Show Posts

This section allows you to view all posts made by this member. Note that you can only see posts made in areas you currently have access to.

Messages - Paul Levesque

Pages: [1] 2 3 4
Something to remember when using headings from 1900ish is adjusting for magnetic drift. I think I have had to adjust 14 degrees for the FSK. I have been busy and haven't worked on it in a few months though.

The Original W&Q and WW&F: 1894-1933 / Re: Mapping the W&Q and the WW&F
« on: February 28, 2019, 11:38:01 AM »
I have no problem sharing with the museum, anything that can enhance or contribute to the goals is the aim here!

The problem is I am a little obsessive about being thorough and as complete as possible with all the information. That being said it is incredibly close to being done.

For the property ownership they really provide the starting point, the work flow I use when digitizing these is to use the owner on record as the last known owner and then go to the registry of deeds to see if the property is still under their ownership and if the parcel has been split off at all. The registries are incredibly accurate due to being THE repository of legal ownership and transfer documents and they are updated daily.

The Original W&Q and WW&F: 1894-1933 / Re: Mapping the W&Q and the WW&F
« on: February 27, 2019, 04:54:32 PM »
So this definitely got shelved for a while!

I will upload it as soon as I can and create another Google Map for it. The mapping is complete from Wiscasset to Pittsfield and from Weeks Mills to Farmington. I had to make a few tweaks here and there to correct for obvious errors in the surveys, most of which were probably made when the plans were being copied into the record books.

There are a few places where the map was clearly drawn freehand (Waterville from the Kennebec River to Western Avenue, and through the village in Oakland) the scale, station marks (cumulative distance notations), and landmarks are incredibly far off.

As for current property ownership, that wouldn't be too difficult at all, especially for the original ROW (Wiscasset - Albion, Winslow). All of the towns involved have their tax maps digitized. The difficulty would lie in connecting the lot to the current owner but the map, without further analysis and processing, would at the very least show the local Map/Block/Lot numbers for the parcels the ROW passes through.

For historical property ownership I have partial records that detail the land takings that list:
Property Owner
Description of the land taken which includes the distance along the center line, acres, and ROW width.
Damage amounts
The ROW maps show the abutting land owners that the ROW passed through, my information on this is incomplete (I just wasn't collecting it at the time but it is out there.)

The Original W&Q and WW&F: 1894-1933 / The Pittsfield Extension!!!
« on: June 03, 2018, 02:11:20 PM »
Found the following on Thursday
-Written Description of the W&Q Survey from Wiscasset to Burnham.
-Written Description of the W&Q Survey from Wiscasset to Burnham as Ammended. (I think this is the 'As-Built' description).
But most exciting of all...
-Written Description of the W&Q Survey from Burnham to Pittsfield!!!

I didn't get a complete group of images for the first one, I think I got all of the second one, but I have images of the entire Pittsfield extension. This is the official location and not a preliminary survey. There are some problems though that I haven't encountered in any significance in the other descriptions I have located. I may be able to find another description on Monday to resolve this though, so we will see where this goes.

But, you can follow the Pittsfield Survey roughly for now along the following points:
-Start at the third house east of the Sebasticook River on the north side of the Troy Road
-Head north across the island to the north shore of the river
-Continue north between the river and Route 11/100/ North Main Street
-The railroad appears to run north about halfway between the river and the road until you get to the house that is across the street from the long chicken barn
-Here I an pretty sure it swung west a little and that the power lines that are faintly visible follow the route roughly. (Portions of the Winslow Branch we later paralleled with pole lines.)
-So run north until you get to the dam. The dam wasn't built until 1929 so assume a straight line from where the power lines terminate across the impoundment to the opposite shore
-Still following road the grade would be running where there is now water, I think about two or three times the width of the road to the east.
-You'll eventually pick up a pole line again around where the impoundment widens significantly and Route 11/100 turns west, follow this
-When you get to Eel Weir Road the line would cross about two houses to the west of Route 11/100 and head north
-Now in the area to the east of the second curve in the reverse curve of Route 11/100 I get into a problem with the description, the described route, based on the headings given for the tangents, has the bed veering east, but the curves given have the bed going slightly west of north. There is a clear line to the south of this that runs SW to NE but I am confident that this isn't associated with the railroad but a gas/oil pipeline. So follow the clearing for the pole line again to Route 11/100 and cross the road about halfway between the Webb Road and the Sebasticook River.
-Go about to the MEC and veer east and parallel the tracks until you get to Raymond & Railroad Streets. This would be a logical end for a planned connection with the Sebasticook and Moosehead Lake RR to Hartland/Harmony as the wye is directly across the MEC from here.
And to support all of this there is mention that the sub-grade had been started and it is visible when studying a map with 2 foot contour intervals.

Hey guys, I got an update to this that is 95% complete so please, be patient because this next release I pretty big. The new update will have a new link as well.

Some updates due very soon...
1.) Location of the Wiscasset and Quebec will be amended to follow the actual grade.
2.) Location of the W&Q will have some locations amended to show 'as surveyed' vs. 'as built'.
3.) Location of the Waterville and Wiscasset, aka The Winslow Branch, will be updated to follow the actual grade.
4.) Location of the W&W will have some locations amended to show 'as surveyed' vs. 'as built'. (Not that many on this one.)
5.) The location, from Farmington to Waterville of the Franklin, Somerset, and Kennebec!

    This one, let me tell you, was a pain in the buttocks. This will show well over 3 weeks of work in just mapping the line not counting the research, record chasing, calculations, excel nightmare, adjusting, correction, and all other impediments to actually getting this one to work.

    I will note here that the FS&K survey was a nightmare...a complete nightmare. Details will be gone into later, but with a survey like this it's a wonder the Farmington to New Sharon segment was graded. To say that the survey was preliminary would be an exaggeration!

A little side note...
The FS&K was surveyed in two parts.
    The first segment was from Farmington to New Sharon, starting at surveyors station -04+45 in the MEC yard to the crossing of the Sandy River in New Sharon at 471+14. ---8.92 miles---

  The second segment was from New Sharon to Waterville, starting at surveyors station 00+00 on the cape Cod Hill Road in New Sharon and ending at 1508+00 on Western Avenue in Waterville. ---28.56 miles---

The W&W survey was starting in Waterville at 00+00 on Western Avenue and worked its way TO Weeks Mills and not FROM Weeks Mills at 844+80. ---16.00 miles---

Museum Discussion / Re: ROW owned by WWF Ry museum
« on: February 07, 2018, 11:18:36 AM »
On a lot of tax maps when old ROW's were merged into adjoining lots they show up as an easily noticeable boundary between two lots. When the RR(s) were originally surveyed they would divide larger lots. Over time the parent lot would be divided up, often before the RR folded or before the ROW was dissolved. The ROW would then be just merged into one of the two lots.

So you can pick out sections of the ROW by looking at a tax map and looking for curved boundaries, as most property boundaries are surveyed in straight line segments the curves are usually easy to pick out. Take the example of Whitefield TM 21.

The ROW in Coopers Mills Village shows as the boundary between lots 21-10 and 21-11, and again between 21-15 and 22-18. In the former, the ROW was granted to the westerly lot, the later to the easterly lot.

Museum Discussion / Re: ROW owned by WWF Ry museum
« on: February 02, 2018, 04:46:34 PM »
The ones for China do show it.

The Original W&Q and WW&F: 1894-1933 / Re: Burnham Overhead Crossing
« on: October 13, 2017, 06:14:07 PM »
Add a grist mill (found on an 1879 map), and anything associated with agriculture.  Albion was, and still is, a largely agricultural community, hay, milk, grains, etc.  Being near Clinton it's possible that the dairy industry was significant, Clinton is the largest dairy town in the state (13%), and last I knew cattle out numbered people 2:1!
From a 1908 business directory there were the following,
Cyr Besse - Butcher
R P Clark - Bicycles
A M Stratton - Bicycles
Charles W Abbott - Blacksmith
L Wesley Drake - Blacksmith
John Hussey - Cattle Dealer
L Libbey & Sons - General Store
Drake & Crosby - General Store
A M Stratton - Horse Dealer
A W Abbott - Hotel
J C Chalmers - Saw Mill
R P Clark - Saw Mill
A M Stratton - Saw Mill
Everette G Wing - Undertaker
Harding Brothers - Wagon Maker

The Original W&Q and WW&F: 1894-1933 / Re: The end of the WW&F
« on: September 18, 2017, 01:10:51 PM »
No liens on this in Kennebec County between the railroad and Sherwin-Williams or even Frank Winter and his associates / associations, not any real liens to speak of involving the railroad.

I believe I have seen it referred to as a court judgement concerning a Portland paint company, so when I can get to it I will pop into the courts in Cumberland county and Lincoln and Kennebec as well to see what can be pulled up.

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.


The Original W&Q and WW&F: 1894-1933 / Burnham Overhead Crossing
« on: September 07, 2017, 01:56:27 PM »
I got lucky this weekend!
No, not that kind of lucky, the kind where you find something you thought didn't exist.
I think a more accurate term would be to say that I may have struct W&Q RR gold.

I discovered, then bought, an original, hand drawn, in color, plan for the W&Q crossing of the MEC at Burnham.  Now this is similar to the plan I had shared that I retrieved from the Maine State Archives, but that was a blueprint copy that was sent to the Railroad Commissioners.  What I managed to find is, I believe, the original drawing done by the Chief Engineers Office at the MEC.  This might be the only other copy of this document in existence (I am hoping anyway!).

I have pieced together a scan of the drawing (using a FlipPal portable scanner and image stitching software.)

Also...are 6 pages (one page of notes didn't scan well so I will add it later) of correspondence between the MEC and the W&Q!!!

I think this is a little unique!

And on the side, there are SEVERAL blueprints, linen, and other plans of other railroad related items.  Most of it is related to the Belfast and Moosehead Lake such as ROW maps (Burnham Jct. shows the location of the abandoned W&Q), Belfast track plan / yard layout, City point bridge drawings, as well as 2 out of what would probably be 3 plans for the Somerset Railways Kineo Extension (on linen) drawn to 1"=400', a plan and elevation profile of the North Anson & North New Portland RR (never constructed) also on linen, a plan of the European and North American RR, and quite a few more!!

To say this was an exciting find is an understatement!!!!

I haven't decided what to do exactly with everything at this point, I would appreciate any ideas of value though (PM me), such a unique item is tough to peg.  I will also consider reaching out to historical organizations to, at the very least, get a high quality copy to those that would like one, and I will be getting in touch with the archives to possibly consult with them on some of the material.


Philip, that is pretty great.  I had one of the State of Maine that was probably about the sames size, 1901, and had the line from Farmington to New Sharon.  Girlfriends (later to become wife) dogs ate it.

A few nodes of interests:
All elevations are approximate and measured above sea level unless noted.

MEC @ Winslow overhead crossing: 55'
WW&F Ry Station Grounds @ Winslow: 84'
W&W Ry Station Grounds @ Waterville (Western Ave): 120'
Top of tallest existing bridge abutment @ Winslow: 73'
Height of Winslow abutment: ~19.5'
Required clearance above MEC @ Winslow: 21'
Required space between bridge piers: 85'

Philip:  Thanks, I was far too tired last night to look, but when I get a chance I will find the links to the Google Books pages or my .pdfs if I can find them, to reference the Commissioners reports.  There are a few for Maine online, and there are two that describe the FS&K, one from Farmington to New Sharon, and another covering the portion from New Sharon to Waterville.

Everything I have found is from long forgotten portions of the public record, and lets just say that the storage methods being employed leave much to be desired, so I am starting to float the idea of digitizing and preserving records with one entity, and hope to get going on the other two next month, at least to develop a plan.  The key tip that I had wanted to chase down that lead to this was the constant mention in the standard Maine Narrow Gauge books of your choice, and the commissioners reports, was something along the lines of "as filed with the county commissioners" or in the deeds "along the line of stakes as filed with the county commissioners".  So I thought, well, let's go find these elusive county commissioners.  So...that's where some of these are to be found, simply does not walk in to an office an view the records, no, one must dress like Indiana Jones and explore every back room of county government until one fines a room looking a little like this...

with no search catalog.

James:  Yes, in a way.  That entire development was farm land at the time of the railroad and I THINK, but again will have to check, it was subdivided in the 1940's, and I will post more details later, but there is a slight 'ravine' between Bizier Street and Route 201 / Augusta Road and the ROW would have crossed 201 on a curve.  If you were walking on the track railroad north as you cross the ravine into the Winslow yard to your left there would be an embankment, about 6'-10' that the curve would follow across the road and straighten out as it came upon the first of the three granite bridge abutments.

Mike:  Google "UNH Historic Maps" find the one that covers Oakland / Smithfield / Fairfield for the 1890's, makes it a lot easier to follow the old descriptions from the reports.

James,  The grade crosses the Carter Memorial Drive, off Dunbar Road is a long driveway pretty much dead on the ROW (44.527234, -69.635843).  The station is at 44.532687, -69.636946, the larger bridge pier is at 44.533224, -69.637777, and the pier closest to the river is at 44.533436, -69.638005.  Copy and paste those in to google maps to get a rough idea.  A look at the 2 foot contours and it makes a lot more sense.

Mike, I am assuming you are referring to the Tyler Corner in Oakland at the sharp dogleg on Route 137 at East Pond Road?  I will get more out in time but that is actually an old road to Ten Lots, a section of Fairfield / Oakland, that is marked on the plans as "The Road to Waterville".  A few of the older maps show a road through here as well and it is referenced in the Maine Railroad Commissioners report, the year passes me right now, of grade crossings from New Sharon to Waterville.

I have some more work to do to get this through Waterville.  The sketch of the topography Messalonskee and Kennebec rivers make sense, some of the streets are a little wonky and i suspect some names were swapped and dead ends made.  There are also no measurements until you reach the Winslow side of the river.  Also of interest is that station marker (distance measurement) 00+00 (0 feet) is at the Waterville Station on Western Ave and not measured from Weeks Mills.  There are a few other neat things on this map too that are different from the famous 100'+ map the state has.  (Also found another original copy and a black and white copy of that one of the W&Q)!!!

Pages: [1] 2 3 4