This substantial railroad station is a reminder of the forces that shaped Island Pond. It served the Grand Trunk Railway, the first of North America's international rail lines, built from Portland, Maine, to Montreal to give that Canadian city an all-season outlet to the sea. Constructed from both ends, the lines met here in 1853, and the village grew to provide necessary services of repairs, fueling, and customs. The valley at the northwest end of the pond filled with switching yards, roundhouse, repair shops, and a depot. Main Street, paralleling the rails, was lined on its south side with commercial blocks and hotels. On the hillside to the north and joined to Main Street by a wooden bridge across the rail yards grew a neighborhood of housing for managers and workers. The present hipped-roof depot with glazed brick walls above a high rusticated stone base replaced its midcentury predecessor at the peak of Grand Trunk activity, when the railway was hauling one-sixth of all eastbound freight from the Midwest. It is composed of a main block of five bays that housed passenger services and U.S. customs offices and a three-bay eastern extension dedicated to freight. Toward Main Street the passenger block has a formal symmetry with its two-story terminal bay windows that flank an arched central entrance. The freight facility is faced with a ground-story canopy. Trackside, a continuous canopy extends beyond the ends of the station. Here the building becomes more picturesque, with a parapeted gable that merges with a crenellated three-story polygonal tower above the agent's office. Over the course of the twentieth century, many of the railroad's Island Pond operations ceased, and most of its facilities were demolished in 1973. The terminal, restored with the assistance of state grants, remains however, a witness to the importance of this place to railroading history.
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Island Pond Railway Station
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