Posts Tagged: east branch & lincoln project



East Branch & Lincoln Railroad, Trestle 17

Trestle 17, East Branch & Lincoln Railroad- trestle No. 17 was located along the Upper Branch of the railroad in today's Pemigewasset Wilderness. It spanned the East Branch of the Pemigewasset River near the site of logging Camp 17.
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.

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EB&L Railroad, Narrow Gauge Line

This map shows the general layout of the East Branch & Lincoln Railroad’s “Narrow Gauge”. The EB&L Railroad was a standard gauge railroad, but in 1901 J.E. Henry and Sons attempted to use a narrow gauge line at Camp 8 to harvest timber from the slopes of Whaleback Mountain. This roughly 1.25 mile +/- long line,  consisting of a series of switchbacks, traveled into the Osseo Brook drainage. It lasted only for a few years and was discontinued after a brakeman was killed when a loaded log car ran out control down the track.
1900s EB&L Narrow Gauge Railroad – Courtesy of the Upper Pemigewasset Historical Society
 

EB&L Railroad, Narrow Gauge Line – In operation from 1893-1948, the East Branch & Lincoln (EB&L) was a standard gauge railroad. But in 1901 J.E. Henry and Sons attempted to use a narrow gauge railroad to harvest timber from the Whaleback Mountain (Mt Osseo) area. With the exception of a May 1902 article by Albert W. Cooper and T.S. Woolsey, Jr. in Forestry & Irrigation little is known about this short-lived railroad. There are only a few photos (above) of the railroad, and over the years the actual location has been in question.

The difference between standard gauge and narrow gauge railroads is the spacing between the rails. The spacing on standard gauge railroads is 4 feet 8 1⁄2 inches, while the spacing on narrow gauge railroads is 3 feet 6 inches (this can range some). Narrow gauge railroads usually cost less to build and operate, but the major drawback is they can't handle heavy loads. The logging railroads in the White Mountains preferred the heavy standard gauge lines for hauling timber.

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1907 Owl’s Head Mountain Fire

Storm (rain) clouds engulf Owls Head Mountain from the summit of Bondlcliff Mountain in the Pemigewasset Wilderness of New Hampshire during the summer months. Hellgate Ravine is in the foreground.
Storm Clouds over Owl's Mountain Head from Bondcliff, New Hampshire
 

Owl's Head Mountain Fire August 17, 1907 – During the late 1800s and early 1900s, logging activities from railroad logging contributed to a number of forest fires in the New Hampshire White Mountains. Sparks from locomotives were responsible for starting fires along the railroads. And the logging slash (unwanted part of the tree left behind after an area is logged) left on the mountainsides fueled the forest fires.

The infamous August 1907 Owl’s Head Mountain fire in the Pemigewasset Wilderness was started by a lightning strike on the eastern side of Owl’s Head Mountain in an area that had been previously logged by J.E. Henry and Sons. The included color photographs show the general area of where the forest fire took place.

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East Branch & Lincoln Railroad, Trestle 7

Foot bridge along the Lincoln Woods Trail which crosses Franconia Brook in Lincoln, New Hampshire. Hikers enter into the Pemigewasset Wilderness on the righthand side of this bridge. Old abutments from Trestle 7 of the East Branch & Lincoln Railroad (1893-1948) are used to support this foot bridge.
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).

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Preserve History, Don’t Remove Artifacts

An abandoned cellar hole along an old road off Tunnel Brook Road in Benton, New Hampshire. This area was once known as Coventry-Benton, and based on an 1860 historical map of Grafton County this was the Charles B. Keyser homestead.
Heritage Sign – Benton, New Hampshire
 

Preserve History, Don't Remove Artifacts – Here in New Hampshire, outdoor recreation is growing at an alarming rate. And there has been a surge of people exploring historical sites in the White Mountains. As a conservation photographer, I am obligated to create awareness for the laws that protect our American heritage. For historic preservation to be successful, it is imperative that we promote the protection of historic sites.

As you explore the abandoned cellar holes, farming communities, logging camps and other historic sites in the White Mountain National Forest, please keep in mind that the removal of historical or archaeological artifacts from federal lands without a permit is a violation of federal law. The destruction of artifacts and historic sites is also a crime. And keep in mind, you can’t dig at historical sites. So metal detecting anywhere in the White Mountain National Forest where there could be artifacts is risky business. See the links at the end of this article for the laws that protect these special places.

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Trails of the Pemigewasset Wilderness

Franconia Brook Trail during the summer months. This trail follows the railroad bed of the old East Branch & Lincoln Railroad that traveled through this area. The EB&L was a logging railroad in the state of New Hampshire that was owned by James E. Henry.
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.

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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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