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2-23: Way Back When ... Recalling the Chocorua Peak House and its windy demise

Way Back When ...


CUTLINE: The Chocorua Peak House, 1892-1915. (COURTESY OF HENNEY HISTORY ROOM, CONWAY PUBLIC LIBRARY)

TAMWORTH — Mount Chocorua has been in the news of late, as the U.S. Mint has released an America the Beautiful quarter, depicting the 3,490-foot White Mountain peak.
A ceremony marking the coin's release was held in Campton at the U.S. Forest Service's White Mountain National Forest headquarters Feb. 21.
Mt. Chocorua has a vast history with many more tribal names, legends, and lore. Writings such as “Albany’s Recollections” by A. Bernard Perry, “Passaconaway in the White Mountains” by Charles Edward Beals, Jr., and “Mount Chocorua, A Guide and History” by Steven D. Smith will sweep you into the past.
Among the mountain's many stories is the tale of the Chocorua Peak House.

According to the Chocorua Lake Association website (chocorualakeassociation.com), Mountain Road (now the Liberty Trail) was the shortest and most popular road to the summit of Mount Chocorua and the Peak House.
In 1892, David Knowles and Newell Forrest bought the road/path and rights to the Halfway House, a former logging camp, from Jim (Dutch) Liberty, who had improved the path from the southwest in 1887 and incorporated it with the state of New Hampshire in 1889.
They replaced Liberty’s Peak House — two tents surrounded by a stone wall — with a three-story structure which served as a hotel. They obtained a new charter from the state, and spent $400 to improve the route.
At the Halfway House pedestrians had to pay a toll of $.25 each (about $30 by today’s standards). Some evidence of the Halfway House may still be found. The views from the Peak House explain why it was so popular and why people were willing to pay $13 per week for lodging ($1,300 at today’s dollar value).
In 1915, the Peak House was blown off the mountain. A cabin was constructed on the Peak House site in 1924 by the Chocorua Mountain Club.
That cabin lasted until 1932 when winds blew the roof off. The Forest Service replaced it in 1934 with an enclosed cabin (Jim Liberty Cabin) with six bunk beds and large chains to hold the roof in place.

This week's photograph was furnished by Bob Cottrell, former director of the Remick Country Doctor and Farm Museum in Tamworth, and now director of the Conway Public Library's Henney History Room.
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The Conway Daily Sun welcomes vintage photograph contributions from readers for Way Back When, a weekly feature published in the paper's Saturday edition. Digital images may be e-mailed to Tom Eastman ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ) or Terry Leavitt ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ). If necessary, the Sun may also scan prints.
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