Friday, June 21, 2019

Views of Summer

What can you resort to … When the attraction is gone?

No, this is not advice for the lovelorn. But it is about loss and love, in this case the loss of well loved tourist attractions. Downstairs at the Intervale Scenic Vista in North Conway is a remarkable poster from over one hundred years ago entitled “Places of Interest.” (click on images to enlarge them).

The mileages on this poster match up pretty well with those listed in a pamphlet/brochure at the Conway Historical Society for The Intervale House.

While some of the tourist attractions are still familiar such as Echo Lake, Cathedral Ledge, Diana’s Baths, Crawford Notch and Mount Washington, others are more mysterious such as Washington Boulder, Ridge Ride, Potter’s Farm, Round Ledges, Profile House and Butter Milk Hollow. To find out more about these and other lost attractions see the list at the end of this blog.

Here is the cover and the title page for this little gem of history. 

The Intervale House can be seen near the top of this tourist "Rambler Map" from around 1900 in the collection of the Conway Public Library's Henney History Room.

This map also shows a bowling alley, hotels, and mineral springs, that are not part of today's tourist itinerary.

Here is a close up showing the area around The Intervale House.

And here are some images from the Conway Public Library's Henney History Room collection showing The Intervale House and grounds.

aerial view

Today is the first day of Summer, and today we look forward to vacations, grilling out, swimming kayaking and other things. Our views of summer have changed over time, both visually and conceptually. One's view of summer also changes depending on one's occupation. Summer means different things to farmers and flatlanders and artists. The truth is that these three groups are involved in an interconnected relationship. Just outside of the scenic vista building mentioned above, is a historic marker memorializing the White Mountain School of Art.

This painting by Benjamin Champney shows the view from the scenic vista towards Mount Washington as it was during the early days.

Ironically, you can not see this view today as the trees have grown in. If you click on this image to enlarge it and look just left of center you can see the reason - in the hay wagon. It was the farmer's haying these fields that kept the fields open for the tourists to enjoy and the artists who promoted the views in this dynamic interrelationship.

Speaking of art, let’s go back to that poster at the Intervale scenic vista. It is a great example of period calligraphy and design with brilliant colors. It is in fact an example of local folk art. It is signed at the bottom J.F. Robinson, Painter, Center Bartlett, NH. This was Joel Robinson (1845-1924) and information about him can be found through the Henney History Room's internet connections to the digitized Reporter newspaper and Ancestry software.

Not far from the scenic vista was another lost tourist attraction, the Abenaki camp of the Stephen Laurant family where they would do educational programs for locals and tourists alike.

The archival papers from this site are preserved in the Conway Public Library's Henney History Room and many of the artifacts from the site are preserved in the collection of the Conway Historical Society. For more on this site see this entry on "The Clio" guide here.

A map from the 1960s shows some of the changes in attractions. Compare this map with the earlier Rambler map above. See how the attraction landscape has changed. What is new, what old remains, what has become lost?


For more details on any historical subject in the White Mountains, contact us at the Conway Public Library's Henney History Room.

Now to find out more about some of our lost attractions.

Abenaki Indian Shop and Camp. You can map it here. For more info see the Wikipedia article here

Washington Boulder. See if you can find a photograph of the Washington Boulder in the library. Hint: We can let you know when you are getting warm. For the answer see this link

No comments:

Post a Comment