Protected Artifacts – Woodstock & Thornton Gore Railroad (1909-1914)
Picking Up Trash, White Mountains – During this covid pandemic, many hikers have been picking up trash along the trail system here in the White Mountains. And there also has been an increase in hiker organized clean-up days, which is awesome. The easiest way for hikers to “give back” is to pick up trash along the trails.
However, it’s not widely known that the trail system is a portal to the White Mountains' fascinating past. Many trails utilize old railroad beds, pass through abandoned farm settlements and logging camps, and are links to important historical sites. And because of this, historical artifacts are scattered along many of the trails.
Axe Head – Livermore, New Hampshire
Identifying Historical Artifacts, White Mountains – If you are picking up trash in the New Hampshire White Mountains during the current human impact issue, please educate yourself about historical artifacts and the laws that protect them. I now know of two instances where do-gooders picking up trash removed artifacts, thinking they were trash, from the White Mountain National Forest.
Many of the metal objects (horseshoes, metal strapping, railroad spikes, stoves, tins, etc.), glass bottles, trestle remains, and numerous other objects along the White Mountains trail system are protected artifacts. These artifacts should be left where you found them; they help tell the story of the early settlers, farming communities, and logging railroads that once were in the White Mountains. The included photos show some of the various artifacts you could come across while out hiking.
East Branch & Lincoln RR – Standing Utility Pole, Camp 17 Area
East Branch & Lincoln Railroad, Utility Poles – Telephone wires were strung from utility poles along the East Branch & Lincoln Railroad (1893-1948) to the numerous logging camps. In some areas along the railroad, side mounted wooden telephone peg holder pins nailed directly to trees were used in place of utility poles. Today, these utility poles are considered artifacts of the White Mountains logging era.
While this blog article focuses only on the abandoned East Branch & Lincoln Railroad, other logging railroads in the White Mountains used the same approach described above. And remnants of utility poles can still be found along some of the other railroads. However, as nature slowly reclaims the East Branch & Lincoln territory, standing utility poles are becoming a rarity.
Unidentified Artifact – East Branch & Lincoln Railroad (1893-1948)
Can You Identify These Artifacts – When documenting historic sites in the New Hampshire White Mountains one of the biggest challenges I face is trying to identify some of the artifacts I photograph. In the big picture of my historical work, identifying what the artifact is and its purpose is important. And because of this, I have to do an extensive amount of research on some artifacts.
So I want to share with you some of the artifacts I have come across that I have yet to identify. I suspect a few of you out there can identify these artifacts. And I would be thrilled if you would share your knowledge with me. I plan on adding a few more artifacts I have yet to identify to this blog article in the future.
Heritage Sign – Benton, New Hampshire
Preserve History, Don't Remove Artifacts – Here in New Hampshire, outdoor recreation is growing at an alarming rate. And there has been a surge of people exploring historical sites in the White Mountains. As a conservation photographer, I am obligated to create awareness for the laws that protect our American heritage. For historic preservation to be successful, it is imperative that we promote the protection of historic sites.
As you explore the abandoned cellar holes, farming communities, logging camps and other historic sites in the White Mountain National Forest, please keep in mind that the removal of historical or archaeological artifacts from federal lands without a permit is a violation of federal law. The destruction of artifacts and historic sites is also a crime. And keep in mind, you can’t dig at historical sites. So metal detecting anywhere in the White Mountain National Forest where there could be artifacts is risky business. See the links at the end of this article for the laws that protect these special places.
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.
Beebe River Logging Railroad – Harp Switch Stand
Harp Switch Stand, New Hampshire – Popular during the early days of railroading, the harp style switch stand was a manually operated railroad switch, which allowed trains to transfer to another section of track. This was accomplished by a railroad worker pushing or throwing the long bar (above).
During the railroad era, harp switch stands were used on many New Hampshire railroads, including the logging railroads. Most of the harp switch stands along the logging railroads were removed in the 1900s when the railroad track was picked up, but a handful of them were left deep in the backcountry of the White Mountains. Now considered historical artifacts these switches are a reminder of the land destruction that once took place in the White Mountains many years ago.