Back in Time: A Photo Essay

The history of agriculture is written all over the woods of southern and central New England. Old stone walls grid the landscape and seem to tie disparate stands of second-growth forest together; cellar holes and apple trees and tiger lilies still bloom throughout the forest.

In northern New England, logging was the primary agricultural practice, and logging camps and logging camp culture the bedrock of the working landscape. And yet, unless you can read the story in the trees, this rich history is hard to see.

Enter photographer Erin Paul Donovan, who hiked into what is today the Pemigewasset Wilderness in New Hampshire to shoot contemporary images of the past. The detritus you see pictured here is from logging railroads and camps associated with timber baron J.E. Henry; the railroad, part of the East Branch & Lincoln line, was in operation from 1893 to 1948. There’s a good chance that Cyril Hessenauer, the journal-keeper in this story, worked these woods.

Photo Gallery

  1. Lisa Melone → in Maine
    Jun 01, 2016

    I’ve camped amidst the detritus of logging camps—old buckets, boots, saw blades, pots, etc. As I sit there in the wilderness, I try to imagine what it looked like as a bustling logging camp during its heyday. Love these photos—brought back memories of hikes in the mountains along the old logging RR lines. Thanks for sharing them.

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