BROOKS, Maine – If everything goes according to plan, the historic Belfast & Moosehead Lake Railroad station soon will get a facelift.
The Brooks Preservation Society purchased the station from the now defunct railroad last month and plans to call for a complete restoration. The society also purchased a 1947 diesel locomotive and hopes to bring that on line as well. Preservation society head Joey Feero said Tuesday that money for the purchase was provided by an anonymous donor.
The station is in need of a paint job, the floor has buckled in places, the platform is disintegrating and the roof leaks, but the structure is sound and the interior looks the same as it did when it was built in the 1890s. The walls and ceiling are paneled with wood and the sculpted wooden benches are still in place. The society wants to restore the station to the way it looked in the 1930s, when the B&ML provided passenger service from Belfast to Burnham.
“The primary mission of the BPS is to protect, preserve and celebrate this historic structure,” said Feero. “Our immediate concern is addressing several areas of deterioration to protect the station from the elements and to make the site safe for the general public.”
Feero said the group should have the roof repaired and the building secured before winter. Keeping out the elements, as well as bats that have taken up residence inside, will be key to protecting the building until work can begin on the interior.
“It’ s actually in really good condition, considering,” Feero said. “It’ s all original.”
Feero said that the station’ s wood- and coal-burning stove disappeared over the years but that a member of the society has a similar type stove and has agreed to donate it to the society. Members hope to acquire pieces of railroad memorabilia to put on display in the station and as a museum.
Besides being one of the last stations of its kind in Maine, the Brooks station’ s other claim to fame is that it was the location where station agent Linwood W. Moody researched and wrote much of his 1958 book, “Maine Two-Footers.” The book traces the history of the state’ s narrow-gauge railroads that operated in Waldo, Franklin, Cumberland, Lincoln and Kennebec counties from the late 1880s to the 1930s.
With the purchase of B&ML locomotive No. 53, the society hopes to put the locomotive back in service once the state determines the next operator along its rail corridor. The B&ML sold the rail corridor to the state some years ago. Feero said he has had some discussions with Mac Page, owner of City Point Central Railroad in Belfast. He said the society was looking forward to the restoration of excursion trains along the rails of Waldo County.
The BPS also is looking for volunteers to assist with its projects. Donations will be accepted and appreciated. BPS may be reached at 31 Veterans Highway, Brooks 04915, by phone at 991-1636 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.