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Preserving the History & Heritage of Lake Winnipesaukee & Vicinity
 
 

THE GRAND OLD STEAMER MOUNT WASHINGTON


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SAILING ON LAKE WINNIPESAUKEE

 

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Washington off Becky's Garden, while those happy Irish souls waved and sang in unison, "Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye!" She docked at Centre Harbor scant minutes ahead of Mount Washington and Elmer Davis sounded the final jingle to the engineer with a cryptic remark. "That's that." it was a long speech for Elmer, but he had been hoping for a long time that something like that would happen.

In later years, after Captain Blackstone had assumed command of the Mount, he was surprised to learn that, running over a measured mile, she was capable of attaining a top speed of only 14 1/2 miles per hour. His training as a designer of steamboats made him believe that she should be faster, but he could not determine why she failed to exceed this speed.

Later in the year, the Mount was crossing the lower end of the lake from Wolfeboro to Alton Bay during a very heavy windstorm. The waters were high and Captain Blackstone observed that Mount Washington was laboring unusually hard. He was standing just aft of the paddlebox on the port side making an inspection when he heard a ripping sound. He leaped to the shelter of an open door in time to avoid being washed overboard when a portion of the paddlebox was carried away and a wall of water was released. The big steamboat was immediately headed into the wind and no further damage was sustained.

Captain Blackstone was 'reminded of a similar but more serious mishap that had occurred some years earlier, when the Mount was under the command of Cap- tain Harry Wentworth. It happened during the most vicious tornado ever recorded in the Lakes Region. On that occasion, the Mount sustained similar but more extensive damage. She was swung broadside to the lake and shipped much water. The experienced seamanship of Captain Wentworth prevented her from capsizing.

During the spring of 1908, the steamer Mount Wash- ington was being readied for an active summer season and as was customary her master, captain Harry L. Wentworth, was in charge of operations. Before noon one day he was seen walking down the railroad tracks carrying a shotgun. Later, when he had not returned, a search was made and he was found dead from a gunshot wound.

In the week following this tragic event, officials of the Boston and Maine Railroad called on Captain H.A. Blackstone and prevailed upon

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