Railroads of Lisbon
Railroads have a significant part in the history of most towns and cities from the mid 1800's to the present. The role of railroads in recent years has been lessened because of other means of available transport but the significance of early railroading can be seen in the remaining rains and clear right of ways that still mark the landscape. The once busy center of activities of the rail stations have disappeared but many stations remain, used for other purposes or tumbling down, as reminders of their glorious and busy past.
On February 15, 1860, the Main Legislature acted to authorize the extension of the Androscoggin and Kennebec Railroad from Leeds to the Kennebec River in Topsham. This brought the line into Lisbon in 1861. The Maine Central Railroad took over in 1971.
Charles Emery Judkins would be the first station agent serving for many years followed by his son, Arthur. The Judkins would be station agents until 1937.
In 1874 the first station and adjourning freight house would be destroyed by fire. The fire appeared to have started in the nearly 400 cords of wood stacked next to the freight house. This wood was prepared for use by the passing locomotives. This first station was located near to where Crafts Auto is located today. The new station built following the fire still stands and has been used for many businesses since its closing. It was first used as an antique shop starting in 1974 and has since also been used as a restaurant.
At its height of activities, it is reported that 16 passenger and 4 freight trains would travel through in 24 hours. Passenger train service ended in 1931 and was replaced for a period of time by bus service.
There was also another station at Crowley's Junction near the Lisbon and Lewiston town line.
Trolleys were also part of the scenery of Lisbon in years past. They could be seen on the main streets and carrying passengers to Lewiston and in the other direction to Brunswick.
One particular trolley car was of historic significance. "The Merry Meeting Parlor Car" was called "one of the finest ever built in the United States." (Lisbon News. February 1, 1988) Its description includes the following facts: cost $7,000, 40 feet long, air brakes, special whistle, black and gold inscription, filigree work and grill surrounding the platform. This car was most frequently used for special and formal occasions including at least one wedding when it was filled to capacity by the bride and groom accompanied by family and guests. It would seat at least 40 individuals.
There may be those who can remember a very unique landmark of the trolleys, "The Crooked Bridge" (1898-1941) of the Lewiston, Brunswick and Bath Street Railroad. This bridge was located near the border of Lisbon Village and Lewiston.
The Maine Central Railroad would not permit the trolley tracks to cross the railroad tracks so they built the track for the trolley over the existing train tracks. Its crooked shape permitted a useable approach and pass for the trolley. A shorter and more traditional overpass was know in contrast as "The Straight Bridge."
Trolley service between Bath and Lisbon Falls ended in 1937 and between Lewiston and Lisbon Falls in 1941.
|The Crooked Bridge|
|Old Car Barn|
|The Flood of 1936|
|Trolley No. 18|
|Lisbon Falls Station|