Rivers as roads for lumber
In New England, limber and pulp mills traditionally got their wood from logs harvested in the winter and floated downstream during spring floods.
Enterprising lumber baron
J.E. Henry built a railroad that made it possible for timber to reach the mills the same day it was cut, all year long. Lumber or paper could be at market within the week, turning a quick profit.
"There's no secret about this business of ours. We own the land and the timber and we're making every dollar out of it we can."
George Henry, J.E.'s son and partner
Logging on a massive scale
This wild and restless land had never been harvested prior to the 1880s because the rivers were too swift and rocky to run logs downstream. With the coming of the railroads, all that changed.
Outcry and renewal
Public outcry over Henry's logging practices, which were typical of the time, led to the eventual creation of the National Forest - and conservation and renewal of the lands his company had damaged.
A mountain of lumber by rail
The East Branch & Lincoln and the Hancock Branch railroads carried over 600 million board feet of lumber out of these mountains from 1893 to 1948. That's enough to fill a line of railcars from here to Phoenix, Arizona.
for the Kancamagus
This Scenic Byway was built on the East Branch & Lincoln Railroad bed to the hairpin turn at Hancock Overlook. The road was eventually completed all the way to Conway in 1948.