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Maine Central Railroad Company Records

Identifier: SpC MS 0309

Scope and Contents

The collection contains records of the Maine Central Railroad Company and some of its subsidiary companies. The collection is arranged in two series: I. Executive and administrative records and II. Records of subsidiaries and ancillary companies.

Series I includes minutes of meetings, correspondence of various company officials, personnel and financial records, and general administrative records. The series begins with minutes of meetings of the Board of Directors, 1872-1927. It continues with incoming and outgoing correspondence of company presidents George E.B. Jackson, Arthur Sewall and Franklin A. Wilson. This correspondence is arranged by date and then alphabetically by correspondent. Also found here is correspondence, 1875-1892, to William Putnam, a Portland attorney, much of it from the president of the company about land and bond purchases. Putnam's papers concerning the Profile and Franconia Notch Railroad Company and the Coos Railroad are also included.

The largest part of this series contains correspondence of the vice president and general manager of the railroad. Incoming correspondence is primarily to George F. Evans and then Morris McDonald. McDonald's correspondence is arranged in broad subject categories, each of which was assigned a D number, with the largest amount of material concerning fires and fire insurance policies, gas supplies, votes of the board of directors, the company's steamships and telephone poles and electric lines on its properties. The copies of outgoing correspondence date from 1875 to 1921. Also included here is incoming correspondence, 1908-1922, to Theo L. Dunn, Assistant to the Vice President and General Manager. Each piece of Dunn's correspondence has a box and document number assigned by the company; typical correspondents are company officials and customers and subjects include leases, agreements and building projects.

Smaller amounts of correspondence of the general manager, the federal manager, the general superintendent, the superintendent of transportation and the chief engineer are also found in this series. A small group of materials received by the auditor's department and primarily including memoranda of agreement and information about stocks and contracts is included. Personnel records encompass records of employee exams, 1923-1963, discipline record books, 1897-1914, and lists of discharged employees, 1897-1918. Financial records are primarily from the Maintenance of the Way Department and the Engineering Department and report monthly expenditures and bills paid.

Series II contains ledgers from various subsidiary companies. It includes financial information from the Eastern Maine Railway Company, 1882-1883; an inventory of property, 1882, of the European and North American Railway; and financial information from the Maine Railways Companies. Also included is outgoing correspondence from the Portland and Rumford Falls Railway, the Portland, Mt. Desert and Machias Steamboat Company, the Portland Terminal Company, the Ricker Hotel Company, the Sandy River and Rangeley Lakes Railroad and the Washington County Railroad Company.


  • Creation: 1850-1963
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1880-1920


Restrictions on Access

Kept at Fogler Library's offsite storage facility. One week's notice required for retrieval.

Use Restrictions

Information on literary rights available in the Library.

Historical Note

The collection contains records of the Maine Central Railroad Company, at one time the largest railroad in New England.

The company was chartered in 1856 and began operating in 1862 with the consolidation of the Androscoggin and Kennebec Railroad Company and the Penobscot and Kennebec Railroad Company. Its tracks ran from Danville Junction to Bangor, a distance of about 100 miles. The company continued its expansion by leasing or acquiring track and facilities of other railroads, including the Dexter and Newport in 1869, the Portland and Kennebec and the Somerset and Kennebec in 1870, the Leeds and Farmington in 1871, the European and North American in 1882, and the Portland and Ogdensburg Railroad with its Mountain Subdivision through Crawford Notch, New Hampshire, in 1888. The Sandy River and Rangeley Lakes Railroad was acquired in 1911 and the Bridgton and Saco Rive in 1912. By 1917, when the United States Railway Administration took over operation of U.S. railroads, the Maine Central had a 1,358 mile system, with tracks through the White Mountains of New Hampshire to St. Johnsbury, Vermont, and into Quebec.

At various times in its history, Maine Central became involved in other ventures that were in some way associated with the railroad business. With its acquisition of the Somerset Railway Company in 1911, it also acquired the Mt. Kineo House on Moosehead Lake, and in 1912 it purchased the capital stock of the Ricker Hotel Company which owned the Hotel Samoset in Rockland. At its peak, the company also had trucking and bus subsidiaries, as well as steamboats and coastal ferries. In 1933, it entered into joint management with the Boston and Maine and started regular air service between Boston and Bangor under the name Boston-Maine Airways Inc.

The 1920's and 1930's also brought increased competition from trucks and cars and the growth of the Maine Central slowed considerably. It made few additional acquisitions and discontinued many of its routes and service. In 1927 it ended its ferry service and by 1931 had discontinued its steamers. The company razed the main building of the Mt. Kineo House in 1938 due to declining business but continued to operate the Samoset until 1941, when it got out of the hotel business entirely. By 1943 Maine Central had also substantially reduced its holdings in its airline, renamed Northeast Airline in 1940. In 1956 its bus service was sold to the Greyhound Corporation, and in 1960 it discontinued passenger service on its trains.

In 1980 the Maine Central was purchased by U.S. Filter Corporation; in 1981 this company was acquired by Ashland Oil Company which subsequently sold the Maine Central to Guilford Transportation Industries, Inc. Since 1987 the company has continued to operate under Guilford control as the Springfield Terminal Railway's District No. One.


15 cubic feet (11 boxes)

55.5 linear feet (ledgers)

Language of Materials



Records of the Maine Central Railroad Company, at one time the largest railroad in New England, and some of its subsidiary companies. The collection is arranged in two series: I. Executive and administrative records and II. Records of subsidiaries and ancillary companies.

Conservation Note

The collection has been re-housed in acid-free folders and boxes. Documents have been surface cleaned as needed and metal fasteners removed.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Guilford Transportation Industries in 1984; purchases in 2002-2004.

Guide to the Maine Central Railroad Company Records
Box And Folder List Available
December 2004
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for uncoded script
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Raymond H. Fogler Library Special Collections Repository

5729 Raymond H. Fogler Library
University of Maine
Orono ME 04469-5729 United States