Telling the story of 200 years  of White Mountain History
                       Sawyer River Railroad




The picturesque Sawyer River, one of the larger tributary streams feeding the upper Saco River, flowed the among tall peaks and passed through some of the finest spruce stands in the White Mountains. A remote area along the river once hosted a wilderness sawmill village long since completely abandoned and a railroad that was one of the earliest ones in the State. Ironically, although the Sawyer River Railroad was an early endeavor, the second of the twenty or so logging railroads built among or in the vicinity of the White Mountains, it became the next-to-last logging railroad to operate in New Hampshire. The ten-mile railroad endured the rigors of mountain-side logging for over fifty years.

Sawyer River Railroad with Livermore

     Sawyer River Railroad with Livermore and Depot, 187-1928
                          Click on map for larger image

This  remote industrial endeavor was established by the Daniel Saunders family from Lawrence, Mass. The Grafton County Lumber Co. was incorporated in 1874, followed by the construction of a sawmill the next year and the first stages of a logging railroad in 1876. The village of Livermore grew around the mill location on the Sawyer River, lasted for sixty years and had a peak population of about 190 residents. Livermore was about a mile and a half west of the Portland and Ogdensburg Railroad and was connected by the company’s railroad.


The logging railroad was constructed westerly into the headwaters of the Sawyer River for about nine miles with additional side tracks. Like many of the old logging lines, it was a single-locomotive operation. For most of the years the engine used was a wood-burning 0-4-0 Portland locomotive purchased new in 1876. In later years the locomotive had a difficult time stating on the tracks and many accidents resulted. About 1920 the ruined engine was replaced by a used 25-ton Baldwin 2-4-2 saddle tank.

Livermore Village

                                 Livermore Village
                         Click on map for larger image

The deteriorating sawmill had it’s demise following the disastrous flood of 1927, which also swept away most of the company’s railroad tracks. Livermore village survived with a few residents until the mid-1930s, after which the land became part of the National Forest. The site of Livermore village is now unrecognizable unless pointed out. 

Original Plan for Layout of Sawyer River Railroad
  Original plan for the layout of the railroad.  Note the roadbed to the depot, which still exists today.  This plan also shows the wagon road from the Notch Road to the village.
                      Click on the map for larger image

             Click here for photos of the Sawyer River Railroad

             Click here for audio slide show of Livermore

          Bill Gove's Composite  Logging Railroad Map                     

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