Crawford House History
Although three members of the Crawford family operated inns in Crawford Notch, they did not operate the Crawford House. Tom Crawford, operator of the Notch House, just to the west of Elephant's Head, started to build a hotel then known as the Crawford House, in 1850. He apparently over extended himself financially and was forced to sell the property before it was completed. The Notch House was included in that sale.
Ebenezer Eastman, of Littleton, bought the property, completed the hotel and expanded it just two years later. It was operated by Joseph Gibbs for three years and it burned in 1859. The hotel was immediately rebuilt and opened for the 1859 season. In 1870, the hotel was sold to Asa Barron. Barron's company operated the hotel until 1908. His company also operated the Fabyan House, the Twin Mountain House, the Mt. Pleasant House and the Summitt House on Mt. Washington.
The completion of the Portland and Ogdensburgh Railroad in 1875 greatly increased business. The Barron family were excellent businessmen and invested annually in upgrading facilities and improving the experience for their guests.
The hotel closed in 1975. The contents were sold at a four day auction in 1976 and the real estate was sold in 1978.
On Nov.20, 1977 the hotel burned, bringing an end to a grand tradition.
Today, on the site of the Crawford House, is the Appalachian Mountain Club's Highland Center. It's headquarters for the many outdoor activities in the area.
There was a Carriage Road to the top of Mt. Willard. Today it's a NH Division of Parks trail and still provides a spectacular view of Crawford Notch. The Devil's Den is a cave several feet below the summit of Mt. Willard.
Frank Shapleigh, one of the major White Mountain Artists, had a studio adjacent to the hotel. It still stands.
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