East Branch & Lincoln Railroad, Utility Poles

Artifact (utility pole) in the area of Camp 17 along the old East Branch & Lincoln Railroad (1893-1948 in Lincoln, New Hampshire.
East Branch & Lincoln RR – Standing Utility Pole, Camp 17 Area
 

East Branch & Lincoln Railroad, Utility Poles – Telephone wires were strung from utility poles along the East Branch & Lincoln Railroad (1893-1948) to the numerous logging camps. In some areas along the railroad, side mounted wooden telephone peg holder pins nailed directly to trees were used in place of utility poles. Today, these utility poles are considered artifacts of the White Mountains logging era.

While this blog article focuses only on the abandoned East Branch & Lincoln Railroad, other logging railroads in the White Mountains used the same approach described above. And remnants of utility poles can still be found along some of the other railroads. However, as nature slowly reclaims the East Branch & Lincoln territory, standing utility poles are becoming a rarity.

Artifact (utility pole) near logging Camp 16 along the East Branch & Lincoln Railroad (1893-1948) in the Pemigewasset Wilderness in Lincoln, New Hampshire. Seen here in 2013, this utility pole was still standing in 2011.
East Branch & Lincoln RR – Utility Pole, Camp 16 Area
 

Remnants of utility poles can be found along the East Branch & Lincoln Railroad, but only a handful remain standing today. And up until the 2010s, there were at least five still standing along the Upper East Branch of the railroad; today’s Bondcliff Trail and Wilderness Trail utilize this branch of the railroad. However, between natural causes and vandalism, the count has gone down. The above utility pole near logging Camp 16, seen here in 2013, was still standing in 2011. Because of the delicate state this pole was in, it likely fell on its own.

Burned artifact (utility pole) in the area of Camp 15 along the old railroad bed of the East Branch & Lincoln Railroad in Lincoln, New Hampshire. In 2011, this utility pole was knocked down by campers and then burned in their campfire. It was one of only a handful of utility poles still standing along this railroad.
East Branch & Lincoln RR – Utility Pole, Camp 15 Area
 

In 2011 a utility pole near logging Camp 15, on the side of today’s Bondcliff Trail, was knocked down and burned in a campfire. While these utility poles do blend in well with the trees around them, when standing next to one, they are easy to identify. The pegs on top of the pole (above) are the give away that this is not a tree. It's hard to buy that this was an innocent mistake.

Side mount wood peg holder / telegraph glass insulator pole (artifact) nailed to tree in the area of Camp 17 along the East Branch & Lincoln Logging Railroad (1893-1948) in the Pemigewasset Wilderness of Lincoln, New Hampshire.
East Branch & Lincoln RR – Side Mounted Wooden Telephone Peg Holder Pin
 

The side mounted wooden telephone peg holder pins nailed to trees also blend in well with nature. Outdoor enthusiasts can pass by them without even noticing them. The above one remains on a tree along the Upper East Branch of the railraod, near logging Camp 17.

It’s likely, but without proof, that some of the utility poles that remain standing along the East Branch & Lincoln Railroad were put in place over 100 years ago. And while it's amazing that some are still standing today, at some point, none will be standing. So if you do come across these delicate artifacts, take only pictures.

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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