Gordon Pond Railroad, Artifact

Artifact from the Gordon Pond Railroad in Kinsman Notch of the White Mountains, New Hampshire USA. This was a logging railroad in operation from 1905-1916.
Artifact – Gordon Pond Railroad, New Hampshire

Gordon Pond Railroad, Artifact – I have been working on one of my long term projects for the last few weeks. This project is focused on the abandoned railroads in the New Hampshire White Mountains. For the most part, I keep this work separated from my everyday photography business because there is not much interest for this type of imagery outside of New England.

I have been documenting, with a camera, the abandoned logging railroads for over a decade and have been exploring them for as long as I can remember. This project has taken me into parts of the White Mountains I would have never visited or photographed under normal circumstances. And if you are wondering my favorite abandoned railroad is the East Branch & Lincoln Railroad in Lincoln, but that is for another day.

Artifact from the Gordon Pond Railroad in Kinsman Notch of the White Mountains, New Hampshire USA. This was a logging railroad in operation from 1905-1916.
Artifact – Gordon Pond Railroad, New Hampshire

I am sharing with you today images of an artifact I found along the abandoned Gordon Pond Railroad (1907-1916) with the hope someone can identify it.* I don't know what it is and haven’t had any luck identifying it. There are no identifying marks on it. Any ideas?

It could be part of a horse-drawn log sled, a logging tool, or something relating to 1900's mountain logging. It is located far enough off the railroad that I can rule out it being part of the railroad operations. This artifact was part of the logging operations in the forest.

Feel free to share this blog post with family and friends and with any outdoor enthusiasts who may know what this artifact could be. Identifying this artifact may answer a lot of questions.

Update, this artifact has been identified. And it is believed to be part of an old snubbing winch or steam donkey.

Happy image making..


*This is how the artifact was found.

To license any of the above images for usage in publications, click on the image.

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6 Responses to “Gordon Pond Railroad, Artifact”

  1. Gregory E Brunelle

    That is a brake band from a donkey engine used on a log puller. It wraps around the shaft on a drum. The left side looks like it was attached to the fixed pin and the right to the moving brake lever, as its end looks less round from having the pin in its hole moving when pressure was applied for the brake. 

  2. Jake Barbour

    Hey Erin- spectacular photography!

     We share a lot in common,  both in photography & seeking out the history of the old logging railroads- especially in the Pemi (I've discovered a large amount of artifacts, sites of interest, etc especially related to the narrow gauge gravity line on the east flank of Flume mountain). As both a logging history buff and an avid woods worker / hiker myself- I think I might know what this artifact is & what it may have been used for…. I'll work on uploading some old photos and show its possible use. My first thought was maybe it was related to home made horse snow shoes but upon a closer examination,  this artifact looks too large & rugged- could you please clue me in to the appropriate size & weight? (Appears to be 2+ footish & @5lbs?? ). It's a great piece of likely local made iron work, with well crafted loops designed to bear good weight / stress. Based on photos from its specific era & location,  I'm pretty sure it could have been used to…(in pairs) anchor down a large (round) log bunk timber onto a pair bobsled skis (may have been broken & lost during a breakage (what's the specific topography where it's found? Steep & rough; flat & gentle?)… or perhaps as a "keeper" attached to a tree, upon which a block & tackle w/rope or cable was attached- to winch or brake a specific task…. it could also be an attaching anchor for an icing-rig sled to freeze up the sled roads (was it found close to a well constructed dug way sled road or in an obscure place?)…. All these assumptions are based on photos from Johnson's & Henry's logging railroad operations (and other 1900 era logging photos).

    Btw, great trip report on your recent bushwhack with Steve Smith! I'd love to strike out one day with you guys 🙂 Love that you found the old snubbing winch drums! Sorry for the lengthy message but you've found something that really intrigues me!

    ("Forester") Jake

    • Erin Paul Donovan

      Thanks Jake! I would be interested in any old photos you may have showing this artfiact.

      This artifact is on one of the steepest sled roads I have been on in the White Mountains. Its in an area where a snubbing winch was known to be (this is a different one than the one from last week). I really don’t think it was possible for loaded sleds to get down this sled road without some help (cable system).

      So to answer you question about topography – Very steep sled road & rugged terrain. I am going to guess and say it weighs 10-15lbs (could be more or less).

      It will take time to identify this artifact, but at this point I am thinking it is related to a cable / winching system.

  3. Nicole tewksbury

    Hey Erin. 

    My boyfriend said how to clarks trading post and ask for Leon Noel.  Very knowledgable person.  


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