History of The White Mountains --- Set 02

Bob Jensen at Trinity University 

This is a continuation of the History of the White Mountains --- Set 01

Also see my Mt. Washington Cog Railroad Photographic Special: 
Part 1 (History)

My son Marshall snapped this shot we were going up Mt. Washington on the Cog Railroad

Historical Markers --- http://whitemountainhistory.org/Historical_Markers.php

The New Hampshire Division of Historical Resources has placed over forty markers in the White Mountain Region. They cover a wide variety of subjects and present an interesting overview of people and events within the region. A wide time range is covered.

Photos of the markers by Dave Govatski and Rick Russack

Click on any marker to see a larger image.


I photographed this marker near the top of Mt. Washington

Looking down from Mt. Washington at the Breton Woods Ski Trails

Piles of stones like the one below mark the Appalachian trail above the tree line


Shrouded Memories: True Stories from the White Mountains of New Hampshire
Paperback by Floyd W. Ramsey (Author)
ISBN-13: 9781931271059
Publisher: Bondcliff Books
Publication date: 7/1/2002

The New Hampshire Shopper --- http://www.nhliving.com/newspapers/whitemountainshopper/
Note the Column of Links on the Left Side of the Page


NH North CountryNorth Woods
NH White Mountain RegionWhite Mountain
NH Lakes RegionLakes Region
NH Dartmouth Lake Sunapee RegionDartmouth-Sunapee
NH Merrimack ValleyMerrimack Valley
NH SeacoastSeacoast

Tourism and Hotels --- http://whitemountainhistory.org/Tourism.html

Before hotels were built in the White Mountains, travelers were served by taverns, which in the early days could have been quite primitive.  Prior to about 1820, these early taverns catered to commercial traffic, mostly teamsters and farmers transporting excess produce to seaport towns and returning with imported goods that were not available locally.  This traffic was substantial.  The taverns tended to be along the rivers at ferry crossings, at road intersections and every few miles along the roads and turnpikes as they developed.  Early travel journals are filled with references to these taverns-complimentary about some and quite negative about others.

As travel increased, many of the taverns expanded into hotels and as transportation improved, and as tourists began to visit the region, many of the hotels grew into the Grand Hotels.  In several instances, businessmen, railroads and corporations built hotels unrelated to earlier taverns, to accommodate travelers.  Some of the early tavern keepers were the first guides, escorting visitors to the mountains as early as 1819.

The links at the left will take you to pages that include the history of particular taverns and hotels as well  as photo albums that document the buildings, the grounds, and changes over time.

Suggested Reading:
The definitive book is Grand Resort Hotels of the White Mountains by Bryant Tolles.

For details on the early taverns:
On the Road North of Boston by Donna Belle and James Garvin

For an informative article from
Outlook Magazine, click below:
The Grand Hotels, The Glory and the Conflagration
by Randall Spaulding



Balsams Grand Resort
Closed for Major Renovations from 2013-2015 or later

The Balsams Grand Resort Hotel --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Balsams_Grand_Resort_Hotel

The Balsams Grand Resort Hotel is a grand hotel and ski resort located in Dixville Notch in New Hampshire, United States. The hotel covers 15,000 acres (61 km2) and features 95 kilometers of cross-country ski trails, an alpine ski area with 16 trails, five glade areas and a terrain park. There is also a 9-hole golf course and an 18-hole championship course called "Panorama" which was designed by Donald Ross. The Balsams is currently closed for renovations after being purchased by new owners for $2.3 million in December 2011.

Located along the old Coös Trail (now Route 26) through Dixville Notch, it first opened just after the Civil War as the Dix House, a 25-room summer inn established by George Parsons. In 1895, it was purchased by Henry S. Hale, a Philadelphia inventor and industrialist who had been a regular guest. He renamed it The Balsams, and over time enlarged and augmented the facilities. In 1918, Hale completed the Hampshire House, the towering wing which doubled the resort's capacity to 400 guests.

The Ballot Room of The Balsams is where Dixville Notch's presidential primary votes are cast just after midnight on the day of the New Hampshire primaries. These votes cast by Dixville Notch residents are among the first to be cast, counted, and reported national.


Mt. Washington as viewed from my desk (zoomed)


Mt. Washington Hotel and Resort


Mount Washington Hotel --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Washington_Hotel

. . .

The hotel was constructed at a cost of $1.7 million ($44.6 million in 2012 dollars) by Joseph Stickney, a native of Waltham, Massachusetts, who had made a fortune before the age of 30 as a coal broker in Pennsylvania. In 1881 Stickney and his partner, John N. Conyngham, had purchased the Mount Pleasant Hotel nearby from lumberman John T.G. Leavitt, a large early hotel that was later demolished.[5] Subsequently, Stickney began work on his Mount Washington Hotel. He brought in 250 Italian artisans to build it, particularly the granite and stucco masonry. Construction started in 1900 on the Y-shaped hotel, which opened on July 28, 1902. At the opening ceremony, Stickney told the audience: "Look at me, gentlemen ... for I am the poor fool who built all this!" Within a year he was dead at the age of 64.

His wife, Carolyn Stickney, summered at the hotel for the next decade, adding the Sun Dining Room with guest rooms above, the fourth floor between the towers, and the chapel honoring her late husband. Under its capable first manager, John Anderson, the hotel was a success. But the advent of income tax, Prohibition, and the Great Depression curtailed the hospitality business. In 1936, Mrs. Stickney's nephew, Foster Reynolds, inherited the hotel, which closed in 1942 because of World War II. A Boston syndicate bought the extensive property for about $450,000 In 1944. The Bretton Woods monetary conference took place that year, establishing the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. The owners were paid $300,000 for the loss of business and promised a daily room charge of $18 per person for the 19-day conference.[6]

The Mount Washington Hotel and Resort is one of the last surviving grand hotels in the White Mountains, and includes an 18-hole Donald Ross-designed golf course, as well as a 9-hole course on its facilities.

It was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1986.[2][7]

The hotel opened for its first winter season in 1999. Before that year the hotel would close to guests late in the fall and open in the spring. The entire hotel was overhauled before the winter, with efficient windows installed in the entire hotel.

In January 2009 the Mount Washington Resort completed a 50,000 square feet (4,600 m2) addition that includes a 25,000-square-foot (2,300 m2) spa and a 25,000-square-foot (2,300 m2) conference center.

In November 2010 it was revealed that CNL is seeking to trademark the Mount Washington name. CNL said they were just directing their efforts against other hotels in the area that have the mountain's name and not other businesses that also have it.[8][9]

Continued in article

Fire on the Summit of Mt. Washington in 1908 --- http://whitemountainhistory.org/Fire_On_Mt.html

On the night of Thursday June 18, 1908 all the buildings at the Summit of Mt. Washington, with the exception of the original Tip Top house, were destroyed by fire. The damage was extensive: the Summit House Hotel, the printing office and press of “Among The Clouds”, the cottage, the stage office, the Signal Station, the train shed and a portion of Cog Railway track, were destroyed. It would be seven years before a new Summit House would be built.

The exact cause of the fire was never determined. Railroad crews had been working that day, getting the buildings ready for the first day of the season, June 29. It was a bright, sunny day, and the work crew descended the mountain by train at about 4:45. All was in order. Shortly before the workmen left, a group of young hikers from Berlin arrived, planning to spend the night in the Stage office.

Apparently, the fire was first noticed by the hikers, one of whom later said that they had seen flames coming from a window of the hotel. They entered the hotel but were unable to put out the fire. They were unable to call down to the Base Station, as the telephone had been disconnected and four of the hikers started down the carriage road to alert men at the Glen House.

Because of the placement of the Base Station, the railroad employees were not able to see the summit, and did not know of the danger. The first word of the fire was relayed from the nearby Fabyan House. A number of people at the hotel, staff and guests, saw the glow on the mountain but assumed it to be sunlight. The hotel clerk saw the flickering of the light and understood the situation. He called Colonel Baron, manager of the hotel and he called the Base Station. Superintendent Horne, in charge of the work crew, had a train made ready and a crew went up the mountain. As they approached the Gulf tank, the men saw the hotel almost consumed by flames and realized they could not take the train to the summit. They left the train near that point and when they arrived at the summit, they saw the roof of the hotel was already gone and the fire was spreading. The train shed had been destroyed, the stage office had fallen in, and the “Among The Clouds” building was burning. Shortly after they arrived, the Signal Station caught fire from embers from the train shed. The crew from the Base Station could do nothing but watch as the fire progressed. When the flames were seen from the Glen House, a crew started up the carriage road and met the four young hikers who were coming down to try to get help. But nothing could be done. By midnight the fire had burned itself out. All that remained were the old, unused, Tip Top house and two stables, which were located below the summit.

Continued in article

Early Movies on Mt. Washington 1904 and 1905 --- http://whitemountainhistory.org/Early_Movies.html

Thomas Edison began producing movies in 1894. In 1895, one of his employees left and with others, formed the American Mutoscope Company. A few years later, the company changed its name to the American Mutoscope and Biograph Company, or the Biograph Company, as it was commonly called. Interestingly, at least three of the early Biograph movies were shot on Mt. Washington, or nearby.

The earliest of the three, a short film by the Biograph Company, of the Fabyan House coach at the summit of Mt. Washington, apparently no longer exists, or if it does, its location is unknown. It’s existence is known only from articles about it in “Among The Clouds”. However, copies of the other two exist and are presented here for your enjoyment.

“Automobiling Among the Clouds”, showing the first auto race up Mt. Washington, was produced by the Biograph Company in 1904. The race, known as “Climb to the Clouds” was one of the earliest auto races in this country. It took just slightly over 24 minutes for the winner, Harry Harkness, driving a Mercedes, to reach the Summit and claim the trophy. (In 1998, the record was set at 6 minutes and 42 seconds.)

 Click here to see the entire 5 1/2 minute movie
 Click here for Road Map of the Tour
 The second film records participants in the first Glidden  Tour departing the Mt. Washington Hotel in July, 1905.  Thirty-three contestants departed from New York and three days later arrived at Bretton Woods and the Mt. Washington Hotel.  Most participated in that year’s “Climb to the Clouds”.  The Manchester Union was strongly opposed to the event, and wrote as follows:  “To our mind, the whole thing has been an almost entirely unmitigated nuisance. The lives and property of perfectly harmless people have been seriously menaced; the laws willfully disregarded; and for no earthly reason rather than to afford amusement to a lot of strangers. There seems no reason at all why the people of the community should be subjected to such things.

Take for instance the record of the run from Concord to Nashua -- 18 miles in 40 minutes! Have they the right to do such a thing? Take a list of accidents they caused: an old man thrown out of his wagon and his arm injured, while his horse ran away and smashed the wagon and harness to bits; a collision with a lumber wagon and the driver of the automobile hurt; a horse and a mowing machine badly frightened and cut up. All these things without redress offered or obtained from the man who owns the machine. The newspaper went on to suggest that if the drivers returned to New Hampshire the following years, perhaps the speeders should spend a few days in jail.

 Click here to see the entire 8 minute movie

Continued in article


Nordic Village Resort

Early  Cabins and Tourist Camps --- http://vimeo.com/19504588

Fabyan House With photo album

        Glen House  With photo album

        Metallak Hotel  A Grand Hotel to be but it blew down before it was completed.  

Mt. Pleasant Hotel  With photo album

        Mt. Washington Hotel  With photo album

Profile House With Photo Album 



Mountain View Grand Hotel
I took this photograph on a cold July 4, 2011 when we spent two nights at this nearby hotel

Mountain View House --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mountain_View_Grand_Resort_and_Spa

. . .

After the Civil War, tourism became popular in the White Mountains, especially with the arrival of the railroad. In 1865, William and Mary Dodge first accepted boarders into their home. By 1866, the couple officially opened an inn called the Mountain View House. Over the years, several additions were built, which by 1884 could accommodate over 100 guests. The facilities were greatly enlarged to accommodate over 200 guests in 1911 and 1912, when the iconic belvedere tower was added to the facade.

As an established member of the elite White Mountain resorts, the Dodges continued to expand and improve "The View", as it was called, including nearly doubling the hotel capacity to 300 beds and seating for 450 in the dining hall. Sports and conference facilities were added, and the real estate was expanded to over 3,000 acres (1,200 ha).

The property remained in the family until it was sold in 1979, giving rise to the claim of being "the oldest resort in the US to be owned and operate by the same family living on the same property."

But the new owners proved unsuccessful; it closed in 1986 after 122 seasons and went into foreclosure, with the furnishings auctioned by the bank in 1989.

Attitash Mountain Village and Ski Resort

White Mountain Hotel

Sunset Hill House Hotel just down the road from our cottage

Old Sunset Hill House Resort (mostly torn down in 1973)

Sunset Hill Hotel Resort History Set 01 ---

After the Sunset Hill Hotel Resort was nearly all demolished in 1973, our cottage (before it was ours)
was moved in 1977 from the golf course across a tennis court and up to where the former hotel site.
I show pictures of the preparation work prior to the moving the cottage and its four fireplaces

Next I show pictures of the move to the new site

Next I show the pictures of a 1980 spectacular fire on one of the remaining three cottages


Eastern Slope Inn

North Conway Grand Hotel

Mountain Club on Loon and Ski Resort

Lodge at Jackson Village

Stonehurst Manor


Erika in the Front Lawn of Our Cottage

A winter shot from behind an overgrown indoor plant we later had to haul off

Will Summer 2014 ever arrive?

I had to lay window screens over our rock garden because
deer are returning every day to nose under the snow
and eat our sleeping phlox beds

The phlox may look beat up in Spring 2014

Making snow on Cannon Mountain where I can see them skiing if I use binoculars


Sunrise Behind Mt. Garfield



Set 1 photographs of hotels near our cottage ---

Photographs of the Trapp Family and Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe, Vermont



Set 1 --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Tidbits/Mountains/Set01/MountainsSet01.htm   

Set 2 --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/Tidbits/Mountains/Set02/MountainsSet02.htm    
              This set includes White Mountain hiking trail photographs

Bob Jensen's Favorite Pictures of Mt. Lafayette 10 Miles Distant
With nine pages quoted from Bill Bryson's traumatic climb up Mt. Lafayette
A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson (Anchor Books, 2007)

History of the White Mountains --- Set 01

Mt. Washington Cog Railroad Photographic Special: 
Part 1 (History)


More of Bob Jensen's Pictures and Stories

WhiteMountainHistory.org --- http://whitemountainhistory.org/
Over 70 Historical Photographs --- http://photos.whitemountainhistory.org/AlbumHomeView.aspx

Blogs of White Mountain Hikers (many great photographs) ---

Especially note the archive of John Compton's blogs at the bottom of the page at

AMC White Mountain Guide:  Hiking Trails in the White Mountain National Forest ---

Find Hiking Trails --- http://www.traillink.com/?gclid=CPPLy8-wt7ECFYNx4AodR2QAsQ


On May 14, 2006 I retired from Trinity University after a long and wonderful career as an accounting professor in four universities. I was generously granted "Emeritus" status by the Trustees of Trinity University. My wife and I now live in a cottage in the White Mountains of New Hampshire ---

Bob Jensen's Blogs --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/JensenBlogs.htm
Current and past editions of my newsletter called New Bookmarks --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/bookurl.htm
Current and past editions of my newsletter called Tidbits --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/TidbitsDirectory.htm
Current and past editions of my newsletter called Fraud Updates --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/FraudUpdates.htm
Bob Jensen's past presentations and lectures --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/resume.htm#Presentations   

Our address is 190 Sunset Hill Road, Sugar Hill, New Hampshire
Our cottage was known as the Brayton Cottage in the early 1900s
Sunset Hill is a ridge overlooking with New Hampshire's White Mountains to the East
and Vermont's Green Mountains to the West


Bob Jensen's Threads --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/threads.htm

Bob Jensen's Home Page --- http://www.trinity.edu/rjensen/