Re: Christmas Trees Arriving By Rail

Donald B. Valentine
 




---In STMFC@..., <spottab@...> wrote :

Bob:

The first flat car (partial) in the first photo looks like a BAR car riding on archbars.  The second car looks like a MeC car riding on Fox trucks.

I believe the fourth car is same as the second car in the next image.  A really good bet would be B&M #33583.  These were delivered by Magor in 1923, and rode on early CSF trucks.  So this narrows the date range to1923-1934.  If I had to guess, I would say pre-Depression.

And I am 99% certain those are not pine trees.  Most likely balsam fir from Maine, the tree preferred by Bostonians for generations (they smell really good).

Best,

Dave Parker
Riverside, CA 


   I'm in 100% agreement with Dave on his entire post except to state that I am also 100% 
sure that none of the tree were pine trees. The only pine trees I've seen cut and sold as 
Christmas trees in New England were very limited in number, cut within an hour or two of 
where they were sold and trucked. Given the number I think it is fair to state that a pickup 
truck would have sufficed.  Even in this case they were Scotch Pines, which have become
a bit more popular in recent years for reasons that I can't fathom. But Dave is right, in that 
era most would have been balsam firs which last well and smell wonderfully. The other 
option would have been white spruce, which also lasts fairly well. I have cut trees from time 
to time hereabouts since I was five years old and can tell you that Lamoille County still ships 
quite a few loads but nothing like what was shipped 40 years ago. The St.J. & L.C. used to 
load as many as 10 - 12 flat cars of them on two tracks on the Oxbow in Morrisville, always
bundled like those in the photos. Some may remember the two planes that collided over 
NYC back in 1967 or 1968 with one coming down onto a tractor-trailer load of trees in 
Brooklyn. That was a load of Joe Twombly's trees from here in Lamoille County. Joe's
driver had parked and gone into a nearby diner for breakfast before the seller opened so 
the trees could be delivered.  

The trees in teh photos are being unloaded in the Charlestown section of Boston just inside
Sullivan Sq. and just outbound of the H.P. Hood milk processing plant. I am certain of this 
because of the tower on Schrafft's candy plant visible at the upper right.

Happy Thanksgiving to each and all!  Don Valentine

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