Author Topic: Harrison Depot  (Read 3455 times)

Ed Lecuyer

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Harrison Depot
« on: January 08, 2009, 10:16:28 PM »
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Harrison Depot has been converted from the pre-July 2008 WW&F Discussion Forum.
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Mike Fox wrote:
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While enjoying another few hours of research the other day, the subject came up between Richard Symmes and myself about the Harrison Depot. He says the building still exists, though heavily modified. And it has been moved a few blocks. Anyone know of the whereabouts of this? I took a brief detour through Harrison Sunday with Joe at the wheel and we went up Depot street. I didn't see anything the proper size or shape. I would like to find this building so perhaps it could be photographed and possibly added to the book the Museum is reprinting. I am headed to Bridgton in the afternoon Tuesday so maybe another detour might be in order.
Mike

Mike Fox replied:
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OK. I spent an hour or so tady cruising Harrison. I have found 3 buildings that might have been a depot at one time, one within 200 feet of where it used to be. Added onto a Main building. The only thing that would be original on any of these structures would be the roof and 2 of the 3 had dormers added onto it. You would have to go by size of the original building and I didn't even have a photo with me. Better luck next trip I guess.
Mike

Duncan Mackiewicz replied:
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Mike,
I spent more than a few hours during past visits looking for the old station.  Harrison isn't that big and it seems it should be fairly easy to spot unless it was modified so extensively to where it no longer has any identifying characteristics.
Duncan

Mike Fox replied:
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Duncan,
I have a few buildings in mind over there. One was a house that is now a real estate agency. Several dormers were added onto that. There is one that is within sight of where the depot used to be. Added onto a 1800's era farmhouse.  And the third is a log sided camp of some kind that is about 1/4 mile out of town on the right on route 35, headed for Naples. Next week I might go to these 3 places and inquire the history (if known) about the buildings. I will post the out come of that here.
Mike

Bruce Wilson replied:
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From something I read years ago, I am under the impression that the depot was moved a short distance from its original location and became a home.
Question...is there a short stretch of track still in Harrison from recent MNGRR Co. & Museum operations in that town?
I'm tracing the railroad slowly from Bridgton Junction and haven't made it to Harrison yet.

Mike Fox replied:
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Bruce
A few years ago, they laid a short stretch of track (about 400') in the Town of Harrison. Unfortunately, it is no where near the original location. It is in a location of town called Scribners Mill. The group that has been restoring the mill and creating a little historic museum there was having a big celebration. Maybe it was even a celebration for Harrison itself. Like a bicentennial or something. Anyhow, they wanted to keep all the activity in one location so laid the track out in that area.
Mike

Glenn Christensen replied:
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Hi Guys,
On page 63 of the book "My First Sixty Years in Harrison, Maine" by Ernest Ward, there is a picture of the Harrison depot after its conversion to some sort of horse training facility.  The only recognizable part from the old depot is the roof.  New exterior walls were built out at the ends of the eaves and my guess is the entire structure below the roof was dismantled.  I don't know if this building survives.
Best Regards,
Glenn

Bruce Wilson replied:
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Mike,
Thanks for the tip about "Scribner's". Curiosity got the best of me this morning and I went over to Harrison. I found Depot Street and the granite bridge abutments coming into town, but that was all. I also traced the route from north of the Bridgton landfill into Bridgton and found part of the right of way heading out to Harrison.
Glenn,
I appreciate your research into the Harrison depot and crediting the Ernest Ward book as your source. Your guess on how the structure may have been rebuilt sounds like a good conclusion. I'll agree to that as well, but I'm recalling how a former New Haven (Old Colony) Railroad depot in Duxbury, Massachusetts was also rebuilt from the roof on down. But in the case of the Duxbury depot, the original construction still exists and is visible from inside the building. The original exterior walls were sheathed over when the structure became a seafood retail establishment. Back in the mid-90's, I contacted the owner of the property to see if he might agree to donate a switch stand and switch frog still on the site (years after the New Haven abandoned the route) to the W.W. & F. Ry. Museum.

Mike Fox replied:
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Glenn,
Thanks for the info. I figured what remained the same was the roof. Does it say where the training facility was located? 2 of the 3 buildings in town have dormers and one is an old camp of some kind. No dormers. If it says a location, let me know and I can head right over. I just live in the next town.
Mike

Glenn Christensen replied:
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Hi Mike,
The photo in Ward's book leads me to believe that, at least at that point in time, the depot was still at or very near its original location.
One note, for a time after the RR was torn up from Harrison and before the building was converted into the horse training facility, the old depot was used as a gas station and possibly also as a bus depot.
Best Regards,
Glenn

Mike Fox replied:
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Guess I'll keep my eyes open. I'm going to do some research on this with a tape measure. Probably wind up in cuffs but it would be worth knowing.
Mike

Mike Fox replied:
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Doing some measuring on a drawing in the Structures of the Maine two footers, it looks like the building would now be roughly 30' x 50'. It seems the roof had a pitch of about 9/12. This is all gathered by measuring the drawing so I am not sure how accurate it is.
Mike

Dana Deering replied:
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Harrison Depot does still exist as a private residence.  My grandfather used to go visit a friend of his who lives in it, or claims she did.  Thing is, I never went with him so I don't know where it is.  The station was used for a time as a meeting hall for the horsemen's club not a stable or anything like that.  Of course my grandfather died two years ago so I can't ask him where it is, foolish!

Mike Fox replied:
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So not even a clue as to weather it was in town or not? I need to call a guy in Harrison anyway about some possible pictures. He is on the Harrison Historical Society so he might have an idea....
Mike

Mike Fox replied:
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Ok. Did a little phone research about the Harrison depot with a member of the Harrison Historical Society. His name is Jerry Smith, in case someone might be wondering. He told me that there is a hip roof structure in the area where the station once stood that IS a railroad structure. It was moved a short distance and I think it is a residence. More to come on that later. I have to do some more looking around. He was not clear as to weather it might be the old station or not. Other buildings were taken in the 30's and turned into horse stables and this othe building was moved in the 60's.
2 years ago the Harrison Historical Society put out a 2 volume history about the town and railroad and he said there were several pictures in there. I will go to the library over there and look through the book before I buy my own set ($45). On sale at the library or Town office, along with at the Historical Society.
Mike

Glenn Christensen replied:
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Hi Mike,
Could you please post the ordering information for the two volume Harrison history when you find it out?
Thanks,
Glenn

Mike Fox replied:
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Would be glad to Glenn. It will probably next weekend before I get a chance to get over that way. Will definately post the results.
Mike

Glenn Christensen replied:
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Thanks Mike!
Best Regards,
Glenn

Mike Fox replied:
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OK. Swung through Harrison today. Looked at the book from the Historical Society. There is about 8 pages in there on the Railroad. This is what I found.
In the 60's, the depot was torn down. One of the freight sheds that had been converted to horse stables was moved slightly closer to the water and rebuilt as a house. Much of the area that was around the trestle was filled in prior to this but after the railroad went out. That is why it is not immediately recognizable as the trestle location.
A very nice history lesson and the 2 volume set is on sale through the library. Lots of reading if anybody is interested in the history of the town.
Also on sale at the library was a book called Maine Memories, Maine Lakes & Mountains. This is a nice pictorial history of this area of Maine. Published by the Portland Press Herald in 2005.
Both of these can be purchased through the library. The Bicentennial History of Harrison, Me. 2 volume set is $45. The Maine Memories book is $35. Contact mailto:djackson@harrison.lib.me.us for more information. I'm sure there would be a shipping charge but don't know exactly how much that would be.
Ed Lecuyer
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