East Branch of the Pemigewasset River – White Mountains, New Hampshire
May History, White Mountains – Throughout the years, a number of historical events in the White Mountains happened in May. One event that took place over one hundred years ago still benefits us today, and New Hampshire lost an icon during this month in 2003. Included here are a few interesting May events.
The most significant event took place on May 16, 1918. On this day, President Woodrow Wilson signed Executive Order 1449 creating the White Mountain National Forest in Maine and New Hampshire. Consisting of nearly 800,000 acres, the White Mountain National Forest attracts millions of visitors every year.
Ripley Falls – Crawford Notch, New Hampshire
Ripley Falls, Crawford Notch – Located on Avalanche Brook in Crawford Notch, New Hampshire, the 100 foot Ripley Falls is one of the more picturesque waterfalls in the White Mountains. The Arethusa-Ripley Falls Trail passes by this waterfall. And while the waterfall is impressive, the history of Ripley Falls and Avalanche Brook is intriguing.
There seems to be some confusion on who first discovered Ripley Falls. Most accounts say Henry W. Ripley and a Mr. Porter first discovered the waterfall in September 1858. But other accounts say a fisherman found the waterfall before Ripley. And another account says Henry W. Ripley was a companion of the legendary Abel Crawford (1766–1851), who discovered the waterfall while out trapping sable.
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.
Mt. Willard Section House Site – Maine Central Railroad, Crawford Notch
Mt Willard Section House Vandalism – In April 2016 the Conway Scenic Railroad, on their Facebook page, posted that the Evan’s family monument at the Mt Willard Section House site had been recently vandalized. I visited the section house site last month and was disappointed to see the vandalism. The monument looks to be permanently damaged.
The Mt. Willard Section House site is located along the old Maine Central Railroad in New Hampshire, next to the historic Willey Brook Trestle, in Crawford Notch. Since 1995 the Conway Scenic Railroad, which provides passenger excursion trains, has been using the track.
Kedron Flume – Crawford Notch State Park, New Hampshire
Kedron Flume, Crawford Notch State Park – Kedron Flume is located on Kedron Brook in Hart's Location, New Hampshire. The flume can be reached by parking at the hiking parking lot along Route 302, next to the Willey House, in Crawford Notch State Park. From the parking lot hike the Kedron Flume Trail (starts behind the Willey House) for three quarters of a mile until you reach Kedron Brook.
Just above and below where Kedron Flume Trail crosses Kedron Brook is where most consider the flume to be. The cascade just below the trail crossing, I find to be the most interesting. And during spring snow-melt it looks awesome! Waterfall buffs and photographers will also find the flume interesting after heavy rains.