Cover image for The grand resort hotels of the White Mountains : a vanishing architectural legacy
The grand resort hotels of the White Mountains : a vanishing architectural legacy
Tolles, Bryant Franklin, 1939-
Publication Information:
Boston : D.R. Godine, 1998.
Physical Description:
263 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations, maps ; 29 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
TX909 .T58 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Oversize

On Order



This Is The First Book to fully explore the architecture, and the related economic, social, and cultural history, of the grand resort hotels of New Hampshire's scenic White Mountains. These beautiful buildings, situated in one of America's oldest and most heavily visited vacation locales, were the first structures in America designed exclusively for the tourist industry. This carefully researched, profusely illustrated volume identifies and explores some twenty-eight outstanding resort complexes, explaining their architectural details, their social histories, and the often surprising stories behind their lovely wooden facades.Bryant Tolles places the buildings in a broad national and historical context, explains the origins and development of this highly specialized industry, and discusses the symbiotic relationship between the hotels and the railroads. The concluding sections of the book offer an exhaustive bibliography, a comprehensive index, and appendices, plus listings of the major White Mountains hotels, past and present.Fully illustrated with over 200 black-and-white and twenty color photographs this is the first comprehensive treatment of these structures to be published in recent years. A visual delight and a vastly entertaining social document, it also presents scholarship and detective work of the first order.

Author Notes

Bryant F. Tolles, Jr., is Associate Professor of History and Art History and Director of the Museum Studies Program at the University of Delaware. Formerly, he served as the Executive Director and Librarian of the Essex Institute in Salem, Massachusetts

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Combining architectural history and popular culture, this exhaustive study of the grand hotels of the White Mountains uncovers a fascinating piece of Americana. In the late nineteenth century, the monied classes of the Northeast began to crave escape from their increasingly hectic urban lives. They wanted the beauty of nature, but they also needed the formality and luxury they had come to expect from life. A group of talented architects gave them what they wanted and needed in the grand hotels of New Hampshire's White Mountains--enormous structures, stunning in both scope and detail. Tolles describes the lavish buildings virtually down to their foundations, comparing the work of the various architects, and he supplies fascinating historical and cultural background. Specialists will recognize this impeccably researched volume for the invaluable historical document it is; general readers will prefer to browse, savoring the cultural material and reveling in the evocative illustrations. An essential purchase for regional collections in the Northeast; a tempting luxury, like the hotels themselves, for libraries elsewhere. --Ilene Cooper

Choice Review

Comprehensively and thoroughly researched, Tolles's book provides a valuable treatise on the establishment, development, and demise of the grand resort hotels of the White Mountains, which flourished from the 1880s to WW I before their decline. Substantiating their development, Tolles considers the socioeconomic aspects with the rising industrialization of the railroads. Importantly, the cultural influences are evidenced in the stylistic designs of the architecture, decorative interiors, landscaping, out-of-door activities, and desired vistas. The author has isolated and established six periods in which to identify the resorts with given styles, even though some were rebuilt on their original sites. There were 30 hotels built within a nine-mile radius with only five extant, the others having succumbed to flames, wind, or the wreckers. The opus is accompanied by an exhaustive bibliography, pamphlets, the author's collection, two appendixes, various indexes, and more than 200 black-and-white and 20 color illustrations. As interesting and enlightening as the text is, the reading becomes arduous when pagination is abandoned with references made only to chapters. General readers. R. R. Henry; formerly, Pine Manor College

Table of Contents

Prefacep. 7
Acknowledgmentsp. 9
Introductionp. 13
Chapter 1 The Precursors: Rosebrooks, Crawfords, Fabyans and the Early Highway Hotelsp. 29
Chapter 2 Railroad Development and the Pre-Civil War Hotelsp. 47
Chapter 3 The Prosperity of the 1860s and Hotel Expansionp. 77
Chapter 4 The Grand Resort Hotel Concept Is Securely Rooted: The Seventiesp. 109
Chapter 5 The Maturation of the Building Type: From the Eighties to World War Ip. 143
Chapter 6 The Hotel That Blew Down: The Metallak, the Surviving Record, and the Symbolp. 181
Chapter 7 The Full Evolution of the Building Type: The Second Glen House, the New Profile House, and the Mountain View Housep. 191
Chapter 8 Paragons of Style and Elegance: The Mount Washington Hotel at Bretton Woods and The Balsams at Dixville Notchp. 213
Appendix A A List of Pre-1930 White Mountain Hotels Accommodating Fifty or More Guestsp. 239
Appendix B Lists of Known Pre-1900 Paintings, Printed Views, and Illustrated Maps Depicting White Mountain Hotelsp. 247
Bibliographyp. 251
Indexp. 261