Sunday, September 27, 2009

9-27-09 Comparing Two Photos of Mt. Washington and The Intervale Taken 52 Years Apart.

Two months ago (7-28-09) Arlen Chitwood, who lives in Oklahoma and occasionally reads this blog, sent me this lovely photograph of the Intervale with Mt. Washington in the background. Arlen explained that he had just gotten out of the Army in the early summer of 1957 and bought a motorcycle and toured the US on it for several months. He remembered stopping briefly to snap this photo on an afternoon in August. He wasn't sure where he was exactly or what he was photographing or if the mountains were in Maine or New Hampshire.

Arlen asked if I could supply him with a photo of the same scene today because he wanted to see what it would look like after 50 years. I was in North Conway over this past weekend and the weather was perfect so I went to the view point and took this photo trying to replicate Arlen's photo exactly. The lens I used was a wider angle, apparently, than the lens on Arlen's camera but the photos are nearly identical in scale and were shot in pretty much the identical location.

For those of you who aren't familiar with the New Hampshire mountains that's Mt. Washington in the back ground along with Mt. Adams to the right of Mt. Washington and Mt. Monroe to the left. The mountain in the left foreground is Humphrey's Ledge with Iron Mountain directly behind it. The mountain in the foreground on the right is a portion of Thorn Mountain. The photo was taken across the road (Rt. 16) from John Cannell's Store in Intervale about a mile north of North Conway, NH. It's a popular place for tourists to stop and snap photos and the view is probably world famous.

When I showed Arlen's photo to friends of mine who live in North Conway and look at this scene of Mt. Washington across the Intervale every day they all said: "Oh, it was taken before the Levy's built their house!" Pat and Ester Levy owned the Yield House, a famous local furniture store, and in the early 1960s built a spectacular house right in the public eye on the knoll you see towards the background in the center of the photo, right below Mt. Washinton. The house caused a stir because it was so conspicuous and opulent on a level that was uncommon at the time. The gossip entertained us for awhile! If you enlarge the photo you'll see houses on Iron Mountain that were not there in 1957.

The obvious difference in the 1957 photo is the active use of the pasture land on the Intervale that today is overgrown with trees all across this famous flood plain. I like Arlen's picture because I was probably playing with friends less than a mile away when he took the picture.

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