Among the White Mountains

Souvenir Playing Cards from the Collection of the

[Card Backs]

New Hampshire Historical Society

[Title Card]"These playing cards are a reproduction of a White Mountain souvenir made by the Chisholm Brothers of Portland, Maine one hundred years ago.  The cards feature 52 views of waterfalls, mountains and grand hotels.  We thank you for your support of the New Hampshire Historical Society's work in preserving and promoting the history of the Granite State."

Purchased by my girlfriend at the Appalachian Mountain Club, Crawford Notch Depot, shortly before climbing Arethusa Falls in the pouring rain, this deck narrowly escaped the ravages of that hike by being safely ensconced in the car before she set off.  Full of all the great landmarks that firmed New Hampshire tourism a century ago, this deck is a window on both those times, and the timeless beauty of New Hampshire.  Many of the grand hotels still exist, in one form or another, and certainly all the mountains, valleys and other natural delights can be found in much the same way they have been for millennia.

Aside from the Old Man of the Mountain, the back design for this deck, there is perhaps no landmark more well-known in New Hampshire than Mt. Washington.  Famed in story, song and bumper sticker, Mt. Washington is a popular hiking and camping destination, as well as an important weather station where, it is said, the snow often falls, but seldom falls down.  Some of the highest surface winds ever seen were recorded atop Mt. Washington, before the meter broke.

The Gale River valley has many scenic mountains at or near its banks, including the Haystack chain that includes Mt. Lafayette.  Originally named the Great Haystack, it was renamed for Gen. Lafayette after his accomplishments in the American Revolution.

Bethlehem, New Hampshire, a hundred years ago, was perhaps the most popular tourist destination in all of New Hampshire, boasting as many as 34 hotels.  The Sinclair Hotel, originally a small tavern that, thanks to a mishap involving the governor of Rhode Island, became the seed from which Bethlehem tourism sprouted, remained one of the finest hotels in the region throughout the heyday of the Grand Hotel.  That heyday ended with the automobile, which allowed people to travel further, and stay shorter times, than they had before, and within a few decades of the turn of the century, the era of the Grand Hotel was no more, and along with it went some of the finest buildings of the time.

Likewise, the Deep Park Hotel in North Woodstock saw its fortunes rise and fall with the era of the Grand Hotel, and the once stately hotel is no more, replaced by the small inns that were New Hampshire's mainstay up until 150 years ago.

All images © 1982 NHHS, displayed here for commentary, analysis and appreciation only.

Ace of Spades

[Ace of Spades]

Mt. Washington in Winter

Seven of Hearts

[Seven of Hearts]

Gale River and Mt. Lafayette
Showing Snow Cross

Jack of Diamonds

[Jack of Diamonds]

The Sinclair, Bethlehem, N.H.

Queen of Clubs

[Queen of Clubs]

The Deep Park Hotel
North Woodstock, N.H.

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