Prototype Structure – Kennebec Central Retaining Wall

Kennebec Central retaining wall

Wes Ewell writes;- First, there is no evidence of a concrete wall anywhere except at the far south end of the yard. This appears to be part of a foundation for a non-railroad building. Remains of a timber retaining wall still exist along the entire railroad frontage. This wall appears to have been built up of alternating layers of heavy round pilings. The layers that ran parallel to the shore look like they were originally 10-14 inches in diameter. These alternated with layers of piles that extended into the fill perpendicular to the shore, and look like they were larger, in the range of 12-16 inches diameter. In front of the coal dock there were also vertical pilings, that look like they might have been about 10 inches diameter when new, but are now badly eroded. These are spaced about five feet apart. All are tied together with steel rods. The wall is backfilled with rip-rap of rocks that are about 8 to 12 inches in largest dimension.

The wall extends south from behind the engine-house to a point roughly in line with the north wall of the station, where it jogs out into the river about 30 feet then runs parallel to the river about 80 feet where the coal dock was. It then jogs out again, but this time at an angle about 20 feet out and 30 feet along the shore, then runs about 120 feet to the concrete wall at the south end of the yard. The wall from the second jog south appears to be newer and slightly different construction, with pilings both inside and outside the wall, and square timbers instead of round.

As for the coal shed, are you talking about the large coal dock or the smaller shed next to the engine-house? There were at least two large coal docks. The first one looked more like a barn, with ship-lapped board siding; the second looked more like a highway salt shed, with exterior timber framing and a nearly flat roof. There were also several small sheds next to the engine-house, that were moved over the years. In the course of my research on the engine-house for Bob Jones’ book, I found evidence that there were at least four different engine-house buildings over the years. This area was (and still is) subject to high-velocity floods every spring, which are often loaded with big chunks of ice and sometimes washed the buildings away.

Michael Lumert has posted some modern day photos in the M2FQ Forum photos (you have to be a member to view) to go along with his M2FQ V9#3 2004 article