Monday, February 8, 2021

Seeing Double and Zooming to the Summit of Mount Washington

With the recent snow blanketing the landscape and creating a picture perfect winter wonderland, I thought it would be fun to zoom back in time to the summit of Mount Washington 150 winters ago. 

You will have an opportunity to zoom to the summit tomorrow night thanks to our friends at the Mount Washington Observatory. I announced the program in our previous blog from last week here.

In case you miss it, I understand the program will be recorded and posted on the MWOBS website here.

This blog helps prepare for (or follow up from) the event and focuses on the stereoviews from the expedition. 

Many of the views have been published in Robert W. Averill's book In Search of Amos Clough in high resolution format suitable for viewing with a stereoviewer (coincidentally one is included with the book). Thanks to the generosity of the author, this book is available for checkout at the Conway Public Library and other libraries throughout the state.

 Averill's book includes a list of forty-six stereoviews from the Mount Washington expedition.

Here is a link to some of the stereoviews that you can view on your cell phone here.

On page viii Averill shows some of the options for viewing the stereocards. A Lorgnette is included with the book. 

They say the more things change the more they stay the same. For over 150 years, you have been able to see stereo ... with a hand held viewer such as that pictured above. 

But things do change. Kids grow up and technology creates more options. Now you can view stereo images on your cell phone with a wonderful new viewer that folds flat known at the "Owl." 

Designed by Brian May, astrophysicist and lead guitarist for the rock band Queen, the Owl viewer can be purchased through his London Stereoscopic Company here.  

It can be used in books of views such as Averill.

Of course the owl also works with the original stereo views as well. 

We have many original stereo cards in our collections at the Conway Public Library's Henney History Room and the Conway Historical Society. 

You can find high quality public domain images at various online sources such as the Boston Public Library, J. Paul Getty Museum,  and the New York Public Library. 

This blog is part of our ongoing project of digitally mapping out area history. It includes a number of online cell phone tours we have developed including guides to the Abenaki Intervale site and the Redstone quarry. 

In addition to the 1870-1871 expedition to Mount Washington, Averill explores the previous winter's expedition to Mount Moosilauke in 1869-1870 that served as kind of a field test for Mount Washington.


For more virtual history experiences, head over to the Conway Public Library's virtual library webpage here. To find the Henney History Room click on the globe. Until then, this is "Virtual Bob" signing off, see you at the summit!

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