stockholders and dignitaries from Boston. In early 1848 the rails were extended to West Lebanon and the bridge across the Connecticut River to White River Junction was completed. In 1848 the Northern Railroad also began leasing the Franklin & Bristol Railroad which had incorporated in 1846 and was constructed from Franklin to Bristol between 1847 and 1848. In 1849 the Franklin & Bristol Railroad consolidated with the Northern Railroad.17 The importance of the Northern in the context of other New Hampshire railroads is demonstrated by the fact that its founding superintendent and later president, Onslow Stearns, was considered by many to be the preeminent New Hampshire railroad man of his day. During his tenure with the Northern, Stearns also held a variety of significant political offices including state senator, president of the senate and governor of the state. 18 As early as 1861 the Northern had a controlling interest in a number of New Hampshire railroads includingthe Sullivan Railroad, the Central New Hampshire Railroad, the Concord & Claremont Railroad and the Contoocook Valley Railroad, and managed them as one enterprise within itself.19 As described by a recent historian, “The Northern was well engineered, solidly constructed, adequately capitalized, carefully managed, profitable from the start, and prudently expansionist in its policies.”20 The Northern was one of the longer and most important transportation arteries in New Hampshire.


The original bridge which carried the Northern Railroad across the Connecticut River was designed by prominent railroad engineer Henry R. Campbell who lived for a time on Bank Street in Lebanon in a house designed for him by architect Ammi B. Young.21 Henry Campbell had a long career for various railroads and is perhaps best known for patenting the innovative 4-4-0 locomotive in 1836.22 Campbell reportedly superintended the construction of various bridges on the line.23 In addition to the stations in the individual towns, the Northern Railroad buildings included repair shops in Concord to service the rolling stock, an engine house in Concord that was 126 feet in diameter and a stone roundhouse in West Lebanon that was 130 feet in diameter. Each was able to accommodate sixteen locomotives and had a turntable 40 feet in diameter. (The Concord round house and repair shops were located just south of Bridge Street and were demolished in 1897; the stone roundhouse in West Lebanon was replaced in 1890 by a brick one.) An additional engine house at Franklin had a capacity of five engines and a turntable and allowed for the supply and change of motive power for the western route with higher grades. Similar accommodations near the Summit in Canaan/Orange enabled the railroad to keep engines to send in either direction in case of deep snows.24


17. Ibid, 251. The Franklin & Bristol line which extended thirteen miles north of Franklin is not included in this area form but was considered a branch of the Northern. The line operated until 1925 when passenger trains were replaced by busses and a single round trip mixed train. Operation ceased altogether after the 1936 floods.
18. Richard Schuster, “Notes and Documents: Railroad Collections at the New Hampshire Historical Society”, Historical New Hampshire, 245.
19. Ibid.
20. Ibid.
21. Carroll: 72. Lisa Mausolf, National Register Nomination for the Stone Arch Bridge, Lebanon, 1985.
22. The “4-4-0” refers to the arrangement of the wheels on the locomotive and was also known as the American type. Almost every major railroad in North America in the first half of the 19th century owned and operated locomotives of this type. The wheel arrangement was well suited to the grades and curvatures of the railroad of this period. By 1900 larger locomotives were needed and the importance of the 4-4-0 was eclipsed by other designs. See John H. White, Jr., A History of the American Locomotive, Its Development: 1830-1880 (New York: Johns Hopkins Press, 1968)
23. Mausolf 1985.
24. Third Annual Report of