Spectacular birds-eye view of Mount Washington

Geo[rge] H. Walker & Co. / Issued by Passenger Department of Boston & Maine R.R. , Birds-Eye View from Summit of Mt. Washington; White Mountains, New Hampshire, Boston, 1902.
Chromolithograph, 24.5" diameter plus title, legend and margins. Folded and tipped into printed pocket folder.

Arguably the most spectacular view of the White Mountains ever published.

By the early 20th century the Lakes and White Mountain regions of New Hampshire were major tourist destinations, with a well-developed network of hotels and resort towns and villages. With the proliferation of the automobile some years away, the only feasible means of reaching the region was by rail, particularly the lines of the Boston & Maine Railroad. Formed in 1842 by merger of smaller companies and ultimately encompassing numerous lines across northern New England, the Boston & Mr>aine dominated the region’s rail travel for the next century.

Accompanying and advancing this development was a rich literature and visual iconography revealed in histories, tourists’ guides and promotional maps and prints, some-including this view of Mt. Washington-published by the Boston & Maine Railroad itself.

The view centers on the summit of Mt. Washington, depicting the famous “Tip Top House” and other structures, the vertiginous cog railway up the northwest slope, and the Stage Road from the Glen House. The summit is shown surrounded by a ring of clouds that sets it apart from the other peaks and imparts to it an almost Olympian stature. Shown in concentric circles falling away from Mt. Washington are the other major peaks of New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont, with numerous tiny towns and villages tucked into the valleys. No fewer than 189 landmarks, mostly peaks, are numbered and identified in legends around the outside of the view. The verso bears a “brief history and description of the monarch of the White Hills,” illustrated by eight photographs of the summit, the Cog Railway, the Tip-Top House, &c.

This writer has summited Mt. Washington (on foot!) any number of times, and there really is no substitute for “being there.” Through the use of a dramatic, disorienting perspective, however, this view could have conveyed to prospective visitors that their long journey thence would be well rewarded.

Apt, Maps of the White Mountains, p.23 (3rd edition, with 9 buildings on summit and text on verso).