Telling the story of 200 years  of White Mountain History

                                  Bits and Pieces
                       of White Mountain History
                                      Page Two

As we continue to learn more about White Mountain history, we often turn up interesting information that doesn’t quite fit elsewhere on this website.  Sometimes, we have only a little information.  These pages will pass this information along.  Hopefully, viewers can provide additional details about some of these subjects.  A response form is at the bottom of these pages.  If you have researched a particular subject, or if you have information that you think would be of interest to others, please let us know.  All contributions will be properly credited to the author. 

        The First Movie on Mt. Washington

Elsewhere on this website, we have uploaded two early movies that were made by the American Mutoscope and Biograph Company in 1904 and 1905.  In 1899 the same company made the first movie shot on Mt. Washington.  It showed the Fabyan House coach at the Summit, with Tip Top House in the background.  Among the Clouds reported the event, and also mentioned it again on its anniversary, one year later.

It was only the second time that a stage coach reached the Summit-the first time was in August, 1861 when the Carriage opened.  No copies of this movie are known to exist.

AMC Walter Rockwood Davis Memorial Tower on Black Mountain in Jackson, New Hampshire

A Brief Chronological History
By David Govatski   

1.     Appalachia magazine for October 1914 on page 197 states “the number of Reservations has been increased this year by the conveyance to the club of 30 acres of land upon the middle summit of Black Mountain in Jackson, New Hampshire, to be known as the Walter R. Davis Memorial Reservation. An observation tower, forty feet high, has been erected, upon which a memorial tablet will be placed; and it is understood that some exercises, appropriate to the occasion, will take place upon the Reservation, during the February meeting of the Snow-Shoe Section.”

2.     The late Walter R. Davis is mentioned on page 190 of the Appalachia magazine for October 1914. He was a member of the Excursion Committee and especially remembered as an officer of the Snow-Shoe section. 

3.     The June 1915 Appalachia on page 306 states that the club is considering “fencing the reservation to keep cattle from trespassing.”  

4.     The AMC Annual Report for 1924 reports that a February snowshoe trip found the railing on the upper observation platform to be in such poor condition that it would collapse upon leaning on it. This was repaired by James Garland of Intervale who reported that several timbers were rotten and replaced.

5.     The AMC Annual Report for 1929 states that the tower was rebuilt in 1929 and the spring in the east pasture was cleared.

6.     The AMC Annual Report for 1932 mentions several hundred people a year were using the tower.  

7.     Chairman W. Ballard of the Trustees of Real Estate said in the AMC Annual Report for 1932 that the club wishes to turn over several reservations including the Davis Tract to a public agency. (Depression related financial issues for the club can be read between the lines).

8.     The 1934 AMC White Mountain Guide on page 234 describes the East Pasture Trail from Fernald’s to the “Observatory” as being 2 miles and taking 1 hour 30 minutes.  

9.     The AMC Annual Report for 1936 states that the club is in the process of turning over most of its reservations to public agencies

10. Donated to the U. S. Forest Service (WMNF) in 1937.

11. The 1940 and 1946 AMC White Mountain Guides continue to mention the “Observatory”.

12. The 1948 AMC White Mountain Guide on page 220 states that the “Davis Memorial Observatory formerly on one of the middle peaks (2,735 feet) and built by friends of Walter Rockwood Davis in 1913 was dismantled in 1947”.

13. A report titled “Club Properties – Past, Present & Tomorrow” by Fran Belcher of the AMC on 6 October 1977 states on page 5 that the Davis Reservation was acquired in 1913 on the summit of Black Mountain in the Town of Jackson and was 40 acres in size. (Item 1 above indicates it is 30 acres). 

 The story of the Walter Rockwood Davis Memorial Tower is a part of the rich history of the White Mountains. There is certainly more to be told beyond this brief chronology.   


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