape of Woodstock is picture perfect. And the village of North Woodstock gets so much recognition that you would think North Woodstock received its own charter. But it didn’t and is part of the Woodstock charter. Much of the town's history is well known, but some of it has been forgotten. And this blog article focuses on a few of the forgotten historical features of Woodstock.

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1907 Owl’s Head Mountain Fire

Storm (rain) clouds engulf Owls Head Mountain from the summit of Bondlcliff Mountain in the Pemigewasset Wilderness of New Hampshire during the summer months. Hellgate Ravine is in the foreground.
Storm Clouds over Owl's Mountain Head from Bondcliff, New Hampshire
 

1907 Owl's Head Mountain Fire, White Mountains – During the late 1800s and early 1900s, logging activities from railroad logging contributed to a number of forest fires in the New Hampshire White Mountains. Sparks from locomotives were responsible for starting fires along the railroads. And the logging slash (unwanted part of the tree left behind after an area is logged) left on the mountainsides fueled the forest fires.

The infamous 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. The included color photographs show the general area of where the forest fire took place.

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