Science, law join to make history

  • An early advertisement from the Manchester Directory (approx. 1870) listing William Little’s Manchester law firm. Courtesy of the Manchester Historic Association

Co-published with InDepthNH.org and Manchester Ink Link
Tuesday, May 23, 2017

In 1869, a prominent Manchester lawyer by the name of William Little – a well-read man with an office right on Elm Street and a deep interest in meteorology – found himself in the position of being able to make a deep and historic contribution to Mount Washington history. Though he didn’t know it at the time.

In a casual conversation with New Hampshire’s assistant geologist, a young, eager scientist by the now-recognizable name of Joshua H. Huntington, Little learned that Huntington had been unable to secure the mountain’s Tip Top House at the summit for a winter expedition.

As it happened, Little, from Warren, owned a chunk of property in Benton that happened to include the summit of Mount Moosilauke. Little wasted no time offering Huntington free use of the stone hotel at the top of Moosilauke, the Prospect House, for a full winter expedition – the first time a science expedition stayed at that sort of elevation through a heavy winter and a trial run for the following year.

Using the photos, notes and information gathered from atop Moosilauke, in 1870, Huntington was able to take a team up to the summit of Washington, the first of its kind.

Little continued to practice law and engage in his love of science until he passed in 1893.

(Manchester author and journalist Dan Szczesny’s column, 365 Days of Mountain Mischief, includes snippets from his upcoming book on Mount Washington, “The White Mountain,” coming out in 2018. To become a donor or sponsor for the White Mountain Campaign, email Dan at danszczesny@gmail.com or visit hobblebush.com/product-page/the-white-mountain.)