by Rick Russack
Willowdale was a sawmill community that lasted about 50 years. It was south of Littleton, along the Amonoosuc River, almost on the Lisbon town line. In 1870, three Littleton lumbermen, Charles Tarbell, Isaac Calhoun and Charles Easton, formed a partnership and built a large sawmill on the east side of the river.The business came to be known as the Littleton Lumber Co. Eventually, there would be two sawmills, three stores, four boarding houses, a post office with a dance hall, and numerous houses and farms for the men and horses needed. In the early days, the timber was cut in nearby Littleton, Bethlehem, and later from Kilkenny. Horses were the motive power, hauling the timber to the mills. That changed in 1889 when the first log train arrived from Kilkenny. In 1909, a station was needed and it was built at North Lisbon. The name was soon changed to Barrett’s Station.
As often happened, a series of fires spelled the end of Willowdale. The first major fire was in May, 1898. It destroyed the mill, boarding houses and manufactured lumber. The loss reported to be about $30,00 but insurance covered only about $9,000. The mill was not rebuilt. There were other fires in 1915 and 1927. One of the last buildings, Willowdale Hall was demolished in 1930. Today, the only hint of what was there is a State historical marker. (The information above is taken from an article in The Courier, July 7, 1966.)