Kennebunkport Railroad Depot building to be demolished.
Local capitalists devised a plan to deliver tourists closer to seaside businesses of the Kennebunks in 1881 by building a 4 1/2 mile railroad branch along Kennebunk Beaches. A lot in Lower Village owned by Shipbuilder, David Clark was purchased for the Kennebunkport Station. Joseph Day of Kennebunk won the contract to build a 48 x 20-foot depot with an attached 40 ft platform. The new Kennebunkport Station can be seen top left when it was first built in 1883. B&M Railroad reported in 1887, that the new 4.5-mile stretch was already one of their most profitable branches per mile.
As automobiles became more common, ridership on the line declined. When the Federal Income Tax Law regarding leased railroads changed in 1919, the Kennebunk & Kennebunkport Railroad officially became a subsidiary of the Boston & Maine Railroad Company. Against the wishes of local businessmen, the branch was abandoned on September 8, 1926. The Kennebunkport Depot, in its original location, became the Old Depot Restaurant. (Top right) The building that is now the Pilot House Restaurant was turned around on the lot before 1974. (Bottom right)
Last June, Kennebunk Voters approved the demolition of The Pilot House Restaurant in Lower Village, the only surviving evidence of the Kennebunkport Railroad Station. The owners want to replace the 1883 building with a new larger one and move the schooner, Spirit of Massachusetts out of the river and onto the land for additional outdoor seating. the Site Plan Review Board has scheduled its public hearing on the complete project for Wednesday, February 15, at the Kennebunk Town Hall at 7 p.m.
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