Snow's Handbook of Northern Pleasure Travel,1876
The typical tour continues up the Saco River through the narrow mountain pass long called simply the Notch, the Great Notch, or the White Mountain Notch. As tourism brought more outsiders to the area, this pass assumed the name of Crawford Notch after a local family associated for generations with the area’s leading inns.
The power of nature and its impact on man comes into focus no place more clearly than at Crawford Notch. In August 1826, this was the site of a deluge and landslide that killed the entire Samuel Willey family, while sparing the house from which the family had fled. The news of this natural disaster loomed in the American consciousness for decades, and awe and curiosity concerning the incident helped fuel the development of tourism in the White Mountains.
In striking contrast to the threatening aspect of nature within the notch, tourists were then delighted to find, just north of the passageway’s narrowest and darkest portion (known as the Gate of the Notch), a broad, open plateau, at the center of which stood the fashionable Crawford House. The visual and commercial center of the mountain region, the hotel boasted all the amenities of a summer resort including an artist-in-residence.