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Old 09-10-2017, 02:16 PM   #1
Trail Boss
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Malfunction Junction

While surveying the designated campsites near Malfunction Junction (the curious intersection of highways 73 and 9), I found two examples of "civilization" seemingly in the middle of nowhere:
  1. One illegible street sign (6' tall steel pole with a metal sign measuring apprx. 5"x24").
  2. Four concrete fence posts (about 6"x6"x4' with two drill holes in each and spaced 4-5' apart).



Inset in the photo is the 1955 USGS map of the intersection. It shows an unimproved road running west to east, from route 73 to 9. The fence posts are located where the road appears to cross the South Fork Boquet. However the street sign doesn't correspond to anything.


Anyone here familiar with that area circa 1955? Can you tell me anything about that road, the fence posts, or the street sign?


PS
I used the term "street sign" but that's just a guess about its original purpose. It's definitely not homemade and looks like something official from NYS DOT. The sign's green paint has faded over time.

(I have photos of the fence posts and sign if someone absolutely needs to see them for proper identification.)
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Old 09-10-2017, 07:33 PM   #2
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I have downloaded the 1895 Elizabethtown topo map, but I can't figure how to post it (or a part of it). Neither US9 nor SR 73 existed as such then, but there are their predecessors shown and the unimproved road segment shown on the 1955 map more or less coincides with that.
I hope this works.
http://arcg.is/2eYDrNH
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Old 09-10-2017, 08:36 PM   #3
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Thanks! I did find an older topo map here: http://docs.unh.edu/NY/eliz01sw.jpg which corresponds to the older survey in your link. However, your link has the advantage of superimposing both maps and then adjusting their transparency to compare features.

Although the older map seems to suggest the roads coincide, there's evidence indicating they don't. For starters, the old map has huge errors such as hills that are either missing or don't exist in later surveys. In addition, it places the location of the confluence of the South and North Fork Boquet River farther north than in newer surveys. With all these mistakes, its difficult to believe any part of that ancient junction is accurate.

My wild guess is the concrete posts might have been erected to block the road. Perhaps it had a bridge that washed away and they installed 4 posts across the road's path. The attached photo shows 3 of them (4th is out of frame to the right). The Boquet River is visible in the background. The 4 posts face the South Fork Boquet (just a few yards away and behind the photographer's position).
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File Type: jpg Concrete posts.jpg (121.3 KB, 246 views)
File Type: jpg Road sign.jpg (131.4 KB, 244 views)
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Old 09-10-2017, 10:24 PM   #4
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Consider the possibility that the South Fork has moved in that relatively flat area, and may have been where it is shown on the 1895 map, in 1895.

Also, that "street sign" corresponds pretty well with the spot where "old route 73" on the 1895 map crosses the Elizabethtown / Keene town line...
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Old 09-10-2017, 11:08 PM   #5
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If you move the slider to fade-out the 1895 map and fade-in the 1955 map, you'll see the topography of the entire area changes dramatically.
  • Hills shift from one place to another.
  • The area east of the junction completely changes shape.
  • Split Rock Mtn moves south and occupies the northern part of New Pond.
  • Cranberry Pond moves south, Lilypad Pond moves west.
That's far too much geological change for one century! Much more plausible to say the 1895 survey was a gross approximation of the area; the Boquet didn't move (appreciably) but was simply drawn in the wrong place.

I agree the road sign might be related to whatever preceded modern-day routes 73 and 9. I doubt the sign is a hundred years old but it could date back many decades, say into the 1940's? It has a particular style (notably the top-cap) that ought to be recognizable to someone.

The vertical holes in the sign must mean something as well. They're not bullet holes but neat, rounded rectangles. Perhaps they were used to hold individual metal letters to the sign? BTW, there are two sheets of steel forming the sign (one for each side). Again, that must be indicative of road signs from a certain time period.

The size of the trees growing near the concrete posts is an indicator of age. I'm no expert but they don't look older than 50 years (if that). So they fit the narrative of the unimproved road shown in the 1955 survey.
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Old 09-11-2017, 08:55 AM   #6
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One of the layers on my Gaia GPS app on my iPhone is this 1895 map. I believe that these older maps are not properly georeferenced, because there are many details which were/are on both maps, e.g. houses, and they don't coincide.
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Old 09-11-2017, 09:20 AM   #7
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The concrete posts are standard DOT Type cable guide rail posts, same as attached.

They appear to be set significantly higher than standard height, which may coincide with your idea that they were placed as a barricade of sorts.
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Old 09-11-2017, 10:38 AM   #8
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Interesting discovery of that old sign. It wasn't until 1936 or so that the road through Chapel Pond Pass was upgraded from a one-lane dirt road to something approximating the current highway. That sign could well have been placed there in the 20s or 30s on what was then the actual route of the dirt road.
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Old 09-11-2017, 01:12 PM   #9
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@bridgeman
Thanks for the photo. I wondered how those drill holes were used to support cables and now I understand they held eye-bolts. At first I thought the posts served the same purpose as in your photo, namely running alongside the road to keep cars out of the ditch. However, there are too few of them and they're not parallel to any road shown on old maps. So I theorized they were placed perpendicular to the 1955 unimproved road to serve as a barrier against crossing the South Fork Boquet. Still just a theory ...

@tgoodwin
Thanks for putting a date on (modern) highways 73 and 9. I subscribe to your theory the sign dates back to pre-WWII and lined the old road. The sign isn't very far away from the present highway.

Perhaps it stood at the fork shown in the 1895 map? Southbound on 73, you'd turn left, just prior to the actual junction with the 9, and take a "shortcut" to join the 9. According to the 1895 map, this shortcut lies completely south of the Boquet and is not the unimproved road shown in the 1955 survey (which crosses the South Fork Boquet).


Another view of the area taken when trees were leafless.

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Last edited by Trail Boss; 09-11-2017 at 02:00 PM..
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Old 10-15-2017, 07:24 PM   #10
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You can find the old road bed between the two forks of the Boquet, north of present day Route 73. The three designated tent sites at that location are located right smack on top of the old road bed (as is the pull off where people using those sites tend to park). If you walk down in there and take a look at the campsites, it's pretty obvious.
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Old 11-14-2017, 08:21 PM   #11
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The concrete posts are a barricade from old bridge at junction of North and South forks.
The road sign was old road junction of 73 / 9 before Olympics.
there is a decent path from campsites that goes right past sign out to embankment on 73 and pull off on S. Fork to path along south side of south fork to hemlock knoll.
When I first came across old road sign in forest it took me by surprise !!
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Old 11-15-2017, 06:33 AM   #12
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RE: concrete posts = protective barrier after removal of old bridge.
If you walk towards river there is a 15 ft drop. Across the way you see the stone work of the abutment on far side, same as what you are standing on. On the other side the road bed continues and there used to be 3 legal marked camp sites. About one year ago the first one was officially removed and rocks from fire ring scattered.

FYI: there is a 3rd ( unmarked but legal ) camp site about 1/2 way along path that follows along Boquet to sign. A long walk for car campers but nice spot. Up behind there is a little height of land with a few small rock formations.
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Old 11-15-2017, 09:18 AM   #13
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As I believe I have noted before, this infamous intersection was built in the early 1960s - well before the Olympics.
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