Vivid examples of Twin Mountain’s dynamic history are never very far away. From the long-gone Grand Hotels to the once-thriving logging towns to the town’s historic cemeteries, the past informs the present.
Incorporated in 1832 as the Town of Carroll, the town includes the villages of Twin Mountain, Bretton Woods, Fabyans and Crawfords. The earliest settlers farmed the fertile soil, felled the mighty forests, and angled for trout in the Ammonoosuc River and its tributaries.
Early visitors explored the region on foot or on horseback, and by 1806, construction of the 10th New Hampshire Turnpike, connecting Portland, Maine to the Connecticut River Valley, made stagecoach travel possible. As visiting writers and artists described their experiences to the public, a tourism industry that continues today was born.
Linking points east and west, the arrival of the Boston, Concord & Montreal Railroad in 1875 and the Portland & Ogdensburg Railroad a year later, opened up passenger service to a world eager to enjoy the hospitality of the Grand Hotels and the smaller inns and lodging establishments. Four logging railroads and the now extinct towns of Livermore, Carrigain and Zealand supported a thriving timber market.
Fabyans, the main hub of railroad service, delivered hundreds of visitors to town each week, and a spur was built to the base of the Cog Railway where passengers changed trains to travel to the summit of Mount Washington. Among the Clouds, the seasonal newspaper printed atop the mountain, reported during the 1886 season that “private baths and steam heating apparatus has been placed in many of the rooms” of the Fabyan House. The gingerbread-style Victorian home that still stands behind Fabyans Station Restaurant was the home of Sylvester Marsh, builder of the Mount Washington Cog Railway and an investor in the Fabyan House.
Opened in 1869, the world’s first mountain-climbing Cog Railway was once known as the “Railway to the Moon.” Twenty-first century passengers may choose to ride the three-mile-long Cog to the 6,288-foot summit of Mount Washington in a car powered by a historic steam locomotive or the more modern and eco-friendly bio-diesel engines.
Originally built of rock blasted from the mountain, the historic Tip Top House, a former hotel, is the oldest building atop Mount Washington and now features exhibits about the mountain’s history.
Flowing from the Lakes of the Clouds, on the western flank of Mount Washington, the waters of the Ammonoosuc River that Native Americans knew as the “fish place” still hold trout for the angler. Today, the Lakes of the Clouds’ AMC hut is a favorite destination of hikers.