ACADIA - SIGNS OF ITS PAST

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Flag of United States  , Maine
Monday, July 27, 2009

I thought it would be nice to do an entry on the lost parts of Acadia National Park, and I will return to this from time to time and add more to it.  I will begin with the Green Mountain Railway.

GREEN MOUNTAIN RAILWAY

Back in the 1800's, there was no National park here on the island.  It was all private lands.  And many of the names were different as well.  For instance, Bar Harbor was named Eden back then.  And what is now Cadillac Mountain was then called Green Mountain.  Thus this is how The Green Mountain Railway got its name.  It was built in the 1880's, as a steam powered cog train  which ran up the side of Green Mountain to thesummit.  But the story really begins back in the 1850's, when the first family to take advantage of the tourist trade and Green mountain, constructed a buckboard road from the Eagle lake road (rt. 233) to the summit of Green Mountain.  It was a toll road, and anyone wanting to enjoy the mountain, had to pay the family to access it.
Then in 1880's, the second family came along, and decided to also go after all those tourists, and they built the cog railway which began at the edge of Eagle lake and ran up to the summit og Green Mountain.  A large steam boat would pick up passengers at the area where the boat landing is now at, then carry them to the other side of the lake, where they would get off the boat and board the train.  But the train moved very slowly, almost at a snails pace, and many of the passengers would step off the train and walk along side it, picking wild blueberries as they went.
\The first family became angry over the second family "stealing their customers" and a war of wrds soon broke out.  Soon both families were trying to find ways to disrupt one anothers business.  It came to a head when one day, the family who ran the train dynamitted the toll road, shutting it down for some time.
Both ended up going out of business as newly built trails opened the mountain up to everyone.  So what ever became of the old buckboard road and the cog train?  Well, to this day, if you know where to look, signs of both can still be found.  But the park service, being the park service, does not want the general public knowing or seeing these signs, and does everything it can to hide and conceal them 
The park claims the current road leading to the summit of Cadillac follows the old buckboard route, which in turn followed an old indian trail up the mountain.  And for a good way, it does.  But a large section of the old buckboard road was not followed, and it is this section they try and hide away, as if it never exisited.  I will soon be posting some photos of this old abandoned section.
The railway went bankrupt, and was sold off.  The train was sold and is now in NH where it still see's use.  The rails were pulled up and sold for scrap, all but one piece, which sets up on the mountain side, about two thirds of the way, collecting rust.  I will get some photos  soon, but there are some man made cribs that were built and are still there, where the rails were placed upon in steep sections.  So how did I rediscover the exact route the train took in the 1880's?
Old maps for one.  But it still took us two years of research and searching through the woods to locate it.  We learned that the iron spikes used to hold the raiols in place were not like the rail spikes used today.  They were very long, up to two feet long each.  And these were driven deep into the granite the entire route.  So removing the rails themselves was fairly easy, but no one could get those long spikes out of the granite, so they left them in place. And that was the key to finding where the exact route lay.
Today, me and my daughter returned to that area and I got a couple of photos of one of those iron spikes sticking up out of the granite.  I will be going back soon to gather more photos as well. 

To locate the exact route the train took, drive along the park loop road, as it your headed towards the summit road up Cadillac mountain, once you come to the summit road, do not turn onto it, keep driving as if you were headed for the Bubble Pond, keeping your eye opened for two small senic pull overs on the right hand side of the roadway after passing the summit road.  Pull into the second pull over.  There should be a fast moving stream close to the pullover.  Across from the pullover, on the other side of the road, you will see an opening in the trees, where if you enter and go left it will take you to the side of that stream.  But if you enter and turn right, and make your way toward the top of that ledge, looking closely at the ground around you, you will spot the railroad spikes sticking up out of the granite.  There should be some rock piles next to some of the spikes, there was when I went there.  If by chance you have reached the bubble pond parking lot, you went past the pull over.

Just to update this piece, we returned today, got many good photos - some of which I have posted here.  The entire set of photos will be put together in a video, for others to view or save for historic purposes.  I reaal hope that some person or organization see's this stuff and is moved to take action.  What I would like to see is some of the rusting spikes, along with the only remaining sction of rail, be retrived and placed in a museum somewhere for future generations to see and enjoy.  So here is my report of todays events.
The trail was a bit harder to locate then I had recalled.  We had to criss cross several times before locating some of the spikes sticking out of the ground.  And it rained the day before, so it was dangerous going, the sections of granite being very slippery.  And years ago when I first discovered the path the train took, there was many rock piles to help guide you, today, we saw very few.  At least twice we lost th trail in heavy thick brush, but again, criss crossing back and forth, we found it again.  I was greatly relieved to see that that one remaining piece of rail was still up on the mountain side.  A short ways after finding the rail section, the trail almost disappears, then does as you encounter heavy brush just before coming out onto the Cadillac summit road.  I don't look forward to going back along that route, but if approached by someone seriously interested in seeing about perserving what remains, then I would be more then happy to make the trip back.  CLICK ON LINK TO VIEW GREEN MOUNTAIN RAILROAD FOOTAGE


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VYwuwNRBaQo
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