History of the Kancamagus
Highway in NH
The Kancamagus Highway is rich in history that
dates back to the Indian Tribes of the 1600's.
Along the Kancamagus Highway you will find
informational postings about the area you are
visiting, many times they will offer some
history about the area you are in as well.
The Kancamagus Highway started as two small town
roads. One in Lincoln, NH and the other in
Passaconaway. The road to Passaconaway was
completed in the year 1837. 100 years later in
1937, these two town roads were extended in both
directions, East and West from Passaconaway and
from Lincoln and were connected. The Kancamagus Highway opened 22
years later to through traffic in 1959. The Kanc
celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2009 with a
few special events.
The mountains surrounding the Kancamagus Highway
(and the Kanc itself) are
named after some of the earliest and most
notorious residents along the Kanc, like:
Kancamagus "The Fearless One" was the grandson
Passaconaway "Child of the
Bear" was Kancamagus's grandfather.
passed along his offers of peace to other tribes and united over
17 Indian tribes within central New England in 1627.
This unification formed the later known Panacook
Confederacy. Passaconaway ruled the Panacook
Confederacy until he passed away in 1669. He
turned over the Sagamon of the Confederacy
to his son "Wonalancet."
Wonalancet ruled the Confederacy
until 1684 when Kancamagus became the 3rd
and final Sagamon of the Panacook
Kancamagus tried to keep his grandfather's
dreams of peace for the confederacy but
around 1690, the white Englishmen brought
war and violence to the region. Kancamagus
led the Panacook Confederacy and left the
area heading North to the now Canadian
border region of New Hampshire.
Paugus "The Oak," was chief of the Pequawket
Tribe along the Saco river in Conway, NH. Mt.
Paugus can been seen in the South of the
Kancamagus Highway, West of Mt. Chocorua.
Chocorua (who is believed to be chief of the
Ossipee Tribe) was thought to have died at the
peak of the now named "Mt. Chocorua."
Mt. Chocorua can be seen in the South of the
Kancamagus Highway, just East of Mt. Paugus.
town of Conway NH gets its name from Passaconaway.
The town of Penacook NH gets
its name from
the Panacook Indians.
Ossipee NH gets
its name from the Ossipee
Mt. Chocorua in New Hampshire gets
And of course the Kancamagus Highway gets
its name from Kancamagus, the grandson of
Many towns and mountains in New Hampshire
are named after famous Indians and Indian
The Russell Colbath House was built in the early
1830's. For over 100 years, these early settlers
used the land for farming and logging. They also
took in boarders in the Summer months. The
logging industry peaked around the year 1900
Russell Colbath House is now used by the US
Forest Service and offered as an historic site
for public viewing and an information center.
The house is open in late Spring through the
Fall foliage season daily.