Trolleys to the Casino: Consolidation -- The Exeter, Hampton & Amesbury Street Railway

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The consolidation of the Exeter Street Railway, the Hampton & Amesbury Street Railway and the Rockingham Electric Company to form a single operating company was authorized on February 15, 1899 by the New Hampshire Legislature when it granted a corporate charter to the Exeter, Hampton & Amesbury Street Railway. Accomplished through the exchange of capital stock on a share for share basis, the actual merger appears to have taken place on June 30, 1899, the close of the fiscal year.

Among the incorporators of the EH&A, which also was authorized to conduct a general electric lighting and power business in the towns of Exeter, Hampton, Hampton Falls and Seabrook were William H. C. Follansby, Stephen H. Gale, Albert S. Wetherell, Albert E. McReel, Eben Folsom, John Templeton, Otis H. Whittier, Warren Brown, Wallace D. Lovell and Charles E. Hollander.

(Warren Brown and Otis H. Whittier, it will be recalled, were among the incorporators of the Hampton Street Railway in 1891 and there is reason to believe that Lovell, just to be on the safe side picked up the charter of that company at about the same time he acquired control of the Exeter Street Railway.)

Inclusion of the Amesbury& Hampton in the consolidation was impossible because, at the time, there were no laws in either Massachusetts or New Hampshire to permit the merger of companies of separate citizenship, even though physically connected. However, on May 21, 1900, permission to lease the Amesbury & Hampton to the EH&A was granted by the Massachusetts General Court, the agreement being ratified by the Granite State lawmakers on February 27, 1901. During the period from July 4, 1899, when the A&H commenced operation, until July 1, 1900, the effective date of the lease, the Amesbury & Hampton was operated under contract by the EH&A.

Under the terms of the 25-year lease, the EH&A was to pay as rent a semi-annual dividend of 2 per cent on the Amesbury & Hampton's capital stock, plus the interest on its bonds; to keep the property in good repair and to operate the same in accordance with Massachusetts law. The Amesbury & Hampton, in turn, was to maintain its corporate existence and to issue any stock or bonds that might be necessary to pay for any improvements of a permanent nature to the property.

The unified system, with 25.051 route miles and 26.216 track miles, extended from the Exeter depot via either leg of the loop to Court Square and on to Hampton Village and Ocean Boulevard at Hampton Beach; from a point near the Hampton River along Hampton Beach to North Beach and Portsmouth junction, and from Whittier's Corner at Hampton Village through Hampton Falls, Seabrook, Smithtown and Salisbury Plains to Market Square, Amesbury. The short branch from Smithtown Square to the connection with the Haverhill & Amesbury at the state line was for all practical purposes a part of the H&A although the EH&A held title to the trackage.

Route Miles
Exeter Depot - Hampton Beach 12.129
Hampton River - Portsmouth Junction   3.500
Whittier's - State Line, Smithtown   5.092
State Line - Market Square, Amesbury           4.330
Sidings and Turnouts Owned     .885
Sidings and Turnouts Leased     .280
Total, All Tracks 26.216

Fifty, 55 and 60 pound Trail, in 60-foot lengths, predominated on the EH&A-A&H system and, for the most part, the rails were laid on chestnut ties spaced on two-foot centers and thickly ballasted with gravel. There was a small amount of girder rail on Market Street and in Market Square, Amesbury. Wooden poles were used to support the trolley overhead, both side bracket and span wire suspension being employed. The trolley wire was No. 00 hard-drawn copper, with No. 0 wire being used on turnouts, and the direct current feeders were of No. 0000 and 500,000 circ. mil copper wire. A private telephone dispatching system connected all turnouts, junction points and stations with the Hampton carhouse.

Turnouts between Exeter and Hampton Beach were the so-called White Schoolhouse siding (later known as Haynes' siding) on Hampton Road about 11/2 miles east of Court Square, Exeter; Hampton carhouse siding; Whittier's siding, extending along Winnacunnet Road easterly from the wye to the Center School; Young's siding, on Winnacunnet Road at Park Avenue, and Beach siding, on Ocean Boulevard, Hampton Beach, near the intersection with Winnacunnet Road. Between Amesbury and Whittier's, turnouts were located at the Amesbury carhouse; at Dole's Corner; in Hampton Falls, near the Dodge Ponds, and at Ward's in Hampton, about a mile south of Whittier's. There also was a turnout at Portsmouth junction. For a time, there also was a turnout on Market Street, Amesbury, near the Amesbury & Salisbury Agricultural Association fairgrounds.

Additional rolling stock, consisting of four 10 bench opens and a combination mail and baggage car built by the Newburyport Car Company of Newburyport, Mass., and two more Briggs 14 bench opens, was acquired in 1900 and by the end of that year, the passenger equipment of the EH&A-A&H system consisted of seven 20-foot closed cars, one Duplex convertible, 13 ten bench opens and eight 14 bench opens. Other equipment included a freight car, the mail car, four snow plows and a number of work cars.

Principal officials of the Exeter, Hampton & Amesbury on July 1, 1900 were Warren Brown, president; Edwin L. Pride of Boston, treasurer; John Templeton, clerk of corporation; Atty. H. G. Sargent of Concord, general counsel, and Albert E. McReel, general manager and superintendent. The company had $225,000 in common capital stock and its funded debt consisted of $203,000 in 20-year 5 per cent first mortgage bonds, issued as of June 1, 1899. The American Loan & Trust Company, later the American Trust Company, of Boston was trustee of the bond issue. Subsequently, the capital stock was increased to $360,000 and the funded debt to $225,000.

McReel also was general manager and superintendent of the Amesbury & Hampton, other officials of which on September 30,1900 were Wallace D. Lovell, president; Edwin L. Pride treasurer; Henry F. Carey of Amesbury, clerk, and Charles E. Stanwood of Needham, Mass., auditor. The A&H at this time had $50,000 in common capital stock and a like amount in 5 per cent 20-year first mortgage bonds, issued as of October 1, 1899, with the Beacon Trust Company of Boston as trustee. Later, the funded debt and capital -stock each was increased to $100,000.

(Mr. McReel, formerly associated with the Athol, Mass. Gas & Electric Company, had come to Exeter in January 1898 to become superintendent of the Rockingham Electric Company and he was named general manager and superintendent of the Exeter Street Railway on March 25 of that same year.)

The headquarters of the EH&A-A&H system in 1900 were located in the Folsom Block on Water Street, Exeter. Here were offices for the general manager and the bookkeeping staff and a large private office for other officials of the road. By 1901, the general offices of both companies were at 60 State Street, Boston, in the heart of the Hub's financial district. This also was the headquarters of the Massachusetts Construction Company, which held all outstanding capital stock of the EH&A and A&H except for directors' qualifying shares.

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