NEB&W Guide to Vergennes, VT

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NEB&W Layout Table of Contents

Introduction

Overview

  • This area is based on Vergennes, VT on the Rutland RR. Charles Vergennes was the Foreign Minister of France at the time of the American Revolution. He was instrumental in helping to secure aid from France for the Americans, support that was crucial for our ultimate victory.



  • Early map, c. 1848. It's rotated so that north is to the left. Note the branch which ran down to the falls.



  • Bird's eye engraving c. 1890. (Unfortunately, the railroad facilities aren't shown.)



  • Aerial views of downtown.



  • Topographic maps.



  • Sanborn fire insurance maps of Vergennes. Note the highway originally crossed at grade between the two creameries.



  • An overview of the prototype.



The First Layout Version

  • On the layout, the scene as it WAS modeled. (As of Sept. 7, 2002, we tore this up and started the reconstruction to more faithfully represent Vergennes.)



Depot

  • Vergennes's unique two-story station. See this section for more info.



Freight House



Dairymen's League Creamery

  • The Dairymen's League (Dairylea) creamery was built in 1926. It continued as an active creamery past the demise of milk trains, switching from milk cars to highway trucks.



Sheffield Farms Creamery/Kennedy Brothers

  • The other creamery was originally a Sheffield Farms facility, with the main cinder block section built in 1909 (the year that creameries were constructed all up and down the Rutland line), and the brick addition added in 1931. Sheffield Farms shipped milk to New York City. On July 25, 1950, as rail service deteriorated, this Sheffield Farms creamery became a Hood plant, as the milk run to Boston was shorter. It became Kennedy Bros. July 9, 1959.



  • The brick annex was at an angle to the concrete block one. The pilasters stopped short of the top of the wall in an Art Deco style.



  • There were auxiliary buildings around Kennedy Bros. which may or may not date back to when it was a creamery.



  • An even smaller leanto type shed. Looks like it might have been moved from elsewhere.



Our Model

  • Our model was built as we saw it c. 1972, as Kennedy Bros. - we had no idea it had been a creamery. The concrete block section has been modeled, as far as I can see, to full scale (roughly 36 feet wide by 90 feet long). The brick section was cut down. The one section alongside the tracks (and a continuation of the concrete block section was reduced way down to just about 10 scale feet. The brick wing was also cut down, but not as drastically.



Other Creamery?

  • Bob Nimke included this photo of a creamery labelled Vergennes. I can't equate this to either of the two above. Was it simply mislabeled?



Ralston Purina Warehouse/Hood's Farm Store

  • We modeled the Hood's Farm Store (former Ralston Purina warehouse, built in '38). The prototype was 138 feet long, our model, only 61 feet.



Jackman Fuels

  • In 1936, Thomas Mack Coal Co. was added on a siding right behind the depot. In 1938, Ralston Purina added a warehouse on an extension of a siding of Mack Coal Co. Thomas Mack became Jackman Fuels in 1946.
    In our rebuilding Vergennes, we are adding a replica of Jackman Fuels. (All prototype photos c. 2002 except as noted .)
For more info, see this section.



Storehouse

  • On the far end of the team track was a little storehouse that probably dates back to when the railroad came through town. From the Sanborn, I got dimensions of about 22 scale feet wide by 40 feet long.



Stockyard

  • Vergennes had a stockyard on the opposite side of the depot. Sometime prior to WWII, it was rebuilt as shown in a 1944 insurance map. (For more on stockpens, see the stockpens section.) Luke Smith kitbashed a Walthers kit for the model here, which Chris Shing weathered and otherwise finished.



Water Tower

  • There was a water tower spaced a little ways from the tracks. The locos got their water from a water column, not a spout off the tank.



Standard Oil

  • Standard Oil (of NY, a.k.a. Socony) had a small facility and siding right opposite the Sheffield Farms creamery, probably to receive gasoline for local gas stations. (In 1911, Standard Oil was broken up by the Supreme Court into a number of "mini-Standards", including Standard Oil of NY, so it would seem that use of the older name suggests the facility was built prior to '11.) The siding was taken out c. 1931, but we are modeling it anyway. (As highways improved and trucks grew bigger, it likely made more sense to receive the gasoline from a central location like Burlington and distribute it via truck.) Lacking any more information other than on the 1922 track diagram, we are looking for other period facilities. So far, we've found is a Texaco facility at Saratoga, c. 1931 and distance views of a Standard Oil facility there, pre-WWI.
From the Sanborn, I measure the office to be 25 feet long by 18 feet wide. All three tanks are 12 feet in diameter, with one 25 feet long and one 30 feet long. From the track plan, using the 50 foot length for the coal trestle as a known length, the office comes out 24x18, both tanks are 30 feet long and the diameters are 8 feet. (I think we will go with the Sanborn unless we find tanks that are narrower than 12 feet across.)



Vermont Shade & Roller

  • This was a company located down by the falls and shipped wood products (turned hardwood for, as the name suggests, shades and rollers) from the team track. (Note that on the '27 Sanborn map, there was a large area of stockpiled supplies.)
The later map doesn't show the piles but also doesn't show this area. I took this photo c. '79 in Vergennes, but not sure exactly where. This might be the Shade & Roller piles (I think it was and in the general location of '27 map showed the supplies to be), unless it was for Kennedy Brothers.



Road Underpass

  • The original road crossed at grade between the two creameries. In 1908, a small highway underpass was built just north of the area and the highway took a jog to reach it. The bridge was 26 ft. 6 ins. long, with the clear width 21 ft. 6 ins. The distance to the road from the bottom of the rail was a mere 16 ft. 6 ins. Just recently the underpass was rebuilt to modern traffic standards.



  • A few years ago, c. 2000, the underpass was rebuilt to modern traffic standards. In doing so, they also moved the road so the grade was gentler and the curve not as sharp.



Handcar Shed

  • There was a handcar or tool shed just beyond the underpass. (Rutland Car Shops makes a cast resin kit for this specific building, which we will be using.)



The Gorge

  • At the south end of the scene was a 50-foot or so "gorge" shown on the topo. In Sept. 2002, we made a trip to Vergennes to explore this depression. We tried to get down to the bottom on both sides, both from walking along the bottom and by climbing down from the embankment - no luck as the vegetation was so dense. In retrospect, we think there is a small box culvert at the bottom.



  • There is a photo in one of the Bob Nimke Rutland books taken at an unidentified location. We have since identified it as just south of Rutland on the main. We are using it as a stand-in for us to model on our layout.



Modeling



Road Overpass

  • At the south end of the scene, the track goes through the backdrop and hiding that is always difficult. In the Francis Poulin Collection are a number of simple rural overpasses but bridge no. 248, north of New Haven, VT, is the closest to Vergennes, so I guess we will use this to frame the backdrop opening.



The Background

  • C. 2002, there is a row of trees paralleling the road.



Billboards

  • There were a couple of billboards across the road from Jackman Fuels.



On The Layout

  • The first version.



  • The reconstruction of Vergennes began on Sept. 7th, 2002. See this section.



Vergennes Partnership



Vergennes, Not Modeled