Nobody Asked Me, But... No. 148;
Hotel History: Eagle Mountain House (1879), Jackson, New Hampshire*
By Stanley Turkel, CMHS
In 1879, the original Eagle Mountain House was created from a New England farm house which accommodated 12 guests. Cyrus and Marcia Gale operated the inn and a working farm which produced much of the food enjoyed by their guests. Late in the 1880s, the Gales built a few holes of golf which was the latest fad from Scotland. In 1915, the inn was consumed by fire but was rebuilt by Arthur P. Gale, son of Cyrus and Marcia Gale in 1916 with 75 guestrooms. World-famous photographer Clifton Church photographed many scenes around the inn in a darkroom created for him on the premises. In 1928-29, Gale doubled the size of the Eagle House and added sixty new guestrooms, a new private dining room, and an extended veranda on two levels.
In 1931, Arthur Gale expanded the golf course to nine holes and in 1937 hired world-famous Beno Rybizka to run the first organized skiing in the Mount Washington Valley. For more than ninety years, the Gales presided over the two Eagle Mountain Houses. Then in 1973, Arthur Gale's sister Marcia and her husband Orin N. Chadbourne, who had owned and managed it since Arthur's death in 1957, sold the property. The hotel struggled under a series of owners until 1985 when Portland developers Barton A. Forbes and Michael Marino purchased it. Under their thoughtful and knowledgeable direction, the century-old hotel has undergone a multi-million dollar restoration which has returned it to the appearance and operation at the height of its popularity. The Carriage House Ballroom is located in the Victorian-era barn which originally housed horses and carriages before being adapted later for use as a garage. Partially self-sustaining, it still has its own bakery, water supply, and steam plant.
Jackson is one of the region's most picturesque villages, famous for Jackson Falls and Jackson X C, a 150+ kilometer cross-country skiing trail system, rated as one of the best in the world. Jackson is perhaps best known for its red covered bridge, built in 1876, one of the most photographed in the state.
In 1991, the Eagle Mountain House was approved by inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places. In 1995, it was listed on the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
Frommer's Review in The New York Times reported:
The white wooden Eagle Mountain House is a handsome relic that has happily survived the ravages of time, fire, and the fickle tastes of tourists. Built in 1916, the gleaming, classic five-story hotel is set in an idyllic valley above Jackson. Guestrooms are furnished in a country-pine look with stenciled blanket chests,armoires, and feather comforters.
*excerpted from my book Built To Last: 100+ Year-Old Hotels East of the Mississippi (AuthorHouse 2013)
About Stanley Turkel, CMHS
Stanley Turkel was designated as the 2014 and 2015 Historian of the Year by Historic Hotels of America, the official program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. This award is presented to an individual for making a unique contribution in the research and presentation of history and whose work has encouraged a wide discussion, greater understanding and enthusiasm for American History.
Stanley Turkel is one of the most widely-published authors in the hospitality field. Two of his hotel books have been promoted, distributed and sold by the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute (Great American Hoteliers: Pioneers of the Hotel Industry and Built To Last: 100+ Year-Old Hotels East of the Mississippi). A third hotel book (Built To Last: 100+ Year-Old Hotels in New York) was called "passionate and informative" by The New York Times. His fourth hotel book was described by The New York Times: "Nostalgia for the City's caravansaries will be kindled by Stanley Turkel's...fact-filled...Hotel Mavens: Lucius M. Boomer, George C. Boldt and Oscar of the Waldorf."
Built to Last: 100+ Year-Old Hotels East of the Mississippi is available for purchase from the publisher by visiting bookstore.authorhouse.com.