Author Topic: Franklin County Connection - The Surveyed Route  (Read 2239 times)

Paul Levesque

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Franklin County Connection - The Surveyed Route
« on: September 18, 2017, 02:05:33 PM »
So, this is a long promised portion of the Franklin County Connection that I managed to uncover this spring.

The first piece here is the survey plan for the Waterville & Wiscasset Railroad, commonly referred to as the Winslow Branch.  This line took the railroad from China, in the village of Weeks Mills, to the village of South China, through Vassalboro and the villages of East Vassalboro and North Vassalboro, past the American Woolen Company's mills and the "Beanery" canning factory, and into Winslow.  The plan also will show you the planned route across the Kennebec River, through the lower end of "the plains" area of Waterville, across Summer and Silver Streets, across Messalonskee Stream and to the station grounds at Western Avenue and Cool Street.

The woolen mills in North Vassalboro were initially a tannery, the original buildings (wood frame) were taken down and the first of three primary buildings (brick) were built.  The oldest portion of the mill is the southeast building dating to the 1860's, then the center west building was built 1880's/90's and finally the southwest building was constructed in the 1900's/10's.  I am not sure of the exact dates and will check with Ray next time I pop in to visit.  The brick building on "the green" is where the company offices were located and now is occupied by a great store selling items from SEVERAL area artisans ranging from Rays own "Deadwood Designs" wood tables and crafts, to wrought iron fixtures, loads of jewelery, canned goods, soaps, and tons more.  Tell Linda that I sent you.

The Maine Central Station was located about 4/10 of a mile north of the WW&F station on the west side of the tracks near the current Winslow Automotive and Tire.  Until the Lockwood Mills were built in the beginning of the past century the industrial "heart" if you will was on Bay Street (RT 201) from the area of Fort Halifax (basically the whole green space) to the bridge to Waterville (I believe the eastbound side of the bridge was originally the trolley bridge and the westbound side was the former iron bridge for the roadway.

Lithgow Street would have been what I would have called the business center of Winslow, with the industrial center to the north.  At one time there were buildings on both sides of the street and the portion of RT 201 between the two ends of the street wasn't planned until the 1930's.1

Summer Street and Silver Street are show at inverse angles to their actual position, the distance between the streets actually increases as they head south.
The spacing of Oakland Street and Western Avenue as a little off, they apparently are generalized and just sketched in.  From the best I can determine thus far the railroad would have crossed Messalonskee Stream on a tangent with the current Wilson Park, which was sub-divided circa 1920.

Silver Street is named as such because the three wealthiest residents of Waterville lived on the street in the early 1800's reportedly with more wealth between them than the whole of Waterville combined.2  Cool Street was named for one of the earliest settlers.2

Note that there are scant station marks (the numbers written as '000+00.0 beyond the Vassalboro / Winslow town line and there are hardly any indication as to the degrees of curvature.)  Also in Waterville at Cool Street is a compound curve, one of two or three I think between this plot and the one of the W&Q from Wiscasset to Albion and the second W&Q from Albion to Burnham.

Also note that the measurements begin at 0 in Waterville and not Weeks Mills.  The Waterville station grounds on this plan and those shown on the FS&K through Kennebec county don't line up very well, so clearly there was a lot of this that was still open ended.

I haven't come across any deed transfers or damage claims for the ROW west of the Kennebec, and despite the stated scale on the plans of 1"=400' the numbers don't match up, sometimes they are WAY off, the only thing that is consistently on point are the degrees of curvature, I will point out the discrepancies later.

The commissioners records for all three counties though do have the damage claims listed for the W&Q, W&W, and the FS&K.

The Kennebec County Commissioners records for railroad right of ways are missing!  They are in three volumes and were never transcribed for ease of reading.
 Kind of a big deal in regards to Maine record retention laws.  No one knows where they are and the people at the state archives are not too impressed with this.  But, they are supposed to be on microfilm, somewhere, and the original books are supposed to be retained, so I will keep looking.

Also, i haven't come across any road crossing filings with the railroad commissioners covering the road crossings from the Winslow station to the Waterville station, about 6 crossings.  I am hoping that the Kennebec Commissioners records can shed some light on this.

Neither Franklin or Somerset County have any knowledge of similar maps for the FS&K through their territories but, they do have the written surveys copied into the original books laying out the railroad with direction, distance, and curvature information and most of it lines up very well with what we know was built and when it is merged into the Kennebec County plot of the FS&K.

More of course is coming!

The below images are linked, so clicking on one should take you to my uploads on imgur.

P. Levesque
Fairfield, ME

Jeff Schumaker

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Re: Franklin County Connection - The Surveyed Route
« Reply #1 on: September 19, 2017, 12:05:04 PM »
Fantastic, Paul!

Jeff S.
Hey Rocky, watch me pull a moose trout out of my hat.