Historical Research: The Railroad Garden
Tom Hall remembers that in the 1950s the Fairlee Railroad Station won some kind of award for its gardens.
As a child he would take the train down to visit grandparents in Hanover and he says that across the tracks, between the tracks and the river, were gardens with winding paths and hidden nooks that he would explore while waiting for the train.
From this snippet of memory an historical research project is born.
We asked our town clerk and she asked Russ Smith: “Russ remembered the beautiful gardens on the east side of the RR station tracks. He told me the Station Agent Joe Alger was the gardener.”
Joseph R. Alger (1892-1988) was station agent in Fairlee from 1922 to 1957.
Joe Alger’s daughter
is still living passed in February 2017 and but remembers this: “there was an article in the B&M Railroad Employees magazine about the garden with a picture.”
An index to B&M Employees magazine, available online from the Boston & Maine Historical Society shows several references to Joe Alger. None of them really sound like a garden award though.
Alger, Joseph R.; Agent, Fairlee, Back From Sick List, Nov.-Dec., 1956, p.21.Alger, Joseph R.; Agent, Fairlee, Vt., Photo, Sep., 1949, p.16.Alger, Joseph R.; Agent-Telegrapher, Fairlee, Retired, 44yrs. Service, Jan.-Feb., 1958, p.19.Alger, Mr.; Agent, Fairlee, Oct., 1948, p.30.
Center for Lowell History
Of primary interest are back issues of the B&M RR Bulletin, a magazine format rich in historical articles complimented by high-quality photographs of the Boston & Maine and its predecessor railroads. There is a fairly complete collection of the “B&M Employees’ Magazine”, and a collection of the employees’ magazine for the Maine Central RR as well. Other periodicals include Trains; Railroad; Railroad History; National Railway Bulletin; Railroad Enthusiast; Pool’s Manual; Moody’s Manual; Official Railway Guide and others too numerous to mention. “
Note that the sketch isn’t to scale at all, the apron of grass and flowerbeds was much wider than shown in the sketch.
This was really lovely to stumble upon. Joseph Alger was my great grandfather. I recall visiting him and my great grandmother at their bungalow that was built from a Sears kit when I was very young.
great to see your comment Jo-Anne. The bungalow you visited is in good repair and occupied by a wonderful young couple who treasure the history of the house.