Historic Structures

Monongahela Railway Train Repair Shops, Brownsville Pennsylvania

In the thirty years following its formation in 1900, the Monongahela Railway had grown into one of the nation's largest coal carrying railroads. Its lines by that date covered much of the eastern portion of the Pittsburgh coal bed and its daily operations required the services of 69 locomotives. While its total main track mileage had more than tripled between 1905 and 1930, the value of its assets, in current dollars, had increased by almost ten-fold. This dramatic growth reflected the investment by the Monongahela in not just rail lines and a fleet of locomotives but in extensive yard and shop facilities which supported its operations. These facilities were concentrated at the Monongahela's three principle termini: South Brownsville,Pennsylvania, Osage, West Virginia, and Fairmont, West Virginia. While the shops at Fairmont and Osage included small repair and maintenance facilities, the yard and shops at South Brownsville were by far the most comprehensive. The original yard and shops of the Monongahela Railroad were a simple arrangement of facilities constructed according to a plan approved by the company's board of directors on July 2, 1903. These facilities, constructed between 1903 and 1906 at South Brownsville, Pennsylvania, stood between the Monongahela's main trackage and the Monongahela River, and included an ash pit and engine house, a car shop, a blacksmith's shop, a sand house, several water stations, and an assortment of small sheds. The purpose of these shops was to service, maintain, and conduct minor repairs on the Monongahela's fleet of coal burning steam locomotives.

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Livermore Truss Bridge, Wilton New Hampshire

The Livermore Bridge is the only known example of a timber, half-through, pony lattice truss in North America. Crossing Blood Brook at an almost north-south axis, the 52' -3 long bridge, measured from outside edge to outside edge of the truss siding, forms a dangerous T intersection with State Route 101. The abutments are irregular granite blocks. Granite faced concrete wings dating to the 1990s project from the old abutments and support the bottom chords. A dry-masonry ramp made of mid-sized granite boulders supports the Russell Hill approach. The approximate dimensions of the truss sheathing, exclusive of the galvanized standing seam roof covering, are 8'-l 1 x 2'-3-l/2. Because the standing seam metal roof and the vertical siding both protect and conceal the top chords, it is not possible to determine if the top chords are identical to the four 3 x 12 bottom chords. Lattice members are 3 x 10 with two 2 diameter trunnels per web intersection. Three trunnels secure the connections at the bottom chord. A distinctive feature of the bridge is the middle chord, consisting of two 14-3/4 -15-3/4 x 3 planks that support 6 x 12 x 20' deck beams. Numerous close, but unevenly spaced, 3 thick stringers support the 16'-1 long deck planking. The two systems, namely knee braces and lower-lateral bracing stabilize the structure against racking and horizontal sway. Knee braces, with bird's mouth notches on one end to accommodate the bottom chord and toe nailed into the deck beams on the other end, are approximately 3 x 6 or a bit smaller. The lateral bracing system is made of 1 diameter wrought-iron rods with forged eyes and rings.

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Kimball Castle, Gilford New Hampshire

As a boy in Penacook, N.H., Benjamin A. Kimball (1833-1920) early showed an interest in mechanics. In his teens, he studied the building and operation of locomotives. So, it was not surprising, that after graduating from Dartmouth in 1854, Kimball went to work in the shops of the Concord Railroad. After two years as a draftsman, he became superintendent of the locomotive department. By the age of 26, Kimball was the railroad's master mechanic and a designer of locomotives. In 1865, he resigned to help found the firm of Ford & Kimball. This Concord, N.H., firm manufactured railroad car wheels, and other brass and iron products. Kimball prospered financially and socially. He served on the boards of banks, utilities, his college, other businesses and institutions. . He was elected to the state legislature and the Governor's Council. But his chief interest was still railroads. In 1879, he returned to the Concord RR as a director. This was the period of railroad consolidation in New England and Kimball was a leading figure in that-movement. He is credited with arranging the 1889 merger of the Concord RR with the Boston, Concord & Montreal RR. The resulting Concord & Montreal RR was until its absorption into the Boston & Maine RR system, the dominant railroad in New Hampshire. During the years in which Kimball guided-its affairs, the Concord & Montreal RR improved-its equipment and facilities, built new branch lines, and promoted tourist travel in the White Mountains and the Lakes Region. (Kimball served as its president from 1895 until the takeover by the B&M RR in 1919) Benjamin A. Kimball was, in his last years, the most important railroad man in the state. Because of his leadership, the New Hampshire railroads became a coordinated and flourishing system. His career well represented the heyday of the railroad in New Hampshire and New England. One subsidiary line of the Concord & Montreal RR was the Lake Shore RR built in 1890 from Lakeport to Alton Bay along the south shore of Lake Winnipesaukee. Two years later, the Kimballs bought their first parcel of land on Locke's Hill near the Belknap Point station of the Lake Shore RR. In 1891, construction of Kimball Castle began on this hillside site, which commanded what was regarded as perhaps the finest view in the region. It would be Benjamin Kimball's summer home until his death. (Indeed, Kimball died in his Castle on July 25, 1920.) A biographer noted that Mr. Kimball and his family divided- quite equally their time between their Concord winter home and their Gilford summer-residence.

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Bath Covered Bridge, Bath New Hampshire

Bath, New Hampshire was already a small industrial center in the 1790s before there was any bridge. The town voted in November 1793 to bridge the Ammonoosuc River over the mill-pond above Mr. Sargent's and Esq. Hurd's mills. Built in 1794, the cost was still given in the British system as 110 pounds total, which equaled $366.66. It lasted until taken out by an ice jam, but the town voted in 1806 to replace it, and this time the cost was quoted in American dollars at $1,000. A third bridge, built in 1820, was washed out in February 1824 and again replaced. By 1827, repairs were already needed, and Caleb Hunt was selected to supervise the project. The fate of this fourth bridge is unknown. A town meeting in March 1830 discussed rebuilding the bridge at Bath village, but postponed action, probably because of expenses just incurred during construction of the Bath-Haverhill Bridge at Woodsville. In March 1831, the town meeting returned to the question. Voters approved $1,400 to cover contracts for stonework that apparently had already been negotiated and decided to proceed with construction of the two abutments and two center piers. George Wetherell was chosen as town agent for the project, but most regrettably there is no record anywhere of the builder's name. The 1831 meeting also resulted in a vote to procure timber and have it delivered to the site over the upcoming winter. A special meeting later in the year on November 16 voted $400 more towards construction of the stonework; evidently construction was already in progress and the available funds had been used up.

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Snee Farm - Charles Pinckney House, Mount Pleasant South Carolina

Snee Farm was the plantation or country seat of lawyer, planter and noteworthy politician, Charles Pinckney (1757-1824). Pinckney is among the most influential and successful politicians in the history of South Carolina. He was elected twelve times to the state legislature, served four times as governor of the state, and as U.S. Minister to Spain (1801-05). Pinckney sat on the Continental Congress and the Constitutional Convention where, as a staunch Federalist, he rallied for a strong national government. He is perhaps best known as the author of the Pinckney Draught to the Constitution. Although there is some debate as to the full impact of this draught on the final document, at least thirty-one of Pinckney's provisions were accepted. Always at the vanguard of state politics, Pinckney's political views would later turn from Federalist to reform-minded, Jeffersonian Republican. He headed that movement in South Carolina, a strong supporter for state's rights. Although unquestionably influential, Charles Pinckney was also a controversial figure. He has been characterized as vain, extravagant and a bit of a ladies man. As the leader of the South Carolinian, Jeffersonian Republicans who sought to defeat the Federalist planter oligarchy (into which Pinckney himself was born) he was viewed by some as a traitor to his class. Yet, he stood undefeated in all elections and is known as one of the founders of the South Carolina political tradition. This is due in part to his enthusiasm for popular politics and aggressive pursuit of equality of opportunity. Towards these ends, while governor, Pinckney supported such issues as the creation of a public school system, the establishment of a State Board of Agriculture; construction of roads, lighthouses, and inland navigation; judicial reform and the repeal of property qualifications for suffrage. His leadership in South Carolina politics and his popular support are virtually without precedent, despite any controversy. As one biographer stated, Pinckney possessed that iridescent genius which offends some and dazzles others (Dictionary of American Biography, pg. 613).

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Hudson and Manhattan Railroad Repair Shops, Hoboken New Jersey

The Hudson and Manhattan Railroad (H&M) Repair Shops were constructed in 1908 by the Hudson Companies, a subsidiary of the H&M Railroad Company organized in 1905 to manage their real estate properties. The H&M Repair Shops were believed to have been designed by Charles M. Jacobs (1850-1919), Chief Engineer of the H&M Railroad Company during its early years of operation. Jacobs, an expert on the design and engineering of railway tunnels, also designed the tunnels and terminals of the H&M Railroad Company. The most significant feature of the H&M Repair Shops was the rail car elevator constructed in 1907 above Track Three of the H&M Hoboken Terminal Station, about one year prior to the construction of the H&M Repair Shops building. The massive car elevator, cited as one of the largest elevators of its type in terms of size and lifting capacity, lowered the first rail cars into the H&M Tunnels. The elevator was used for rail car access to the tunnel to repair and service H&M Rail Cars until 1911 when the H&M constructed the Henderson Street Shops in Jersey City. The land at Hudson Street and Hudson Place was first leased in 1904 to the H&M Railroad Company from the Jersey City, Hoboken and Paterson Street Railway Company and the Public Service Corporation of New Jersey. This land was part of the Public Service right-of-way whose trolley tracks to the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Hoboken Terminal were located only several feet south. In 1906 this lease was modified to allow the H&M to construct an undersurface terminal beneath the lands of Public Service at the Hoboken Terminal, certain stairs, ramps and entrances and a portion of the lands of Public Service on the easterly side of Hudson Street with a frontage of 50 feet and a depth of 100 feet adjoining lands of the Lackawanna Railroad.

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Bessemer & Lake Erie Railroad Maintenance Shops, Greenville Pennsylvania

Andrew Carnegie established the Pittsburgh, Bessemer & Lake Erie Railroad Company in 1897 to carry iron ore from Conneaut, Ohio, on Lake Erie to Carnegie Steel Company plants in and around Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Forming a link between his plants and the Great Lakes ore boats arriving in Conneaut from Minnesota's Missabe Iron Range, it was part of his plan to form a complete, vertically integrated steel company. The core of the PB&LE was formed by two small lines Carnegie absorbed: the Pittsburgh, Shenango & Lake Erie Railroad, and the Butler & Pittsburgh Railroad. The company was renamed the Bessemer & Lake Erie Railroad in 1900. Carnegie Steel had an exclusive 999 year lease to the B&LE. This lease was acquired by United States Steel when that company acquired Carnegie Steel in 1901. The Bessemer & Lake Erie Railroad became part of Transtar, Inc., in 1988, and subsequently a part of Great Lakes Transportation, LLC, in 2001. Since 2004, the Bessemer & Lake Erie has been operated as a unit of the Canadian National Railway. Iron ore remains the route's major freight commodity, although coal has always been a convenient backhaul to Conneaut. The Pittsburgh, Shenango & Lake Erie Railroad began construction of the Greenville, Pennsylvania, shops in 1893, but the largest portion of the complex was added in several stages by successor Bessemer & Lake Erie. The last major structure to be added was the Diesel Shop in 1951. Much of the steam-era facilities gradually fell into disuse after the road completely dieselized, but portions continued to house various support functions. The complex was redundant to Canadian National, and it has been largely abandoned in place since shortly after the merger. The turntable still sees service turning diesel locomotives when needed.

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Mountain View House – Grand Resort, Whitefield New Hampshire

The Mountain View House is an excellent and rare representative of a grand resort hotel, a type of hostelry defined by elegance, affluence, and insularity, in a setting with splendid natural scenery. Of all the hotels that operated hi the White Mountains, the Mountain View House is unique hi that for 113 years, it was owned and operated by a single family, four generations of the Dodge family. Though at their heyday at the turn of the twentieth century, there were thirty grand resort hotels throughout the White Mountains, today only five survive. (The Balsams in Dixville Notch, Mount Washington Hotel in Bretton Woods, Mountain View House in Whitefield, and Eagle Mountain House and Wentworth Hall in Jackson). The Mountain View House ranks among the finest representatives not only in the region, but in New England. Like most New England examples, it achieved aesthetic impact not through architecturally stunning buildings, but through its immense size and spectacular setting. The hotel offered its guests comfortable accommodations, plentiful and wholesome cuisine, and a wide range of recreational opportunities.

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Southern Pacific Railroad Train Station, Brownsville Texas

The coming of the Southern Pacific Railroad to Brownsville on November 14, 1927, before the station was built, was perhaps the most significant event associated with the site. The Rio Grande Valley had enjoyed a spectacular growth from 1900 to 1930. This growth can be attributed to two factors—the introduction of irrigation in 1898, and the coming of the railroad in 1905. The Missouri Pacific Railroad had entered this area in 1905, and on May 11, 1925, the Interstate Commerce Commission granted permission for the Southern Pacific to acquire the San Antonio and Aransas Pass Railway, which held a charter into the Valley. The completion of the Southern Pacific to its southernmost point in Brownsville was a major event. The driving of the golden spike was scheduled to coincide with the first annual South Texas Chamber of Commerce Convention. The City of Brownsville staged a celebration when November 14 was declared Southern Pacific Day. In an issue of the Brownsville Herald carrying notices dated Nov. 1 (from Ankora, Turkey, on the Mustapha Kamal Pasha; from Belgrade, Jugoslavia, concerning suspension of telegraph and telephone censorship which had been instigated as the result of a Carolist plot; and a possible visit to Brownsville of Ruth Elder, American aviatrix), there appears Mayor A. B. Cole's PROCLAMATION which stated: “On November 14th- and 15th., the City of Brownsville will stage in connection with- the South- Texas Chamber of Commerce Convention a large celebration on the coming of the Southern Pacific Railroad to this city. We expect to have with us thousands of visitors, many of whom will be here for the first time.

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Eagle Mountain House Hotel, Jackson New Hampshire

The Eagle Mountain House is located in the town of Jackson New Hampshire itself a flourishing resort community that spawned a number of hotels and boarding houses. Jackson developed as an artists' community in the 1840s in the wake of North Conway directly to the south. The town's nestled situation in a narrow valley was particularly scenic and the fact that it was nearer by several miles to Mount Washington than any other town in the region gave it an attractive advantage. As in most White Mountain communities artists and tourists were initially housed in farmhouses which operated as seasonal boarding houses. The first hotel in Jackson was the Jackson Falls House erected in 1858. The town's development was given a major boost in the 1850s with the completion of the Glen Railroad station three miles south. From there stages brought visitors to the town. Yet the railroad's distance ensured that the town remain tranquil and removed from much of the commercial development seen farther south. During the 1880s and 1890s Jackson found itself famous and fashionable. It had five large hotels two with casinos, and numerous boarding houses. Most of the hotels and boarding houses were clustered around the Triangle an open space in the village center. From there a trail led to the Eagle Mountain House the farthest removed from the village proper. The Jackson hotels suffered the same eventual demise as others in the region. Today the Eagle Mountain House is the only surviving hotel in the town that has remained in continuous operation. Like all large hotels of the era, the Eagle Mountain House was nearly self-sufficient. Its farm produced vegetables, dairy products and meat for guests. Ice was cut from Gale's Pond and sold throughout the village. A livery on the grounds accommodated horses and carriages, but a bigger attraction was no doubt the hotel garage, complete with attendants and automobile supplies for complete servicing. On-site entertainment was provided by the hotel orchestra which offered concerts and weekly dances. Flower beds and careful landscaping dotted the grounds. Outdoor recreational facilities included a golf course (laid out in 1931), tennis courts croquet courts, shuffleboard court, and fishing and swimming in the, nearby Wildcat River. By 1926 a bathing pool had been constructed. A deer family inhabited the grounds of the hotel, amusing porch loungers and diners. The hotel's major recreational asset, however, was its proximity to the White Mountains. Directly behind the hotel were endless hiking trails. During winter months the hotel was open for special parties, often groups of Appalachian Mountain Club members who snowshoed hiked and had outdoor cookouts and meetings here. The hotel management periodically hired a team of horses to go into Pinkham Notch and break a trail to the AMC huts.

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The Balsams Grand Resort Hotel, Dixville Notch New Hampshire

The Balsams is an excellent and rare representative of a grand resort hotel, a type of hostelry defined by elegance, affluence, and insularity, in a setting with splendid natural scenery. Though at their heyday at the turn of the 20th century, there were thirty such hotels throughout the White Mountains, today only five survive. (The Balsams in Dixville Notch, Mount Washington Hotel in Bretton Woods, Mountain View House in Whitefield, and Eagle Mountain House and Wentworth Hall in Jackson) The Balsams ranks among the finest representatives not only in the region, but in New England. Like most New England examples, it achieved aesthetic impact not through architecturally stunning buildings, but through its immense size and spectacular setting. The hotel offered its guests comfortable accommodations, plentiful and wholesome cuisine, and a wide range of recreational opportunities. The grand resort hotel phenomenon in the White Mountains began shortly before the Civil War. Prior to that period, hotels in the area were rustic taverns that catered to tradesmen as much as to the few visitors who braved the rugged region. It was not until transportation routes improved, initially roads and steamboats, and later the railroad, that visitors from urban centers throughout New England, as well as New York, Philadelphia, and Chicago, attracted by the splendid scenery, clear mountain air and social conviviality, poured into the region to spend between one and three months of the summer in residence. As tourism grew, the hotel facilities adapted to cater to the growing expectation for conveniences and luxuries familiar to an urban clientele. The first substantial hotels staffed with professional managers were constructed in the 1830s and 1840s; these were the forerunners of the grand hotels which emerged during the 1850s. For the next seventy-five years, the White Mountains were a favored summer spot for the wealthy and middle classes. The peak years were the 1870s through the early 1920s; virtually all of the main hotel at The Balsams and its detached buildings were constructed during that period.

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