East Bank: West Lebanon To Bretton Woods

R. 10 § 6. East Bank: West Lebanon to Bretton Woods. 80.5 m.

This route follows the West Side Road, a State Highway, marked by light blue bands. It runs up the east bank of the Connecticut through Hanover, the seat of Dartmouth College, to the Ammonoosuc river, up which it turns eastward through Lisbon and Littleton to Bethlehem and Bretton Woods, in the center of the White Mountains.

From West Lebanon the route follows northward the State Road with light blue markers, which here comes in from Lebanon, four miles east (p 337). Halfway to Hanover, opposite the Vermont town of Wilder, are Wilder’s Falls, furnishing power for the manufacture of wood pulp.

4.0 HANOVER. Pop (twp) 2240. Grafton Co. Settled 1765.

The home of Dartmouth College is a pleasant old town beautifully situated and surrounded by rugged hills rising near the river and culminating in Moose Mountain (2326 ft). -The town lies half a mile back from the river and a mile from the railroad station, which is on the Vermont side. Aside from its college colony Hanover is also a village, and yet it wears an air of dignity and almost cosmopolitan distinction. Unaffected by railroad, manufacturing, or foreign elements, it is preeminently an academic town.

Dartmouth is one of the oldest and in its outward manifestations one of the most beautiful of American colleges. The buildings of varied dates and architecture around the elm-shaded Green present a spectacle at once pleasing and dignified. Dartmouth was founded, as the charter of 1769 states, “to encourage the laudable and charitable design of spreading Christian knowledge among the savages of our American wilderness.”

College Hall with semicircular porch and terrace overlooking the campus is the College Club, containing dining and recreation rooms. Opposite, the Hanover Inn is run by the college. Robinson Hall, a recent building, is the center of non-athletic student activities, and contains offices of the student publications, “The Jack-O-Lantern,” “The Bema,” “The Dartmouth” (daily), rooms for student clubs, and a

Little Theater. The college boasts the largest gymnasium in New England; in fact, on a plan of the town it bears the same relation to its surroundings as does a great cathedral in some English village. Opposite the southeast corner of the campus is Wilson Hall, in which hang portraits of Eleazar Wheelock and his successors to the presidency, also of Sampson Occum, the Mohegan Indian and Wheelock’s first pupil in his Lebanon School. Occum, sent to England, aroused great enthusiasm by his preaching, and raised a fund of £12,000. The new Dartmouth Hall of 1906 is a reproduction of the old hall begun in 1784.

Dartmouth grew out of a mission school for Indians which was established by the Rev. Eleazar Wheelock at Lebanon, Conn., in 1754. Governor John Wentworth induced him to move it to New Hampshire, and several towns strove for the honor of the location. Benning Wentworth granted the college its present site, a tract of 500 acres, and the province endowed it with a grant of 44,000 acres. The Earl of Dartmouth acted as the chairman of the trustees of the English fund and his name was adopted for the growing institution. The college started in its new location with twenty-four Indians in rude cabins as students. After several masters of arts had returned to their former savage life, doubts as to the efficacy of the education here meted out led to the admission of white students, as a result of which the Indians soon disappeared. The first Commencement was held August, 1771, in the open air. The four candidates received their degrees on a platform of rough-hewn hemlock plank. Governor John Wentworth was here with his retinue from Portsmouth, and at his expense an ox was roasted whole on the Green and served to the assembly with a barrel of rum.

The portion of the town in which the college was located was during the eighteenth century known as Dresden, and the college faculty, interesting themselves in the political conflicts of the time, dominated the so-called “Dresden Party,” which took so active a part in the secession of the Connecticut river towns from the New Hampshire government.

The New Hampshire Legislature sought to transform the college into a State institution, but met with most strenuous opposition. The final contest with the Supreme Court of the United States came in 1815, when Daniel Webster, an alumnus, won the famous “Dart-mouth College Case,” and has since been hailed as the “Refounder.” Other notable alumni are Rufus Choate, George Ticknor, and John Ledyard, the traveler.

In College Park on the hill near the Tower, the seniors on Class Day gather to smoke the “pipe of peace” as did the earlier students here. On the river hank are boathouses for the numerous canoes. On the bank north of the bridge stood the giant pine from which, in 1773, John Ledyard fashioned his dug-out canoe, 50 feet long and 3 feet wide, for his voyage alone down the river to Old Hartford. It is recorded that in college he was popular with his fellows, but impatient of discipline and not diligent in study.

Of late the college has been the scene of a notable exhibition of the Cornish Art Colony’s work, and also of a `Winter Carnival,’ or festival of snow and ice sports.

From Hanover the road, marked in light blue, here some-times called the Westside Boulevard, runs northward, following the river valley, through the village of Lyme (14.5).

22.0 ORFORD. Pop (twp) 799. Grafton Co. Mfg. bobbins, harnesses, and dairy products.

The street of Orford overlooks broad expanses of green meadow; along its course are spacious homes of Colonial days. Six miles east is Upper Baker’s Pond (1400 ft), a pretty lakelet, the site of Camp Moosilauke, for boys. Above it rises Mt. Cuba (3500 ft).

Continuing up the river bank, the light blue markers lead through the village of Piermont (28.0), which spreads picturesquely over the terraces. Six miles east is Lake Tarleton and the Lake Tarleton Club, a semi-private summer resort.

33.0 HAVERHILL. Pop (twp) 3498. County-seat of Grafton Co.

This is a pretty village on a hill, opposite the Vermont town of Newbury, overlooking the broad meadows and the famous Ox Bow, where the river makes a circuit of four miles, returning to within half a mile of its starting point. The inconstant stream changes its course from year to year, adding or subtracting from the area of Vermont or New Hampshire.

Haverhill, or Haverhill Corner, was an important place in coaching days when the stages stopped here overnight. On the square stands the remodeled oldtime inn, known as the Bliss Tavern, with two others nearby.

The river meadows here were long known in the early history as the Coos Meadows, or the Coos Country. The towns in this region were settled through the initiative of four officers of Colonel Goffe’s regiment who spied out the land on their expedition for the conquest of Canada of 1760. As they were Massachusetts men the settlements about here were named for their home towns.

Three miles east of Haverhill is the village of Pike, at which there are important whetstone quarries, and waterpower from the Oliverian Brook. The Pike Manufacturing Company makes all kinds of sharpening stones and has quarries in Indiana and Arkansas. The new State Road from Plymouth to Haverhill now under construction, will pass through Pike.

The State Road continues past North Haverhill (37.1), following the blue bands on the poles and turning up the valley of the Ammonoosuc river; this name signifies “fish story river,” certifying to the antiquity of fisherman’s yarns. On the opposite shore is the village of Woodsville, from which a bridge leads to Wells River (p 357), and the West Bank Route to Colebrook.

Note. Town roads follow the river bank to Lancaster, there rejoining the State Highway. This detour follows the river closely, passing through the town of Monroe (11.0) and continuing beside the Fifteen Mile Falls. To the right is the long wooded ridge of Dalton Mountain, between which and the river is Dalton Village (34.0), with Whitefield (p 364) seven miles to the southeast. Continuing past the slopes of Orne Mountain beside the river, the tour enters LANCASTER (42.5; ).

Following the State Road and the light blue markers we ascend the Ammonoosuc valley through the villages of Bath (45.5) and Lisbon (51.0), where gold was once mined, as at Bridgewater, Vt. (R. 44). The roads to the right lead to Sugar Hill, Franconia, and the Franconia Notch (R. 34).

62.0 LITTLETON. Alt 700 ft. Pop 4069. Grafton Co. Settled 1774. Mfg. shoes, whetstones, bobbins, gloves; creamery.

This is a prosperous village on the Ammonoosuc, with which the main street runs parallel. Two shoe factories of Sears-Roebuck Company are located here. The heights about the town command a fine panoramic view of Franconia and the White Mountains.

67.0 BETHLEHEM. Alt 1450 ft. Pop (twp) 1201. Grafton Co.

Bethlehem is the highest village in New England. This great summer settlement has an open situation about 250 feet above the Ammonoosuc. It is probably the center of a larger number of hotels and boarding-places than any other place in the mountains. There are magnificent views in nearly every direction, including the Percy Peaks, the Franconia Mountains, and the Presidential Range. Crawford’s, Bretton Woods, and Fabyans are under the very shadow of the great mountains, but here we have all-embracing panoramas of the high peaks across the intervening lowlands.

To the southeast lies Mt. Agassiz (2394 ft), named for Professor Agassiz, who was much interested in the glacial remains about this region. A good carriage road leads to the summit, where there is an observatory with a rough mountain indicator and a fine lookout station. The view is very extensive and includes many of the important peaks of the White Mountain region. Agassiz wrote: “The lane starting from Bethlehem Street, following the cemetery for a short distance, and hence trending North, cuts sixteen terminal moraines in a tract of about two miles. Some of these moraines are as distinct as any I know in Switzerland.”

Bethlehem is said to be immune from hay fever, and thou-sands of sufferers flock here each summer. The Hay-Fever Convention meets here annually.

The lefthand road leads to Franconia (R. 34) and the righthand to Whitefield.

68.0 MAPLEWOOD. Alt 1490 ft. Grafton Co.

The fashionable. summer colony of Maplewood, with its huge hotel and cottages, lies about a mile to the east of Bethlehem Center. It is a favorite resort in a bracing situation with splendid views. The road leads on through Bethlehem Junction (70.0) to TWIN MOUNTAIN (75.0), where it connects with Route 10 § 7, to Lancaster and Colebrook, and with Route 51 from Portland and Gorham; Route 34 from the Franconia Notch also joins it here. Thence the road leads on to Bretton Woods (80.5), where Route 50 comes up the Crawford Notch from North Conway.