Glen House History
There have been four hotels known as the Glen House; the last one burned in 1967.
In 1851, the Grand Trunk Railway was completed from Portland, Maine to Gorham, NH. Tourist traffic increased dramatically.
In 1851, John Bellows began to re-model a farmhouse into a hotel on the site of what would become the Glen House. Although his building was not completed, he did take in some tourists that season. In April, 1852 Bellows sold the building to J. M. Thompson who changed the name to Glen House and continued to build. He had twenty or thirty rooms ready for that season and by 1853 had completed work. In the 1865-66 season Thompson expanded the hotel.
Sheet Music Douglas Philbrook Collection
Thompson died accidentally in 1869, trying to reduce damage at his saw mill during a heavy rain storm. In an odd footnote to history, his body was recovered by Albert Bierstadt, the soon-to-be famous landscape painter. Bierstadt was a frequent guest at the Glen House. After Thompson's death, the Glen House was taken over by the Milliken brothers.
Just at the end of the 1884 season, the hotel was completely destroyed by fire. It was rebuilt, on a much grander scale, and partially re-opened for the 1885 season. Work continued and the new building was completed in 1887.
It was to have a short life, again being completely destroyed by fire in 1893. It was not rebuilt.
However, the property was sold to the Libby family of Gorham. They remodeled the building that had been the help's quarters prior to the fire, and re-opened it as a small 40 room hotel. This building was also eventually destroyed by fire.
Haying at the Glen House, c.1865 Douglas Philbrook Collection
Photos of the Glen House
The best reference for the Grand Hotels is "The Grand Resort Hotels of the White Mountains" by Bryant Tolles.
Harder to find is "The Glen House Book" by Charles Milliken. This book was published by the hotel, in 1889.