Windham and the Summit
Part 2 – June Christmas
Summit House Opens: “The formal opening of every hotel is an important date in its calendar, and often the management endeavor to introduce some special attraction for the pleasure of those guests first to arrive. Mount Washington – always zealous of its individuality, this season outdid itself.”
“The Summit House was ‘opened,’ Monday, June 26th. The morning was rainy and dense clouds obscured the slightest vision of the outside world. There was wisdom in this arrangement, for it was not the scenery but the completeness of the hotel that was to be made manifest that day. The thermometer, which registered 46 in the morning, having heard a student waiter reciting “What is so rare as a day in June” was not forgetful of its part of the program and toward noon settled slowly to 38, and at 4 o’clock gave a decided novelty by sinking below the freezing point. Immediately the torrents of rain became a driving snow storm, and throughout the night and Tuesday and until late Wednesday (6/29) Mount Washington was in the clutches of a winter tempest, at time the roaring of the wind and the beating of ice and hail against the summit House was almost deafening. But within all was good cheer and comfort. “Dolly” the boiler was never more faithful, and steam whizzed through the pipes assuredly and without cessation, while the huge coal stores performed nobly the extra service required of them. But those were days to be remembered, and the few guests who braved the mountain will not soon forget their experiences. After all, it is not the weather that decides the amount of pleasure to be had in a visit to Mount Washington. ‘For the dissatisfied man all life is unsatisfactory, and for one that is contented the world is full of comforts, and for the cheerful man even the easterly wind is musical in the window crevices.’ ”
—Among the Clouds – Thu, Jul 13, 1905
“A June Christmas Tree: ‘On Wednesday evening, June 28th, the Summit House colony indulged in festivities unique in the history of Mount Washington. The platforms that morning covered with snow and the whole cone of the mountain glistening with frost work and ice suggested midwinter rather than a rare June day. Someone remarked that ‘it would be proper to observe Christmas.’ The idea was a popular one and immediately following breakfast preparations were continued throughout the day for an unusual festival. The manager of the hotel, Miss Mattie A. Clarke, ordered a fir tree brought up from the Base, which through the kindness of the Mount Pleasant House was later made attractive by many festoons of pop corn. Then came the search for gifts. There were about thirty-five employees of the Summit House and Mount Washington Railway to be remembered. Trunks, boxes, even coat pockets were divested of their treasures and by nightfall the tree was overloaded with offerings. Nearly 150 presents were ready for distribution. What they may have lacked in value was made up in quantity. About 8 o’clock the parlor doors were opened. Mr. John Tice presided at the piano and a merry company was soon seated. Hardly had an exchange of greetings been made when Mount Washington’s Santa Claus, Mr. Ed Colter, costumed in a style to make St. Nick himself envious appeared on the scene to the delight of everyone save Leon (the Summit dog), whose association with the genial gentleman had heretofore been confined to an almanac interpretation of seasons. Among the Clouds at this date not having commended an issue, one of the staff presented the initial number of a possible evening addition for midwinter circulation “Among the Snow Flakes.” Next Santa ably assisted by Mark Lee, distributed the presents, a description of which would be impossible. Then followed an excellent musical program, including solos by Mr. Chandler and Mr. Horan, and a chorus selected from the company. While the storm was furious, and together with the freezing temperature made all without wild and terrible, this little Summit House party – warm and comfortable, were living the sentiment of Dr. Van Dyke ‘and best of all along the way is friendship and mirth.’ ” —Among the Clouds July 13, 1905
Remember, we’re looking for a photograph of Mattie Clark for Tim Lewis. Does anyone know of one?