Yesterday and Today|
by Bill & Connie Warren
Portsmouth B & M Freight Station
Yesterday, circa 1910, the Portsmouth Boston & Maine freight station (postcard courtesy of Frederick Gray Jr.) was one of the busiest stations in the northeast most of the freight for the Portsmouth Navy Yard was delivered to Portsmouth and forwarded by the official freight forwarders, Hett Brothers. Hett Brothers had an office in the B & M Railroad offices. To locate this building, open the 1877 "Bird's Eye" map, find the railroad tracks and follow them to the corner of Bridge and Deers Streets. The fright station has, as the picture postcard shows, a long covered section to ensure off-loading the trains in bad weather meant that the goods did not get water damaged.
Looking through the covered section of the station, the passenger station can be seen. Maplewood Avenue (where it crosses the railroad) would have cut the station is half; the half nearest the freight station would be where Maplewood Avenue is, and the other half and parking lot for horses and buggies would be in what is now the lower end of the Sheraton parking lot (parallel to Deer Street and opposite the Parade Mall parking lot.
Today, the freight and passenger stations are gone. They were taken down during the years that the Vaughn Street Urban Renewal Project was being put into action (late 1969 and into the 1970s). All of the buildings along the tracks are new, while the track and the railway ties are old and decaying. In the new picture (as compared to the old one) the Sheraton Hotel is in the far background, and all of the old houses in the postcard have been taken down and/or removed.
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