Abandoned Vermont: Randolph Coal & Ice Shed

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.

The building sitting trackside.

Looking to the Randolph Depot.

Looking to the Randolph Depot (on left). It sits in a cluster of buildings.

Randolph Coal & Ice is still visible on the shed.

Randolph Coal & Ice is still visible on the shed.

View on the other side of the building.

View on the other side of the building.

Two large wooden silos held the coal.

Two large wooden silos held the coal.

Coal chutes.

Coal chutes.

Conveyor systems of buckets carried the coal.

Conveyor systems of buckets carried the coal, which is still visible throughout this building.

A door allowed access above the silos.

A door allowed access above the silos.

The coal shed is adjacent to the side rail.

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?


Vergennes Depot Update

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.

View from the Vergennes/Ferrisburgh Park-n-Ride.

And it's still located track side.

And it’s still located track side.

Looking down the tracks; the depot was located just a 1/4 mile that way.

Looking down the tracks; the depot was located just a 1/4 mile that way.

Restored windows, new clapboard siding.

Restored windows, new clapboard siding.

Close up of the windows.

Close up of the windows. And the new foundation.

Recessed arcades, an original detail.

Recessed arcades, an original detail.

Beautiful colors!

Beautiful colors!

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!

East Barnet Inwood Station

If you’re cruising along US Route 5, following the Connecticut River on the eastern side of Vermont, you’ll pass by this Vermont oddity: the East Barnett Inwood Station. Apparently saved from demolition and relocated from Quincy, NH, this small depot sits among abandoned train cars and rail side lines, with trucks and a water tower on board. It is private property, but take a look at these images from the road.


Box cars set to appear approaching Inwood Station in East Barnett Inwood Station.


East Barnet Inwood Station rail side lines, in foreground and background.


East Barnett Inwood Station. The building says Inwood.


East Barnett Inwood Station, rail side lines. See the water tower (yellow with conical top).

Despite my best efforts at searching, I cannot dig up any information on this property. Who can shed some light?

A New Foundation: Vergennes Railroad Depot

Back in October, the Vergennes Railroad Depot was moved via hydraulic jacks to rest in its new home, adjacent to the Ferrisburgh Park & Ride (which is just over the Vergennes/Ferrisburgh town line on Vermont Route 22A).

On the move in October 2012.

Since then the depot has been set on a foundation and rehabilitation work is well underway. Here are a few images for an update. One thing to know about the depot is that it is now on the opposite side of the tracks, however, the building remains oriented correctly, with the bay windows and semaphore facing the tracks.

Early December 2012.

Early December 2012. This side faces the park & ride.


Early December 2012. The windows are being restored, and thus are not in place. And check out that new concrete foundation.


Early December 2012.

And for some updates later in December:

Mid December 2012.

Mid December 2012. Track side. Note the bay window and semaphore.

Mid December 2012.

Mid December 2012. What a sight! The relocation brings much more visibility to the building. Rehabilitation is in progress and the community is excited.

More updates to come. Any good rehabilitation stories to share from your corner of the world?

Preservation Photos #163

Happy New Year! Wishing everyone a happy 2013. The Vergennes Depot has a bright future; here it sits on its new foundation where it is undergoing rehabilitation. Stay tuned for updates.

On the Move: Vergennes Railroad Depot

Exciting news in the world of historic preservation, transportation, enhancements and community: the Vergennes Railroad Station will be relocated and rehabilitated. This past weekend the community came out with great anticipation to watch the building move up and over the tracks and around some tight curves.

There she goes over the railroad tracks. Prior to Saturday the building was braced, stabilized and set on the custom hydraulic jacks. The haul road was constructed, too.

Once over the tracks, the depot had to turn between the building and silos.

And she turns.

A closer view of the hydraulic jacks.


Still on the move, about to head down a hill.

Making another tight turn; the building remains secure and stable.


Parked for the night, awaiting the next move across Route 22A.

Talk about an impressive day and what a great project this will be. Stay tuned for news throughout the project.

Abandoned New Hampshire: Westboro Rail Yard

A quick jaunt out of White River Junction, Vermont brings you to West Lebabnon, New Hampshire on the east side of the Connecticut River. This is the site of the abandoned Westboro Rail Yard, which is designated a brownfield and awaiting redevelopment and migitation. Though adjacent to a large asphalt paved area of land, the buildings themsevles are fenced off and hidden by overgrown trees and brush.

Westboro Rail Yard.

The NH Division of Historical Resources wrote a brief history and evaluated the condition of the site. Read it here.  A 2009 public policy study conduted by students at Dartmouth College includes a brief history of the site:

“The site served as a rail yard from 1847 until the 1970s. It was then vacant until the state of New Hampshire purchased the 19.1-acre property from Boston and Maine Railroad Company and “restored rail service in 2000 under an operating agreement with Claremont Concord Rail Company.”2 The northern acre, the parcel being considered for cleanup and revitalization, was first developed during the mid 1930s and early 1940s to be used as a bulk oil storage facility for Tidewater Oil Company, who leased the land from Boston and Maine Railroad Company. Concrete above ground storage tanks (ASTs), which were removed from the site in the 1970s, contained an unknown amount of an unknown oil type. Tidewater Oil Company shut down in the 1960s. Over the next 25 years, the New Hampshire Department of Transportation (NHDOT) removed all remaining concrete ASTs and off-site buildings before using it as a temporary roadwork equipment storage area.”

View towards the roundhouse.

The roundhouse.


The roundhouse showing the fence and many alterations.

Beyond the roundhouse is a building shell; look closely and you can see the exposed roof framing.

Industrial areas – the gritty, blue collar society places of work – are becoming more in vogue for redevelopment. Maybe this site has a bright future. Check out some site proposals here.

Swanton Railroad Depot Museum

Swanton, VT is located in Franklin County, the northwest corner of Vermont (further north than St. Albans). From Swanton, you are extremely close to Canada. If you are visiting northwest Vermont (Franklin, Grand Isle, Chittenden counties) an excellent place to stop is the Swanton Railroad Depot Museum. It has a fascinating story to accompany it. In brief (find out more when you visit), the Swanton Depot was at risk of demolition, but a group of community members (Swanton On the Move!) moved the depot down the tracks (between freight trains passing through). The depot has been restored and is a museum. Also on the museum grounds is the foundation of a roundhouse as well as a train caboose and a historic toll keeper’s house from the Missisquoi Bay Bridge.

Swanton Depot.

Part of the display at the museum. It is full of pictures and transportation artifacts.

The restored interior and the agent's office.

The gable screen on the depot.

The bridges across the Missisquoi River that lead from the town center to the Depot Museum. This bridge replaces the longest covered railroad bridge in the country that burned in 1987. A two span Pennsylvania truss bridge was moved from Milton to Swanton.

The Missisquoi Bay Bridge toll keeper's house that was relocated to the museum grounds.

The depot and the truss bridge.

The museum and grounds are lovingly cared for by the Swanton Historical Society. Admission is free, but donations are greatly appreciated as the historical society pays for its own utilities, upkeep, and everything. It is worth a visit, I promise. Also in that region of Vermont is the Missisquoi Valley Rail Trail. Summer is the best time of year to be in Vermont!