W.W.&F. Discussion Forum

The Original W&Q and WW&F: 1894-1933 => Original Railway => Topic started by: Mike Fox on January 06, 2010, 08:24:13 AM

Title: Farmington Falls
Post by: Mike Fox on January 06, 2010, 08:24:13 AM
Glenn has been doing more research again. This is a nice find. Here are the pics and his description.

This is a photograph of the original painting of the Farmington Falls Depot building of the FS&K Railway done by Leonard Keith which hangs in the Titcomb House on High Street in Farmington.  The photo was taken 1-5-10 by Nancy Porter, the curator of the Farmington Historical Society and sent to me today.  The only other picture I have seen of this is on page 19 of Natalie Butler's 1976 book titled "The Falls: Where Farmington Maine, Began in 1776. I donated a copy of this to the WW&F Museum. No real photo of the depot has yet surfaced that I have seen, though I am hopeful that soon we may uncover one.  Let's take a moment and examine exactly how all this was laid out. In the picture we see the Union Meeting House just to the left of the Depot so this places us, the viewer, standing in what is now Mason Road looking directly into the Falls Village. Remember the Farmington Chronicle article from 10/7/1897 where we rode along with the editor and he said they turned left at the Union Meeting House and rode about forty rods to where the Falls Passenger and Freight Depot will be located. Now we know that the Depot was located on the Falls side of the tracks(Which Never Were There!).  Many have questioned whether this building was ever really built. Farmington Chronicle 10/21/1897: "Engineer (Leonard) Keith has set the foundations for the freight depot at the Falls Village, and the building will at once be erected, and used for storage purposes at present". Just three weeks later The Farmington Chronicle reports on 11/11/1897: "The Freight Depot at the Falls, previously mentioned, is now up, boarded and shingled. It will be used for the present in storing the company's tools and machines. We can't imagine the Chronicle didn't have a picture to publish.  Well at least we know the building was really done. Now, whether this painting was done by Engineer Leonard Keith is not known by me yet. No date appears on the painting that I have seen.  Anyway readers, Birchard Cook and I started our trek along the FS&K Right of Way right here and went toward New Sharon which is to the left.  Thanks to Nancy Porter and the Farmington Historical Society for allowing us a glimpse back more than 112 years at what almost was.

This is just to get everyone who is interested, situated in the big town of Farmington Falls.  This is now called The Union Baptist Church and looks almost identical today as it did in the days of the FS&K.  The road to the Falls Depot, Mason Rd., is to the left of this building.  We are standing in Main Street ,Route 41. The new highway Route 2&27 passes just behind the Meeting House and now bypasses most of Farmington Falls Village

I was past this building today and you cannot see any difference from this 1976 photo.  Mason Road is where the photo was taken and passes just to the left of this building.  The FS&K Farmington Falls Depot would have been in the upper left corner out of sight.

Glenn Byron
Title: Re: Farmington Falls
Post by: Bill Fortier on January 06, 2010, 10:13:17 PM
Here's the Google Maps view (http://maps.google.com/?ie=UTF8&t=h&ll=44.624358,-70.076916&spn=0.004498,0.008197&z=17) of the area described. The church and right-of-way should be easy to pick out.
Title: Re: Farmington Falls
Post by: Glenn Byron on January 26, 2010, 04:06:42 PM
WOW!  That Google Earth stuff sure adds to this discussion.  The hard bend in the FS&K Railbed shows more clearly than if you are there.  OK, now study Farmington Falls Village closely.  That bridge on Route 41 over the Sandy River was a wooden covered bridge in 1897, and Leonard Atwood's water powered saw mill was right here.  Those timbers under the granite culverts and trestles were sawed in the fall of 1897.  During the winter of 1897-98  the bridge timbers for the whole Farmington to New Sharon project were sawed and fitted at Mr. Atwoods Mill for assembly during 1898.  We have pictures of the Muddy Brook Trestle in New Sharon all ready for rail as well as the 1000 foot long trestle over Main Street in Farmington. I don't have the dates yet when these were completed.  Farmington Falls was a bustling community at the end of the 19th century, with Leonard Atwood one of the key players.  Thanks so much for the Google link.  With our little mouse, today we can ride The FS&K Railway that Mr. Atwood dreamed about but never made it happen.  Stay Tuned,  Glenn  Byron