View Single Post
Old 03-19-2005, 03:02 PM   #1
Senior Member
mcdude's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Rock Haven Lake - West Newfield, ME
Posts: 5,096
Thanks: 313
Thanked 729 Times in 353 Posts
Default Wolfeboro Railroad - 1872-1985


The Wolfeboro Railroad changed a sleepy village to a bustling commercial center and tourist resort. Before the railroad arrived, most visitors arrived at the lake by train at either Alton Bay or the Weirs and then took a steamer to Wolfeboro. Overland travel was difficult. The state road from Alton Bay to Wolfeboro wasn't even paved until the 1920s!

In the 1860s plans were being made for a railroad line to be pushed through from the coast up to Conway. The citizens of Wolfeboro hoped that the new line would pass through Wolfeboro. That was not to be the case.

“...the inhabitants of the more densely populated portion of the town became greatly interested in securing direct railroad connection with the outside world......the construction of the (Portsmouth to) Conway (Rail) road rendered the construction of the line to Wolfeborough, from any point, quite problematic. (*Townspeople had hoped the line to Conway would come through, or at least closer, to town) Subsequently, however, Hon. John W. Sanborn, who held official relations with the Conway road, suggested to some leading citizens that a branch from that road to Wolfeborough might be secured, provided that a sum equal to one-fifth of the town’s ratable valuation could be raised. This amount would equal thirty-five thousand dollars. The people of Wolfeborough were favorably impressed with the idea and soon made application to the legislature for a charter. By an enactment of July 1, 1868, the Wolfeborough Railroad Company was incorporated, to extend from Wolfeborough Junction (also called Sanbornville) to Wolfeborough, a distance of twelve miles. At a town meeting held September 20, 1869, it was voted (three hundred in favor to one hundred and twenty-two against) to appropriate thirty-five thousand dollars to aid in constructing the road and Elisha Goodwin, Jr., Blake Folsom and John L. Goldsmith were appointed a committee to represent the town in all negotiations with the railroad company......Considerable time elapsed before active operations were begun....Work was commenced on the road November 1871, ground being broken near Mast Landing by Lyford Shorey, then aged eighty-seven years. A band discoursed string music, and the occasion was made one of rejoicing at the propitious beginning of a long desired work. August 19, 1872 the first locomotive, hauling five passenger coaches, triumphantly whistled its’ was into town, and all who wished were given free rides to the Junction during that day. Regular trains were put on as soon as the stations could be completed, and the service has been maintained without a single fatal accident”(1901) History of the Town of Wolfeborough, New Hampshire - Benjamin Franklin Parker - 1901 - pp.511-512 - Reprinted in 1988 - American Offset Printers - Los Angeles

Click here to view a topographical map of the area

The Train Meets the Mount at the Lakeside Station. Many of the black and white images in this thread are postcards from the Wolfeboro Historical Society's Wolfborough Railroad Series.

Here's the same postcard in color. It shows the Wolfeboro Dock Station about 1910. B&M train meets the Mt. Washington at the new station which replaced the original three story building that burned in 1899.

“The road was not built without engineering difficulties. Deep cuts had to made on either side of the Wolfeborough Falls station and long dumps across Lake Wentworth, Crooked Pond (now Crescent Lake) and the Back Bay. The route is an attractive one, bordering as it does for a long distance on a mountain-hemmed lake. All things considered, the one adopted is the best of the plans suggested for a railroad to the lake. To one gifted with the prophetic instinct, the idea of some future connection with the westerly side of Lake Winnipesaukee might suggest itself. The lay of the land would make such an undertaking comparatively easy of an accomplishment.” History of the Town of Wolfeborough, New Hampshire - Benjamin Franklin Parker - 1901 - p. 512 - Reprinted in 1988 - American Offset Printers - Los Angeles

Postcard from the Rattlesnake Gal collection.

This view shows the original three story steamship and railroad station.

Note the sidewheel of the Mount Washington in the distance at the end of the tracks.

Last edited by mcdude; 08-06-2005 at 01:02 PM.
mcdude is offline   Reply With Quote