South-facing View, Trestle 17 – Courtesy of the Upper Pemigewasset Historical Society
East Branch & Lincoln Railroad, Trestle 17 – Built in the early 1900s, probably 1906-1908 (one source states 1908) trestle 17 was located along the Upper East Branch of the East Branch & Lincoln Railroad in New Hampshire. It spanned the East Branch of the Pemigewasset River near the site of logging Camp 17. Camp 17 was on the south side of the trestle. This trestle is within today’s 45,000-acre Pemigewasset Wilderness.
A log landing and a short siding for the landing were located on the north side of the river in the area where a hiking trail formerly accessed the 180 foot suspension bridge. The above undated photograph shows loaded log cars on the trestle with the log landing in the foreground. And the cutover slopes of a spur of Mount Hancock can be seen in the background.
The First Trestle 7 – Courtesy of the Upper Pemigewasset Historical Society
East Branch & Lincoln Railroad, Trestle 7 – During the days of the East Branch & Lincoln (EB&L) Railroad, there were two trestles built at this crossing of Franconia Brook (above). And each trestle serviced different areas of the railroad in today’s Pemigewasset Wilderness. The first trestle 7, known as the original trestle 7, seen above, was unique because horses used the lower deck to cross the brook.
The first trestle was built in the early 1900s, probably 1902, and it serviced the Franconia Brook and Lincoln Brook Branches of the railroad. It was used until 1911. The second trestle was built, probably in 1905, just below the first one and it was abandoned in 1947. And it serviced the Upper East Branch of the railroad (the area surrounding the East and North Fork branches of the Pemigewasset River).
Franconia Brook Trail (old railroad bed) – Pemi Wilderness, New Hampshire
Trails of the Pemigewasset Wilderness – At 45,000-acres, the Pemigewasset Wilderness (the Pemi) is one of six designated wilderness areas in the White Mountain National Forest. Wilderness areas are governed under the National Wilderness Preservation System and the Wilderness Act of 1964. And they are managed much differently than other parts of the National Forest.
Permanent improvements are not allowed, trail work is minimal, and there are strict guidelines when it comes to man-made structures in designated wilderness areas. Bridges are a convenience in wilderness areas, not mandatory. And bicycles are not allowed in these areas, and trail work can only be done with non-motorized hand tools. Preserving the natural character of a wilderness area is the objective.
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.
North Fork Junction Spur Line – East Branch & Lincoln Railroad
East Branch & Lincoln Railroad, Abandoned Spur Lines – The East Branch & Lincoln Railroad (1893-1948) in the New Hampshire White Mountains has been fairly well documented. With the current documentation, we can get a good idea of the layout of the railroad and firsthand accounts from loggers who worked the woods. And though based on educated guesses, we can also decipher 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.
East Branch & Lincoln Railroad – Abandoned Railroad Track
East Branch & Lincoln Railroad – The East Branch & Lincoln Railroad, built by timber baron James E. Henry, was a logging railroad that operated from 1893-1948 in the New Hampshire towns of Lincoln and Franconia. Much of the railroad was in the area we know today as the Pemigewasset Wilderness. If you venture into the Pemi, from the Lincoln Woods Trail, you will be walking the railroad bed of of Henry’s railroad.
During its existence, the East Branch & Lincoln Railroad was sold to the Parker Young Company and then to the Marcalus Manufacturing Company. The railroad was considered the "elite logging railroad" during the 19th & 20th century White Mountains logging era. And towards the end of its lifespan truck logging played a role in the logging operations.
East Branch & Lincoln Railroad – Trestle 16
East Branch & Lincoln Railroad, Trestle No. 16 – Trestle 16 is located along the abandoned East Branch & Lincoln Railroad in the Pemigewasset Wilderness of New Hampshire. It is also referred to as Black Brook Trestle and the J.E. Henry Trestle. Trestle 16 is one of the few remaining trestle artifacts that remind us of what took place in the area we know today as the Pemigewasset Wilderness.
From 1893 to 1948 the Pemigewasset Wilderness was the scene of massive logging operations by timber baron J.E. Henry and in later years the Parker Young Company. Both operated log trains over this trestle.