Greetings fellow history lovers! I had a very nice evening with a great group of people in Lakeville this week. They were welcoming and interested to hear about Easton. A few people who were there have Easton connections, and I hope they will find their way up here to visit us!
Last Saturday I had the pleasure to meet someone who has an interest in railroading. I was actually on my way out and getting ready to leave when I saw him pull up to take some photographs of the tracks and our building. After a brief talk and a quick history of the railroad in Easton, he assured me he will be returning to learn more about the Museum and our building. Speaking of railroads, this week I have picked out a little something for all of our rail fans, either trains or trolleys. You may be aware that there was a branch from the main line through Easton that connected to another line in West Bridgewater. The track turned east from the main track in Easton at at "WYE" in the woods behind Purchase Street near Church Street. That track then proceeded towards Washington Street north of Simpson Spring, crossed Washington Street north of the current location of the South Easton Post Office (where there was a depot), continued across Pine Street and High Street, and finally crossed Turnpike Street between High Street and Hill Street, where the Eastondale depot stood. The track was in use in the late 1880's and appears on the 1895 map. By the 1930's it was taken out of service.
In the early 20th century a trolley line was also running between Brockton and Taunton, and that too used tracks along Turnpike Street as it went south to Taunton. Railroads and trolley companies did not get along as the railroads saw the trolleys as competition for ridership. A trolley line was not allowed to cross railroad tracks. In Mansfield, for instance, the old trolley line from Easton ended several hundred yards from the railroad station, meaning a trolley rider had to walk the rest of the way to catch the train. In Raynham there was an elevated structure that carried the trolley over the roadway and tracks there.
In Eastondale, where the railroad crossed Turnpike Street, the railroad built a bridge to carry the train over the street and the trolley tracks. Below is a very nice photo of a trolley traveling under that bridge. I understand that this is somewhat of a rare arrangement, as generally it was the trolley that had to make its way around the railroad. In this case, Turnpike Street was actually dug down to allow the trolley to travel under the railroad bridge. The photo was taken by Webster W. Bolton of Howard Street, South Easton, a local photographer who published his photos as postcards. I believe the photo was taken in the 1920's.
By the way, do you know how many railroad buildings survive in Easton? I'll give you the answer next week.