Posts Tagged With: trains

The First Railroads in Maine

The wood block print to the left is from 1836, and depicts what the artist called the Veazie Railroad, or the Bangor, Oldtown and Milford, which was the first railroad constructed in the state of Maine. The first railroads were actually of wood rails laid on log ties, and pegged into place when needed with widen pegs. Later, the wood rails would be replaced with iron strapping, then bars, and finally the t shaped rails we see today.

Initially, horses pulled the rail cars, which were actually stagecoaches and wagons fitted up with special wheels that were grooved or shaped somehow to engage the rails in use. After the early 1800’s, steam engines, having proved successful in other enterprises such as steam boating, began to be built for these railroads.

Today, much of Maine’s history would have been quite different if these railroads had not been constructed. Much of our sporting and early tourist heritage would never had been birthed if it were not for the railroads ability to carry passengers and freight to the out in the boonies sporting camps and hotels.

Aroostook’s potato industry would not have been possible without the railroads freight capabilities to haul the annual harvest to points out of state. Railroads are just another part of who we are, and as such we should take the effort to learn more about this part of Maine history, and if you have the opportunity, please visit some of the railroad museums and displays and think about volunteering at one of the many non-profit societies working to preserve this part of Maine’s heritage.

Early Railroads in the state of Maine

[From History of the Railroads & Canals of the US of A, Henry V. Poor, pub 1860

Androscoggin.

Androscoggin and Kennebec.
Atlantic and St. Lawrence.
Bangor, Oldtown and Milford.
Calais and Baring.
European and North American.
Great Falls and South Berwick.
Kennebec and Portland.

Lewey’s Island.
Maciiiasport Or Franklin.
Penobscot.

Penobscot and Kennebec.
Portland and Oxford Central.
Portland, Saco and Portsmouth.
Somerset and Kennebec.
York and Cumberland.

The first railroad constructed in the State of Maine was the Bangor, Oldtown and Milford, under the title of the Bangor and Piscataquis Railroad and Canal Company, chartered on the 8th of February, 1833. It was opened in the latter part of 1836. It has proved unproductive, in part from the unfortunate location of its line.

The road next constructed was the Portland, Saco and Portsmouth, as a prolongation of the Eastern and the Boston and Maine Railroads of Massachusetts. The means for the construction of the same were furnished chiefly by parties connected with these Companies, to which it was leased on the 28th of April, 1847, for a term of 90 years, with a guarantee of dividends at the rate of per cent, per annum. These, however, have been earned by the road.

The third road undertaken was the Atlantic and St. Lawrence, and was the first attempt at anything like a railroad system for the State, having for its object the development of its resources and the centralization of its trade and that of the interior at its chief commercial city. It was constructed with a view of uniting with the St. Lawrence and Atlantic of Canada commenced at the same time—the two to form one line between the Atlantic Ocean and the River St. Lawrence. It now forms a part of the Grand Trunk Railway of Canada, to which it is leased at the rate of 6 percent, per annum on its capital. Since the date of the lease the Grand Trunk Company has expended in construction about $1,500,000. This enterprise led to the immediate commencement of the Androscoggin and Kennebec, the Kennebec and Portland, and the Buckfield Branch. The Androscoggin and Kennebec Railroad was commenced in July, 1847, and completed in November, 1849. For several years past this road has been united with the Penobscot and Kennebec Railroad, both of which are operated as one line. Its earnings have been sufficient to meet the interest on its indebtedness, but not to divide anything on its share capital.

The construction of the Kennebec and Portland Railroad was commenced in 1847, and finally opened to Augusta early in 1852. It commenced at the point of junction with the Atlantic and St. Lawrence Railroad, but as it adopted a different gauge, the construction of a new road into Portland, a distance of 11 miles, became necessary. This was constructed in 1850-1, The road was necessarily expensive, and the Company for several years past has only been able to meet the interest on its first mortgage amounting to $800,000, and on the extension certificates $202,400, which are a first mortgage on that portion of road. In the season of navigation the road sufiers from the competition of a parallel water line.

The Buckfield Branch (Portland and Oxford Central) Railroad was opened in 1849, but having proved unproductive has been abandoned.

York and Cumberland was commenced in 1849, and opened to Gorham, 10i miles, in 1851, and to the Saco River, 20 miles, in 1853. It has been uniformly unfortunate and unproductive.

The Calais and Baring, a local road, was opened in 1837. Its earnings have been sufficient to meet the interest on its indebtedness, and pay 3.2 on its share capital.

The Androscoggin was opened to Livermore Falls in 1852—to its present terminus in 1859. This road has failed to pay the interest on its last class of bonds.

The Penobscot and Kennebec Railroad was commenced in 1852, and completed in 1855. This road and the Androscoggin and Kennebec are operated as one line. Its net earnings have been sufficient to meet the interest on its two first mortgages, amounting to $1,050,200.

The Great Falls and South Berwick Railroad was opened in 1854, and has proved unproductive. After being disused for some time, it has again been put in operation.

The total amount of share capital and debts of the railroad companies of the State is $17,923,612. Of the share capital, $4,297,300 receives, (with the exception of the Calais and Baring), dividends at the rate of 6 per cent. Of the total indebtedness, interest is paid at the rate of six per cent, on $7,819,718; leaving share capital to the amount of $3,188,411, and debts to the amount of $2,618,183, on which neither interest nor dividends are paid. The total amount of productive capital invested in railroads in the State is

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A New Old/Maine Train Gets Rolling

Maine excursion train set to roll Downeast

ELLSWORTH, Maine (AP) — A new excursion train is set to begin carrying passengers in eastern Maine’s Hancock County. The Downeast Scenic Railroad made its inaugural run on Saturday from Ellsworth for some of the 75 volunteers who…

Shaker Village draws visitors on Open Farm Day

Brooke Rich of Westbrook and her 2-year-old son Gavin watch honeybees at work in their hive on Sunday during Open Farm Day at the Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village in New Gloucester. Scores of visitors walked the grounds of the village looking over exhibits and crafts produced at the farm.

Farmington’s ‘Great Fire of 1886’ on display during Summer Fest

FARMINGTON — An exhibit featuring a devastating fire, Farmington’s “Great Fire of 1886,” will be on display July 30 and 31 at the North Church on High Street as part of downtown Farmington’s Summer Fest. The Farmington Historical Society will display pictures of the downt…

Banners’ sale concerns state arts community

By: Bob Keyes; A trade group’s decision to sell promotional material from the 1800s puts ‘cultural artifacts’ at risk, critics say.

Saving corn, one seed at a time

WILTON — For just a few days last week, when the sun was just up and the dew still wet, Pamela Prodan was out in her corn patch, doing her small part to preserve an heirloom variety that likely was grown in this region by the Abenaki.

Peak your interest: Island beauty and fun 15 minutes from Portland … if the Umbrella Cover Museum isn’t enough

I’m on the top deck of a ferry heading back to the Portland mainland, and the sun is setting behind the skyline. Beside me, 5-year-old Meredith Tierney-Fife is watching the boats come and go in Casco Bay. She is returning from a day on Peaks Island with her mother, Josie, and her sisters, 9…

Reconstruction at Norlands

A crew from Krete Hogs in Turner remove the forms for the new farmer’s cottage at Washburn-Norlands Living History Center in Livermore on Thursday. The foundation for the cottage and barn is finished and construction of the cottage is scheduled to be completed by February. The cottage and barn …

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From the MHS…

Wednesday, August 4, 5pm
COMING HOME?


A Poetry Reading by Estha Weiner and Betsy Sholl, Poet Laureate of Maine
Estha Weiner brings her newest book, Transfiguration Begins At Home (Tiger Bark Press 2009) back home to Portland, to read with Betsy Sholl.  Hear the poets, who first met at The Stonecoast Writers Conference, weave their friendship and their poems as they consider how “home” shapes and shifts over time.  Maine, of course, plays a key role in that: Estha, a Portland native, moved away to go to college while Betsy moved here 27 years ago. Book signing to follow.

 
Wednesday, August 4, 9:30am-12:30pm
MAINE REVISED AND REVISITED:
A Poetry and Writing Workshop with Estha Weiner
This multi-genre 3-hour writing workshop welcomes your poems, short fiction, plays, and non-fiction. Its only requirement is a fresh vision of Maine, past or present, an attentive ear and eye, and supportive feedback for fellow writers.  (If you have work that has nothing to do with Maine, that’s OK too.)  We will read and discuss each other’s work, discuss the writing process, and participants will receive careful, helpful feedback, towards revision. Please bring 11 copies of your work. We may add a short in-class exercise or two, and discuss how you go through your day as a writer, even if you think you can’t!  Registration required by Friday, July 30. Fee: $100/person. MHS members/students: $75/person.esthalynne@hotmail.com

For more information or to register, please email Estha Weiner at:

Estha Weiner is co-editor and contributor to Blues for Bill: A Tribute to William Matthews (Akron Poetry Series, 2005), and author of The Mistress Manuscript (Book Works, 2009) and newly published Transfiguration Begins At Home (Tiger Bark Press, 2009). In the Weather of the World is forthcoming from Ireland’s Salmon Press in 2011.  Her poems have appeared in numerous anthologies and magazines. including The New Republic and Barrow Street.  She won a 2005 Paterson Poetry Prize, a 2008/9 nomination for a Pushcart Prize, and  a 2008 Visiting Scholar at Stratford’s Shakespeare Institute. Adjunct Assistant Professor of English at City College of NY, Estha serves on the Board of Slapering Hol Press, Hudson Valley Writers Center and is founding director of Sarah Lawrence College NY Writers Nights.
 
Betsy Sholl, Poet Laureate of Maine, has published seven collections of poetry, most recently Rough Cradle (Alice James Books, 2009). Don’t Explain won the 1997 Felix Pollak Prize from the University of Wisconsin, and her book The Red Line won the 1991 AWP Prize for Poetry. Her chapbooks include Pick A Card, winner of the Maine Chapbook Competition in 1991, and Betsy Sholl: Greatest Hits, 1974-2004 (Pudding House Publications). She was a founding member of Alice James Books and published three collections with them: Changing Faces, Appalachian Winter, and Rooms Overhead. Among her awards are a fellowship from the National Endowment of the Arts, and two Maine Writer’s Fellowships. Her work has been included in many anthologies and magazines. Betsy has been a visiting poet at the University of Pittsburgh and Bucknell University. She lives in Portland, Maine, and teaches at the University of Southern Maine and in the MFA Program of Vermont College.

For more information:

Maine Historical Society

489 Congress Street, Portland, ME 04101

207–774–1822

http://www.mainehistory.org

http://www.mainememory.net

The Maine Historical Society promotes the understanding and enjoyment of Maine history.

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Categories: antiques, articles, breaking news, events, headlines, historic buildings, historic preservation, historical societies, history, Maine, Maine Historical Society, Maine things to do, museum news, restoration, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Maine History Notes and News

SKOWHEGAN, Maine ? John Beyer of Fredericton, New Brunswick, hooked his fingers through the straps of his denim overalls and carefully assessed a row of antique engines.

BANGOR, Maine ? Its name was supposed to be Sunbury but because of a misunderstanding, it became known as Bangor. How Bangor got its name was the subject of a play that was staged Friday at City …

KITTERY, Maine; Beginning June 16 and continuing until September, the Friends of the Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouse are offering a special Tuesday evening cruise from Kittery Point.

Mansfield Depot Caboose Pictures Many years ago, a hard-working caboose rattled through the pine forests and seaside villages of Maine.

Touring Maine’s History Live!

Join us at 9:00 AM on Tuesday, June 16 for another episode of Touring Maine’s History on Maine Talk Radio!

We’ll have the usual news and views, plus we we’ll be sharing radio commercials from the thirties to the fifties. We’ll also be continuing with what we call the collectors corner, where information about antiques and collectibles will be shared. This week’s highlight will be fishing and canoes. Plus, the history person of the week will be Maine Senator William P. Frye, and we will continue with the historic business of the week with Portland’s G.L. Bailey Co., of which was located at 263 Middle Street, and his specialty was sporting goods of all types. Touring Maine’s History will stop the tour bus at the world famous Cribstone Bridge in Harpswell, officially known as the Bailey Island Bridge. We’ll take a look at this singular monument to ingenuity, the only structure of its type in the world.

You can catch the show live at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/Mainetalk or as always, you can play the archived podcasts on our little player to the left of this post.

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