Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Old Route 28

Well I took the trip, took notes, and took pictures - and it took over eleven hours to go to the Yankee Smokehouse in Tamworth and back - ordinarily five hours round trip. Finding old routes is harder than I thought. The write-up will take more than one post, but here's a preliminary thought as a Sherlocking followup to Getting Around: the utility poles are a clue as to which is the old main road versus the newer section. There is much more pole variety on those straighter roads that have been put in more recently - which is to say, the 1950's. Sometimes the "new" part of the road has no utility poles at all. There are empty sections of a mile or more, and the wires are already going along the old road quite nicely, so why change them? Or, if it is a built-up section of new road (usually near major intersecting routes), then the utility poles are much newer and the wiring more robust. Both of these make eminent sense. Yet there is a third variety I had never noticed before - slender, uncapped poles that are newer than the old primitive lines, but not especially robust-looking in terms of the amount of electricity they could handle. Route 28 has lots of these sections.

That would never show on a map, of course, but when you're on the ground puzzling over an intersection, the utility poles just lay it out for you where the main road - and hence the road that got numbered - went in 1925: there are poles c. 1925 there. Something else, or nothing, goes up the other road. Obvious once you know it. So that might have been an aid to navigation in the older times with unmarked roads: read the poles.


Dubbahdee said...

I grew up right on Rt 28 in Chichester. It was the new 28, having just been finished perhaps a year or two before I was born. But I learned to ride my bike on a chunk of old Rt 28, now renamed Swiggey Brook Rd. The new route straightened things out, and left three sections of the old route intact. The other two nearby are Carpenter Rd and Kelly's Corner Rd.
Kelly's Corner was also marked by a stone mile marker painted with Mutt & Jeff characters pointing to Pittsfield and Chichester respectively. The paint was pretty faded when I was a kid, and I think someone restored it a few years ago and it's still there among the weeds.
The old route had actually traversed across what was my front lawn growing up. There was a large dirt pile that marked the end of the old route to prevent drivers from driving straight. The land was owned by the state (or so I was told) but we always mowed it and maintained it as if it were part of our front yard.
I suspect that route 28 is one of those old roads with lots of stories to tell. I shall have to pay more attention to telephone poles now.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Those three roads will indeed be figuring into later posts. Did Squiggy Brook and Carpenter connect at any time? It looks as if they may have. I will also get your front-yard information before I make my final map. And explain why I didn't drop in when I was so near...

Dubbahdee said...

If you look at C. Road, S.B. Road and K.C. Road on a map, envision removing the new Rt 28. Then you can see the old Rt 28 curving back and forth.

At the north end of Carpenter Rd, old Rt 28 would wind past the old Marden place on the left (now occupied by Randalls and about 100 yds of new 28) and curve back to the left on Swiggey Brook Rd. At the north end of Swiggey Brook rd, where it now curves hard right to intersect with 28, it went straighter up to the intersection with Websters Mill Rd. This short section (perhaps 50 yards)is where I used to mow my lawn.

Going north After that the route was similar to New 28. At the intersection with Websters Mills it would bear left, threading between what is now the McCanney house (Pumpkin Hill Farm) on the right just before Websters Mill rd and the old Ryan place on the left (since burned down).

Sometime in the late 80's or early 90's Clarks Grain Store moved off Kelly's corner to it's current location on new Rt 28.

The same thing occurred at the north end of Kelly's corner rd. Where it used to continue on into Pittsfield, the new RT 28 bypasses Pittsfield. The old route is now Concord Hill Rd.