Lincoln Mill Era – Lincoln, New Hampshire
Abandoned Mills, White Mountains – During the 1800s and early 1900s, cut-up mills, grist mills, sawmills, and various other types of mills were found throughout New Hampshire. And because of the abundance of water in the White Mountains, there was no shortage of water-powered mills in the region. This blog article showcases a handful of the abandoned mills in the White Mountains.
Because most of these abandoned mills are within the White Mountain National Forest, keep in mind the removal of historical artifacts from federal lands without a permit is a violation of federal law. And you can’t dig for artifacts at historical sites which means metal detecting anywhere in the National Forest is asking for trouble. Take only pictures and leave these unique places the way you found them.
Russell-Colbath Homestead – Passaconaway, New Hampshire
Russell-Colbath House, Passaconaway – The Russell-Colbath House is a 19th-century historic house along the Kancamagus Highway in an area known as Passaconaway in Albany, New Hampshire. Albany was first chartered in 1766 under the name Burton and then renamed Albany in 1833. This old house holds the fascinating story of Ruth Priscilla Russell: the grand old lady of Passaconaway.
In the early 1800s, Austin George moved his family to Passaconaway. But tough times would force the George family to abandon the homestead and move to Bartlett in 1815. Their homestead was located just to the east of where the Russell-Colbath House now stands. What became of the George's dwellings is not completely clear. Because of its close proximity to the Russell dwelling and the George family connection, the Russell house is also referred to as the George House.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.