The Russell-Colbath Homestead is the last significant remnant of the town of Passaconaway. Named after Kancamagus’ grandfather, the larger-than-life Native American chief who founded the Pennacook Confederacy, the town of Passaconaway was at its peak in the 1850s when its population supported seven one-room school buildings. The first pioneers arrived on foot, hunted, trapped and cleared land for farms. Wagon road and then railroad increased access to Passaconaway, and the town grew to support the industries of logging and tourism. The Russell-Colbath Homestead was built between 1831 and 1832, and purchased by the US Forest Service in 1969. Visitors today can tour the restored and authentically-furnished building and learn about the characters and way-of-life of the Passaconaway era.
Interpretive panels surrounding the homestead reveal fascinating glimpses into pioneer life, from what the pioneers were able to grow in their gardens for food to the natural remedies they used to fight illness and injury. The timber frame barn was built in 2004 and is used primarily to host Forest Service programs. There is also an easy walking path through the forest with interpretive panels leading to the Swift River.
How does the land around Passaconaway today compare to the 1800s? What effect might The Weeks Act have had on this difference?
IMPORTANT: Historic places on the national forest are protected by federal law. Please leave it where you find it for the benefit of future generations!
Directions to Next Site:
The next stop on The Weeks Act Legacy Trail takes us back to the present day use of the forest. Travel 12.6 miles east on the Kancamagus Highway to reach the White Mountain National Forest Saco Ranger Station on the left.