Sawyer River Railroad, New Hampshire

Route 302 bridge in Harts Location, New Hampshire from Forth Iron railroad bridge. These bridges cross the Sawyer River in the White Mountains.
Sawyer River from Fourth Iron Bridge
 

Sawyer River Railroad, New Hampshire – In 1875, the State Legislature approved an act to Incorporate the Sawyer River Railroad. Operated by the Daniel Saunders Family, the Sawyer River Railroad was a ten-mile long logging railroad in the New Hampshire White Mountains town of Livermore. It was in operation from 1877-1928 and was one of the last logging railroads to operate in New Hampshire.

The railroad began along the Portland & Ogdensburg Railroad (leased to the Maine Central Railroad in 1888) at Sawyer River Station, near Forth Iron Bridge, in Hart's Location. And it traveled up into the Sawyer River valley and into the upper end of the Swift River drainage in Livermore.

Remnants of the Livermore Mill which was located along the Sawyer River Railroad logging line in Livermore, New Hampshire USA. This was a logging railroad that operated from 1877-1928.
Livermore Mill – Sawyer River Railroad, New Hampshire
 

One of the more interesting features of the Sawyer River Railroad is the abandoned village of Livermore. Incorporated by the state of New Hampshire in 1876, Livermore was a logging town in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. And the village of Livermore was located along the Sawyer River Railroad, on the Sawyer River. Both the railroad and town were owned by the Saunders family.

The village had a post office, a powerhouse, school, store, and a sawmill. The Saunders family also had a mansion along Livermore’s Main Street. At its peak, the population of Livermore was around 150-200 people, but as time progressed more and more people left the town. The town of Livermore was officially dissolved in 1951.

Wetlands area during the autumn months along the Sawyer River Trail in Livermore, New Hampshire USA. The Sawyer River Trail travels along the old Sawyer River Railroad logging line. Mount Carrigain can be seen in the background.
Sawyer River Trail – Livermore, New Hampshire
 

The Sawyer River Trail follows much of the old railroad bed of the railroad. And Mount Carrigain can be seen from spots along the trail. Located a short ways off the trail is the above scenic view of Mount Carrigain. Mount Carrigain is named for Phillip Carrigain, New Hampshire's Secretary of State from 1805-1810.

Sawyer River Railroad - Artifacts at Camp Number 5 which was an logging camp located along the Meadow Brook drainage in Livermore, New Hampshire USA. This was a logging railroad that operated from 1877-1928 This metal bracket was bolted to each end of an "Reach". A reach was a spruce beam used to connect loaded log trucks.
Part of a Reach – Sawyer River Railroad, New Hampshire
 

There were at least seven known logging camps along the railroad, and today many interesting artifacts can still be found along the old railroad bed. The metal bracket in the above image is likely part of a “Reach”. A “Reach” was a spruce beam used to connect loaded log trucks, and the above metal bracket was bolted to each end of the "Reach".

Artifacts along the old Sawyer River Logging Railroad near Camp 6. This old rail-line is now the Sawyer River Trail in Livermore, New Hampshire USA. This was a logging railroad that operated from 1877-1928.
Old Barrel – Sawyer River Railroad, New Hampshire
 

Each logging railroad I document has at least one artifact along it that makes me dig deeper into the history of the railroad. Over the years, I have come across many barrel rings along the railroads and at logging camps, but I have never found a wooden barrel still intact (above). Though very rotten this is a great find, but do I question if it is from the railroad era. More research will be required to possibly find out.

To license any of the above images for usage in publications, click on the image. And you can view more scenes of the Sawyer River Railroad here.

Happy image making..


 

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Erin Paul is a professional photographer who specializes in environmental conservation and historic preservation photography in the New Hampshire White Mountains. His work is published worldwide, and credits include; Backpacker Magazine, Appalachian Trail Conservancy, the Appalachian Mountain Club, and The Wilderness Society.

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2 Responses to “Sawyer River Railroad, New Hampshire”

  1. Rae Cameron

    I love reading historical fiction and I am in the process of reading “The Lost Constitution” by William Martin. It is a work of fiction with a story line that includes Livermore, New Hampshire. I was born in Rhode Island and moved to Nashua, New Hampshire in 1984 and had never heard of Livermore. I am now retired and live in Florida. Thanks to the internet I can research. In looking for Livermore, I had no idea that it no longer existed as a community. Thank you for posting such wonderful photos.

    Reply
    • ScenicNH

      Hi Rae,

      If you are ever traveling in the White Mountains, NH you can see remnants of the Livermore village by driving up the Sawyer River Road in Hart’s Location. The old Livermore Mill site is still visible, foundations and various other artifacts can be found dating back to the Livermore and Sawyer River Logging Railroad era.

      Have a great day!

      Reply

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