The White Mountains have many stories to tell and some of the most interesting concern the people and the characters who contributed to making the region what it is today.
Some of the names may not be familiar but their contributions are well known. We'll be presenting what we know about these men and hope that additional research will give them more recognition.
In some cases, what little has been written presents only one facet of a person's story. Many people associate the name Sylvester Marsh with building the Cog Railway, and this is correct. But Marsh also owned thousands of acres of land, he owned hotels, was President of the Company that built the Fabyan House, and more. The same is true of Samuel Bemis-truly a Renaissance Man.
We'll start with a short (very short) history of the Crawford family.
was the first inn-keeper in Crawford Notch and he helped build both the Tenth New Hampshire Turnpike
and the Jefferson Turnpike
But the list is extensive. Pictured at the top of this page is Dr. Samuel Bemis, a Boston dentist who began spending his summers at Abel Crawford's tavern in the 1830s and eventually wound up owning that and most of Crawford Notch. The unique granite mansion he built, known as Notchland, will, most likely, outlive all or most of us.
English Jack was one of the more colorful characters. He built his (also) unique home near the Crawford House and made his living entertaining tourists. He told stories of his life, and it's said, would swallow a snake if properly encouraged.
Henry Ward Beecher spent his summers at the Twin Mountain House, where it seems that he traded Sunday preaching for his room and board. He drew crowds estimated at up to 1,000 week after week, so it was probably a fair trade.
J.E. Henry built two towns and two logging railroads. His logging methods, his detractors say, helped to create the White Mountain National Forest. His is a true Horatio Alger story and the tales are numerous.
Joseph Seavey Hall built the first bridle path to the summit of Mt. Washington for the Crawfords. He helped the Carriage Road from Glen House to the summit and in 1851 he and L.M. Rosebrook built the Summit House. Little has been written about him.
Sylvanus Morgan built several of the Grand Hotels
The Barron family dominated hotel keeping in the late 19th century. Joseph Stickney built the Mt. Pleasant House and the Mt. Washington Hotel. Sylvester Marsh built the Cog Railway and the second Fabyan House.
The list is extensive. Please check back for the latest additions.