High points like Cadillac Mountain always attract attention. In the late 1800s, when Cadillac was called Green Mountain, a hotel was built at its summit so guests could wake up in their rooms and already be in place to watch the sunrise. You could either reach this summit hotel on foot, or by riding on the second cog railway in America.
The first Green Mountain House was built in 1883, the same year the narrow-gauge Green Mountain Railway began operation. Each open-air coach on the railroad held 48 people, two less than the number of guests that fit into the hotel. (During bad weather, canvas tarps could be rolled down to protect the riders.) The trip, covering just over a mile, took about a half-hour.
The railway especially was popular during its first two years. However, it went bankrupt by the end of the 1880s, and its two locomotives were transferred to the oldest cog railway in the U.S., which has ascended Mt. Washington since 1869. The first Green Mountain House burned down in 1884; the second one lasted from 1885-1896 before it too was torn down.
Fun Facts: The #1 locomotive on the Green Mountain Railway was named Mount Desert. The #2 locomotive was named #2. Tickets on the Green Mountain Railway cost $2.50. The men who built it in the spring of 1883 worked twelve-hour days for $1.50/day.