Interurban to Poland Spring Hotel?

General discussion about fallen trolley and interurban lines in North America, past and present.

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Interurban to Poland Spring Hotel?

Postby trainsinmaine » Wed Jul 18, 2012 7:13 am

Does anyone know whether there was ever a trolley line in the vicinity of the old Poland Spring Hotel in Maine? A friend and I were exploring the area yesterday. We were looking for, and found, remnants of the old railroad spur that used to serve the nearby bottling plant; however, we were baffled by a long causeway over Lower Range Pond, adjacent to Route 26, that looked like it may have carried an interurban bed at one time.
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Re: Interurban to Poland Spring Hotel?

Postby joshg1 » Sat May 18, 2013 5:42 pm

I can't find any reference for a rail line of any sort there. Poland Spring Sta. on the MEC was near the state park beach parking. I suspect the causeway was an old road, replaced by 26. Seashore will know.
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Re: Interurban to Poland Spring Hotel?

Postby mtuandrew » Sun May 19, 2013 1:56 pm

Related topic: viewtopic.php?f=77&t=83066&start=0

Here's some maps that help shed light on the situation: http://docs.unh.edu/nhtopos/Poland.htm. The 1908 southeast quadrant of the Poland quadrangle shows no causeway, nor does 1956, and neither mentions an electric railway nearby. The USGS has a 1940 Poland quad map on its site, but it shows that area as a swamp with no causeway either. It wasn't the Maine Central's Rumford Branch - that went on the far side of Lower Range Pond. The only things that make sense to me are a railroad spur, a pedestrian causeway from the campground to the spring, or a dam.
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Re: Interurban to Poland Spring Hotel?

Postby trainsinmaine » Mon May 20, 2013 11:16 pm

I received the definitive answer to this question today, via the aforementioned friend of whom I spoke when I first raised it. This is from Brother Arnold himself, of the Sabbathday Lake Shakers:

"Actually that causeway was more of a dam to keep the water level on Middle Range Pond. The Rickers constructed it as Middle Range was where they went to bathe and boat."

So there! Mystery solved.

The nearest the MEC came to the Poland Spring Hotel was the approximately mile-and-a-half-long spur that ran from the Rumford Falls & Rangeley Lake Branch to the bottling plant. Much of the roadbed can be found within the boundaries of the nearby state park. The spur apparently lasted only about 20-25 years; it was gone long before the rest of the Rumford Branch was abandoned.

There never was trolley service to the hotel.
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