Railway Remnants

View from Uncanoonuc Mountain, south peak.

Continuing from my previous post, the Uncanoonuc Hotel that once appeared so grand, and the cog railway that lured city-dwellers out to the countryside, met an unfortunate fate. As did the several other structures that followed it.

The bevy of eager tourists, enjoying the novelty of the incline railway & the grand view.

The original hotel burned and was rebuilt as The Pavilion, burned again and became a third version, then fell due to a hurricane, only to become a large recreational hall that served meals that burned again. With the final fire, the railway lines became warped due to heat, rendering the track useless.

The line had a 35 degree pitch, which was quite impressive to passengers.

Little do many know that The Pavilion, which replaced the Uncanoonuc Hotel, once hosted an international crowd for skiing as quite the resort, attracting more than 1000 skiers one weekend in the 1930s and affectionately called the “St. Moritz of America.”

In the right image, through the greenery, there’s a pile of rumble, the remains of The Pavilion.

From the little booklet we have from the farm when it ran as a boarding house that served the many tourists who came to Goffstown, you can see that the main structure has remained the same. The barn, quite large, sadly didn’t survive. As with the Uncanoonuc Hotel, lightning struck the building and it burned down. All that remains now are huge granite slabs, half-buried, which once served as its foundation.

Image of Hillcrest Farm, which hosted tourists attracted to the Uncanoonucs.

Yet, I see the farm’s larger, rich historical narrative as inextricably bound up in the history of the Uncanoonuc mountains. According to legend, the word “uncanoonuc” was a settler’s phonetic attempt at capturing the native American term for the twin mounds. Well, mounds of a certain kind, that is. The word supposedly anthropomorphizes the landscape features, deriving “uncanoonuc” from “kuncannowet” the Massachusett word for “breast.” So, yeah. That creates some titters when guides explain that etymology.

From downtown Manchester, the Goffstown Uncanoonucs loom in the distance.

The views both of and from the Uncanoonucs are splendid. Gems in our sleepy little New Hampshire village of Goffstown.

5 thoughts on “Railway Remnants

  1. I remember while studying out at U. Mass./Amherst going to one of the nearby mountains which had also had a resort hotel on top, a century or so ago. Fire seems to have claimed a lot of those mountain resort hotels, though no doubt some were already closed when they caught fire.

    Liked by 1 person

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