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Old 01-21-2017, 01:46 PM   #1
Boardwalk Bluesboy
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Default Lakeshore Railroad - Part Three

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Historical Sketch of the Lake Shore Railroad


Published in the "Lake Shore Bulletin", a special publication of the Laconia Advocate, dated June 17, 1890, celebrating the official opening of the line.


The agitation of the question of building the Lake Shore Railroad along the shore of Lake Winnipesaukee, from Lake Village to Alton Bay, was first begun about the year 1860 by parties interested in the Boston and Maine Railroad. The movement met with opposition from other roads, mainly from the Boston, Concord and Montreal, who realized that the proposed road would, if constructed, damage them very much by diverting the south-bound traffic, which must then of necessity pass over their lines over the line to the Boston and Maine through its connection at Altony Bay with that road. This opposition resulted in the failure of the project.

Nothing more was done in the matter until early in the seventies, when petitions were circulated and numerously signed, asking the legislature for a special charter. This movement met with the same opposition as the former, and after a wordy contest in the legislature was defeated, mainly through the efforts of a railroad lobby, and the matter was indefinitely postponed. The following year the charter matter was again agitated, and petitions circulated, asking the legislature to pass a general railroad law, through which the desired object was hoped to be obtained. Then another contest took place and again the measure was defeated through the efforts of opposing railroads. The Lake Shore Railroad matter then slumbered as far as active measures were concerned for ten years or more.

Meanwhile the matter was talked of considerably and begun to be spoken of in a depreciatory manner as never likely to exist, except in the minds of its projectors. But after the elapse of this time the matter again took active form and the result was the first charter granted to the Lake Shore Railroad Company, which was approved and signed by Gov. Hale, August __, 1883, entitled, "An act to Incorporate the Lake Shore Railroad."

The following are the names of the original charter members of the company: Charles A. Busiel, John C. Moulton, Albert G. Folsom, Gardner Cook, Samuel W. Sanders, Woodbury L. Melcher, Sylvester S. Wiggin, Samuel B. Smith, James H. Tilton, Perley Putnam, Edwin C. Lewis, Frank P. Holt, Samuel M.S. Moulton, Denis O'Shea, Edwin F. Burleigh, Frank E. Busiel, George F. Mallard, George H. Everett, William F. Knight, George L. Mead, Stephen S. Jewett, Frank Edgerly, Almon J. Farrar, Russell H. Carter, Edward H. Wilcomb, Martin A. Haynes, John J. Morrill, Samuel C. Clark, Joseph C. Moore, George F. Moore, Frank M. Rollins, Adam S. Ballantyne, Selwin B. Peabody, Richard Firth, Allan J. Hackett, Bradbury C. Tuttle, Thomas Cogswell, John W. Currier, John F. Cloutman and N.H. Leavitt.

Note: Recognizable names here are Charles A. Busiel, President of the railroad, first mayor of Laconia and an early governor of NH; his father erected the Busiel mill; Woodbury L. Melcher, Treasurer of the railroad, founder of Melcher and Prescott insurance; John C. Moulton and Perley Putnam, owners of the Laconia Car Company (John C. Moulton later built the Moulton Opera House in downtown Laconia); Dennis O’Shea was a director of the Laconia Car Company; Stephen S. Jewett was elected as a New Hampshire Representative in 1894, and eventually served as Speaker of the House; Edward H. Wilcomb probably was related to or was Edgar H. Wilcomb who wrote Rambles about the Weirs; Martin A. Haynes was a President of the NHVA and a US Congressman; Thomas Cogswell was the honoree of the 29th annual NHVA reunion in 1905; and the list goes on.

By a provision of this charter the capital stock of the company was to consist of not less than twenty-five hundred or more than five thousand shares, of the par value of $100 per share, and the charter was to be void if the work of construction was not begun within five years from the date of granting. During the months of August and September of the following year (1884) Mr. Charles A. Busiel of Laconia, at the suggestion of the Boston and Maine Railroad management, with whom negotiations were in progress toward the construction of the new road, secured the services of J.A. Farrington of North Conway, a civil engineer, for a survey of the line of the proposed road. The survey was made and an estimate of the cost of construction given by Mr. Farrington, in credit to whose skill it may be fair to say that his estimate of the cost was remarkably near to the actual cost of the survey since completed. The expense of the survey was $750, of which the Boston and Maine paid $350, and Mr. Busiel paid the balance. Meanwhile Mr. Busiel continued overtures to the Boston and Maine to build the road, but they deferred in the matter and would take no definite action. The matter ended by President Lord of the Boston and Maine writing a letter to Mr. Busiel to the effect that if he (Mr. Busiel) could find any party willing to undertake the construction of the Lake Shore road he had better contract with them to that effect, as the Boston and Maine did not intend to take hold of the matter. Mr. Busiel, with untiring energy, turned in another direction and endeavored to interest the Boston, Concord and Montreal Railroad in the building of the new road. In the meantime, other influences were at work at various points, as will be seen later on.

An act was approved August 14, 1887 and signed by Gov. Sawyer, amending the original charter to incorporate the Lake Shore Railroad, as follows: Incorporate names inserted: J.T. Busiel, Nathaniel J. Edgerly, Stilson Hutchins and Charles F. Stone, to fill vacancies among original members, caused by death and removal from the state, and extending the limit of time in which the construction of the road must be begun from the original limit of five years, from the date of the granting of the charter to January 1st, 1900, with the provision that if the road was not completed by that time the charter should be void.

This act was passed by the June session of the Legislature in the year 1883. In 1887 the Boston and Maine corporation petitioned the Legislature for a charter to build the Lake Shore railroad. Then a contest ensued in which, notwithstanding the fact that the illegality of many points in the granting of the charter was quite evident to many, the B. and M. was at last in a fair way to win its desired object, when a compromise was made between the last-named road and the Lake Shore company by the passage of an act to this effect, that if the Lake Shore railroad was not entirely completed on or before January 1st, 1891, then the Boston and Maine should have the chartered privilege to construct the line; but that the act embracing this compromise should not take effect if the Lake Shore company should have the entire roadbed graded ready for the laying of the rails by January 1st, 1889, otherwise it should take effect from that date.

The fact that the Boston and Maine should apply for a charter to build after having but shortly before refused to have anything to do with the matter, may be explained as follows:

Soon after the refusal of this corporation and the consequent turning to the Boston, Concord and Montreal for assistance, the Boston and Lowell road secured a lease of the Boston, Concord and Montreal, bought a majority of the stock, and thus obtained the balance of power in the corporation. Soon after the Boston and Maine secured a lease of the Boston and Lowell with leased lines, which of course included the B. C. and M., thus making the proposed new line a connection between two lines operated by the B. and M. corporation, giving them direct communication with Boston from the north without being obliged to use that portion of the line between the Montreal and the Lowell owned by the Concord railroad company. The Concord railroad being jealous of the invasion of the B. and M., became at this time desirous of building the Lake Shore, and also began proceedings as to test the legality of that portion of the lease of the B. and L. to the B. and M., which included the Boston, Concord, and Montreal.

The result of this was the great railroad fight in the New Hampshire Legislature during the session of 1887, which was long and tenaciously fought, extending the session to many times its usual length. The two bills entered were known as the Hazen bill and the Atherton bill. The Atherton bill was the Concord railroad measure, and the Hazen bill the Boston and Maine. The effect of the passage of the Hazen bill would have been to secure the control of the Boston, Concord, and Montreal road to the Boston and Maine, by proving the validity of the lease of the former to the Boston and Lowell. The Hazen bill passed the House and Senate after a bitter struggle, but met defeat in the shape of a veto by Governor Sawyer. But the contest did not end here. The matter was carried into the Supreme Court, but was every time and finally decided in favor of the the Concord road, the lease of the B. C. and M. to the Boston and Lowell being decided to be illegal. Thus it will be seen that the construction of the Lake Shore was the direct outcome of the contest between the Boston and Maine and Concord railroads. Both corporations wished to secure the Lake Shore, as it gave them a vantage point, and the Concord corporation having previously been asked to construct the line and the offer still being open to it, at once accepted and begun active measures to prevent any possibility of the road being secured by the B. and M.

Work was begun on the road-bed in the spring of 1888 and pushed steadily forward through that year, the heavy reports from the blasting where cuts were necessary fully convinced people that the Lake Shore was not a myth. During the winter of 1888-9 the work was of necessity abandoned, but in the spring of '89 again vigorously continued and in the early summer of that year the roadbed was ready to receive the iron, the laying of which was at once begun. In the late fall the last spike was driven at Alton Bay, and the Lake Shore went into history.

The first passenger train over the road contained the officials of the corporation, and steamed into Alton Bay during the latter part of the month of May, 1890. The length of the line is 17 2-10 miles. The stations are as follows: Laconia, Lake Village, Lily Pond, Gilford, Belknap Point, Carr's Point, Springhaven, West Alton, Wheeler's, Loon Cove and Alton Bay.

As a fitting conclusion let us add, that as the shrill whistle of the locomotive brings to these hitherto quiet coves and shores, a realization of the advance of modern civilization, just so surely will the new highway of steam bring blessings and benefits to one and all, and while enjoying the advantages and benefits bestowed as time passes let us not be wholly wanting in gratitude to the one, but for the ceaseless and untiring efforts of whom the present generation would never have held high carnival at the opening of the Lake Shore—the genial president of the road.
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Old 01-21-2017, 01:55 PM   #2
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Default 1892 Map of Lakeshore Park

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Map of Lakeshore Park, from the Concord & Montreal Railroads' 1892 publication, Lakes, Ponds and Streams On the C.&M.


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Old 01-22-2017, 07:14 AM   #3
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Lake Shore Park doesn't quite look like that anymore.
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