Tag Archive | Parks and Recreation

Strange, Slightly Unsettling Letter About Alton Parks & Rec. In Today’s ‘Laconia Sun’.

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 ..by Anura Guruge


Last Related Alton Parks & Rec. Post:
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The Unique All Black Old Railway Semaphore … — Nov. 22, 2012.


In Friday, April 12, 2013 'The Laconia Daily Sun' letter section. Click to access.

In Friday, April 12, 2013 ‘The Laconia Daily Sun’ letter section. Click to access.


I think I get the gist of this. Not really sure who these ‘department directors’ that he is talking about. I didn’t think they were that big to have multiple directors. That they were giving out $3,000 bonuses caught me by surprise. I did not realize Alton gave out bonuses such as this. I guess I live and learn.

Alton Christmas Tree Lighting 2012 Will Be On Saturday, December 1, 2012.


Anura Guruge, laughing, picture November 16, 2011.

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by Anura Guruge


Related posts:
1. Wolfeboro, NH, Christmas Tree Lighting, 2012 — Nov. 24, 2012.
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2. The Unique All Black Old Railway Semaphore Signals in Alton
>>Nov. 22, 2012.


The annual Christmas tree lighting in Alton, for 2012, will be on Saturday, December 1, 2012.

You will NOT find that crucial piece of information in the press release that was put out, about the tree lightning, by the Alton ‘Parks and Recreation’ department — the same group responsible for the poor, abused railway semaphore signals at Alton Bay (not to mention the unscheduled fireworks on ‘Old Home Day). Yes, they put out a press release WITHOUT the day and ‘The Baysider‘, as ever obliging, printed it, verbatim, on Thursday, November 22, 2012 — assuming that all interested parties must have ESP.

Here check it out if you find it hard to believe that somebody could put out a press release for an event WITHOUT mentioning when it was taking place!

Click image to access ‘The Baysider’ original if you want to see it with your own two eyes to believe this ludicrousness.


Yes, Josh Spaulding, my friend, the esteemed editor of ‘The Baysider‘ should have checked and fixed it. But, to be fair to Josh, he really is beyond busy and rushed — and he doesn’t have that many qualified staff to help him. So I am loath to blame Josh. He really tries so hard to please all and works like a crazy person. [He is the only person that I know who makes me feel as if I am idle].

It is not just Josh. All the Editors that work for ‘Salmon Press‘ do this — i.e., publish press releases without checking them. A couple years ago I was appalled to read a press release in the Wolfeboro, ‘Granite State News, by a local artist who claimed to be a ‘voyeur‘! Voyeurism is a felony in NH. So here we have a newspaper printing a statement where somebody claims to be a voyeur. I was perturbed enough to e-mail the editor and ask him whether he noticed it. He said he did, but was too busy to clarify or change it. So he just printed it. As far as I know the Wolfeboro or Alton police never investigated this. Hhhhmmm.

The Unique All Black Old Railway Semaphore Signals in Alton Bay, NH. What A Sight.

Anura Guruge, laughing, picture November 16, 2011.

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by Anura Guruge


Related posts:
Δ The Old Railway Semaphore Signals in Alton Bay, NH — In Desperate Need Of Attention — Aug. 9, 2012.
Δ Lakes Region (NH) Economy Booming Per Local Builders — Oct. 18, 2012.
Δ Alton, NH Property Tax Rate: Highest It Has Been In Last 5 Years — Nov. 19, 2012.


The now painted all black railway semaphore signals above the 'Old Railway Station' in Alton, NH by Anura Guruge

The now painted all black railway semaphore signals above the ‘Old Railway Station’ in Alton, NH. It is possible that they got it 50% right, which is not too bad, considering. Click to ENLARGE.


A bit of background: The desperately sorry state of these semaphore signals were brought to my attention in early August of this year. I contacted the lady who runs Alton Parks and Recreation, this building being a part of their domain. I kind of knew her given that our kids went to the same school. She indicated that they hoped to get to it ‘this fall‘. Given that I don’t like to ask people to do things without offering to help, I did offer to do any research required to determine the correct colors and marking (this not being too much of a chore given that I do love all things trains).

Come October I found out that the chief maintenance person at ‘Parks & Recs.’ had taken a 3 week vacation. I was getting concerned. From the little I know, it gets difficult to paint outside when the temperature is below 40°F, and I had heard that NH had had its first frost. In mid-October I happened to meet the ‘lady in charge’ at a school function. A major impediment according to her was that the maintenance folks wanted a ‘Cherry Picker’ [i.e., hydraulic bucket lift] to do the painting! The irony that the builders that build that station or much of the railways in the NE did not have ‘Cherry Pickers’ escaped her. Those semaphores, which actually have a ladder attached to them (as can be clearly seen in the picture) probably have never had any work done to them via a ‘Cherry Picker’. Since she was reluctant to ask the Alton Fire Dept. for help, she said that she would consider hiring an outside contractor. I contacted, unsuccessfully, three local builders to get a quote.

A few days later I called the Alton Town Administrator, E. Russell Bailey, and left him a voice mail. He never called me back. A couple of weeks later, actually on Election Day, November 6, the local newspaper reporter stopped by after the polls closed for some pizza. I started telling him about the poor semaphores since he is local and grew up in Alton. He stopped me mid-sentence and said it had been brought up at the last Selectman’s Meeting and permission had been given to use a town ‘Cherry Picker’ (which I assume was from the fire department). I even read about it, albeit just one sentence, in the paper the following week.

Then towards the end of last week, I think it might have been Thursday, I got an e-mail from ‘Parks and Recs’ asking whether I had seen the freshly painted signals. I had not. The next day I went looking armed with my ‘point-and-click’ camera. I was mortified. Both arms were black. It was like an omen. ‘Black‘ is so symbolic. As it happens, Alton which I think prides itself of preserving some historic railway artifacts actually has another semaphore signal — basically at the back of the Town Hall. We drove around to have a look at that. That is not in great shape either, but you could clearly see the Red Arm. So that is where we are. They never asked me to research the colors and obviously they couldn’t be bothered to do it themselves. Now it is possible that this could be color blindness problem. But, I think I finally found a plausible explanation. Please refer to the last picture.


So today, after Thanksgiving and doing a post on a cardinal that turned 80, I did some quick research on the Web.

Quickly found this picture of the Alton Bay Station taken on 14 October 2008. You can clearly see that one arm is red.

Extracted from a picture on ‘flickr’ by a ‘kla4067’, Ron Reiring. Click image to access his original. My thanks to him. This was a great help.

Then I also found this, though this is NOT of the Alton semaphore, though you can immediately see that it is a similar set of signals.

Extracted from another ‘flickr’ image, this one from t55z T (again with thanks). Click image to access his original. This time you can’t mistake the red arm and you can clearly see that the hardware is more or less identical to what we have in Alton.

Then I found this. Bingo. A ‘Boston and Maine‘. Looks very similar to the application in Alton. I think it is what might be characterized as a ‘yard signal‘. The red arm acts as a stop signal for the main line. The other arm has to do with local operations. I really haven’t researched it. I am more familiar with the British style, two quadrant, signals which act in tandem like a two digit binary number giving you 4 possible modes of operation.

This looks like a great example of how these ‘yard signals’ were used by ‘Boston & Maine’

More contemporary. The Downeaster in Durmham, NH

In a museum.

If Alton did do any research this was probably the picture they used. Enough said.

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