by Rick Russack

A short distance west of Livermore was the Saco Valley Railroad and its town, Carrigain.  The SVRR was incorporated in April, 1891with permission to extend about 10 miles up the valley of  the Mount Washington River, also known as Dry River.  Fred Garman had a sawmill along the tracks of the Maine Central Railroad (successor to the Portland and Ogdensburg) and it was from this point that the SVRR would originate.  In 1891, L.D. Hazen, Charles H. Stevens (both of St. Johnsbury, Vt.) along with Benjamin Garfield of Whitefield, entered into a 10 year contract to log on the Cutts Grant. Interestingly, descendants of the original grant holders, Thomas Cutts and Richard Conant still owned the land. Their contract required conservative logging practices, unusual for the time.    Fred Garman was part of this new company and the town of Carrigain developed around Garman’s mill.  Specific details are mostly lacking for Carrigain.  According to Fran Belcher’s “Logging Railroads of the White Mountains” Carrigain had a population of “several hundred”.  There was a large railroad station with a full-time agent, a company store, church, boarding house, school, and numerous single-family homes.

Company Store and Station House


The company did not need to build the full 10 miles of track that had been authorized. About 7 miles of track sufficed to log the area specified.  Nor did they need the full time period for which they had contracted.  The company leased the track it needed from the Boston and Maine Railroad for a period of five years, with a six-month extension at the end of the five years.  By Feb.1, 1898 logging had been completed, the railroad was discontinued, and the town of Carrigain was abandoned[1]. The remains of the foundation can be seen today, as well as the place where the Saco Valley Rail Road branched off from the Maine Central track.  Ben English, who has been hiking in Crawford Notch for over 40 years,[2] said that Carrigian cellar holes remained until the late 1970s when the Morey family sold the land and a number of private homes and roads were built in the area.

[1]  C. Francis Belcher, Logging Railroads of the White Mountains.

[2]  Personal communication, Nov. 2008


Suggested Reading:
As of yet, there is no reference book solely devoted to Abandoned Towns.

"Logging Railroads of the White Mountains" by C. Frances Belcher, includes information on the towns assoicated with the logging railroads.

"Logging Railroads of the Saco River Valley" by Bill Gove, has a full chapter on the Saco River Railroad.  It's one of three books Gove has written on WHite Mountain logging railroads.

As noted earlier, "Chronicles of the White Mountains" by Frederick Kilbourne is excellent and also has information on some of the towns.