125 Years Ago, Today ~ A near miss

A singular accident, which however was barren of serious result, occurred to the last up train Saturday (25 Apr 1896), as this terminus. The watchman as usual, undertook to change the switch immediately after the train has passed stationward, but this time he was, somehow, a little premature, the rear of the last car, the passenger one, not having fully passed the switch. The consequence was, the car attempted to run on two diverging lines at one and the same time! Luckily, the train was moving very slowly, which with the prompt action of the brakeman, saved a twist and possible overturn of the car. There were considerably many passengers in the car, and they were treated to a genuine sensation in a double sense.

125 Years Ago, April 24,1896 ~ Jersey Cows

A large and fine herd of Jersey cattle filling two cars of the B. & S. R. R., have just arrived at J. K. Martin’s “Sunny Crest” farm. Apropos of which, the following from Maine Farmer: “J. K. Martin, proprietor of the Falmouth House, Portland, owns a fine herd of Jerseys, and runs a creamery for the making of butter to supply the tables of his hotel. His farm and creamery are located in Bridgton. He has recently purchased of P. J. Cogswell, Rochester, N. Y., a fine son of the noted bull Exile of St. Lambert, for use in his herd. We are always glad to note the advent of choice stock into the State.”

Taken from the Bridgton News, page 3, April 24, 1896.

125 Years Ago ~ April 24, 1896

Ex-Selectman Geo. E. Mead, had a narrow escape a few days ago. As the up train darted round the curve at Meadow road crossing, Engineer Marcque, to his consternation, saw a man in a wagon on the track, and so near that there was no time to check the train, which was going at full speed; the next instant the locomotive almost grazed the rear of the wagon as it dashed past. The man was then seen to be Mr. Mead, who, by a very narrow margin, escaped collision with the narrow gauge engine–and whatever that implies.

An excerpt from the Bridgton News, page 2, April 24, 1896.

125 Years Ago ~ Bridgton and Vicinity, April 17, 1896.

  • Some of the largest, handsomest specimens of pine timber locally extant may be seen in the piles of logs beside the mill stream, between the depot and east bridge.
  • The Railroad worked the gravel train one day last week; will ere long begin repairing the damage done by the freshet to the stone-and-gravel bridge at Young, which will be quite a job. The passenger cars are being repainted and varnished, for summer business.

Taken from the Bridgton News, page 3, April 17, 1896.

125 Years Ago: Barker’s Pond Leak

As the up passenger train reached Barker’s Pond, Monday p. m., it was discovered that the water of the swift brook connected with the pond had made a small hole through the stone bridge which spans it, and hence would surely effect destruction of the bridge. Thereupon a force of some twenty-five men were rallied from Sandy Creek and this village, and dispatched, with the working train and a big load of rocks, to the scene of danger. After several hours’ work the bridge was put in safe condition. In other words, the accidental discovery of the percolation and the prompt action saved the bridge. It was built nine years ago, and ever since then had been firm and strong.

Extracted from the Bridgton News, page 2, April 17, 1896.

125 Years Ago – Today, April 17, 1896: Walker Mill Opens

Warren W. Walker has completed and equipped his new mill on East Depot St., and advertises to do first-class planing, sawing and moulding, turning and general wood work; also making cabinet work a specialty. Mr. Walker has inventive genius and great mechanical skill, and some of his devices are interesting object-lessons in ingenuity.

Taken from the Bridgton News, April 17, 1896.

125 Years Ago ~ Freight Summaries

The tabulation of the books at the close of the fiscal year, June 30th, shows that the freight traffic of the Bridgton railroad for the past twelve months to have been the largest of any year since the road was opened.

With the mercury at 90, or there-about, the daily spectacle of the arrival of coal trains doesn’t exactly cause a shiver and a chattering of teeth, but still it is suggestive that the summer of our discontent will soon be succeeded by autumn frost, and then, lo! the old-fashioned down-east winter. “Just as of old the seasons come and go, summer with its heat, and winter with its snow.” Just as of old the pumpkins will be ripe. Just as of old Bill Webb will light his pipe.

“Weeman’s,” the East Sebago station on the B. & S. R. R. R., so far as its human occupants are concerned exists only in name. The house is closed, and Jacob Witham and wife have come to live with their son Freeman, in this village. Mr. Witham is a native of Denmark, but he moved from that town to his Sebago farm in 1857, where he has lived ever since except the time he was in the army–he serving in the Twenty-fifth Maine regiment. Again the double current of Portland round-trip excursionists by steamer and narrow-gauge. A happy lot they are.

The railroad company will freight this season an aggregate of over 2600 tons of coal. The larger part of which goes to the factories, the rest is for the railroad and home and shop use. Of this amount, Hall & Dresser receives this season 500 tons, although they will handle 700 tons, they having 200 tons left over from last year to start with; they supply more or less to North Bridgton and Harrison. An engine on this road can haul 60 tons despite some very heavy grades, while if the road were level all the way it could haul 200 tons. And notwithstanding this great amount of coal used here, there is constantly a good demand for wood, so that it brings $3.50 to $4.50 and even as high as $5. In pod-auger days men of the past generation would cut and haul wood three or four miles to this village and sell it for “nine shillings” or “ten-an’-six” ($1.50 and $1.75) a cord! Oh, “the good old times!”

Originally printed by the Bridgton News, July 20, 1894

125 Years Ago, Today ~ Repainting the Bridgton Station

A few maintenance and operational comments from the Bridgton News this week:

  • The extra train will begin running July 2d.
  • Bridgton passenger station has been repainted: yellow with trimmings red.
  • The road-bed of the railroad is thoroughly ballasted, and the road is everyway in first class condition.

Published in the Bridgton News on June 1, 1894.

An additional detail for those interested in the colors of the station:

The interior of the Bridgton R. R. office shines like a cotton hat in its new and tasty paint.

Published in the Bridgton News on April 27, 1894.

125 years ago, today ~ Jumping from Iron Horse to Horse

A daring wild-west event on the narrow gauge:

HIRAM: While the Mount Cutler House team was at Bridgton Junction, Thursday, awaiting passengers, the horse became frightened and ran away. At the same time the narrow gauge engine started and overtook the team at the intersection of the highway and railroad, about half a mile away and the fireman jumped from his engine and caught the horse before any damage had been done.

Published in the Bridgton News on May 11, 1894.