The Night Hampton Depot Was Bombarded

By David F. Colt, Jr.

Hampton Academy Class of 1942

[Courtesy photo, not taken in Hampton]

One dark winter night around 1938 'Hockey' Blake* and I were hanging around the Hampton Railroad station. In those days the Boston & Maine Railroad ran about 25 passenger trains a day passing through Hampton. The southbound 5:20 had just left the station for Newburyport and we were watching for the northbound Pine Tree Limited, an express train due at 6:00 pm. It ran from Boston through Portsmouth, Portland and on to Bangor and didn't stop in small towns like Hampton.

There was plenty of fresh sticky snow and we decided to build a wall across the track for the speeding train to smash. 'Hockey' and I rolled up the biggest snow balls we could manage and rolled them onto the track just south of the station. (The location was a bad one). Then we rolled up more and piled them on top of the others. We kept building as long as we could and then waited.

Just as the town clock was striking six we spotted a headlight rounding the bend south of Drakeside Road. It was the Pine Tree Limited roaring toward us at 60 miles an hour. We stepped back, way back and watched as the great steam locomotive with pistons thrashing and the stack belching smoke and soot thundered by. Without so much as a quiver, the great iron monster struck our mighty snow fort which exploded into a monstrous batch of hunks, great and small, hurling through the air right at the station. They hit the building with a thunderous sound and plastered it almost solid with snow. The station agent's bay window was so covered that no one could see out. We just stood there in stunned amazement.

As the Pine Tree Limited was quickly swallowed up in the darkness, the janitor, Kay Mosher, came running out rather stunned and inquired, "What happened?" We sheepishly told him. He scowled and pointed out how the windows might very well have been broken. He then suggested that we never do it again. -- And we never did!

*['Hockey' is Hollis Blake]