Granite State Stories: Tip Top House opens on top of Mount Washington

  • A painting of the summit of Mount Washington, attributed to John Denison Crocker in 1856, depicting Tip Top House on the left and Summit House on the right. Summit House, built in 1852, was destroyed by fire in 1908. Courtesy of N.H. Historical Society

Published: 7/23/2018 3:43:05 PM

Mount Washington was already a popular tourist destination with one hotel at its summit when Lancaster farmer Samuel Fitch Spaulding decided to open a competing hotel in 1853.

Tip Top House was built in six weeks with stone blasted from the mountain and lumber that had to be hauled by horses over nine rugged miles from the nearest sawmill. It changed ownership and purpose many times over the years, housing hikers, railroad employees, a newspaper and printing press, and research facilities.

Tip Top House is the oldest surviving building left standing on the summit today. Now a state historic site, it is believed to be the oldest mountain-top hostelry still in existence.

N.H. Historical Society


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