ASHLAND — During the mid-1800’s, the railroad track in Ashland was owned by the Boston, Concord & Montreal Railroad. It served as a primary route north through New Hampshire for tourists from cities like Boston, Hartford and New York to the lakes and mountains of central and northern New Hampshire, and points north including northern Vermont and Montreal, Canada.
Passenger and freight trains would often stop in Ashland, a thriving community of manufacturing and other industries, including the Squam Lake Woolen Mill and fine lodging in the Squam Lakes area. Incorporated in 1868, Ashland took its name from the prominent Kentucky Estate of the same name owned by then Statesman Henry Clay.
The Ashland Railroad Station, located at 69 Depot St., was built as a passenger station in 1869 by the Boston, Concord & Montreal Railroad and remodeled in 1891 by the Concord & Montreal Railroad. The track-side building housed the station agent’s ticket office, and two waiting areas for men and for women and children, along with a telegraph office and restrooms. Sold to a private owner in 1960, the train station was donated to the Ashland Historical Society in 1980.
After years of fundraising and hard work by volunteers, the Ashland Railroad Station was restored. Painted in its late 1800s color scheme of light yellow with maroon trim, the Ashland Railroad Station serves as an active museum for the Ashland Historical Society and welcomes train passengers from the Winnipesaukee Scenic Railroad during the fall foliage season and other times throughout the year.
On Sept. 14, from 11 a.m.-4 p.m., the Ashland Historical Society will celebrate the 150th anniversary of the restored railroad station and the public is invited to attend. The day will include live music with The Hardtacks, food trucks, folks dressed in period attire from the 1860s, displays of railroad memorabilia, vintage photos of the Ashland Railroad Station, and working displays of a crank telephone and a telegraph machine. There will also be several the dedication of a restored Watchman’s Shanty at 1 p.m., and a special toast at 3 p.m.
The 150th anniversary celebration will include a train ride from the Ashland Railroad Station to the Plymouth Railroad Station aboard the Ashland Special at 4 p.m. The round-trip train ride aboard the Winnipesaukee Scenic Railroad will take passengers to Plymouth where they’ll see demonstrations of Civil War-era dances and music by The Hardtacks at Plymouth Station. The train will then depart at 6:30 p.m. and arrive back at Ashland Station at 7 p.m.
To reserve seats aboard the Ashland Special, call 603-745-2135, ext. 13.
For more information about the event, call Jane Sawyer at 603-968-3509 or David Ruell at 603-968-7716, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.