Bridgton & Saco Promotional Booklet

June of last year I posted about the promotional booklet released by the B&SR, “Bridgton: Its Scenic Charms, Lakes, Mountains and Summer Delights.” Since that time I have been able to identify it as a first edition, dating the booklet in my collection to those printed between 1901 and 1903:

“Supt. Bennett of the Bridgton & Saco R. R. R. is preparing a booklet descriptive of Bridgton and vicinity, in the interests of the road. This booklet is to contain 22 half tone cuts of Bridgton’s scenic charms.”

The Bridgton News, 19 July 1901.

Many of the cuts, or photographs, used in the booklet appear in the following issues of The NEWS, with the August 9th NEWS issue detailing the complete list of cuts and some of the text. The list of cuts, per the article, is as follows:

  • Bridgton Junction at East Hiram, showing track and depot buildings.
  • Bridgton Station at Bridgton.
  • Bridgton Station Grounds.
  • Bridgton House and The Cumberland.
  • Fine view of West Depot St., Bridgton
  • “The Summit,” a noted point on the road’s line.
  • North Bridgton Station.
  • Steel Bridge and Lumber Mills, Bridgton Centre.
  • Sandy Creek Station and Lumber Mills.
  • Harrison Trestle No. 1 and Harrison Village.
  • Elm House, Harrison.
  • Harrison Station and Yard.
  • “The Notch,” as it is known in local railroad nomenclature.
  • The Methodist Church, Bridgton Centre.
  • Hancock Lake from cottage-home of Gen. Supt. J. A. Bennett.
  • Hancock Brook Arch.
  • Pretty View Highland Lake.
  • Highland Grove and Shorey’s Wharf.
  • Highland Lake as viewed from Shorey’s Wharf.
  • Long Lake, Harrison Village in Background.
  • Blanchard Cottage, North Bridgton.
  • Section of Road-Bed on Long Lake, looking towards Naples.
  • Congregational Church, Bridgton.
  • Map of the Region traversed by the Railroad.

Instead of posting the citation contained within the article, I have chosen to scan my copy, positively identified as Public Domain, and have made it available through the link below to those interested in reading the full text.

B&SR Bridgton Booklet 1901-1903 LR

The copy within Terry Smith’s collection, with the image of Hancock Lake on the cover, is from the printings made in 1904 and later. Several copies are also available in the archives of the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania, and during a future trip I will review each of them to see if they differed between themselves, however I can definitely say there is a difference between the cuts of the initial edition and the latter, besides the cover change. The cover image, which reappears internally, is a difference I did notice while quickly flipping through during my recent trip to the museum in December. The first edition has a cut of Bennett’s Hancock cottage under construction, whereas this image has been replaced by the second edition cover cut of a finished cottage taken from a very similar vantage point.

All images within the PDF available through the link can be definitively stated to have been taken in 1901 or prior, with the majority taken in 1901.


The main fall time exports of the Bridgton area were corn and apples. Both were susceptible to the weather and insects, but when the crop came in, it was good for the railroad, and sometimes good for the farmers.

In 1904, the orchards were full and the apple buyers took to the fields. Unfortunately for the farmers of this year, the regional market was saturated and the buyers were offering a dollar a barrel for the best Baldwins. Many comments made within the Bridgton NEWS indicate that this was just over break-even. The crop was good shipping business for the B&SR though, as they couldn’t keep up with the load, even though they were throwing every available car at the business with extra freight trains.

To frame the situation, product started shipping out of Bridgton the week of Monday, 17 October 1904, and by Saturday 12 November, 13,000 barrels had been shipped, with about 1,100 more arriving 14 November and 400 more departing the other Bridgton stations (No. & So. Bridgton, Sandy Creek, etc.). By the 18th of November, the Harrison branch had contributed an additional 12,000 barrels. That’s a lot of potential apple sauce to be put up.

So what exactly is a barrel of apples? At that time, definition was a bit fuzzy still. The Canadians had argued about it in 1884, and from the records reviewed, continued to do so for many years to come. The buyers wanted to use the same barrel that flour was shipped in, which had been previously defined, but the farmers wanted to use a smaller barrel, one which was defined by the state of New York. The NY barrel was defined to have heads 16 1/2 inches in diameter, a bilge (middle circumference) of 63 inches, staves 28 1/2 inches long and not hold less than 100 quarts. The United States Congress further refined this definition in 1912, to set common weights and measures for interstate commerce:

1. Aug 3, 1912, c 273 §1, 37 Stat. 250.

15 USC Sec 231 (01/16/96)

§ 231. Standard barrel for apples; steel barrels

The standard barrel for apples shall be of the following dimensions when measured without distention of its parts: Length of stave, twenty-eight and one-half inches; diameter of head, seventeen and one-eighth inches; distance between heads, twenty-six inches; circumference of bulge, sixty-four inches outside measurement, representing as nearly as possible seven thousand and fifty-six cubic inches: Provided, That steel barrels containing the interior dimensions provided for in this section shall be construed as a compliance therewith.

The volume of the USC barrel was larger than that of the NY barrel, holding 3 bushel and a peck, rather than 2.7 bushels in the latter. The weight of a barrel varied as well. A bushel of apples weighs between 40 and 48 pounds, dependent upon species, size, etc.. A more modern source for small farmers states a barrel of apples weighs 135 lbs. If the barrels of the time were built to hold 2.7 bushels (100 quarts), the weight would range from 108 to 130 pounds. A 1918 Special Report of the Railroad and Warehouse Commission lists a “Full Apple Barrel”* at 30 pounds. This is the weight for the container only, and is a complete barrel as we visualize one to be. For the sake of picking a number, I’m going to assume a filled, Full Barrel of Baldwins weighed 150 pounds.

The interiors of the B&SR box cars are a tad over six feet wide on the inside, between the protective planking. Three of the NY barrels, at a 20 inches diameter waistline, can fit across inside, and if stored horizontally, will stack three rows high before contacting the roof. at 28.5 inches long, 11 barrels can lay end to end inside a 28 foot boxcar (27′-6″ inside) for a total of 33 barrels per layer, or 12 barrels end to end inside a 30 food boxcar (29′-6” inside) for a load of 36 barrels per layer. That is a total capacity of 99 barrels (14,850 lb) for the 28 foot car and 108 bbls (16,200 lb) for the 30 footer, so volume was the shipping restriction. This was further extrapolated to 90 bbls (13,500 lb) in the 26 foot car.

28-ft Boxcar with Apple Barrels

Getting down to the brass tacks, the B&SR had eighteen boxcars (7-26′, 7-28′ & 4-30′) in 1904 to move 26,500 barrels of apples (1,988 tons), or approximately 272 average boxcar-loads, in about 5 weeks. Working 6 days a week, that is nine full boxcars per day, making the trip from Bridgton or Harrison to the Junction.

Let’s backtrack to the internal planking of the boxcars, put in place to protect the structure of the car from its contents. Would the B&SR have loaded the cars with freight above this planking, which was 30.5″ above the floor? Possibly. If it was my equipment, I’d carry bags of cotton or rags above that line, but I don’t know if I would do it with 150 lb apple barrels. In such a case, they could load two layers of horizontal barrels or one layer of vertically stored barrels below the planking line. Using only the 28-footer as an example, its capacity would be 66 bbls horizontal, or 48 bbls vertical.

What this really comes down to is how you might like to operate your scale railroad should you model this period. If you wish to run a lesser number of cars with apples, stack them high, but should you wish to really strain the equipment availability, limit the load to below that plank line and run 1/3 more cars of apples.

I’m seeing visions of flatcars with barrels passing by now…


* The other container option is a “Half Apple Barrel” which is a full barrel cut in half around its midsection with a larger drum head applied here.

(Originally published December 27, 2016; Updated January 16, 2017.)

Complete Time Book

Per a request, I have scanned the complete B&SR Workmen’s Time Book for all to view. Click the link below the Time Book image to download a PDF (~6 MB).

A few noteworthy items:

  • Coach cleaner
  • Snowplow maintenance
  • The going rate of $0.60/hour for painting Locomotive #1
  • Paying wages to run down to Bridgton Junction to get Locomotive #6.

Sorry it took so long to post. Enjoy.

B&SR 1923-1924 Workmens Time Book LR

Workmen’s Time Book

B&SR Workmen's Time Book, Jul 1923 - Nov 1924

B&SR Workmen’s Time Book, Jul 1923 – Nov 1924

Another of the items in my collection is this “Workmen’s Time Book” from the B&SR. Covering July 1923 through November 1924, my interpretation of this record is that this book, likely maintained by MM Caswell (assumed because his name appears first on all pages), accounts for the fraction of a workday each person executed on a given day. Further to that, I am assuming that this is also, crudely, a maintenance record, as several persons are noted to work on specific pieces of equipment (freight, passenger cars; locomotives) or serving a specific role (e.g.: watchman).

B&SR Workmen's Time Sheet, Aug 1923

B&SR Workmen’s Time Sheet, Aug 1923

If these interpretations are reasonably correct, this little item gives a sense of how often the equipment on the line was taken care of, in some manner, late in the ownership by the MeC.

New Line Funding

When the town of Bridgton wanted to regain control of the B&SR from the Maine Central they, like any other, needed to raise money. As was done in the late 1800’s when it was time to construct the B&SR, the newly formed Corporation sold shares of stock in the new line. Everyone who invested wished for the best and hoped for future dividends. As we all know, the future wasn’t bright.

Luckily, I happened across this piece of paper during my collecting days (as if they’ve stopped) and acquired it.

B&H Railway Stock Certificate

B&H Railway Stock Certificate

From the time I purchased my first real stock (CSX and, at that time, Lockheed), I’ve appreciated the artwork created (generally) for each and every certificate. There were many that had the same scroll work, often just changing the center image, but someone created the artwork, and from that, a plate for printing. Once I dig up my Bridgton Telegraph certificate, I’ll post it here as well.

Arthur Griffin Photographs

The Digital Commonwealth has made available for viewing several photographs of the Bridgton & Harrison taken by Arthur Griffin during, presumably, a 1940-something excursion. Search for “Bridgton” and the photos will be readily available for viewing.

The twenty-three scans include the interiors of at least two passenger cars, the excursion train and a winter scene near the hotel. I particularly like the two boys oiling #8’s running gear. Wonder if they might be modelers of the B&H?

All images are the copyright of Arthur Griffin and exist in the Griffin Museum of Photography, so cite them accordingly if you use the photos for any reason.

The Digital Commonwealth also contains scans of several postcards from the Bridgton area and a few of the Maine Central accident at Westbrook.

Additionally, the Southern Methodist University Digital Collections, with SMU being the home of the DeGolyer Library (which I will eventually get around to visiting), has posted a scanned copy of the B&SR #7 builders card.

Enjoy if you take a look.

The Bridgton Junction Closure

This history of the Maine Central’s involvement with the Bridgton & Saco was, at first, an interchange, followed by ownership through stock purchase, followed abandonment and return to an interchange status. Throughout most of this time, the Bridgton and Maine Central companies shared ownership of the station, freight house and platform at Bridgton Junction at a 1/3 – 2/3 ratio, respectively.

Many years ago, I obtained documents pertaining to the closure of the Bridgton Junction station from the Charles Niles collection, which was passed down to his son, Darren, and then to myself. As many of the 50 pages are very light weight copy paper or starting to crack and deteriorate, they have been scanned for preservation and sharing here before I donate the physical copies to the Bridgton Historical Society.

Within the provided 16 MB “bridgton-junction-closure” file are 200 dpi digital copies of the 1930 through 1942 papers for your reading and use, including a couple of news articles of the time. The earlier sheets pertain to the MeC ceasing ownership of the B&SR and the withdrawal of their agents from the Junction, with the latter covering the sale of the buildings and removal of equipment at the time the B&H came to a close.

For those into operations, note the document citing that the Junction will no longer be operating as a telegraph and train order station.

Happy reading.

It Has Been Some Time

Aside from the typical slow down associated with summer, a major medical situation in the family slowed and halted modeling practices for a while. This unfortunate event has prompted the cancellation of a number of scheduled trips, including attending the Narrow Gauge convention in Maine, the upcoming Mid-Atlantic RPM and Mid-East NMRA conventions.

We are working through the “situation” and I hope to be back on the clinic track again next year along with a long stay in Maine for lots of previously scheduled research. The research hasn’t completely stopped, as I have had a bit of “free” time sitting in waiting rooms and the such. Thus far I have been able to mine data from a few years (1882, ’89, ’98, & 1902) of the Bridgton News Archives for on-going and upcoming projects, with several more to go. I have set a schedule for myself to digest a year’s worth of newsprint every two weeks. I wish the search function worked better, but if you happen to take a look at some of the print scans, especially of those in the 1800’s and early 1900’s, you would understand why Mk. 1 eyeballs on every page is a necessity.

Most recently, however, I did receive an artifact from a fellow modeler in attendance at the Narrow Gauge convention in Maine. During a visit to Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad & Co., a piece of B&SR Boxcar 50 was found laying on the ground near the car’s current resting place. Either dislodged by yard handling or contact, the item was noted to have been from the door area. As it measures approximately 12″ long, it very well may have been a piece of the sheathing below the door.

Sample of B&SR Boxcar 50 Sheathing

Sample of B&SR Boxcar 50 Sheathing

Regardless of it’s exact origin, it exhibits the rot and neglect of the boxcar’s general appearance, regardless of the attempted preservation though application of gray paint. Even at my last visit in 2014, the paint was severely cracked and flaking.

B&SR Boxcar #50, @ MNGRR, Portland, ME, November 2014

B&SR Boxcar #50, @ MNGRR, Portland, ME, November 2014

I am in the process of contacting several companies specializing in the analysis of historical paint with the hopes of looking back in time to the paintings of #50, built by M. M. Caswell and others in the B&SR car shop during the spring of 1889. These houses use many tools to mount, cross section, photograph and determine color based upon a few common color coding systems. They are also capable of determining the paint vehicle, pigment constituents and finish (e.g.: matte or gloss). Although it will take some time to complete, I look forward to sharing the results.

Bridgton Mill Research at the Smithsonian

Last week I spent a day in the archives of the National Museum of American History. During one of my deep Google searches for information on Forest Mills, one of the woolen mills served by the Bridgton & Saco River RR, I came upon a PDF list mentioning both the Forest and Pondicherry Mills within one of the holdings.

After a few starts and stops, I finally reached out to the museum to set up an appointment to visit and access the Lockwood Greene Collection, of which drawings of the Bridgton mills are included. Per the Smithsonian’s web site, the Lockwood Greene Company, which moved their headquarters from Boston to South Carolina in the 1960’s, was, at the time, specialists in mill design and renovation. They were some of the first industrial designers, and were well sought after. The company expanded and became renowned for many aspects of industrial and and architectural design, and operates today as a subsidiary of the CH2M Hill Company.

The Balto-DC MARC

The Balto-DC MARC

My journey to the museum started with a brief ride on the local light rail to catch the MARC train from Baltimore’s Penn Station down to Washington DC’s Union Station. Although it was misting, I enjoyed the 30 minute walk to the museum. I arrived approximately 30 minutes after the museum opened and proceeded to wait in line to enter the building. After completing the required paperwork and watching a brief video on the proper handling of archive materials and data usage, I was led to a set of three tables which functioned as my desk.

Shortly thereafter, three large folders were brought to me on a flatbed dolly and it was time to carefully flip through the drawings, many of which were E and F size sheets, hand drawn on linen. Having spent time reviewing drawings on various media, linen is by far my favorite. The drawings for the Forest and Pondicherry mills were still crisp and clean and, aside from a crease or two caused by folding and some dirt from handling, there wasn’t a tear or obliterated dimension, which is much more than I can say for some of the drawings on kraft-style paper in the collection.

Although the hope was to find a complete set of mill foundation or elevation drawings, this was not to be had. The collection included drawings for the improvements performed on the mills in 1899 (Pondicherry) and 1901 (Forest), which were the addition of the boiler houses. These drawing were quite complete and, although they were not drawings of the complete mills, do provide scale for the rest of the structures via other drawings and images within my collection. I will spend the next week or so cataloging the data I recorded during my visit and incorporating it into my other mill data.

Author Reviewing Lockwood Greene Drawings in the Archives

Author Reviewing Lockwood Greene Drawings in the Archives

The Spartanburg library of South Carolina also received a donation of Lockwood Greene drawings from CH2M Hill and I eagerly await their positing of an inventory to find out if other Bridgton mill drawings might exist. In the meantime, I look forward using the acquired information to model these structures as near to full size as I can manage, as they were important pieces of Bridgton’s economy and the B&SR’s livelihood as importers and exporters of freight.

Bridgton: Its Scenic Charms, Lakes, Mountains and Summer Delights

The title of this posting may be familiar to those with a copy of this small 6″ x 4.25″ promotional booklet published by the B&SR. For those not so, let’s delve into this interesting period piece for a moment.

"The Bridgton," Rick Uskert collection.

“The Bridgton” – Rick Uskert collection.

Back in the day, before the Internet, television or the radio, at the dawn of telephone usage, advertisements were conveyed by word of mouth and print. While Bridgton’s local newspaper was distributed in small quantities to the big city of Portland, the B&SR wanted a longer arm, with ample advertisement space not available in a newspaper to draw business. Bridgton itself, the fairly well known summer get-away, was used as the main attraction to draw passengers.

Through whose marketing genius the booklets came about is not known, but from a historical perspective, I’m grateful the idea came to fruition. Several of the photos contained within have been reprinted (citing Jones’ “2 Feet…” only: pg 58 top, pg 66 top, all photos on pgs 92 & 93 except BR postcard, and pg 214 top). It is the latter of these images (Jones, pg 214, top) that prompted me to date this little book.

Although the reprint is much darker than that contained in the booklet, it can be noticed that the Grange Hall is absent from the background. The two story hall can be plainly seen in the photograph at the bottom of the same page, taken years later. As noted in an earlier posting, this building was built in 1902, and to be more specific, was opened on June 6th, 1902 with a social dance. Construction started at the very end of March, the same year.

Based upon this and other photos within the booklet, it can was assumed that during 1901 and very early 1902 photographs of the region were taken and compiled into a small booklet which came to be known simply as “The Bridgton.” Within the last week I was able to complete my review of the Bridgton News archives for 1902 and on April 11th an article appeared prompting all those who have an interest in obtaining a copy of “The very pretty little booklet of ‘The Bridgton,’ just issue last year by the Bridgton Railroad…” to stop by the News building for one, they having obtained many copies from the Railroad.

"The Bridgton" - Terry Smith collection

“The Bridgton” – Terry Smith collection

Although it is not known if the copy in my collection is an original from the first printing, or from a subsequent reprint, it is assumed to be an early version, as evidenced by its basic construction in comparison to the more embellished copy of later printing from Terry Smith’s personal collection. Regardless, those who have a copy within their collection or those referencing the images cited within Jones above can make note that those photographs were taken in 1901 or shortly before and the information used accordingly within your own research or modeling.