A Comprehensive Guide To New Hampshire’s Tip-Top House

If you are looking for historic locations to visit when on a trip to New Hampshire or if you are a local and want to know somewhere interesting you can visit, look no further than the Tip Top House.

If you have heard of this location but you do not know where it is, what it is, or why it is there, just keep on reading to get all the information you need about this historic place!

A Comprehensive Guide To New Hampshire's Tip-Top House

What Is The Tip Top House In New Hampshire?

If you do not know what the Tip Top House actually is, it was formerly used as a hotel. It is located in the Mount Washington State Park which is in Sargent’s Purchase in New Hampshire.

The building finished construction all the way back in 1853, so if you want to sample some of New Hampshire’s history, then visiting the Tip Top House is a perfect way to do so.

By surviving since 1853, it has become the oldest building which can be found on the summit of Mount Washington.

This goes one step further and it is believed by some to be one of, if not the oldest surviving pieces of mountain top hostelry which is present, not just in the state or country, but in the world.

While the Tip Top House is not currently serving as a hotel, it is instead used as an exhibition space.

If you want to go around this exhibition space you will learn all about the history of the mountain from this informative exhibition. The Tip Top House was added to the National Register of Historic places back in 1982.

On the summit area of Mount Washington you can find the Tip Top House close to the visitor facilities and the current summit building, so it is not too hidden away.

One thing you should definitely keep in mind when visiting is that, firstly it is only open to the public between the earlier parts of May to early October, and that you will need to pay a fee to enter.

This fee will change quite often, so call the tourist board ahead to get an updated price sheet if you plan to visit.

The rest of this article will give you more detailed information about New Hampshire’s Tip Top House, so if you are not going to be able to visit this historic monument, but you want to know more details about it, then just keep on reading!

Description Of The Tip Top House In New Hampshire

The Tip Top House is located right next to the summit point of Mount Washington, this makes it 6288 feet up high, or 1917 meters.

And if you did not know, Mount Washington is the tallest mountain which is located in the north eastern part of the USA.

You can find the building itself towards the south western side of the mountain’s summit, and by comparison, it is just a little north of the Mount Washington Cog Railway, or the parking space which is found by the end of the Mount Washington Auto Road. 

The house itself can be described as a rectangular shaped structure, and it is a modest 1 and a half stories high. The walls of the building are made from a rough-cut granite which gives it a much more distinct appearance.

The stones which this building is constructed from are pieced together using mortar, however, the joints of the building are deep set, this means that seeing the mortar is quite difficult from the outside. 

You can find the entrance of the building at the southern shorter end of the building and it is slightly off center. The sides of the Tip Top House feature some window openings with a rectangular shape.

The building had to be rebuilt after a fire in 1908, where the inside of the building had to be gutted and refurbished. Because of this refurbishment effort, the interior reflects the aesthetics of the 1915 era it was done in.

History Of The Tip Top House In New Hampshire

History Of The Tip Top House In New Hampshire

While the Tip Top House is the oldest standing hotel on Mount Washington today, it was not the first to be there.

It was in fact made specifically to compete with the Summit House which was another hotel which was located up there which had only opened the year prior in 1852.

The Tip Top House building was led by Samuel F Spaulding, and at the time the construction cost him $7000. 

The rocks which the Tip Top House is constructed using were actually rock blasted from the very mountain it is located on top of, so it is literally made with pieces of Mount Washington.

It is said that on clearer days on top of Mount Washington, a telescope got placed on the uniquely flat roof of the Tip Top House, and this converted the space into an observatory.

Unfortunately this was not possible after the early 1860s wherein the unique flat roof was replaced with a pitched one making the observatory conversion impossible.

Starting in 1877, the building for the Tip Top House started being used as a printing office by the fittingly named Among The Clouds which was a newspaper specifically for Mount Washington.

Unfortunately the printing office moved to a different location after a while, this led the Tip Top House to unfortunately fall into a state of disrepair.

It did not really serve a function on top of the mountain with a different even bigger hotel being built with 91 rooms and three stories nearby, and there was even a different weather observatory as well. 

However, if you remember from earlier, there was a fire in 1908 which essentially destroyed all of these buildings on top of the mountain, with the only surviving building being the Tip Top House.

And as mentioned, because of this the building got refurbished in 1915, where it started being used as a hotel once again. 

The aforementioned Summit House also got burned down, but this was rebuilt too so when the Tip Top House got refurbished, it was essentially used as an annex for the other hotel.

This hotel was then abandoned later on around 1968. 

Due to the age of the Tip Top House, it is not being used a historic site with an exhibition site.

As mentioned in the introduction it was labelled as a historic place officially in 1982, and then the building was restored back in 1987, even including the original flat roof it used to have.


So, as you can see here, there is plenty of history to the Tip Top House in New Hampshire, and while this article has given you an overview of most of the history of this building, it is still well worth visiting!

There is plenty more exclusive information you will be able to find up in this historic building, and you will be able to talk with those who are most informed about its history!

There is plenty to do when visiting Mount Washington, and getting up to the summit is an impressive challenge, so being able to relax and explore the Tip Top House when you get there is part of the reward!


Kyle Battis is a life-long NH resident that enjoys making his way around the state, sampling delicious food and drinks, and sharing his experiences. Follow us at www.HereInNewHampshire.com