That would be your rack & pinion-style mountain climbing cog railway there. As Wikipedia put it:

The railway was built by Sylvester Marsh,[ who had grown up in Campton. Marsh came up with the idea while climbing the mountain in 1852. His plan was treated as insane. Local tradition says the state legislature voted permission based on a consensus that harm resulting from operating it was no issue — since the design was attempting the impossible.

Since he as spending his own money, and hiring locals, what was the harm? I hope it was known as "Marsh's Folly."