21. IMP VIEW LANE

 

 

SEE ALSO 43. GALLERY: IMP FACE

The reference in the name "Imp View Lane" is to the Imp Face, which looms over the homestead site from about 1.6 miles east. Its relevance to Campground history is easily established. Simply, by geographic chance, the Copp’s yard was the best location from which the Imp Face profile could be viewed.

According to George Cross, by the eighteen fifties it was believed by many that the best view of the Imp Face was from the yard of the Copp home. He tells us that stages full of sightseers on the main road would divert over the bridge to the Copp Farm, to view the Imp to best advantage.

An early reference was by Samuel Adams Drake in his 1882 work “The Heart of The White Mountains.” Drake characterized the expression on The Imp as “almost diabolical.”

Fanciful view of Imp Face
from Samuel Drake's 1882 book.

Then the 1887 Ticknor guidebook stated “The Imp is a grotesque colossal sphinx which appears on one of the peaks of the Carter Range, the profile being formed by the upper crags of Mt. Imp, and having a weird resemblance to a distorted human face. This appearance is best observed at late afternoon, and from Copp’s Farm, on the old road to Randolph.”

A Berlin Daily Sun article of 8/3/2001 by Chad Dryden, describing the Imp Trail Loop, states that “Twenty five minutes from the cliff ledge, the trail reaches a junction with the North Carter Trail, then passes a defunct logging camp and follows an old logging road pretty much the rest of the way back to NH 16.”

Perhaps in the evenings of the late 1800's it was possible to see these loggers’ campfires to the right, or south side, of the Imp.

View of Imp to east from "Copp Farm"
on post card mailed in 1907.

The Federal Writers’ Project of 1938, cataloging New Hampshire attractions, states of Imp Mountain that “The resemblance to a grotesque profile is easily traceable in the upper crags of the mountain. Someone has suggested that it is a burlesque of the Old Man of the Mountains in Franconia Notch,” 27 miles to the southwest.

The Old Man fell to the valley floor due to natural causes in 2003. Will that bring more attention to this lesser known competitor? There is also a reference in a 1939 guide book to New England characterizing the profile as “The gargoyle on Imp Mountain.”

This colorful folklore has been nicely captured by the Forest Service with the name “Imp View Lane.”

The view is of course both ways. An early sixties USFS brochure stated that “A splendid view of Mount Washington and the Dolly Copp Camp is available from the ‘face’.”

View from Imp Face westerly back to
Dolly Copp in the late thirties. Much more
unwooded land was visible in the Campground then.

As with other nearby sections Imp View Lane is one of the older parts of Dolly Copp. A thirties era color post card entitled “Dolly Copp Camp Ground and the Imp” pictured this area. In it, as shown below there is an example of one of the old style wooden guard rails is shown between Site 157 and the main campground road.

 

Popular post card from early
decades showing Imp View Lane.

 

Early forties view from Memorial
to the north across Imp View Lane.

The Forest Service archive contains a 1949 request from the Campers Association mentioning Imp View Lane:

We request that the ground near the lower end of Imp View Lane be leveled for the purpose of Badminton and Volley Ball. Our reason for this request is due to the fact that the Association has spent approximately $100 for sport equipment and ALL campers are eligible to use this equipment.

If we allow this equipment to be taken to the ball field, especially the badminton sets, they are returned in a bad condition or else the poles set up to hold the nets are taken for firewood or tent poles.... If we have the aforesaid land leveled we can have better supervision over the equipment. This land is NOT used for camp sites.

The 1940 map indicates that Imp View Lane at that time did not have individualized siting. Today it is host to popular Sites 154 to 157.

View of Imp View Lane on the cover
of Troubadour Magazine, August 1949.

In early decades a manmade landmark higher up (4,832 feet) and well to the south of the Imp was visible. A 1928 news article reports; “the Carter Dome lookout tower which can be seen from most of the camp ground and the nearby fire tool cache act as grim reminders of forest fire possibilities.”

Dolly Copp campers at
Carter Dome Fire Tower in 1938.

This tower was a destination for hikers from the Campground. It may have dated from about 1905 when a whole series of such White Mountains towers were built. One source says the Carter Dome Tower was toppled by the hurricane of 1938 and never rebuilt.

But then the AMC archive states "This tower remained in operation until being dismantled by AMC crewmen in 1947, as the Forest Service consolidated its fire protection system and phased out a series of lookouts in the WMNF."

Research by New Hampshire Fire Tower historian Iris Baird supports the latter view but qualifies that this tower was dismantled between 1944 and 1946.



Carter Dome Fire Tower on 1938 USFS Map.

 


According to Appalachian Mountain Club archives evidence from a devastating 1908 fire was still visible around the Carter Dome Fire Tower when the photo above was taken in 1927. Included is a sample Squirrel Card, given to a visitor by the Carter Dome lookout man in 1941.

As a memento for those who hiked up to fire towers across the country, the Forest Service began giving out "Squirrel Cards," designating recipients as members of the "Ancient and Honorable Order of the Squirrels."

The cards were also a means for the Forest Service to educate members of the public, and to enlist their help in the fight against forest fires.

Three years after the Squirrel Card pictured above was issued, the Forest Service’s efforts to educate the public received a new face, when Smokey the Bear appeared in a new ad campaign.