Granite State Stories: Trains come to the White Mountains

  • The White Mountain Station House, erected in Gorham, by the Atlantic and St. Lawrence Railroad and opened in July 1851 in time for the arrival of the first trains on the new rail line from Portland, Maine. Lithograph by John Bufford. Courtesy of the N.H. Historical Society

Published: 5/28/2018 11:04:18 AM

In July 1851, the first trains arrived in Gorham on the newly constructed Atlantic and St. Lawrence Railroad route from Portland, Maine, to Montreal, Canada. For the first time, it was possible to travel by rail directly to the White Mountains.

Not only did the Portland-to-Montreal line link the White Mountain region to northeastern cities like Boston and New York, it was also the first international railroad in North America. Gorham was transformed into a transportation center for tourists, marking the beginning of a period of dramatic growth in White Mountain tourism and the heyday of the region’s grand resort hotels.

As the railroad industry grew, this line also stimulated the development of New Hampshire’s lumber and paper industries and brought an ever-growing number of French Canadians south to work in textile mills.

N.H. Historical Society




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