Many companies and organizations have an animal as a mascot. These are often just symbols and images, or an animal character is created and a human dresses-up as this character. However, some organizations have a real animal as their mascot. One example is the Mount Washington Summit, who have had cats as their mascots for many years. Sadly, their most recent cat mascot has recently died. Mount Washington is a mountain in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. It is the highest peak in the northeast of the United States, as the summit is 6,288 feet above sea level. The mountain sits within Washington, which borders the White Mountain National Forest. According to Sugar Hill Inn, the summit of the mountain offers some of the most spectacular views in New Hampshire.
On a clear day, it is possible to see beyond New Hampshire to New York, Maine, Vermont, Quebec, Massachusetts, and the Atlantic Ocean. Although the views are spectacular, the summit is also known for having some of the world’s worst weather. At the summit, a weather observatory was established due to the infamous weather at the peak. A group of scientists embarked on an expedition in 1870 to research the unpredictable weather in the hope of improving forecasting for the area. However, the first weather station was not constructed until 1892. Mount Washington Observatory was founded in 1932 by civilians awarded a research grant to continue the work. Now, the research continues with a dedicated team learning about the weather and making improvements to forecasting.
The History of Cats as Their Mascot
Marty was far from the first feline mascot at Mount Washington Summit, as the observatory has had mascot cats ever since the foundation of the observatory in 1932. Therefore, cats have played an important role in the observatory’s history. Since the founding of the observatory, multiple cats have taken on the role of mascot. The predecessor to Marty was Nin, a black and white short-haired cat that was formerly a stray. Like Marty, Nin served as the observatory’s mascot for 12 years. When Nin retired, the observatory launched its first-ever vote for a new mascot, and the response was incredible.
Marty the Mount Washington Summit Mascot
Marty was the most recent of the feline mascots at Mount Washington Summit. He was a black Maine Coon, one of the largest domesticated cat breeds. As the breed’s name suggests, these cats originated in the state of Maine. They have long coats and a brush-like tail, and they come in more than 30 colors. Since 2008, Marty has been the mascot at Mount Washington, and his duty was to patrol the area. Marty was a former rescue shelter cat, and he landed the position of mascot after he was entered into the Mount Washington Summit Primary, where members of the public vote for their favorite animal to become the mascot.
A press release from the observatory said that more than eight thousand people voted for their favorite animal. The Maine Coon was the clear winner of the poll, as he achieved 53 percent of the votes. He clearly outshone the other two candidates for the position. All three cats were from the Conway Area Humane Society, and the shelter’s staff selected the three candidates. A representative from the Conway Area Humane Society said that the competition was a great way of raising awareness of the animals in the shelter and society’s work. It is possible the name Marty was chosen for the cat as a tribute to Marty Engstrom, who was a WMTV engineer. Engstrom was famous for reporting on the weather from the summit of Mount Washington, and he earned the nickname of Marty of the Mountain.
Earlier this year, an announcement revealed that Marty would retire in 2021 after serving for more than 12 years as the Mount Washington Summit mascot. Sadly, Marty died before he could complete his final year of service. Although he did not quite reach his retirement, Marty was a valued member of the team at the summit during his 12 years of service, and he made an important contribution. Not only did he fulfill the tradition of having a cat mascot, but he also interacted with everyone who came into contact with him. His friendly nature brightened many people’s day. He was a welcome sight to many climbers who had spent hours battling dire weather conditions to reach the summit. Marty also had a role as a comfort cat to those who lived and worked at the observatory.
Sadly, it was recently announced that Marty had passed away. Rebecca Scholand, the operation manager for Mount Washington Summit, made an announcement regarding the Maine Coon’s death. She explained that Marty had succumbed to an unforeseen illness, says AP News. In her statement, Scholand said that she had formerly lived on the summit for four years as an observer and that this had given her the opportunity to get to know Marty. She described the cat as a fantastic entertainer and companion. Scholand went on to say that all the staff loved Marty, so he would be sadly missed.
The announcement also stated that the Mount Washington Summit intends to continue with its tradition of having a feline mascot. However, they did not name a cat that will take over Marty’s former duties. Hopefully, another rescue cat like Marty will take over this position. If they run a similar competition for the position, it will once again raise awareness of rescue animals in need of a home. Despite his death, Marty’s legacy will live on. Each year, the Mount Washington Summit Observatory (https://www.mountwashington.org/) sells souvenir calendars often bought by those who have hiked to the summit. They had already completed the calendar for 2021, and the photographs feature their mascot, Marty.