125 Years Ago, Today: First Steps towards A Harrison Extension

The subject of railroad facilities is being actively discussed by our Harrison neighbors. The only feasible plan is to extend the track of the Bridgton narrow-gauge to Harrison village; the cost of which–roadbed, track, land damage, buildings, etc.–is estimated at from $33,000 to $37,000. The idea is to organize an independent company to build the road, then lease the road to the B. & S. R. R. R. Co., who will operate it. As to ways and means, it is suggested that Harrison, in its municipal capacity, invest $20,000 in aid of the project; she can hire the money at 4 per cent, and if the Bridgton road can be induced to lease of them at 3 per cent, she then has but 1 per cent to pay, or only about $200 a year; which is certainly a very small expense for the great advantages of securing railroad facilities. Her valuation is $438,000. This additional tax on a $1,000 farm, for instance, would only be 50 cts a year. Which railroad tax would probably be more than offset by the new taxable property which a railroad would bring into town. It would seem that if Harrison wants ever to have railroad communication with the outer world, now is the time. She may, if she will, have cars running fro this terminus to Harrision village by August next. The route is of easy grade, and the road-bed can be constructed at small expense.

~ Published in the Bridgton News, January 20th, 1893.

125 Years Ago, Today: Last of the Apples & New 2ft Lines

The last of the apples have been shipped from this terminus by the railroad; and the whole amount sent from this place and vicinity over the road foots up the handsome number of 7830 barrels.

The Nova Scotia gentlemen who lately visited this town and other places where the two-foot-gauge railroad is used, reported so favorably upon this system of road that the work of building the 90-mile one from Halifax along the coast, on the Mansfield plan, has already begun. A shorter road of the same kind is being built in North Carolinal; the outcome of an article on the Bridgton road in several of the big newspapers and subsequent correspondence with the officers of our road.

~ Take from the Bridgton News, Jan 13, 1893.

125 Years Ago, Today: “Now We Have It.”


For some weeks past Portland parties together with prominent citizens of Harrison and Bridgton have been considering the building of an electric road from Bridgton to Harrison, for both freight and passenger service and also for furnishing light and power to those two places. So enthusiastically was the project received by the people of the two towns and also of Waterford and surrounding place, that a superior water power has been looked up and the option of it secured, and a petition for a charter will soon be circulated for presentation to the legislature. It appears that the large lumber and farming country around Harrison, Waterford, and South Waterford has no outlet for its products except by team to Norway, on the Grand Trunk railroad, or to Bridgton on the Bridgton & Saco River railroad. It is proposed to construct an electric road of the same gauge as that now running from Bridgton to Bridgton Junction, so that cars can be loaded at Harrison and taken to the Maine Central railroad at Bridgton Junction without change.

Eventually the road will be extended to Waterford and Waterford Flat. Not only will freight be handled extensively but arrangements will be made for the accommodation of a large passenger traffic.

Parties who have traveled through this section know that few places in Maine offer greater attractions to the tourist and health seeker, and already several beautiful summer residences have been built here by Portland people. The writer learned that Mr. P. Tolman of Harrison was in town yesterday on business connected with the proposed road. It is rumored that the Giant Electric Company of this city is largely interested in the enterprise, and will equip both the road and electric light plant. –Press of Wednesday.

~ The Bridgton News, Jan 13, 1893.

Promoting the 2ft Rails

Thursday evening of last week [01 Dec, 1892 – RU] there arrived in this village a notable party of gentlemen, bound on a peculiar mission. The cicerone of the party was one whom the Bridgton public have cause to long remember, and with gratitude too, for but for his system of railroad our town would have been to this day without steam communication with the outside world–Mr. George E. Mansfield, the originator of the two-foot-gauge system of road, and who filled so important a part in putting our road into being. With him were five prominent citizens of Nova Scotia, from Yarmouth and vicinity, men of brains and character and best representing the various elements, of public office, (in the Canadian Parliament, &c) of business interests, and the professionals, in that section. They were: A. M. Hatfield of Yarmouth, J. E. Lloyd of Lockport, W. Sargent of Barrington, E. L. Simmons of Lusket, Yarmouth, and Joseph R. Wyman of the latter-named city. Their object in coming here was this: It is proposed to build a narrow-gauge railroad from Yarmouth eastward to Rockport, a distance of very nearly 100 miles, following the general coast-line and taking in the chief maritime points, as well as striking the interior traffic; and so these five leading citizens came as a committee to Maine, to study the Mansfield system, with a view of constructing the road on that plan if deemed suitable and economical. Hearing of Mr. Mansfield, who is now a resident of Greenfield, N. H., they engaged him to accompany them on a tour of observation over the different two-foot-roads in this State, they made our road the final scene of their investigations, coming and returning over it. At the Bridgton House they held and informal conference and talk with officers of the road, engineer Marcque and other of our citizens and took copious notes. They were a fine body of men, and the interview was mutually satisfactory and pleasing to all concerned. They one and all expressed entire satisfaction with our system of road, nay more, were enthusiastic over its construction and workings, and went away next morning with the resolve to report to their constituency in favor of this style of railway.

~ Printed in the Bridgton News, 09 Dec, 1892.

125 Years Ago, December

A few posts from the 09 December, 1892 Bridgton News:

Baldwins aplenty:

In the first three weeks of November the Bridgton railroad carried from this immediate region 6500 barrels of apples.

The railroad is in a fine state of affairs:

The State Railroad Commissioners, who not long ago made an inspection of the Bridgton road, report that “it rides as good as any railroad in the State.”

Expansion of operational capabilities:

At the Ingall’s Road station the side track has been extended and changed so that four or five cars can now be loaded at one and the same time.

And the new Junction station is underway:

A handsome new station is being built at Bridgton Junction by the Maine Central Co.; extended platforms, awnings; etc., in short, will correspond with those at Fryeburg, and other of the larger stations.

Fixing an Error

Hello all,

Although work and other projects through November have taken their toll on me posting to the site, a recent “500 Internal Server Error” had gotten the better of me. I hope it has been resolved now, and if so, I have a few posts to catch up for the Month of December.



100 Years Ago, Today ~ September 14, 1917

Similar to the B&SR, which seems to have spent all efforts in simply operating–hauling freight and passengers–absent of expansion or changes, this site went dormant for a bit with no “new” news to report. With today’s historical reference, the railroad returns to the fall-spring period of improvements.

A pier was put in near lower Pondicherry mill on Saturday to support the track which will be laid from the mill to the railroad for the purpose of bringing coal directly to the mill.

(This article was originally published by The Bridgton NEWS on September 14, 1917.)

125 Years Ago ~ April 22, 1892

The new locomotive (engine No. 3) is a beauty, and it is no wonder that the railroad folks, yes, and not a few outsiders, are well pleased with it. It was manufactured by the Portland Company, of whose Works, Mr. James E. Greensmith, lately of the Pond Machine Tool Works, New Jersey, is general manager, and is a credit to him and his workmen. It weighs 19 tons, which is 4 tons more than either of the other two locomotives, is somewhat larger than those, and contains various improvements over them, being stronger and having sundry devices, transpositions, etc., such as have suggested themselves, through nine years’ experience, to Master Mechanic and Purchasing Agent, M. M. Caswell, of the railroad, under whose direction the engine was constructed. Among other appurtenances are a chime whistle (same as the Maine Central’s, and a spring draw bar to lessen the shock of car-coupling. This engine will be used principally for heavy work, such as drawing freight trains. The six flat cars which have been ordered for the road, are likewise to be built by the Portland Company.

(- Originally published in the Bridgton NEWS, April 22, 1892.)