Rockland Turntable and Engine House - Rockland, ME
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member T0SHEA
N 44° 06.073 W 069° 07.376
19T E 490160 N 4883122
Quick Description: Just off the south side of Park Street on the western edge of Rockland, one may easily view this turntable and engine house, and get a glimpse of some rolling stock most days.
Location: Maine, United States
Date Posted: 1/25/2016 11:36:52 PM
Waymark Code: WMQAZG
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member silverquill
Views: 1

Long Description:
Built in 1921, this wasn't the first turntable to be constructed in Rockland. The first saw construction begin in late 1871 or early 1872, shortly after the railroad, the Knox and Lincoln Railroad reached the town. Given that this was the "end of the line" a turntable was a necessity to turn engines around for their return journey to Brunswick, the other end of the railroad.

The Knox and Lincoln was leased by Maine Central Railroad in 1891, and became Maine Central's Rockland Branch in 1901. This situation apparently remained in place until December 31, 2015, when the Maine Eastern ceased all operations. Freight operations of the Rockland Branch are being taken over, at least temporarily, by the Central Maine & Quebec Railway. See the notice below.

The Maine Eastern Railroad (reporting mark MERR) has ceased all operations as of December 31, 2015.

The Central Maine & Quebec Railway (reporting mark CMQ) has assumed freight operations of the Rockland Branch, effective January 1, 2016. For all future freight shipments along former Maine Eastern Railroad lines, please contact the Central Maine & Quebec Railway directly (click here). The Maine Eastern Railroad's former excursion equipment is now operated by the Morristown & Erie Railway (reporting mark ME) in New Jersey. To learn about its current operations and available trips, please contact the Morristown & Erie Railway directly (click here).

This notice has been posted at the Maine Eastern website.

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Rockland Turntable and Engine House

Constructed in 1921 to replace an earlier complex, the Rockland Turntable and Engine House are significant reminders of the railroad's former importance to this mid-coastal city. It is located about one-half mile west of the Rockland Railroad Station (N.R. 2/7/78) which was converted into the city hall after its abandonment in 1959. The Turntable and Engine House are eligible for nomination to the National Register under criterion A for their association with the history of transportation in Rockland.

The first rail line to reach Rockland was the Knox and Lincoln Railroad. Chartered in 1864, the road was completed to Rockland, its eastern terminus, in 1871. Reporting on the arrival of the first in-bound train, the Rockland Gazette noted in its November 3, 1871, edition that a " train arrived near the depot grounds bringing ties and the material for a turntable, water tank, etc." The immediate construction of a turntable was essential, since no other means existed at this end of the line to turn the engines for their return trip. For what period of time this particular structure existed, however, is uncertain.

In 1876 the railroad extended its track into downtown Rockland where it constructed a wood frame passenger depot and platform (a building virtually identical to an extant depot in Warren which was on the K+LRR). This change was made in part to place the railroad in closer proximity to the wharves served by numerous passenger steamships. The Maine Central Railroad leased the Knox and Lincoln line in 1891 and acquired it ten years later. In 1921 the Maine Central replaced the turntable then in existence with the present structure and engine house, although apparently at a different location.

Incorporated in 1848 as East Thomaston, the Town of Rockland (as it was known after 1854) developed into a significant mid-coastal city during the nineteenth century. Its broad harbor provided an ideal transportation route for the local lime industry, as well as the shipping needs of numerous merchants and small-scale manufacturers. The growth of the community is evident in a comparison of population figures. In 1850 there were 5,052 persons residing in Rockland, but by 1900 this number had increased to 8,150.
From the NRHP Nomination Form

Street address:
200 Park Street
Rockland, ME USA

County / Borough / Parish: Knox

Year listed: 1993

Historic (Areas of) Significance: Transportation

Periods of significance: 1925-1949, 1900-1924

Historic function: Transportation Historic - Rail-Related

Current function: Transportation Historic - Rail-Related

Privately owned?: yes

Season start / Season finish: From: 1/1/2016 To: 12/31/2016

Primary Web Site: [Web Link]

Secondary Website 1: [Web Link]

Hours of operation: Not listed

Secondary Website 2: Not listed

National Historic Landmark Link: Not listed

Visit Instructions:
Please give the date and brief account of your visit. Include any additional observations or information that you may have, particularly about the current condition of the site. Additional photos are highly encouraged, but not mandatory.
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