The powerful memory of the death of the Samuel Willey family by an avalanche in 1826 inspired Thomas Hill to capture the grandeur of Crawford Notch, before and after the event, on two monumental canvases. The first, White Mountain Notch, painted by Hill in 1870, depicted Crawford Notch the morning after the avalanche from Mount Willey swept through the valley killing the family. Hill's dramatic painting received critical acclaim during a tour of New York, Philadelphia, and Boston. In 1872, inspired by this painting's popularity and success, Hill completed a companion landscape, Crawford Notch, showing the valley prior to the deaths of the Willey family. A pamphlet distributed at the time tells us that the artist affected the viewer's emotions with a subject "preeminent in all the elements of savage sublimity."