Posts Categorized: Railroads



Logging Era Artifacts, White Mountains

Logging era artifacts along the abandoned East Branch & Lincoln Logging Railroad in Lincoln, New Hampshire. This artifact is a Harp Switch Stand that has been abandoned deep in the forest.
East Branch & Lincoln Railroad – Lincoln, New Hampshire
 

Logging Era Artifacts, White Mountains – Today’s blog article focuses on an image keyword search term. I chose the search term “logging era artifacts”, and searched my image archive to see what imagery I have available that represents the New Hampshire White Mountains logging era. The below commentary and imagery showcases this search term.

A major portion of the White Mountains history evolves around the late 19th and early 20th-century logging era, and pretty much in every corner of the White Mountains artifacts from the logging era can be found. And while some have no interest in the history of the White Mountains we all have to appreciate what came out of the logging era, the Weeks Act.

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Gordon Pond Railroad, New Hampshire

Silhouette of mountains at sunrise along Route 112 in Woodstock, New Hampshire USA. This area was part of the Gordon Pond Railroad, which was a logging railroad in operation from 1905-1916.
Gordon Pond Railroad Territory – White Mountains, New Hampshire
 

Gordon Pond Railroad, New Hampshire – Owned by the Johnson Lumber Company (George Johnson) the Gordon Pond Railroad was a logging railroad in the towns of Lincoln and Woodstock New Hampshire. It was in operation from 1907-1916, and it was roughly fifteen miles long. And even though the railroad was only about fifteen miles long it is one of the more complicated logging railroads I have documented.

The history books cover the paper trail of the Gordon Pond Railroad fairly well, so there is no reason for me to repeat that information here. If interested, you can view a map of this railroad here. With that being said I will give you a quick run down on the abandoned Gordon Pond Railroad. And then take you on a photo tour of how the railroad looks today.

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Swift River Railroad, New Hampshire

Autumn foliage from the Boulder Loop Trail in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. The Boulder Loop Trail has excellent views of the Swift River Valley. During the autumn months is the best time to hike this trail.
Swift River Valley – White Mountains, New Hampshire
 

Swift River Railroad, New Hampshire – The Swift River Railroad was a logging railroad in the Swift River valley of the New Hampshire White Mountains. It was operated by the Conway Company and was in operation from 1906-1916. The railroad began in Conway, at the Conway Company’s sawmill, and traveled up the Swift River valley following the Swift River and much of today’s Kancamagus Scenic Byway. It ended somewhere beyond Pine Bend Brook, below Mount Kancamagus.

It is hard to envision the Swift River valley (above) stripped of its timber. But for ten years, this area was heavily logged which is only a part of the history surrounding this valley. To absorb all the history of this valley in one blog article may be overwhelming so I will briefly touch base on two other interesting features of this area.

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East Branch & Lincoln, Forgotten Trestles

Trestles, remnants of a timber trestle that once spanned the East Branch of the Pemigewasset River in the area of Camp 18 along the East Branch & Lincoln Railroad (1893-1948) in the Pemigewasset Wilderness of Lincoln, New Hampshire.
Trestle 18 – East Branch & Lincoln Railroad, New Hampshire
 

East Branch & Lincoln Railroad, Forgotten Trestles – In October 2015,  I wrote about the forgotten spur lines along the East Branch & Lincoln (EB&L) Railroad in New Hampshire. And today I am going to continue with this theme and focus on the timber trestles of the railroad.

The EB&L Railroad, built by J.E. Henry, was in operation from 1893-1948 with much of the railroad being in the area we know today as the Pemigewasset Wilderness. It was considered the elite logging railroad of its time. And the logging practices of this era is one of the reasons why the Wilderness Act is in place today.

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East Branch & Lincoln, Abandoned Spur Lines

Spur lines, Pemigewasset Wilderness. Location of a spur line off the East Branch & Lincoln Railroad at North Fork Junction in Lincoln, New Hampshire. The railroad tracks traveled up this rocky brook bed.
North Fork Junction Spur Line – East Branch & Lincoln Railroad
 

East Branch & Lincoln Railroad, Abandoned Spur Lines – The East Branch & Lincoln Railroad (1893-1948) was a logging railroad in the New Hampshire White Mountains. With the current documentation, we can get a good idea of the layout of the railroad and firsthand accounts from people who worked the woods. And though based on educated guesses, we can also determine the locations of the abandoned logging camps along the railroad. But the reality is there is so much unknown about this railroad.

One of the great unknowns is how many spur lines existed along the East Branch & Lincoln. A spur line is a short branch of railroad track that leads off the main line. Along the East Branch & Lincoln, spur lines lead to landings where railroad log cars were loaded. And shorter spur lines (some refer to these as sidings) were used to store railroad log cars. Today, I am going to share with you some of the known spur lines and sidings.

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Historic Logging Camps, White Mountains

Historical logging camps in the White Mountains. Artifacts at possibly the location of the logging camp site Upper Osceola Camp in Waterville Valley, New Hampshire. This camp was part the Mad River log drive.
Mad River Log Drive – Waterville, New Hampshire
 

Historic Logging Camps, White Mountains – Most of this summer season I have been documenting history and culture subjects in the New Hampshire White Mountains. The last few blog articles have been historical in nature so today I am going to continue with this theme and introduce you to the late nineteenth and twentieth century camps of White Mountains logging era.

Some consider the artifacts that remain on National Forest land to be nothing more than junk. But I see them as a window to the past that allows us to, to some extent, see what life was like for the men who worked and lived in the forests of the White Mountains during the twentieth century.

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White Mountains History & Culture

Possibly the hoisting system of an old steam-powered log loader at the end of the Camp 9 spur line of East Branch & Lincoln Railroad (1893 - 1948) in the Pemigewasset Wilderness of the New Hampshire White Mountains. Steam-powered log loaders were used to load logs on to railroad log trucks. This section of railroad was a spur line that started at Camp 9 and ended a short distance after crossing Franconia Brook.
Steam-Powered Log Loader – East Branch & Lincoln Railraod
 

White Mountains History & Culture – For the past couple of weeks, I have been photographing nineteenth century sites linked to the history and culture of the White Mountains. When photographing these abandoned sites, I am reminded that conservation is not just about protecting a parcel of land for guaranteed future recreation. Conservation is also about the preservation of artifacts and historical sites. Today I want to share with you some interesting traces of the past.

Above is one of my favorite artifacts of the East Branch & Lincoln Railroad (1893-1948). It is located at the end of the Camp 9 spur line, close to Franconia Brook, in the Pemigewasset Wilderness. This artifact is possibly the hoisting system of an old steam-powered log loader. And more than likely it was used at the end of the Camp 9 spur line to load logs onto railroad log cars.

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