In the center of Randolph, Vermont, just down the tracks from the Randolph Depot sits the former Randolph Coal and Ice Shed, ca. 1920. The railroad is no longer delivering coal to Randolph, but the structures sit relatively intact and intriguing.
The building sitting trackside.
Looking to the Randolph Depot (on left). It sits in a cluster of buildings.
Randolph Coal & Ice is still visible on the shed.
View on the other side of the building.
Two large wooden silos held the coal.
Conveyor systems of buckets carried the coal, which is still visible throughout this building.
A door allowed access above the silos.
The coal shed is adjacent to the side rail.
The rail industry has changed in the past 100 years, but these buildings allow us to understand how important this transportation network was to our country. Whether carrying passengers, agricultural products, timber, coal, quarry products, it was the best mode of transportation at the time. For this reason, towns were often built around the railroad and associated buildings were located prominently in the centers of our cities and towns. Do these rail buildings have a use? It’s hard, as they remain in railroad right-of-way, and often must be relocated. What could a former coal be used for in a new life? Any ideas?
The second part of my visit to the Long Island Museum (first part was the Coney Island and Jones Beach exhibit) was exploring the newly renovated Carriage Museum:
The Carriage Museum houses the museum’s collection of more than 200 horse-drawn carriages, widely recognized as the finest in the United States. About 100 carriages are regularly on display, along with other rare artifacts from the carriage era. Admired for their beauty and craftsmanship, the carriages reflect an important part of America’s industrial and transportation history. The Carriage Museum also houses an authentic 19th century carriage making shop, complete with working machinery.
Long Islanders probably remember the carriage museum from elementary school field trips (fourth grade, anyone?). Today the carriage museum houses many exhibits that illustrate the evolution of carriages (that is to say horse and buggy, not baby carriage) and the importance of transportation to the development and culture of Long Island. From market wagons to stagecoaches to small peddler wagons and fire hose wagons, it makes for an interesting visit.
One of your first impressions of the carriage museum.
This map shows the growth of types of roads over the centuries.
Finally something you can touch! Feel the different road surfaces used over the years.
An actual gypsy wagon.
A child’s toy wagon.
Historic sleighs including a few from Vermont.
A view inside the exhibit hall.
If you’re interested in history, Long Island history, or transportation, you will enjoy a visit to the Long Island Museum.
Voting for the 2013 Othmar H. Ammann Awards has been extended to January 11, 2014. (You can thank these polar vortex/arctic blasts/ice storms).
Lime Creek Bridge north of Fulda, Minnesota. Photo taken in December 2010. Courtesy of Jason Smith, The Bridgehunter’s Chronicles. Click for source.
The Othmar H. Ammann Awards honors the Swiss-American, internationally known bridge engineer. Read more about the awards on The Bridgehunter’s Chronicles.
Why vote? To raise awareness for the world’s significant bridges. As Jason Smith, writer of The Bridgehunter’s Chronicles blog, this is like the Bridge Bowl.
The categories include (among others):
- Bridge of the Year
- Mystery Bridge
- Best Photo
- Best Preservation Example
- Spectacular Disaster
Check it out and show bridges some love. Get your ballot here. Vote by Saturday January 11, Winners announced January 13, 2014.
Classic railroad station brackets underneath large overhanging, flared eaves. Chester Depot, VT.
I’d love to be traveling home by train this Thanksgiving, but the Vermont to New York trains only run south in the morning. While I love to drive, the train is a great way to travel, too. How are you traveling home, if you are?
Randolph, VT: two depots in one shot!
I’m deep into the trenches of a report about rail passenger stations and freight depots, so it’s about the only subject on my mind, besides the preservation conference. In almost every place I’ve lived, I can hear the train, even if it’s only at night when the air is still and the world is quiet. In some of my houses, I’ve felt the entire house shake when the freight trains barreled through town. In other places, the train is a distant rumble and whistle. There’s something comforting about that sound, and something mysterious and so adventurous about the train.
Transport by train for passengers and freight isn’t what it used to be; cars and trucks have misplaced trains for the most part. Still, railroads were the interstates of their time – taking land wherever they wanted it, blasting through mountains, diving farmland, and creating new settlements along the way. And still, railroads replaced canals. Transportation continues to evolve and change our landscape with it (fortunately in a much more conscientious way today than 50, 100, or 150 years ago).
If you grew up around the railroad, you are probably familiar with railroad depots – for passengers and freight. Most historic depots are easily recognizable, just as schoolhouses of the 1920s/1930s are easily identified by their bank of windows. While some might be high style (see Waterbury above) or more vernacular (see Roxbury below) and are constructed throughout the mid to late 19th century, these rail depots all have a few key features in common: (1) Large overhanging eaves; (2) Eaves supported by large, brackets – often decorative; (3) A rectangular shape with the length along the tracks; (4) A ticket agent bay window. Not every building will have all of these features, but next time you see a building that looks like it might be a depot, you’re probably right.
South Londonderry, VT
Standing at a train station in Brooklyn. The view from the elevated railroad is fascinating, as you get to view buildings at the cornice and look below to the neighborhood.
And the days of work at the Lake Champlain Bridge and Chimney Point are coming to a close. Every day out there brings back memories to my early days in Vermont. A preview here is Pier 3 of the old bridge with Pier 6 of the new bridge in the background. What a difference!
Remember the Vergennes Depot? (Seen in October 2012 and December 2012.) A lot has happened since then! Rehabilitation is well under way with new siding, restored windows, original detail exposed, historically accurate colors and much more to come. Who wants to move in?
View from the Vergennes/Ferrisburgh Park-n-Ride.
And it’s still located track side.
Looking down the tracks; the depot was located just a 1/4 mile that way.
Restored windows, new clapboard siding.
Close up of the windows. And the new foundation.
Recessed arcades, an original detail.
There is still work to be done on the exterior and interior, and tenants to find for the building. But what a transformation! If you’re on Route 7 or nearby Vergennes/Ferrisburgh, head over to the Park & Ride to see this beauty!
The Taftsville Covered Bridge undergoing rehabilitation.
Yes, there is actually a bridge under all of that falsework. Remember what it looked like un-covered? Take note of the new roof. You can see the arch on the right, in between the blue scaffolding.