White Mountains (New Hampshire)
|Elevation||6,288 ft (1,917 m)|
|States||New Hampshire and Maine|
|Parent range||Appalachian Mountains|
The White Mountains are a mountain range covering about a quarter of the state of New Hampshire and a small portion of western Maine in the United States. Part of the northern Appalachian Mountains, they are the most rugged mountains in New England. The range is heavily visited due to its proximity to Boston and (to a lesser extent) New York City.
Most of the area is public land, including the White Mountain National Forest as well as a number of state parks. Its most famous peak is Mount Washington, which at 6,288 feet (1,917 m) is the highest mountain in the Northeastern U.S. and home to the fastest surface wind gust (231 miles per hour (372 km/h), over 100 m/s, in 1934) measured in the Northern Hemisphere. Mount Washington is one of a line of summits called the Presidential Range, many of which are named after U.S. presidents and other prominent Americans.
In addition, the White Mountains include several smaller groups including the Franconia Range, Sandwich Range, Carter-Moriah Range, Kinsman Range and Pilot Range. In all, there are forty-eight peaks over 4,000', known as a group as the Four-thousand footers.
Origin of name
There has been much discussion of the origin of the name "White Mountains". This name and similar ones such as "White Hills" or "Wine Hills" are found in literature from colonial times. According to tradition, the mountains were first sighted from shipboard off the coast near the Piscataqua estuary. The highest peaks would often be snow-capped. An alternate theory is that the mica-laden granite of the summits looked "white" to observers.
Geology and physiography
Widespread evidence of glaciation may be seen in the U-shaped form of various notches, or mountain passes. Glacial cirques form the heads of Tuckerman Ravine on Mt. Washington and King Ravine on Mt. Adams. Glacial striations are visible at numerous locations, including on the exposed rocks at the summit of Pine Mountain in Gorham.
The White Mountains included the Old Man of the Mountain, a rock formation on Cannon Mountain that, when viewed from a certain angle, resembled the distinct craggy profile of a man's face until it fell in May 2003. It remains the state symbol of New Hampshire. The range also includes a natural feature dubbed "The Basin", consisting of a granite bowl, 20 feet (6 m) in diameter, fed by a waterfall, worn smooth by the Pemigewasset River. The areas around The Basin are popular spots for swimming in the ice-cold mountain-fed water.
The range is crossed by two north–south highway routes (U.S. Route 3 and Interstate 93 through Franconia Notch, and New Hampshire Route 16 through Pinkham Notch), and two east–west roads (the Kancamagus Highway, part of New Hampshire Route 112, through Kancamagus Pass, and U.S. Route 302 through Crawford Notch).
Some of the earliest maps of the White Mountains were produced as tourist maps and not topographical maps. One of the first two tourist maps of the mountains was that produced by Franklin Leavitt, a self-taught artist born near Lancaster, New Hampshire in 1824. Leavitt's hand-drawn map, today in the collection of Harvard University, is largely folk art, but does convey some of the region's features. Leavitt drew several versions of his map, beginning in 1852. The fourth version, printed in 1871, was printed at Boston and carried a retail price of one dollar. Other early maps of the region were drawn by H. Conant and by Harvard astronomer George Phillips Bond, who published the first topographical map of the region in 1853.
As the most ruggedly picturesque area in the northeast U.S., the White Mountains drew hundreds of painters during the 19th century. This group of artists is sometimes referred to as belonging to the "White Mountain school" of art. Others dispute the notion that these painters were a "school", since they did not all paint in the same style as, for example, those artists of the Hudson River School.
Nathaniel Hawthorne chose the White Mountains as the setting for his short story, "The Great Carbuncle". Other White Mountain tales by Hawthorne include "The Ambitious Guest", "Sketches from Memory" and "The Great Stone Face". The White Mountain region also figures prominently in the writings of Louisa May Alcott, including the novel Eight Cousins and its sequel, Rose in Bloom.
- Four-thousand footers
- White Mountains Region
- High Huts of the White Mountains
- List of mountains in New Hampshire
- List of notches in New Hampshire
- "Physiographic divisions of the conterminous U. S.". U.S. Geological Survey. Retrieved 2007-12-06.
- Franklin Leavitt, Map of the White Mountains, New Hampshire, WhiteMoutainHistory.org
- Franklin Leavitt White Mountains Map, Harvard University
- 1871 Franklin Leavitt Map, WhiteMountainHistory.org
- George P. Bond: Map of the White Mountains of New Hampshire, WhiteMountainHistory.org
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to White Mountains (New Hampshire).|
- The Grand Hotels, The Glory and The Conflagration, Randall E. Spalding, WhiteMountainHistory.org
- "White Mountains". The American Cyclopædia. 1879.