WhiteMountainHistory.org                
Telling the story of 200 years  of White Mountain History

                                 Water-Powered
                                     Print Shop

                                     Water Powered Print Shop at the

                               Omni  Mt. Washington Hotel

                                       by Rick Russack 

When the Mt. Washington Hotel opened in 1902, it included a water-powered print shop in a separate building.  The shop printed the “Bugle of Bretton Woods”, a newspaper distributed to guests of the Mt. Washington Hotel and the Mt. Pleasant House each day at breakfast. It also printed menus, golf scorecards, floor plans, signs, stationary, and the dozens of other printed items required by the two hotels.  “Among The Clouds” (the daily paper printed at the Summit of Mt. Washington), reported on July 21, 1902, in an article about the soon to be opened hotel, “a daily paper to be called The Bugle of Bretton Woods will be published at the Mt. Washington.  It will be in charge of Mr. M.W. Berry of the Boston Globe and formerly of the (White Mountain) Echo.”   The article goes on to say, “Mr. Berry is well fitted for his duties, being familiar with summer life in the White Mountains and is a competent and discriminating journalist.  Thus the doings of the Mount Washington and the Mount Pleasant will be faithfully recorded.”

 

The print shop was fully self-contained, with three Golding printing presses, two type cabinets full of  wood and metal type, cuts for illustrations, a heavy duty paper cutter, a stitcher and all else needed for day-to-day operations.  Its unique feature was that the printing presses were powered by water.  A large water tank nearby stored water for the hotel and a 3” line to the print shop supplied its power.  The Printing Museum in North Andover, Ma stated that this method of powering presses is unique-there were no other such installations.  It appears that the printer may have lived in the shop-there is a bed in one of the upstairs rooms and a bathtub in the bathroom on the first floor.

 

The Print Shop operated until the late 1990s.  As you can see in the photos that follow, today one could imagine that the printer has just gone out to lunch and will be back in a few minutes to continue his days work.  All the equipment, type, supplies, and furniture, are still in place along with reams of blank paper in several colors.

 

As we said, the print shop is unique.  Twenty years of disuse has taken its toll and the building is in a state of disrepair.  WhiteMountainHistory.org nominated the Print Shop for inclusion on the 2010 New Hampshire Preservation AllianceSeven To Save” list and the nomination was accepted.  We will be working with the Omni Mt. Washington Hotel to preserve and restore the building and equipment with the hope that it will be accessible to guests of the hotel and others interested in a unique example of  American technology.  Joining in this effort will be the Preservation Alliance, the Printing Museum, the New Hampshire Division of Historical Resources, and others.

 

 Larger images of the photos below can be viewed in our Photo Gallery.  Moving your mouse over these images will show the title of the image.  Photos by Forrest Seavey and Rick Russack

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