Past Trails Newsletters
January - April, 2018
HISTORICAL TIMELINE (How the New Boston Railroad track (B&M RR) became the NB RailTrail)
(Aug) New signage added to Lang Station.
(July) 2,879 people use the rail trail in a four-week period.
(Dec) Completed quarter-mile section through Lang State Forest (beginning of Phase II).
(Nov) Rail trail receives 50/50 grant from the National Parks Service, fundraising efforts begin.
(Aug) Xavier Young of Boy Scout Troop #123, chose the NBRT for his Eagle Scout Badge. In the pouring rain, Xavier and his troop support staff installed and gifted six resting benches evenly spaced from the Fairgrounds trailhead to Lang Station.
(Aug) Sebastian and Derek Winsor installed two Lang signs at Lang Station on Gregg Mill Road (pictured). The blue background is historic to B & M railroad.
(Jan) Phase II & Phase III trees marked for logging and culverts sited to assess for repairs.
Footbridge at Lang Station resurfaced. Project completed by Davis Construction, Jaffery, NH.
Parker Rd Parking Lot...Open for business! Project completed by Girl Scout #12105 and the New Boston Highway Department.
Ribbon Cutting ceremony takes place to commemorate the Grand Re-Opening of Section One of the New Boston Rail Trail; the first all-accessible trail spanning 1.5 miles.
Trail construction for the All-Accessible portion of the New Boston Rail Trail begins (Hillsborough County Youth Center - Lang Station) consisting of non-evasive trail widening, new/replaced culverts, bridge strengthening/repair, nit-pak surfacing, trail markings, and more. All trail work was performed by Low Impact Logging of New Boston, NH.
A major trail clearing efforts begins on the first 1.5 mile section of the New Boston Rail Trail (Hillsborough County Youth Center - Lang Station) in an effort to make the trail all-accessible.
NBCC approves funding for Phase I development and begins restoration and upgrades to a rail trail.
A new footbridge is built by the New Boston Conservation Commission that spans across the Middle Branch River to reconnect the two halves of the Rail Trail.
The State of New Hampshire acquires a parcel from one of the former abutters and turns it into Lang State Forest.
PWA transfers the land to the Town of New Boston and it becomes managed by the Conservation Commission.
A second parcel of land consisting of 18.5 acres (partly in New Boston, partly in Goffstown) was purchased for $4,625.
The Piscataquog Watershed Association acquires the abandoned railroad bed from the Boston and Maine Railroad for $10,000.
3.4 miles of land fronting the river is acquired by the PWA, less two pieces that are aqcuired by abutters.
Investigations begin on how to acquire the land owned by the bankrupted Boston & Maine Railroad, approximately 2.1 miles adjacent to the Piscataquog River from New Boston to Goffstown. The Piscataquog Watershed Association (PWA) is formed to acquire the land.
New Boston Conservation Committee is formed and first conservation effort was to investigate the preservation of the land along the Piscataquog River.
End of the Railroad
(February 25) The New Boston Railroad Company is formally dissolved.
The Playground Association bought the depot from the N.B.R.R. for $200.00 (Bill Mulligan wrote “one dollar, according to the deed”) for a Community House.
The depot was later used for:
- a classroom when schools were overcrowded
- a Baptist Church before the Lyndeborough Road church was built
- a police station (1980s)
- Little People’s Depot pre-school
Fiske reported that the railroad tracks are "all torn up!"
The last passenger train came up at 2:55 p.m. (according to William Fiske's diary).
The Boston & Maine Transporation Company advertised that it was still running two freight trains per day (leaving New Boston at 7:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. and leaving Manchester at 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m., service daily except Sundays and holidays) and encouraged townspeople to use this service: "Have the welfare of New Boston in mind!"
New Boston native Howard Towne remembers that after the steam locomotime train service to New Boston was discontinued there was a motorized train car that ran between New Boston and Manchester for a few years.
B&M petitioned the U.S. Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) to abandon the New Boston spur but was opposed by the Town of New Boston, Merrimack Farmer's Exchange, and the Langdell Lumber Company.
The New Boston Community Bulletin writes of "the proposal of the Boston and Maine Railroad to discontinue its service altogther to New Boston. The railroad’s attempt to radically curtail our train service last summer was successfully met by the stern opposition and vigorous protest put forth by the citizens of New Boston under the leadership of the Chamber of Commerce.
“The problem now coming upon us again, so soon after last summer, threatens to be much more serious…
“Remember that the loss of train service undoubtedly means increased cost of living, decreased values in real estate, great inconvenience and possibly demoralization in business and farming interests, loss of population and depression in general.”
From 1920 to 1930 New Boston’s population declined from 768 to 693, its lowest ebb since the Revolutionary War.
J.R. Whipple died.
Boston & Maine leased the railroad for 99 years.
Depot burns down. It is later rebuilt
"On the morning of February 2, 1895 the village people were awakened by the creamery fire whistle to find the depot afire. It started from a heater in the baggage department and nothing remained except the stone walls and part of the roof." (from a Rena Davis article in The Goffstown News)
It was a very cold night so the fire was hard to extinguish. At this time New Boston had a hand-pumped fire engine plus a system of fire hydrants in the village pressurized by a steam engine in the Creamery. The Concord & Montreal Railroad located a combination car to be used as a temporary depot until the stone building could be rebuilt, which it was at a cost of $10,000.
Newspaper accounts describe the construction of the railroad:
"At 4:30 p.m. the last rails of the NBRR were in place and the locomotive stood at the terminus on the north bank of the Piscataquog opposite the creamery and announced by one load whistle that the work was complete. The depot will be built this coming spring."
"Telegraph poles are set to the village and the locomotive has been making trips to town."
"The granite for the [Depot Street] bridge is arriving by cars on the railroad."
"Mr. Bailey of Suncook, the contractor for building the bridge, has commenced work."
"A bill has been introduced in the Legislature to connect the N.B. railroad by an extension to Greenfield." This extension was never built. In 2014, the Greenfield-Wilton line is still in occasional use.
"George Robbins will be station agent in N.B., Albert Brown at Parkers and W.P. Martin, a baggagemaster on the No. Weare Road will be the conductor on the N.B. train."
"The heavy rain of May 4th caused the Piscataquog to overflow its banks near the terminus of the railroad, and flooded the land on both sides. There were many anxious spectators watching the new bridge watching the new bridge for hours and at one 0'clock an immense tree stump was seen rushing along on the foaming water towards the bridge, which when it hit, carried the iron work about 200 feet before it sank. Had the workmen been allowed another day before the rain they would undoubtedly have made it secure against such disasters. Several days have been employed in getting the iron out of the water.; it ws such a bent and twisted condition. The bridge should have been named 'fatal bridge' since accidents have been frequent from the commence of its construction."
Not mentioned in this article is the death by drowning of Julia Farley, who fell into the river and perished on May 8. Julia was the wife of Charles E. Farley, the famous violin-maker who lived in the 1888 house next to what is now Dodge's Store, just upstream from the Depot Bridge. The disconsolate widower moved from New Boston to Boston after his wife's death.
First train operates; two daily trains each way connecting with the Manchester trains at Parker Station in Goffstown.
Today, Parker's Station Depot Store is the home of the Goffstown Historical Society near Route 114 and the New Boston town line.
The formal dedication ceremony for the New Boston Railroad is held.
New Boston's Molly Stark Cannon saluted five railroad cars of distinguished guests as they arrived by train at the temporary depot. These guests included New Hampshire Governor John Butler Smith, U.S. Sentator J.H. Gallinger and the directors of the Concord & Montreal Railroad and the New Boston Railroad. The train hed left Manchester at 10:30 a.m. and arrived in New Boston less than an hour later.
The distinguished guests were met by New Boston's 25-piece brass band who escorted them to the Church on the Hill where speeches were made. Dinner was served to 1,000 people (some accounts say 1,800) by waiters from Whipple's Boston hotels in a tent on the Common opposite the 1825 Church on the Hill.
Newspapers reported: "The supply of viands was over and above that necessary, nobody being slighted. They comprised baked beans, sandwhiches, meats chicken croquettes, hard-shell crabs, pies, cake, coffee and lemonade. The beverages were satisfactorily dispensed by comely New Boston maidens."
The Daily Mirror wrote: "The crowd present was variously estimaded from three to four thousand." Note that the U.S Census reports that New Boston's entire population was about 1,000 people at this time.
Soon after the dedication, a new depot is built. The New Boston Railroad Depot was designed by Bradford Lee Gilbert, who designed many American railroad stations.
Construction of the railroad begins; cost not to exceed $100,000. The final cost was $84,000.
Newspaper accounts describe the construction of the railroad:
"There are 70 Italian workers on the R.R. encamped near Col. Gregg's residence. The daily blasting of rocks reminds us that the work in nearing completion."
"Last Thursday the rails of the railroad were laid so that the cars came up 1 1/2 miles above Parker Station. The R.R. station at Gregg's bridge will give the people of this vicinity a fine chance to take summer boarders."
The New Boston Railroad Company is incorporated. A newspaper wrote: "A bill has been introduced in the legislature incorporating the New Boston railway company, with a capital stock of $100,000. The route will be from a point on the Manchester and North Weare road in Goffstown to the business center in New Boston."
The State of New Hampshire issued a charter to "the Manchester and Keene RR to build a line from Parker's Station on the New Hampshire Central RR to Keene, NH on the Cheshire RR, via New Boston, Francestown, Greenfield, Hancock and the Dublin-Nelson (now Harrisville) area," accoriding to a 1990 letter by railroad historian Harry Rockwood.
This proposed line was not built. The fact that the later 1893 New Boston Railroad line never extended beyond New Boston may have contributed to its eventual demise. However, the Manchester - North Weare Railroad, which unlike the NBRR was a "through line", did not survive the New Boston Railroad by many years.
This timeline was edited by D. Rothman in July 2014 and transcribed by E. LeClair in 2014 for this website. (Last update July 2016)