In the 1820s, not many people lived in the White Mountains. One family, the Willeys, built a homestead near Crawford Notch. The family included a mother, father, five children, and two hired hands. In August 1826, a huge storm moved through the area and set off a massive landslide in the little valley where the Willeys lived. The landslide destroyed almost everything in the valley except the Willeys’ house. Unfortunately, when the Willeys heard the landslide begin, they left their house and tried to run away from the landslide, which didn’t work. They were all killed, even though their house miraculously survived. News traveled all over the country of the Willey tragedy and the strange story that their house was just as they left it, with beds unmade, and books and food sitting on the table. In fact, tourists started coming to the White Mountains just to see the Willeys’ house. This became the start of a tourism boom to the White Mountains. People came to see the Willeys’ house but were so impressed with the beauty of the White Mountains that they stayed for long visits and began to explore the area more.