New Hampshire Steam Relics: The Bartlett Round house. Situated in a small clearing in the woods behind a residential neighborhood, is a 140 year-old relic of the steam era in the Granite State. Built in 1873, the 6-stall Bartlett Roundhouse was the centerpiece of a yard complex built to house and service pusher engines on the Portland & Ogdensburg Railroad in the White Mountains. The P&O was later acquired by the Maine Central and the facility served that line for the rest of its working life. The little yard not only had this roundhouse, but also a multitude of tracks, a wooden water tower, a coaling facility, a turntable and a wye. The engines housed here assisted heavy freights on the steep, westbound climb through Crawford Notch, near Mt. Washington. Old photos depict beefy 2-8-0s, 4-6-0s and even several compound 2-6-6-2s. The latter were too large to fit on the turntable, so that facility was later removed. Locomotives at this yard were primarily turned on a wye and most legacy photos do not depict a turntable in front of the roundhouse.
After the Maine Central scrapped its steam engines, 2 of the original 6 stalls were removed, along with some of the other structures such as the water tank. The roundhouse was abandoned in 1958 and became property of the New Hampshire Department of Transportation. It was used by highway crews to store rock salt for many years and it gradually deteriorated. In 2008, a local grass-roots effort was mounted to save this structure. The Bartlett Roundhouse Preservation Society has worked to get the building placed on the National Register of Historic Places and the State of New Hampshire has agree to cooperate with their efforts to find grants to stabilize and restore the building. In addition a couple of pieces of original Maine Central rolling stock have been acquired for display here. In addition to the outside-braced wooden boxcar shown in this photo, there is also a wooden snow plow under restoration on the single track that still leads to the facility. Hopefully, the group will be successful in their quest for grant money, and this very historic structure, which sits just yards from the main line used by the Conway Scenic Railroad, will continue to be around for generations to come.