Sunday, June 28, 2020

Cathedral Ledge

This poster of Cathedral Ledge is on display in the Conway Public Library's Henney History Hall. It is the first object you will see at the bottom of the stairs on the left. 

Here is another view (click on images to enlarge them).

To learn more about the site see our entry on theclio website at this link. You can access this on your smart phone and it can lead you to the site. You can also check out a related video here (part of our Reel History series through Valley Vision.

Back to the poster. The artist's signature and date can be seen at the bottom right corner of the side view (P. Immel 1993).

Peggy now lives and works out west. You can read more about her and her work on her website here. She graciously gave us permission to post her work on this blog. You can purchase a copy of the print at as well as other books, maps and climbing gear at the International Mountain Equipment (IME) website or their store in North Conway.

The print also credits the publishers Lewis & Yardley.

According to Rick Wilcox at IME, these guys were early IME folks. Note that a portion of the proceeds goes to the Access Fund. You can read more about their work at their website here. You can read about some of their work on Cathedral Ledge at this link.

The panel to the right of Peggy's delicate and detailed line and wash view lists the rock climbing trails that are noted on the print (click on image to enlarge it).

Note the interesting names that describe these vertical trails. Below the main image is a view of the ledge as if seen from the top (aerial view) that is lined up to you can compare the two viewpoints and help map out the access to the trails. 

Cathedral Ledge is named for a feature that has an interesting history. It is noted on this print as #38. Here is a detail. 

While it was featured in many 19th century guidebooks and photographs, unlike some other features of this cliff that can be seen in the print such as the prow and the talus slope, there are no 19th century paintings of the Cathedral that I know of. For some White Mountain paintings showing the ledges see my previous blogs here, here and here and this White Mountain Art and Artists gallery here and here.

Here is a written description of the Cathedral and the Devil's Den from a tourist guidebook published in 1876. For a story with local interest on some of these guidebooks see our previous blog here.

Many of the photographic images of the Cathedral are from basically the same viewpoint including a stereo view published by Albert Bierstadt and his brothers from 1875.

There is a copy of this book at the New Hampshire Historical Society. It actually has the stereo viewer built into the cover of the book.

Here is a single image of the Cathedral from the Bierstadt book.

Here is my attempt to recreate the Bierstadt vantage point.

According to tradition, folks brought a foot powered pump organ and held church services up here.

The Cathedral is just an easy to moderate 5 minute walk on the yellow blazed trail from this sign. When you reach the wall of the ledge at the top of the sloping trail, the Cathedral will be just a few steps to your left.

The sign is on Cathedral Ledge Road 5/10 of a mile from the turn off on West Side Road. See a Google map here.

There are a number of trails linked together that you can explore if you are not a rock climber.


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