Editor's note: The Mountain Ear was founded by Jane Golden Reilly and Steve Eastman in May 1976. The award-winning news weekly and lifestyle journal of Mount Washington Valley was sold by Eastman to Salmon Press in March 2005. Its last issue was in December 2014. Eastman — who died at age 58 from a brain tumor in April 2008 — always wanted to publish an annual book, hoping to call it "White Mountain Chronicles." In collaboration with Eastman's wife, Sarah W. Eastman, brother Tom Eastman (who worked at The Ear from 1979 before coming to The Sun in 2007) and former staff writer Karen Cummings, The Conway Daily Sun on occasional Saturdays is publishing some of those stories relating to local history. This story originally appeared in the Feb 18, 1977, edition of The Mountain Ear. It profiled Charles "Chubby" Whitaker (1895-1977), whose family once owned Whitaker Woods in North Conway.
By JANE GOLDEN REILLY
Chub Whitaker is shown lighting his wood stove in February 1977. Born in 1896, he died in August 1977. (JANE GOLDEN REILLY PHOTO)CONWAY — He remembers before they plowed the roads in Conway, when he'd pick up the 6:20 a.m. train from the A Street station en route to school at Fryeburg Academy, when he could walk down Main Street and knew everyone he met.
It's not like that anymore, he's sad to report, and "I'm getting awfully sick of looking at Main Street. If I could see a good team of horses going down the street now and then, it would be all right, but I don't think that's likely to happen."
Charles Wallace Whittaker should know. From his unique vantage point — the first house on the right heading north of North Conway Village — he's watched the town grow from a small north country village around the turn of the century to a large, expanding community.
Better known as Chub to his friends, a name that better describes his spirit than his diminutive size, he spends the winter inside the rambling 14-room farmhouse that has been his home for close to 80 of his 81 years. Crippled by ruptured discs, an ailment that has plagued him since his surveying days 40 years ago, he finds winter travel too difficult, but he's a familiar figure in the center of town in the summer.
It wasn't always like that. He described how, after he graduated from Brewster Academy, he returned home to work the farm, a 100-acre tract located on River Road.
"You live on a farm, you had to have a lot of jobs — blacksmith, quarryman, horse doctor," he said.