Mount Washington was first climbed in 1642, but there was little activity there until the middle of the 19th century when it was developed as one of the first intentional tourist destinations in the country with the construction of the Tip Top Hotel, which is still standing and recently renovated, and an auto road and the Mount Washington Cog Railway (1869) to the top.
Mount Washington literally has some of the worst weather in the world, as it holds the wind speed record at 231 mph (372 kph), recorded in 1934 and regular winter temperatures of 47 degrees below zero Fahrenheit (44 below Celsius). Buildings there are designed to withstand 300 mph (482 kph) winds. Many are chained directly to the mountain. In addition to a number of broadcast towers, the mountain is the site of a non-profit scientific observatory reporting the weather as well as other aspects of the sub-arctic climate of the mountain.
The mountain is a popular hiking and recreational area, including Tuckerman Ravine, famous for its Fourth of July skiing and its 45-degree slopes, and notorious for its avalanches. It is the only mountain east of the Mississippi that has avalanches. About 100 are recorded every year and since 1849 more than 130 people have died in slides.
Numerous hikers have been lost on the mountain due to the difficulty of judging the weather on the mountain from down below. Hikers on the Appalachian trail visit the summit while on their way to and from Mt. Katahdin
Mount Washington is also the name of a city in the State of Kentucky; see Mount Washington, Kentucky.