Swift River Valley – White Mountains, New Hampshire
Swift River Railroad, New Hampshire – The Swift River Railroad was a logging railroad in the Swift River valley of the New Hampshire White Mountains. It was operated by the Conway Company and was in operation from 1906-1916. The railroad began in Conway, at the Conway Company’s sawmill, and traveled up the Swift River valley following the Swift River and much of today’s Kancamagus Scenic Byway. It ended somewhere beyond Pine Bend Brook, below Mount Kancamagus.
It is hard to envision the Swift River valley (above) stripped of its timber. But for ten years, this area was heavily logged which is only a part of the history surrounding this valley. To absorb all the history of this valley in one blog article may be overwhelming so I will briefly touch base on two other interesting features of this area.
Mad River Log Drive – Waterville, New Hampshire
Historic Logging Camps, White Mountains – Most of this summer season I have been documenting history and culture subjects in the New Hampshire White Mountains. The last few blog articles have been historical in nature so today I am going to continue with this theme and introduce you to the late nineteenth and twentieth century camps of White Mountains logging era.
Some consider the artifacts that remain on National Forest land to be nothing more than junk. But I see them as a window to the past that allows us to, to some extent, see what life was like for the men who worked and lived in the forests of the White Mountains during the twentieth century.
J.E. Henry Burial Site (1831 – 1912) – Glenwood Cemetery, Littleton
James Everell Henry (1831 – April 18, 1912) – James E. Henry died at his home on April 18, 1912. He was a 19th and 20th century timber baron best known for his logging practices and building of the Zealand Valley and East Branch & Lincoln Railroads (1893-1948) in the New Hampshire White Mountains. He forever changed the landscape of the White Mountains with his "cut it all" logging practices.
Sawyer River – Livermore, New Hampshire
Sawyer River Railroad, New Hampshire – In 1875, the State Legislature approved an act to Incorporate the Sawyer River Railroad. Operated by the Daniel Saunders Family, the Sawyer River Railroad was a ten-mile long logging railroad in the New Hampshire White Mountains town of Livermore. It was in operation from 1877-1928 and was one of the last logging railroads to operate in New Hampshire.
The railroad began along the Portland & Ogdensburg Railroad at Sawyer River Station, near Forth Iron Bridge, in Hart's Location. And it traveled up into the Sawyer River Valley and into the upper end of the Swift River drainage in Livermore. Like most of the abandoned railroads in New England, the Sawyer River Railroad is rich with history.