Posts Categorized: White Mountains History



Random History, White Mountains

Mount Monroe with Mount Washington in the background from the Appalachian Trail (Crawford Path) in Sargent's Purchase, New Hampshire during the last days of summer.
Darby Field, First Ascent – Mount Washington, New Hampshire
 

Random History, White Mountains – My work as a photographer has allowed me to explore and document many historical sites in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. And it really has changed the way I view the White Mountains. It amazes me that Darby Field made the first ascent of Mount Washington in 1642. And farming settlements and grand resorts were scattered throughout the region in the 1800s.

With outdoor recreation at an all-time high in the White Mountains, it is important to create awareness for the region's history. The more history we outdoor enthusiasts know about an area, the more attached we become to the area. And because of this connection, it inspires us to get involved with conservation. And yes, there will always be some that feel the history is insignificant, but that is for another day. Today’s blog article consists of a few random tidbits of history.

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East Branch & Lincoln Railroad, Trestle 17

Trestle 17, East Branch & Lincoln Railroad- trestle No. 17 was located along the Upper Branch of the railroad in today's Pemigewasset Wilderness. It spanned the East Branch of the Pemigewasset River near the site of logging Camp 17.
South-facing View, Trestle 17 – Courtesy of the Upper Pemigewasset Historical Society
 

East Branch & Lincoln Railroad, Trestle 17 – Built in the early 1900s, probably 1906-1908 (one source states 1908) trestle 17 was located along the Upper East Branch of the East Branch & Lincoln Railroad in New Hampshire. It spanned the East Branch of the Pemigewasset River near the site of logging Camp 17. Camp 17 was on the south side of the trestle. This trestle is within today’s 45,000-acre Pemigewasset Wilderness.

A log landing and a short siding for the landing were located on the north side of the river in the area where a hiking trail formerly accessed the 180 foot suspension bridge. The above undated photograph shows loaded log cars on the trestle with the log landing in the foreground. And the cutover slopes of a spur of Mount Hancock can be seen in the background.

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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. In 1828 Abel Crawford and his son, Ethan Allen built the Notch House near Elephant’s Head. It was destroyed by fire in 1854. The first Crawford House was built in the 1850s and destroyed by fire in 1859. And the second Crawford House, seen above in 1906, was built in 1859. It burned to the ground in November 1977. The history of the Crawford House property is a little confusing because some historians refer to the Notch House as the “first Crawford House” while others do not.

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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