ASHLAND NH HISTORICAL SOCIETY

Railroad Museum

ASHLAND RAILROAD STATION M– USEUM

 

History

The Society opened its third museum in 1999.  The former Ashland Railroad Station has a particularly long and interesting history.

The Original Station:  The first Ashland Station opened as a combined passenger and freight station of the Boston, Concord & Montreal Railroad on December 3, 1849.  The building still exists today at its original location on the other side of Depot Street.  (It is now privately owned and its interior has been remodeled for use as a residence, sculptor’s studio, and art gallery.)

The Boston, Concord & Montreal Railroad was chartered by the State of New Hampshire in 1844.  Construction of its initial 93-mile track through largely agricultural, rural, and mountainous territory began in 1846 and ended in 1853. The Railroad’s main track originated at Concord, New Hampshire and extended north to Lake Winnipesaukee and then northwest to Wells River in Vermont and served 31 stations.  Ashland, situated 46 miles north of Concord, became the sixteenth station.  Over time the  B. C & M Railroad expanded, acquired branch railroads in central and northern New Hampshire, and connected with a number of other railroads serving New England and Canada.

The Current Station:  With the presence of the Railroad, manufacturing and tourism expanded rapidly in Ashland.  In 1869, it became necessary to build a larger passenger station across the street.  The original Station was remodeled to solely handle the increased volume in freight.

In 1890, the Boston, Concord & Montreal merged with the Concord Railroad to form the Concord & Montreal Railroad.  In 1891, the  passenger station was moved to its present location and remodeled inside and out to its present appearance.

In 1895, the Concord & Montreal came under the control of the Boston & Maine Railroad.  For decades the Ashland Station continued to serve many travelers as the gateway to the town and the popular Squam Lakes Region.  Sidetracks were built to serve the paper mill and warehouses for other mills and businesses in Ashland.   

With the progression of the 20th century, the car, the truck and the airplane began to replace the train.  Regular passenger service at the Station ended in 1959, after 110 years of service.  The following year the Boston & Maine Railroad sold the Station to Joseph Curley.  In 1980, his widow Vera Curley generously donated the station and site to the Ashland Historical Society.

Restoration of the Station: The Railroad Station was restored by the Society from 1997 to 1998 under ISTEA, a federal transportation aid program administered by the N.H. Department of Transportation, for use as a railroad museum and a meeting place.  It was dedicated on June 26, 1999.  The NH Preservation Alliance recognized the Society’s restoration of the Station with a Preservation Award. The Museum is one of the best preserved late 19th century railroad stations in New Hampshire.  It houses a growing collection of railroad artifacts, images, and documents in the Station’s original three public rooms, the two connected waiting rooms and the station agent’s office, which are open to Museum visitors.  The local tourist railroad, the Winnipesaukee Scenic Railroad, regularly stops at the Ashland Station during its popular Fall Foliage Tours.

Location .  The Ashland Railroad Station Museum is located at 69 Depot Street on Route 132 in Ashland village. From Exit 24 on Interstate 93, take Routes 3 and 25 (Main Street) south about two-thirds of a mile, then turn right on Winter Street and follow it about one-third mile to its end, where it intersects Route 132. The Railroad Station Museum is directly across the street. If coming from the east on Routes 3 and 25, turn left onto Route 132 in the center of downtown Ashland and follow it one half mile south to the Museum.

Hours  The Museum is open from 1 to 4 p.m. on Saturdays in July and August. Special tours may be arranged by appointment by contacting David Ruell, tel. 968-7716 or email davidruell@gmail.com.

Donations   A donation for each visitor over the age of 13 would be appreciated to help with the maintenance of the Museum and the work of the Society.

Take a few minutes and enjoy the history of the Ashland train station by watching this video below.