National Geographic : 1937 Jul
THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE rnotograpn Dy Irask s Studio HE PLUNGES INTO A 90-MILE GALE LIKE A SWIMMER DEFYING A HUGE BREAKER The anemometer on Mount Washington has registered a velocity of about 200 miles an hour (page 78). The ice formation consists of "frost feathers," or rime, built up in spikes toward the wind as it blew moisture against the pole at the end of the cog railway trestle. In a single storm these formations have been known to reach six feet in length. It was in 1899 that the first automobile, a steam-driven vehicle, started from the Notch and in the "remarkable" time of 2 hours and 10 minutes reached the top. Five years later, in an automobile climbing contest, a driver rolled his car onto the summit in 25 minutes. The next year the record was broken when a daring driver covered the route in about 21 minutes, but that record was shattered by four minutes in 1922. The record made in 1934 now stands at 13 minutes, 20% seconds-quite a record when one considers that the grade is from 12 to 26 per cent and there are more than eighty curves in the highway (p. 99). The Carriage Road, as the highway is still called, was the most popular means of reach ing the summit until the cog rail way came into being, and it still is used by thou sands of visitors annually. "CRAZY MARSH" AND HIS BIG IDEA The cog rail wayisasmucha part of the story of Mount Wash ington as the White Mountains are a part of the story of New England. In the early fif ties, Sylvester Marsh, a native of New Hamp shire who sought his fortune in business in Chi cago, returned for a visit to his na tive State and set out to climb Mount Washington. He lost his way and was forced to spend the night in the open. Despite his hardships, the White Mountain panorama so thrilled him that he visioned riding to the summit in a railway car. Retiring from "business in 1855, he worked out plans for a cog railway and built a model. With this he appeared be fore the New Hampshire Legislature to ap ply for a charter. He was greeted with guffaws.