A striking bird’s-eye view of the White Mountains

Brooks Bank Note & Lith’g Co., BIRDS EYE VIEW OF THE  / White Mountains. Portland: G.W. Morris, ca. 1890s.
Two-stone lithograph, 17 ½”h x 27 ¾”w plus title, legend and margins. Very gently toned, portions of left margin and sliver of image reinstated in facsimile.

A striking bird’s-eye view of New Hampshire’s White Mountains, produced to supply the burgeoning tourist trade of the late 19th century.

By the end of the 19th century the Lakes and White Mountain regions of New Hampshire had become major tourist destinations, with a well-developed network of rail and coach links, hotels and inns, and guide services to support visitors from Boston and beyond.  Accompanying and advancing this development was a rich literature and visual iconography revealed in maps and prints.

Offered here is an example of this iconography, a bird’s-eye view of the high peaks of the White Mountains and the surrounding region, bounded east and west by the Carter and Kinsman Ranges, and north and south by Lancaster and the Lakes Region.  The unnamed artist has greatly increased the dramatic impact of the image by greatly exaggerating the heights of the mountains–Mount Washington in particular—relative to the surrounding landscape.

In addition to the features of the dramatic natural landscape, the view identifies the area’s towns, villages and resorts, and maps the roads and railroads connecting them to one another and to the metropolitan areas of the New England coast.  A legend at the base identifies no fewer than 52 locations, primarily peaks and their elevations, but also iconic features such as Tuckerman’s Ravine, Crawford Notch and the Old Man of the Mountains. Of particular interest is the Cog Railway (opened 1868) leading the Tip Top House at the summit of Mount Washington.

G.W. Morris was a Portland publisher of books, postcards and other images depicting the many charms of northern New England.  Among others, he issued views of Bar Harbor and Peak Island, Maine, both in 1886.

Not in Apt, Adam, Maps of the White Mountains; or Cobb, David A., Checklist of Maps of New Hampshire.