Set 01 of the Iron Mines
Bob Jensen at Trinity University 

In Summer of 2017 a friendly stranger walked up our drive
He introduced himself as Ron Resden, a gunsmith from Guildhall, Vermont
He recalls both the 1807 iron mines of Sugar Hill, NH and the 1880 Sunset Hill House Resort torn down in 1974

Our cottage sits where the main hotel of 1880 SHH Resort was built
I previously wrote about the history of this resort

Historic Photographs (Set 01) of the Sunset Hill House Resort Shared by Gunsmith Ron Resden from Vermont

Historic Photographs (Set 02) of the Sunset Hill House Resort Shared by Gunsmith Ron Resden from Vermont

Historic Photographs (Set 03) of the Sunset Hill House Resort Shared by Gunsmith Ron Resden from Vermont


Now I will share four of Ron's iron mine pictures of the nearby Sugar Hill iron mines and related pictures
New Hampshire's Sugar Hill (Franconia) Mines should not be confused with the Sugar Hill Mines of Bartow County, Georgia

Slightly over three miles (up a walking trail) south of our cottage are boarded up iron mines in what is known as Ore Hill
Ore Hill's high-quality iron ore veins were discovered in the 1790s
Beginning in 1807 the mines supplied iron ore by pack mules to where oxen carts could be loaded to haul ore downhill to a nearby Franconia smelters
The iron ingots were then melted down two iron works plants in Franconia that manufactured highest-quality stoves and iron parts
The only remaining iron works factory shut down before the Civil War and later started up once again around 1859
It's not clear just when this factory shut down again, but it ceased operations before 1870
All the remaining iron factory buildings burned down in 1884 after attempting to start up again

This is Ore Hill as seen from my desk
It's one of the more scenic foliage hills in New Hampshire since it's still undeveloped hardwood forest
It's springs still provide water to the nearby Inn on Sunset Hill
Kinsman Range mountains in the background are clouded over in the pictures below taken from my desk



Roger Aldrich, a long-time resident of Sugar Hill, died in November of 2017 about 140 years after the closing of the iron mines
Roger's wife Nancy was pioneer Polly's descendent who carried on managing the well-known Polly's Pancake Parlor farm restaurant about a mile north of our cottage
The daughter (Kathy) of Roger and Nancy Aldrich currently manages the extremely popular breakfast and lunch restaurant on Route 117 between Franconia and Sugar Hill

Video:  Roger Aldrich Talks in considerable detail about the historic iron mines in Sugar Hill ---
Click on the video start link center picture

Roger  points out is how the mines were a complex of relatively short shafts and tunnels following the highest-grade iron veins
formed by a volcano millions of years before humans walked the earth
Among other things Roger points out that  the abandoned mines are still home to brown bats that should not be disturbed

In Summer 2017 a Vermont gunsmith name Ron Resden sent me pictures of when he was a young lad in these parts
and worked for the the Sunset Hill Resort that was torn down in 1974
He and his friends hiked in these hills and explored some of the iron mine tunnels
Soon thereafter the mine entrances were boarded over


This is a recent message from Ron Resden

Hi Bob,

The photo was taken by me in 1963, likely in August. The person on the left is Chuck Robinson from Littleton. Center person is Steve Dicks from Revere Mass, and the fellow on the right is John Mitchell from Haverhill or N. Haverhill NH. All teenagers at the time and summer employees of the Sunset Hill House. Iím not aware of any other photos taken in the mines so quite happy to see you are recording these for history and all interested parties to see.

A new disk is being readied with about a dozen SHH cards not on the disk I gave you last October.

Also a disk with the best copies of the mine photos.

As Always,



The next two photos show a young Ron Resden at the deepest point that could be reached in this tunnel





Today the historic 1764 village of Franconia only has a few business establishments (no longer any iron works factories),_New_Hampshire

In the south Franconia picture below you can see some of Cannon Mountain's ski slopes


The Catholic Church and Town Hall are located south along the Gale River not far near where the Franconia Iron Works factories eventually burned down


On the north side of Franconia today is a where there's a walking bridge over the river to where part of the Besaw Iron Furnace still stands




You can read more about this Besaw Iron Furnace here

Roughly 10 miles west toward Lisbon there was a kiln that turned wood into charcoal for the smelters


There were two separate iron works factories in Franconia, NH during the 19th century
The earliest started about 1801, and in one form or another, operated until after the Civil War
The second company started in 1808 and lasted it burned down in1828.


Video:  Well known NH television commentator/hiker Fritz Weatherbee discusses the history of the Franconia's Upper and Lower Iron Works factories at
This video commences automatically after an advertisement

Fritz points out that there were four short-lived iron smelters in New Hampshire that did not thrive due to poor quality iron ore
But the discovery of higher grade iron ore in Ore Hill in the 1790s led to a more thriving mining, smelting, and manufacturing operations in Franconia
He also mentions that there were two iron works factories in Franconia (Upper Works and Lower Works) and how the Lower Works burned down in a spectacular fire in 1828
The Upper Works continued for a time making top quality Franconia iron stoves and some other iron products
All this came to an end when the known quality iron veins in Ore Hill played out



Sugar Hill Museum ---

Franconia Museum ---

Jensen Cottage

Set 01 of my cottage pictures ---
Set 02 inside the cottage ---
Set 03 inside the cottage
Set 04 inside the cottage ---\Inside/Set04/Set04InteriorCottage.htm  
Photographs of Putting a New Rubber Roof Under Our Widow's Walk

Indoor  Plants ---
Amaryllis ---   

The Inn on Sunset Hill (just down from our cottage) ---


Cottage History

Sunset Hill House Resort History Set 01 --- 

Historic Photographs (Set 01) of the Sunset Hill House Resort Shared by Gunsmith Ron Resden from Vermont

Historic Photographs (Set 02) of the Sunset Hill House Resort Shared by Gunsmith Ron Resden from Vermont

Historic Photographs (Set 03) of the Sunset Hill House Resort Shared by Gunsmith Ron Resden from Vermont


After the Sunset Hill House Resort was nearly all demolished in 1974, our cottage (before it was ours)
was moved in 1977 from the golf course across a tennis court and up to where the former hotel site.
I show pictures of the preparation work prior to the moving the cottage and its four fireplaces

Next I show pictures of the move to the new site 

Next I show the pictures of a 1980 spectacular fire on one of the remaining three cottages

Iron Ore From Ore Hill and Historic Iron Works Operations in Franconia

Sunset Hill House Hotel:  The American Dream ---

Part 1 of the History of the Homestead Inn Torn Down in 2015

Part 2 of the History of the Homestead Inn 




More of Bob Jensen's Pictures and Stories



On May 14, 2006 I retired from Trinity University after a long and wonderful career as an accounting professor in four universities. I was generously granted "Emeritus" status by the Trustees of Trinity University. My wife and I now live in a cottage in the White Mountains of New Hampshire ---

Bob Jensen's Blogs ---
Current and past editions of my newsletter called New Bookmarks ---
Current and past editions of my newsletter called Tidbits ---
Current and past editions of my newsletter called Fraud Updates ---
Bob Jensen's past presentations and lectures ---   

Our address is 190 Sunset Hill Road, Sugar Hill, New Hampshire
Our cottage was known as the Brayton Cottage in the early 1900s
Sunset Hill is a ridge overlooking with New Hampshire's White Mountains to the East
and Vermont's Green Mountains to the West



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