View Full Version : strange thing to find in the Presis

06-19-2015, 12:01 PM

Inside (I returned it to its original position after the photo):

On the inside there are small wire loops around the edges, presumably for holding upholstery.

Anyone recognize this? It looks like a vehicle door, but is it from logging equipment, a rail car, or an ordinary car/truck? Maybe a ski gondola? The handle in the center of the inside should be a hint. Also that bulge above the handle makes me think the window closed with a latch there, instead of rolling down. I didn't look closely at the base of the window, but it was pretty rusted anyway.

{edit: after IDing the door, it seems the window did wind roll down in the process familiar to anybody old enough to remember a non-electric car window. I'm not sure what the bulge was for.}

This was located over a mile uphill from Appalachia. I did not notice any old roads/railbeds nearby, but I was tired and didn't really look. Also, I didn't see any glass.

I'm thinking it's from some kind of logging truck, on the assumption that nobody would carry a piece of a car this far uphill just to dump it, though stranger things have certainly happened.

Ken MacGray
06-19-2015, 12:59 PM
I did not notice any old roads/railbeds nearby

Appalachia is immediately adjacent to the Presidential Recreational Rail Trail. Perhaps a relic from the old railroad?

06-19-2015, 01:04 PM
The entire lower slopes of the northern presis were heavily logged and I expect there are quite a few debris floating around anywhere there may have been marketable timber. Folks forget the extent of clearcutting that was around prior to the creation of the national forest.

06-19-2015, 02:39 PM
It looks like a door from a late 1920s Ford Model A. Here are some similar examples:


Maybe it came from an early snow machine like the one below. I've read that once the tracks were put on, the doors wouldn't open, so they just temporarily removed them.


06-19-2015, 03:23 PM
Thanks Evilhanz, that's a match! There are some small differences (including the window-bottom bulge I mentioned), so it's probably not from the same year, but the overall shape, the protruding hinges, the decorative fillets on the outside, the center location of the inside handle, the interior structure, and more are all the same.

Very interesting detail about removing the door for winter use (pity the frostbitten driver!), which might help explain why it was abandoned at that spot.

Dingo, as I said, this was a significant distance uphill from Appalachia and the obvious rail corridor. The area seemed a little too steeply graded for a logging spur railroad to be likely, but I didn't look around carefully enough to be sure.

Someday I'll have to review the history of this area. I was aware that a number of the RMC trails have long histories but were repeatedly rebuilt or rerouted, but somehow I imagined that at least narrow areas near these trails hadn't been logged. The door is visible without leaving the trail.

06-19-2015, 03:34 PM
What were you doing lurking around the woods in that location?

-Dr. Wu

06-19-2015, 03:47 PM
Maybe on a hot day many years ago someone took it with them on their hike, so that if they got too warm, they could roll down the window! :)

06-19-2015, 04:14 PM
Actually, Wu, while I was taking those photos a pair of hikers came down the trail. They spotted my backpack where I'd left it, but didn't see me through the foliage. One said to the other, "presumably there's a body that goes with that..." My reply ("there is!") startled them more than a little.

PS update on the mysterious bulge under the window: I think it's just there to grab onto for shutting the door (when the window is closed). Photos online show that the interior door handle was optional. (To exit a car without an interior handle, you released a tiny vertical knob at the back corner of the door, that looked a lot like the car door locks of my youth.)

06-20-2015, 10:37 PM
The Whites have a busy history and I suspect there are many artifacts scattered from one end to the other, some very deep in. I have found two cool old things. The first was a old crampon that I found above treeline after climbing the winter route on Lions head. It had stubby spikes and the remnents of that old green military style webbing, it was reddish rusty but still intact. The second item, I found in the Pemi. It was a very crude spatula made of metal. It was black and had one simple spot weld holding the handle to the blade. I guess it was from a logging camp.

06-20-2015, 10:58 PM
Very cool find. And good eye evilhanz. Seems very likely it is from a model A, but probably around 1931. My father had a 1931 Ford Model A when I was a kid so I recognized the door. Here is a photo of a 1931 model A door which has that bulge you noticed, nartreb. http://static.cargurus.com/images/site/2013/12/09/14/33/1931_ford_model_a_base-pic-4511555175590238907.jpeg

Grey J
06-21-2015, 07:51 PM
Seen on the Wilderness Trail. We stood it up for the photo by Kman. 5241

06-21-2015, 08:14 PM
Grey J, that's either a water wheel designed by somebody who was sitting on a lot of extra iron, or a rotary shovel.

Used in mining or dredging, or for this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rotary_snowplow

06-21-2015, 09:07 PM
Seen on the Wilderness Trail. We stood it up for the photo by Kman. 5241

Wow, what an interesting find. I am not, by any means, an authority on this subject but I would guess that this is a rotary shovel. When visiting the mills in Lowell the flutters were very different from what is pictured. If it was some type of waterwheel (either undershot, overshot, turbine, or midbreast) there would likely be other gears nearby and small pieces of wood that would be more easily replaced should an element of that system shear off (if they did not disintegrate).

Maybe it is in fact a primitive waterwheel design but it does not resemble the stereotypical designs of New England's industrial revolution.

Z :D