Author Topic: Hancock Brook Arch  (Read 2774 times)

Ed Lecuyer

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Hancock Brook Arch
« on: December 21, 2008, 11:48:13 PM »
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Hancock Brook Arch has been converted from the pre-July 2008 WW&F Discussion Forum.
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Mike Fox wrote:
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I finally made it. Took a little trip down to Hiram to get the south end of the Bridgton & Saco River Railroad so I can record some images before they disappear. So until NE Rail gets a Bridgton link done for me, I'll share a few here.
This is the Hancock Brook Arch. Built around 1900.
Mike


Stewart Rhine replied:
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Mike,  Great B&SR Pics.  Thanks for posting them!  I've been over there a couple of times but I didn't remember that short bridge.  That's a super  shot of the Hancock Brook arch.

Glenn Christensen replied:
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Thanks Mike!
I'm with Stewart.  Its nice to see current photos from Bridgton-land!
Please keep 'em coming!
Best Regards,
Glenn

Mike Fox replied:
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I took 107 yesterday. And That is just from the bridge abutments by Barker Pond Just North of The Summit South to Bridgton Junction. I had never been on the private Narrow Gauge Lane until then. Very nice scenic area. I especially liked where Hancock brook ran along side. Now I need to go through all those pics. I'll post a couple of more I took that came out with great detail. I surprised myself.
Mike

Bruce Wilson replied:
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Echoing what the other guys have said, excellent job Mike...!

Duncan Mackiewicz replied:
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Mike,
Great shots of the arch.  How fortunate you are to be able to view the right-of-way at this time of year when the trees are so bare.  I hope you'll be sharing more of those 107 pictures on Nerail.  If you want more info and vintage pictures of the B&H try visiting Jack and Diane Barnes.  They used to live on the corner of Narrowgauge Way.  I was able to visit with them several years ago.  They are very well informed about the B&H and have published a few books in the Images of America series including some bits about the B&H.
Duncan

Mike Fox replied:
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Duncan,
Are they in the farmhouse above the grade or are the actually on that road? And yes. It is Very unusual to have no snow and virtually no frost when those picture were taken. I am hoping to do a little more before to much snow falls. If not, some shots in the spring with some color would be great to.
Mike

Duncan Mackiewicz replied:
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Mike,
They live (or lived if they are no longer there) in the farmhouse that is just to the left of the entrance to Narrowgauge Way.  Jack took me in his old beater-suv up the roadway as far as we could go.  Probably to the bridge you took pictures of but at that time there was just a gap between the abutments.  He also took me down across the "main road" to the arch which I had been unable to find previously.  He pointed out an area along the upper roadway near where he felt the top of the grade was.  He thought there had been a siding there so the engines could cut their loads.  He said the top of the grade was better felt in the winter on cross-country skis.  ???  Got me there.
Check the mailbox out front of the farmhouse.  I'm fairly sure they are still there since their niece owns a shop over on 302 outside Bridgton and I've spoken with her about them.
Duncan

Dana Deering replied:
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Great shots of the Arch, Mike.  The Arch replaced a long trestlework that originally took the RR over Hancock Brook.  The work was completed in 1898.  There is a great photo on the Bridgton Historical Society website that shows a gravel train and crew filling in the trestlework around the arch.
I rode my mountain bike from Hancock Pond to the East Hiram Road (where the Barnes' House is) last summer and you can definitely tell where the Summit is when you are pedalling.  There was a siding at the Summit called Mullen's which allowed trains to double the hill.  You can't find any evidence of it since that whole section of roadbed has been widened into a camp road going into Barker Pond.
The Barnes' house is located at a spot the railroaders called Buttermilk Falls and there is a photo of #7 on her side with what is now their house in the background.
Back at Barker Pond, just north of the little bridge, is the site of Twin Lakes Station.  The building is gone but you can figure out where it stood.  Must've been a pretty ride.
Dana

Stephen Hussar replied:
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From the Bridgton Historical Society website.

_________________
*                *                    *                   *
"Give me enough Swedes and whiskey and I'll build a railroad to Hell."
- James J. Hill

Dana Deering replied:
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I knew I could count on you, Steve!  Isn't that a great photo?  Sure does stir up an old Roadmaster's blood! All those flatcars!  All those shovellers!  Just think of what we could do...
I think we should try to arrange for a B&SR trip for a weekend after the Spring Work Weekend, or heck, any time this winter if the weather keeps up...

Mike Fox replied:
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Whenever we can Dana, I'm game.
Mike

Duncan Mackiewicz replied:
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Dana,
If you decide on a "field trip" let me know and give me some advance warning.  I'd definitely like to be a part of that if possible but travel time is something I need from Western Mass.
Duncan
PS:  That trestle shot with all the shovelers is quite impressive.

Joe Fox replied:
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How many weeks/years do you supose they spent trying to get the track level through that section? Once that wood wrotted out, you think that the track would sink down, and cause the track to have a lot of attention?
Joe

James Patten replied:
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Believe it or not, once the wood on the trestles got covered in all that dirt, they wouldn't rot out very quickly.  I believe I've heard of people hiking in SR&RL territory, who while walking on a fill that used to be trestle, can dig down a short ways and find the wood still there.

Mike Fox replied:
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I have heard of that too James. Do you know of any wood detectors on sale so we can find these buried trestles?
Mike

James Patten replied:
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I think wood detectors are hideously expensive, well out of the price range of any of us. 

Dana Deering replied:
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In Two Feet to the Lakes it says that the Hancock Brook Arch was built from stone acquired from the Berry Quarry in East Denmark.  This was in 1895 and during that same time period a lot of stone culverts were installed along the B&SR and Berry's quarry was the likely source for that material.
There is a small mountain/hill near our camp on Hancock Pond that has a nice hiking trail on the east side which leads to the summit and some nice ledges with views of Pleasant Mountain and the Whites, so it has become a favorite destination for me.  Once years ago I decided to hike up the ledges side (the west side) and to get there I followed an old abandoned road that went right around that side of the hill. As I clambered up over the rocks I came to a spot that had been quarried.  There was lots of stone rubble at the foot of the ledges and numerous drill marks where the stone had been split away.  There were also some large slabs of granite that had been split but never removed.  I took photos and have them somewhere.  As I climbed higher, almost to the summit, I came across two big slabs of granite that had been split from a big rock and just left there.  You could see it would have been quite a sled ride to get those things off the hill!
Anyway, when I got back to camp, I began my usual MO, that is I started badgering my grandparents with questions and they seemed to know little about it, nor did many of the other older relatives who often came to visit.  Luckily for me they all appreciated my interest in "Old Times" and did their best to answer.
My dependable grandmother later produced an old copy of a History of Denmark, Maine; which didn't say anything about a quarry but it did have an old map that showed the road that ran around the base of the hill.  The map identified it as the "Berry Road".  From that and the fact that the quarry is in East Denmark less than a mile from Perley's Mills Station on the B&SR I concluded that it must be the Berry Quarry and thus the source of stone for the Hancock Brook Arch.
It was nice to see my interest in quarrying dovetail with my interest in the B&SR.  If anyone wants to take a nice short hike with a rewarding view at the end along with a link to B&SR history just let me know and we'll arrange it.
Dana

Mike Fox replied:
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Nice find Dana. Atleast we know the stones were local to the area.
Mike

Duncan Mackiewicz replied:
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Dana,
Your knowledge of the Bridgton area and the B&SR seems endless.  Without that knowledge so many of the finer details of the B&SR would have been lost to the 2 footers like us who so fervently share your interest. Thanks so much for sharing.
Duncan

Dana Deering replied:
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Duncan and all,
You are so welcome.  I have been trying to absorb every bit of history of that area and the B&SR as I can and I have learned a lot in 40+ years.  I am grateful that there are others who share the interest so I can now share the info.  I can't wait for the field trip!
Ed Lecuyer
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Matthew Martin

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Re: Hancock Brook Arch
« Reply #1 on: December 22, 2008, 01:43:42 AM »
The bridge looks like it is great condition. :)