Judy Fry - Chairman
In the autumn of 2003, the Downtown Revitalization Committee, a sub-committee of the Board of Selectmen, was formed with the primary goal of selecting projects in the downtown area of Alton where improvements would revitalize the village for the benefit of the townspeople and visitors alike. The DRC is comprised of six volunteers and a representative from the Planning Board and a representative from the Board of Selectmen.
Bonnie Barsanti - Recorder
Rosemary Sullivan - Secretary
Peter Bolster - Selectmen's Rep
Russell Bailey - Town Administrator - Advisor
B & M Railroad Park
The first project chosen by the DRC was the former Boston & Maine Railroad yard, an area located behind the Town Hall, which presented just such an opportunity.
Alton B & M Railroad Park Brochure
The vision for this area includes a park, named the Alton B & M Railroad Park, which incorporates and celebrates the history of the Town of Alton by revitalizing the old railroad buildings that were so instrumental in the building and growth of the village and so many of the towns of the Lakes Region. The park is intended to be not only historical, but also a safe green area in the heart of downtown - a place where parents with young children can walk to the playground, where families can gather to picnic or barbecue, where the townfolks can enjoy the mini-walking trail, watch a game of volleyball or badminton from a shady bench, or learn more about Alton's marshes along the Wetland Board Walk. Included in the project is the refurbishing of the B & M 1896 Freight Building and B & M Caboose.
In August 2004, townspeople participated with an historic architect, in a Round Table design discussion. The product of this discussion was a report which included the first conceptual design, which was made available to the townspeople for their comments and ideas.
In October, a successful community cleanup resulted in the removal of brush, selected trees and rubbish from the proposed park site. The emptying out of the freight building, full of long time accumulation, was also begun.
During the 2003 Town Meeting, voters unanimously voted to approve a warrant article of $5,000 seed money for the project. Part of the funds were used for the facilitation of the Round Table discussion and for the architect's design. The balance of the money is being used for the completion of the final design, and as funds allow they will be applied toward grant applications and expenses related to the brochure.
A committee designed brochure was produced during the Spring 2005 and sent to all Alton property owners. It was distributed using volunteer efforts via the town newspaper, MAIN STREET, in the May 2005 issue. The brochure purpose is twofold, to raise awareness of and funds for the Park project. As a result of the distribution of that brochure numerous generous donations have been received for the project.
Donations for the project are varied, engineering services were donated by NH Soil consultants for the wetlands and reclamation permitting process through the NHDES. Site preparation, time, labor and equipment have been donated - through several groups - including the Art Place and members of the DRC itself. Volunteers also include members of the East Alton Fire Association, Alton Centennial Rotary, Alton Historical Society and the Lakes Region Conservation Trust. The Board of Selectmen and the Planning Board are active participants with the Park project plans through their representatives to the DRC monthly meetings.
Plans for the handicapped accessible walking trail, playground, wetland board walk and caboose are progressing well. The DRC encourages everyone in town to contribute whatever they can to make the vision of our village park a reality - time, energy or funds.
The Downtown Revitalization Committee would like to thank the following donors for their generous support toward the Alton B & M Railroad Park. The Park is located adjacent to Depot Street in the Village.
Norman and Terry Gilmore
Richard N. Jones
Donald and Deborah Hiltz
Nancy Mooney Hebert
John and Priscilla Farrell
Pat and Tony Rubbicco
Ted and Stephanie Carl
Mary Bee and Bob Longabaugh
Nelson Kennedy Family
2 Anonymous donors
Roberts Cove, Inc
Brian Fortier, W. Alton Marina
NH Soil Consultants
Roberts Knoll Campground
Victor Stone, Metals Trading
Clough / Morrell Trust
Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region, Inc
Railroad Station Pewter Medallion
The Alton Downtown Revitalization Committee is pleased to announce the sale of a pewter medallion
designed and crafted by Hampshire Pewter of Wolfeboro. The medallion features the Alton B&M Railroad
Station, circa 1859. Medallions will go on sale early June and can be purchased, for $15.00, at the
Alton Public Library, the Alton Town Clerk's Office and by calling Nancy Merrill at 875-5604.
Proceeds from the medallion will benefit the B&M Railroad Park.
Loon Cove Station - 1890
Railroad History in Alton made newspaper headlines in 1890 "The Lake Shore Railroad has been completed. The Lake Shore Railroad officials designated opening day June 17th, 1890 as the day for celebration. The Loon Cove Station was the first stop west of Alton Bay that sported what could be reasonably called a depot."
The Loon Cove Station was one of eleven stations within the boundaries of the Town of Alton. Sometimes referred to as a "Wait Station." It allowed passengers to purchase tickets aboard the train instead of inside the station.
Sadly service to Lakeport, along the scenic shoreline of Lake Winnipesaukee, ended in 1935. It took approximately forty years to establish this line and forty years to come to a close. The automobile had taken over pleasure travel and shipping freight moved to the blossoming trucking business which offered convenience and financial benefits over the once busy freight lines throughout New Hampshire.
There is a gap from 1935 to the mid 1960's when we do not have any background information about the Loon Cove Station. Over the years we do know several stations along the former Lake Shore Railroad line were purchased and converted to private residences as seen riding along Route 11 in West Alton.
Moving ahead we, The Downtown Revitalization Committee, learned from the most recent owners, Mr. and Mrs. Thomas L. Moore, III the station was located at Loon Cove near the entrance to Route 11-D. Mr. Moore's parents, Mr. Thomas L. Moore II and wife Margit moved the building a short distance from Loon Cove to Route 11 (just a short distance south of Route 11 D on the right hand side of the highway, sometime in the late 1960's).
The station was placed on a stone foundation where the building underwent numerous changes, a tall chimney for the wood stove, two decks enlarge the living space, a set of new stairs to the sleeping loft, a well and septic system provided essential creature comforts. Without the benefit of insulation living in the "cabin" during cold winter months was limited to two or three winters.
Railroad history was made again in 2008 when Mr. Moore, III, donated the Loon Cove Station to the Town of Alton. The building will be returned to its original design and appearance in its new home. The Station would become part of the newly established Alton B & M Railroad Park on Depot Street in Alton Village. This historic move was completed on a bright sunny, Sunday Morning (in 1 1/2 hours) on April 26th, 2009.
1- Lakeshore Railroad, The First Forty years, Vol. XVI, No. 4 by Dana Philbrook, 1989.
FUND RAISING EFFORTS FOR LOON COVE STATION
The Downtown Revitalization Committee, DRC, has begun a fund raising campaign for the historic Loon Cove Station.
Refurbishing, Phase I, began in November 2009, starting with the joists, followed by major roof work, then concluding with protecting the station from winter storms.
Contributions would be most welcome to help us continue work on the station. The Committee is a tax exempt organization and donations may be sent c/o the Downtown Revitalization Committee, P.O. Box 659, Alton, N.H. 03809.
Come visit the Alton B&M Railroad Park and see the progress since the Committee was formed in 2003. With help from volunteers, businesses, donors, the Alton Historical Society, Alton Town Departments, and other organizations we have come a long way.
We thank each and everyone who has contributed to this Park-in-Progress.