The Railroads and Poland
The plan of a railroad between Portland and Montreal was first seriously agitated in Portland in 1844, John A Poor, William P Preble, Joseph S Little and John B Brown being among the prime movers of the enterprise. Co-operation by Canadian capitalists was secured a charter was obtained February 10, 1845 and ground broken on July 4, 1845. The road was opened to Yarmouth in 1848 to Mechanic Falls in 1849 to South Paris early in 1850 to Bethel in 1851 to New Hampshire in 1852 and 1853 it connected with the Montreal division. Thus there was a continuos rail between Casco Bay and the St Lawrence River a distance of 298 miles. The first train left Portland on March 10, 1851, C G Waterhouse as conductor and came through Poland bound for Canada.
On March 28, 1845 the Androscoggin and Kennebec Railroad was charted. In 1849 it opened a route from Danville Junction on the Grand Trunk to Waterville.
At Danville Junction a connection with Atlantic and St Lawrence Railroad was made, since the Grand Trunk had leased the latter road on August 5, 1853 for 999 Years. The narrow gauge of the road from Danville to Canada was changed in one day September 4, 1874.
Mechanic Falls station was also the Terminal point for the Rumford falls and Buckfield Railroad. Chartered June 22, 1847, the line opened 13 miles of road on Oct 10, 1849. It was sold under foreclosure in 1856 to the Oxford Central Railroad Company, which added 14.5 miles to Canton Mills's terminus.
In addition to the busy Mechanic Falls terminal Poland had 4 stations. These were at Poland Corner, where Robert Moore was agent, Ricker's Empire and East Poland. Of these 4 the only still standing is that at Poland Corner. This station has been converted to a home and is presently owned by Charles Connrs.
From the time of the coming of the railroads life changed for Poland. The stagecoaches became a thing of the past. Hotels gradually lost their business and traffic on the Portland Highway dwindled away. Business and the mills radiated to Mechanic Falls and Auburn, cutting down such activities in the life of Poland.