Maine Industries in the Two Foot Era (1880 – 1940) – some resources by Tom Hoermann

Tom Hoermann gave a clinic titled “Maine Industries in the Two Foot Era (1880 – 1940)” at the 36th National Narrow Gauge Convention held in Augusta, Maine in September 2016. To accompany this clinic, Tom gave out a hard copy document listing some of the resources that he used to develop the clinic, and has given us a copy and permission to publish on the FAQ’s for those persons who were unable to attend the Convention. Thanks Tom!   

Picture of the Portland Company building located at 58 Fore Street, Portland added for the FAQ’s.

The purpose of every railroad is to move people, raw materials, and/or finished goods from place to place. This clinic will examine the inter-relationship between various industries and the railroads in Maine during the period 1880 – 1940, using lots of photographs.  Topics include: farming and fishing; logging, lumber, wood and paper; mineral extraction and processing; light and heavy manufacturing; recreation and tourism; construction and transportation.  Information on interesting and unusual prototypes will provide plenty of ideas for your layout, modules, and mini-scenes!

There are an increasing number of resources to prospect when looking for information on a prototype, its history, and images of it. Here are the major printed references I used for this clinic:

A Day’s Work: A Sampler of Historic Maine Photographs, 1860 – 1920, Parts I & II

Annotated and Compiled by W. H. Bunting, Tilbury House, Publishers, Gardiner, Maine; and Maine Preservation, Portland, Maine

Part I, October 1997, ISBN 0-88448-188-3 Part II, August 2000, ISBN 0-88448-206-5

All Aboard for Yesterday! A Nostalgic History of Railroading in Maine

Malcolm Barter, Editor, Down East Books, Camden, Maine, 1979. ISBN 0-89272-053-0

A Pictorial History of Maine

Thomas M. Griffiths & Arthur M. Griffiths, A Monmouth Press Edition, printed by Twin City Printery, Lewiston, Maine

(date and ISBN unknown)

Books from the Images of America Series

Arcadia Publishing, an imprint of Tempus Publishing, Inc., Charleston, SC

This series continues to expand; check their website ( ) for current titles. Note that since these books are authored by many different individuals and local historical societies, the quality of text and photographs varies from book to book.  But they all provide a lot of photographs with captions on their title subject all in one volume.

Logging and Lumbering in Maine

Donald A. Wilson, 2001, ISBN 0-7385-0521-8

Maine Life at the Turn of the Century, through the Photographs of Nettie Cummings Maxim

Diane and Jack Barnes, 1995, ISBN 0-7524-0240-4

Maine’s Steamboating Past

Donald A. Wilson, 2007, ISBN 0-7385-4964-4

The Portland Company, 1846 – 1982

David H. Fletcher, 2002, ISBN 0-7385-1140-4

Togus, Down in Maine: The First National Veterans Home

Timothy L. Smith, 1998, ISBN 0-7254-0998-0

Online Resources

The internet fulfills its promise as a means of accessing and sharing information on historical topics. Search engines enable us to find museums, historical societies, libraries, and other institutions; and then to virtually wander through their archives and collections of photographs.  But if you have the opportunity to visit these brick-and-mortar facilities, I encourage you to do so.  Virtual reality has its benefits; but in my opinion, nothing compares to standing next to an actual object that has seen years of actual use, be it a hand-made berry basket, a quilt, a painting, a carpenter’s plane, or a Portland Forney.

The following list includes the websites that I used to develop this clinic:

Maine Memory Network; a project of the Maine Historical Society

Maine Historical Society, Portland

Maine History Online

Vintage Maine Images, Portland

Maine State Museum, Augusta

Maine Maritime Museum, Bath

Maine Forest & Logging Museum, Bradley

Seashore Trolley Museum, Kennebunkport

Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Co. & Museum, Portland

Wiscasset, Waterville & Farmington Railway Museum, Alna

Boothbay Railway Village, Boothbay

Sandy River & Rangeley Lakes Railway Museum, Phillips

The Stanley Museum, Kingfield

Maine Granite Industry Museum, Mt. Desert

Maine Folklife Center, University of Maine, Orono

Owl’s Head Transportation Museum, Owl’s Head, Portland

Patten Lumbermen’s Museum, Patten

Penobscot Marine Museum, Searsport

The American Textile History Museum, Lowell, MA (Chace Catalogue)

Of course, there are many more online resources, including the websites of the many historical societies and libraries throughout Maine, the US, and the world. Also, check out media websites such as YouTube to see videos of operating machines and models.

I hope this clinic has provided some useful information and entertainment. But if you have been inspired to do some research on subjects close to your own home, interests, and hobbies (especially your railroad!), then we have really accomplished something!

If you do incorporate your research into your models, I hope that you will share your work and inspire the rest of us. And most importantly, please consider making a contribution of your time, your expertise, and/or your financial support to your favorite historical society, museum, or library.



Some additional resources

There are a number of web based resources that we use ourselves for either background information on Maine at the time of the Two Footers or about currently preserved equipment. These are listed below in no particular order.

The photos and files sections of both the MaineOn2 and the Maine Two Footers Yahoo! Groups. Well worth a browse for those viewers who are members (why not join if you are not? Links are in the sidebar on the right). The various goodies available include a list of all the Sandy River Freight Cars with dimensions and features and many detailed photographs of currently preserved items plus some historical ones. 

The Penobscot Marine Museum has a huge collection of photographs available online, including the Eastern Postcard Companies archive. There are a small number of Maine Two Foot Railway pictures in the collection but many of town scenes, buildings and events and other items which provide an invaluable background for the Maine Two Foot modeller;-

The Maine Memory Net is the online digital portal for the Maine Historical Society. Like the Penobscot Marine Museum above, it also has a huge collection of photographs available online;-

Historic USGS Maps of New England & NY

Bridgton Historical Society

WW&F Railway Museum

Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum

Sandy River & Rangeley Lakes Railroad


Boothbay Railway Village

New England Rail Photos;- this organisation hosts a huge collection of rail related photographs across the whole of the USA. The NERail section is dedicated to New England which geographically encompasses all Maine Two Footers by the FAQ’s definitions;-



Sandy River;-


Billerica and Bedford;-

If you have any suggestions for additional sites that would be of interest to modellers of the Maine Two Footers then please let us know