In examining early photos looking north along the LV ROW here, I saw what I at first thought was a low shed with several doors (below).


Looking north c. 1890, with depot on right and "shed" on left.

While trying to puzzle that out, I came across a later image, which shows the "shed" to actually be some sort of long fence or wall (below).


Looking north, picture dated 1909.

The "wall" runs along the west side of the passing track and ends at the small shed. It appears to be made with closely spaced round posts (unmodified logs), with a horizontal rail to which are attached vertical boards, topped with a timber cap.
The function was soon confirmed by reference to the 1912 railroad map of the location (below).


 
The LVRR Right of Way fence, running along the west side of the property, is identified as "wire", except for a section starting opposite the depot and terminating near the shed.

There is ample evidence of serious problems with snow-clogged tracks on this branch, but apparently the only properties protected by this snow fence, which is really a "snow wall", are the depot and coal company buildings. The purpose?

Additional views confirm the structure, and differences are probably due to the angle of the photograhs, not changes in construction.


This 1920 photograph shows a more westerly angle on the snow fence.


This dated 1949 image shows the snow fence still existed at the end of the decade.

It was not easy to find a railroad snow fence of anything close to this design. The only one found online was a modern fence in England (below). Has anyone made a study of these structures in the US?


Modern snow fence for English railway.

With such an unusual structure inside my prototype area, and known to have existed there in my prototype year of 1945 (shows up in 1920 and 1949) it HAD to be modeled. And I did recreate it (below).


LVRR ROW wire and snow fences on layout.

But since the viewpoint of the operator and visitors faces east, only the plainer west face of the fence is seen. But whether visible or not, I try and model entire structures, so the "back-side" of the snow fence was also built (below).





New snow fence image?

A postcard view provided by Bruce Tracy from his personal collection looks southeastward from a point some distance northwest of the depot (below). If true, this is our only view of the snow fence from the west and suggests a new construction detail, and so gets a very detailed analysis.



In the upper right is a view across the church graveyard, with the roofline of my (former) house in the background. The long feature between the gravestones and the house at first appears to be a long shed, with the roof being dark shingles and the sun against the walls (below).



But is this an optical illusion caused by the white gravestones standing between the viewer (camera) and the feature? Could this be the never-before-seen west face of the snow fence? If we digitally "remove" the gravestones, the illusion dissolves and we see the fence, with a long horizontal timber that matches in position the one on the other side, seen in all the earlier photographs.





Proof? Well, there was a long shed in this approximate location in this time period (see 1948 air photo below).



But the relative length of the shed vs. snow fence, and the features shown in the postcard view, seem to rule out the shed. In addition, the camera position in the postcard view was such that the linear feature (fence? shed?) extended clear across the gap in the trees. We need to examine that camera angle in more detail (following).

Camera Angle?

What is shown, or not shown, is linked to what could be seen, or not seen, from the position of the person who took the picture on the postcard. Fortunately, and thanks to information field confirmation by Jim Wright of New Woodstock, we know that location (below).


As explained by Jim, the bridge shown on the postcard is on an old alignment of Rte 13, as indicated and still visible on a modern aerial photo, and very clearly shown on a air photo in 1938, when both roads were still open. From that pin-point location, the angles of the view framing each side of the "snow fence" portion of the postcard can be plotted (above, and below). The lefthand limit includes the upper part of the cemetery and the righhand limit cuts through my house and perhaps the very back end of the church.



If we transfer these lines to a close-up of this view (below) we see it centers on the shed and cannot include any of the snow fence, which started opposite the depot and is blocked by trees.


  
The Shed?

If you compare the following views of this shed, it is easy to see how it could be confused with the snow fence.


Note the west wall of the long shed has no window or doors!







Compare the image of the windowless long shed with the image from near this angle on the postcard (below).

BUT.......... in this view the long shed is NOT east of the church, but actaully west or directly north of it! Same shed??? Shed moved? Date of photo?

Conclusion? What was thought to be the west side of the snow fence was actually the west face of a long shed. What looked like a long horizontal timber on the west face of the fence is actually the shadow of the roof overhang. The question remains which shed? It matches the one shown in the "New Woodstock Cemetary", which does not seem to show up in the 1938 or 1948 air photos. 

Why do I care? Well, if it was the snow fence I would have to modify my model to include this timber, since it is ONLY the west face of the fence that can be seen on my layout. It seems I can leave well enough alone at this point.

More....

It seems clear that the long shed nearer the cemetery pre-dates 1938, as it does not show up on either the 1938 or 1948 air photos. The smaller shed shown there may be a later carriage house for the church or even just an extension on the rear of the parsonage.

The earlier shed is, as we now see, well documented on three early postcard views of the New Woodstock Baptist Church. This section is just to focus on those in more detail.

Postcard #1

In this view, looking northeasterly from Main Street, we cleanerly see the entire west side of the shed and the entire west side of the roof. It is clear it is sheathed in vertical boards, appears to be unpainted and weathered, has a wood shingle roof and is not connected to the rear of the church. And the west face, as well as the south gable end, has no doors or windows, indicating a specialized function.

Postcard #2

In this view, looking southeastward from the cemetery, we can see virtually the entire west face of the shed again.This confirms that the west face has no doors or windows. Note the extension on the rear of the church has a distinctive hipped roof (yellow outline).  The roof ridgeline and chimney beyond the shed is from the parsonage.

Postcard #3

At first glance this view, looking west at 2 PM (shadows confirm clock time), simply shows the church (A) in the background, the parsonage (B - aka "my house"), with a side wing extended toward the viewer (C), and a rear wing extending to the right (D).

But....we need to take a REALLY close look at that rear area in more detail (below).

We see the roofline on the parsonage east wing (A). We also see part of the roof overhand at the rear of the church (B). Blocking the view to part of the church roof is the roof of the main section of the parsonage (C). Looking to the right of the chimney we can see the upper part of the church wall (inside oval), and we can see that the large area of roof (E) is BEHIND the church, not attached to the house. So the house rear wing would have to be flat to have this exist, as no roof is visible over this wing (D).

This image, pre-dating 1944 (based on kitchen window being vertical, not horizontal), confirms the flat roof on the rear extensions. The big shed is gone by this date, but a barn stands behind the house (yellow line). Is that snow-covered triangle part of a new rear wing on the church or another small barn or shed?

If we can attach firm dates to the three postcards it may help define the history of the long shed. But it is probably clear what its function was. Carriage sheds attached to churches was a comon 19th century feature. One from Bethany, Connecticut, is show below.


To the model railroad front-page
E-mail me