Windows to the White Mountains' past: Conway Public Libray to present vintage map exhibit Dec. 3

By Tom Eastman

CONWAY — The Conway Public Library for one day only is to feature an exhibit on early White Mountains maps Saturday, Dec. 3, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Ham Community Room.

It ought to make for a colorful look at history through the eyes of early mapmakers, note collectors, with the exhibit to feature rudimentary maps by such mapmakers as Franklin Leavitt of Lancaster, notes map collector and cartographer Kurt Masters of Milan.

"I couldn't do this exhibit without the help of others, the Lancaster Historical Society and several dedicated historians/collectors, including Adam J. Apt.  of Massachusetts," Masters told The Conway Daily Sun this week. "We will have a minimum of 40 maps,  including all eight of Franklin Leavitt's maps from 1852, 1854, 1859, 1871, his extremely scarce 1876 map, his 1878 map which was the smallest of the Leavitt maps, and the 1882 map, which was published that year and in 1888."

The exhibit will also display all of Leavitt's known broadside sheets of prose, and all of his known manuscript sketches.

The library's Henney History Room will also show their collection of many early maps, according to Library Director David Smolen and Henney History Room Curator Bob Cottrell.

"We've got county maps from the 1860s showing all of the houses, schools and post office; railroading maps; old Conway  Company lot maps; cemetery and highway maps; maps of different local towns; Atlas maps showing birds eye views of Conway in 1890, and early lot maps of Conway — one on linen and one on parchment. They have been collected and donated over the years," said Cottrell, who said that the Henney  Room's maps are always available for display to library patrons during regular hours.

All of them are listed on line at

Smolen encountered Masters and his maps display at the Lancaster Fair last summer and asked if he would be interested in coming down to Conway for an exhibit. Masters said he would be delighted, and in turn contacted other White Mountain map collectors.

Although this first exhibit will be for one-day only, as noted, he hopes it will lead to other exhibits, such as the Museum of the White Mountains in Plymouth. He said that the Jackson Historical Society's Warren Schomaker has also expressed interest in possibly hosting an exhibit some day, if all works out.

As for Saturday's Conway event, Masters, Smolen and Cottrell are hoping for an enthusiastic turnout among lovers of White Mountain history.

"I'm hoping that people will stop by and see what we have," said Masters. "If visitors to the exhibit
have maps by Leavitt and are not sure if they have an original or a copy, they are welcome to bring them along and the experts in attendance can offer an opinion."

"We have about 450 maps in our Henney Room collection. We will be picking and showing some of the most interesting ones in our collection," said Cottrelll, who is also curator of the Conway Historical Society's Salyards Center. "I once heard that someone said that they 'read maps like other people read novels.' I think that's true, that they give a perspective over time. They are like global time machines, as you look at the maps and the changes to the same areas of who lived where and how properties were used."

A good account of early maps in the White Mountains is found at the site,, an in particular, those of Leavitt's.

An early guide in the White Mountains who worked for Tom Crawford at the Notch House in Crawford Notch, Leavitt produced his rudimentary maps as a way to promote his guiding business, according to Masters.

"When the Atlantic and St. Lawrence Railroad reached Gorham in 1852, there were no tourist maps of the White Mountains," said Masters. "So, he wanted to promote his guiding service and came up with the first map as a memento to sell to tourists. He drew a view of what Mount Washington and the White Mountains looked like gazing south from his Lancaster home. It's unusual, in that those peaks are depicted at the top of the map, unlike most maps which traditionally put north at the top."

In his rough, Grandma Moses style of illustrating and creating his maps, Leavitt also depicted scenes of local mountain lore, such as a bear shooting by Abel Crawford; the Willey Slide of 1826, with a diagram of the Willey family running from their cabin and into the swath of the landslide which spared the cabin but killed all of the family members and two workmen; and even a scene of Leavitt himself being lowered down to the Devil's Den where he claimed to have found skulls and many other macabre items — all of which proved to be more than a bit of stretching of the truth, according to Masters.

Leavitt produced eight maps of the White Mountain region, according to an article by Apt published on They were produced between 1852 and 1888 — and examples of each will be on display at the Conway Public library Dec. 3.

"The maps are not to scale, orientation of the maps is unusual, and geographic features were placed with little care for reality," writes Apt.

But — to collectors such as Apt and Masters, that is part of their overall charm.

"They are genuine folk art," says Masters, a Milan native who learned his cartography skills while serving in the US Army. He began his collection with the purchase of a print in 1978 of Leavitt's 1859 map that was produced and offered for sale in a 500-copy batch by the Coos  County Democrat. He bought his first Leavitt original map at an antique store in Ossipee n the 1990s. "It was one of his 1888 maps, which are his most common," said Masters.

He has been at it ever since.

According to Apt, Leavitt "drew the maps himself and had the lithographic plates prepared in Boston." He then paid printers to produce the actual maps.  He sold the maps himself, often through the Grand Hotels of the region, and at railroad stations. According to Apt, Leavitt's 1876 map is extremely scarce.

When Leavitt retired from map-making, he tried his hand at poetry.  Readers may see examples of his poems, including a manuscript copy and the definitive article about the poems at the exhibit and on the website.

For further information, call the Conway Public Library at (603) 447-5552 or visit

PSU Dedicates Open Lab, key part of new integrated clusters model in honor of Ray Burton

PSU dedicates open Lab, key part of new integrated clusters model

For The Laconia Daily Sun

PLYMOUTH — Plymouth State University dedicated its new "Open Laboratory" Monday in honor of long-time New Hampshire Executive Councilor Ray Burton, a 1962 graduate of what was then Plymouth Teachers College, who was remembered by all those who spoke as a dedicated public servant with a special allegiance to the North Country.
Located in Lamson Learning Commons, the lab offers students, faculty, community and business partners a technologically advanced space to collaborate and learn and is an important milestone in the university's transformation to an integrated clusters learning model.
"Integrated clusters allow us to provide the type of education, beginning at the freshman level, that integrates the learning process in such a way as to create opportunities to interact with our communities," said Donald L. Birx, PSU president. "Using open laboratories, we can work across disciplines and with community members to solve problems and challenges that give students insights into how education is relevant to the needs of the world."
He said that Burton, who provided 40 years of public service to the North Country as an Executive Councilor and Grafton County Commissioner, was a "role model for public service,"' and that it was fitting that the open lab should be named for him.
Governor Maggie Hassan said that Burton, who died on Nov. 12, 2013, at the age of 74, was one of the most dedicated and caring public servants the state has ever known and that his "unwavering commitment to service made our democracy and our state stronger."
Burton's long-time friend, Duane Baxter, chairman of the Raymond S. Burton Legacy Fund, and Reta Presby, who along with her husband, Wayne, own the Cog Railway and formerly owned the Mount Washington Hotel, donated $250,000 to establish what will be known as The Raymond S. Burton '62 Open Laboratory.
Baxter said that Burton was "a truly selfless public servant who believed in the power and value of practical experience. And he loved Plymouth State."
In June the university announced a multi-year reorganization plan that it said will prepare students for an active role in the revitalization of the region's economy. "Currently the University has 24 undergraduate academic departments organized under three colleges (Arts and Sciences, Business Administration and Education, Health and Human Services) and a graduate studies program for master's and doctoral students. The new structure is based on an integrated liberal arts education that gives the students the ability to think critically and link across multiple disciplines. It will be organized into seven interdisciplinary academic clusters, and feature open labs and collaborative partnerships with community and industry to provide students with integrated learning, research, and service opportunities."
Unlike the traditional program framework at most colleges, this new model focuses on innovation and entrepreneurship, will create opportunities for Plymouth State University students, faculty and community partners to work together on real-world challenges and projects.
"The landscape of public higher education is changing, and in addition to traditional degrees, employers seek graduates who can collaborate to solve problems, develop products, think innovatively and lead their organizations," said Birx. "Over the next few years, Plymouth State will evolve as an integrative university where students have significant opportunities to work with regional industry partners, and gain exposure to multiple disciplines."
The University System of New Hampshire Board of Trustees voted unanimously to support the strategic vision and infuse $10.6 million of USNH internal borrowing funds.
Beginning in September of 2017, all degree programs at Plymouth State University will be organized within the following academic clusters:
Arts and Technology
Education, Democracy and Social Change
Exploration and Discovery
Health and Human Enrichment
Innovation and Entrepreneurship
Justice and Security
Tourism, Environment and Sustainable Development
A significant feature of this new model is the concept of open labs. Open labs will place students and faculty in teams with community and business leaders on projects to create innovations and new discoveries. Plymouth State has a strong tradition of partnerships that will be enhanced by the new vision and open labs.
"For years, Plymouth State University has partnered with local businesses to involve students in real-life environments," said Robyn Parker, dean and faculty member in the current College of Business Administration and cluster development leader. "For example, each year a group of students works with the Common Man restaurant to develop new ice cream flavors. Students from various disciplines work in teams to research, design marketing materials, create business plans, manage budgets, develop and test their products, and introduce their ice cream flavors." Going forward, all Plymouth State students will have opportunities to participate in projects such as this.
Students will graduate from Plymouth State University with traditional undergraduate and graduate degrees, but once this model is implemented, students will also be able to earn certificates in various specialty areas within each cluster.

Hopes are high for skiing and riding season

By Tom Eastman

Conway Daily Sun

CONWAY — With snow falling in the higher elevations earlier this week, coupled with the return of colder weather, hopes are riding high for the skiing and riding season.

After last season's challenging conditions, the exciting news is many areas have upgraded their snowmaking arsenals, adding more energy-efficient guns that can operate in warmer temperatures and coat the slopes more quickly.

According to Ski NH's Executive Director Jessyca Keeler, total winter visits last season were about 1.77 million, down 31 percent from more than 2.57 million the previous year, which was also the fourth-best season on record.

Cranmore Marketing Director Becca Deschenes and other representatives believe there is a pent-up demand among skiers and riders, based on their observations at the annual Snowsports Expo Nov. 10-13, along with early season pass sales.

Cannon Mountain's director of marketing, Greg Keeler, shared that optimism about the coming season.

"Our season pass sales are up over last year, so I think there is demand versus a lack of interest," he said. "We also had a very successful Boston Ski Show with revenue up 100 percent over the previous year." Keeler said snowmaking upgrades made by Cannon should put the resort in good stead.

"We added nearly 500 high-efficiency snow guns," he said. "These new guns are up to 171 times more efficient than some of the equipment we were previously using. We're using double the amount of water while only using one out of three compressors. Previous years, we would be using all compressors and only a fraction of the water to run only a fraction of the guns we're running now."

With Bretton Woods' opening for the season Tuesday, here is an overview of local ski openings: Bretton Woods, Nov. 22 (Range View, serviced by the Zephyr Quad); Wildcat, Nov. 24 (top-to-bottom on the Lynx Trail); Cranmore Mountain Resort (one trail and Mountain Adventure Park and snow tubing), Nov. 25; Cannon Mountain, Nov. 25; Black Mountain, Dec. 3; Attitash, second week or weekend of December; and King Pine at Purity Spring Resort, Dec.16.

For cross-country, the newly expanded Jackson Ski Touring Center hopes to open Saturday, Dec. 10; and others will follow, as soon as the snow flies at Bear Notch Ski Touring and Snowshoe Center, Bretton Woods Cross Country, Great Glen Trails Outdoor Center, Mount Washington Valley Ski Touring and Snowshoe Center and the Reserve at Purity Spring at King Pine.

What's new?

Here's an overview on capital improvements at local alpine and cross-country areas.

• Attitash Mountain (603-374-2368, has installed more than 1,000 feet of new high-pressure snowmaking pipe on Pinball Alley while widening and regrading the trail.

Attitash's Abenaki Park Crew also will introduce a beginner elements area, creating three tiers of progression through the Abenaki Parks: beginner at Bear Peak Base, progressions at Kachina Park and large features on Myth Maker. This means freestyle terrain will be available for all levels. This winter, guests at the Attitash Grand Summit Hotel will notice many upgrades.

• Guests at Attitash's sister Peak Resort of Wildcat Mountain (; 603-466-3326) will also notice new additions this season. Wildcat Mountain has spent the past two summers working to enhance its glades, clearing over 180 combined acres to enhance tree skiing and riding across the mountain. All glades noted on the Wildcat trail map are now maintained to U.S. Forest Service guidelines.

• Black Mountain (, 603-383-4490) will be offering "The Midstation" on weekends, a warming hut selling light refreshments and hot beverages. The venerable ski area is also partnering up with Moat Brewery to offer a "Last Tracks" event, Jan. 14, Feb. 11 and March 11, consisting of a ride up the chairlift at 4 p.m., appetizers and Moat beer tasting, and skiing down a freshly groomed trail under the stars.

On the mountain, 52 new next-generation low-energy snow guns have been added along with the installation of a state-of-the-art snowmaking control system. Additionally, a new snow groomer — a BR-500 Beast — and tractor have joined the grooming fleet. The snowmaking pond has been dredged to increase water storage capacity for enhanced snowmaking. Skiers will also enjoy the new mid-mountain cabin offering up hot food and beverages on weekends and holidays.

• At Bretton Woods Ski Resort and Bretton Woods Ski Touring Center (; 603-278-3320; 603-278-3322) close to a half-million dollars has been invested over the summer to increase snowmaking operation efficiency. Other investment in the alpine and Nordic grooming fleets will result in better snow management. A new Pisten Bully PB400 Alpine Groomer joined the Bretton Woods Snow Quality fleet. And this year, Fat Bikes will be available for rental, along with dedicated trails for winter biking.

• Cannon Mountain (603-823-7177; in Franconia has installed a series of energy-efficiency initiatives valued at $5.1 million. Those improvements are expected to reduce energy consumption at the ski area by 50 percent, while significantly increasing snowmaking capabilities. The Mittersill Improvement Project wraps up with the addition of the new Valar T-Bar lift, snowmaking installed on Taft Training Slopes, and construction of a new warming hut and restroom facility.

• Cranmore Mountain Resort (603-356-5543; broke ground in September on Phase One of its $50 million base redevelopment project, which will add 18 condominiums as part of the planned redevelopment of its base facilities. When the project is complete, six new buildings and a total of 106 condominiums will be added to Cranmore's base. The first two buildings will be residential, while the third and fourth will offer 45,000 square feet of new lodge space.

Cranmore will also be one of the first ski resorts East of the Mississippi to add an electric/diesel driven snow cat to its grooming fleet. Built by Kassbohrer, Pisten Bully's "Green Machine" 600E+ is the world's first groomer with a diesel-electric drive. One of the most significant advancements in snowgrooming technology over the past two decades, the 600 E+ uses a diesel engine to drive two electric generators which power electric motors that turn the tracks and the snow tiller. On its trip downhill, the electric energy created from the breaking effect of the electric drive motors is used to power the snow tiller, while the engine idles.

"We are still shooting to have one top to bottom trail and a tubing lane for Thanksgivng weekend, in addition to our Mountain Adventure Park attractions (the Mountain Coaster, Soaring Eagle Zip Line and Giant Swing)," said Deschenes.

Cross country

Cross country improvements include:

• Bear Notch Ski Touring and Snowshoe Center (; 603-374-2277) in Bartlett has worked over the off-season to improve the grades of some of its trails to enable them to better hold onto snow.

“We're ready for the snow to fly and for the season," said Doug Garland, who operates the 65-kilometer family-owned ski touring complex with his brothers John Henry and Clifton Garland, with John Henry overseeing grooming.

• Great Glen Trails (603-466-2333, in Pinkham Notch has improved its snowmaking machine to maximize efficiency. Two trails have been reconstructed, allowing them to be opened earlier in the season. A second snowmobile has been added for early season and low-snow grooming.

• Jackson Ski Touring Foundation (; 603-383-9355) has added 4 miles of new trails and eight new bridges as part of a $500,000 capital campaign. This is the largest trail expansion/improvement project in the organization's history.

No new information released in child's death

BERLIN — While collection cans in local stores are seeking donations to help with funeral expenses for Madison Rose Dana, the N.H. Attorney-General’s office had nothing new to report on the investigation into the child’s death.
The state medical examiner’s office has ruled the two and a half year old’s death a homicide and said she died as a result of blunt impact injuries. The child died early Sunday evening at Androscoggin Valley Hospital where she was rushed by ambulance after a 911 call at 3:30 that afternoon from her home at 109 York Street.
Authorities said the investigation is active but declined to discuss whether they have a suspect in the case.
Collection cans describe Madison as “my beautiful, loving, outspoken daughter” and promise “you will never be forgotten and will always reside in my heart”.
Anyone who has any information relevant to this investigation is asked to contact Sergeant
Nathan Zipfat the New Hampshire State Police at (603) 419-8124.