Old Railroad Depots Survive in Eastern Ohio
BARNESVILLE –For many communities, the railroad depot served as the hub of transportation. Depots were designed to provide passenger, baggage and freight accommodations.
Mark J. Camp, an author and a geology professor at the University of Toledo, has teamed with Acadia Publishing to release his newest book “Railroad Depots of East Central Ohio.” Camp has been photographing and recording data about railroad depots, along with other historic buildings throughout the United States and Canada since the 1960s. Camp is national director of the Railroad Station Historical Society.
The book focuses on the history of railroad depots and how the rise of the automobile brought a decline to passenger services and usage, resulting in the closure of many depots. Few depots remain today, locally. Some were moved and sold, but many were destroyed. Camp’s book includes various vintage photos showcasing the depots. Many depots in the book vanished even before Camp was documenting them in 1960.
A small town depot in Tippecanoe, Harrison County was a connection to the outside world for many communities according to Camp. The train track from Tippecanoe and Bridgeport in Belmont County was laid down during the time of the Cleveland, Tuscarawas Valley and Wheeling Railway lines.
Bridgeport’s depot was a two-story structure at about 1889. Camp said little evidence of the existence of this depot still remain. Railroad depots in the area that remain as a part of history are in St. Clairsville, Dillonvale, Bellaire and Barnesville.
Camp also said the Flushing depot was in the heart of the coal country and the Cleveland, Lorain, and Wheeling Railway had various mine spurs in the area.
“Only the abandoned tunnels remain (of the Flushing depot),” Camp said.
St. Clairsville was at the end of a branch that began at McClainville which Camp said was on the B&O Railroad Southwestern. The Wheeling and Lake Erie and St. Clairsville and Northern had depots in St. Clairsville as well.
“The depot continues as a storage building,” Camp said. “The track is long gone.”
The first railroad to join Steubenville in Jefferson County was the Cleveland and Pittsburgh Railway, according to Camp. This opened a depot in a grain mill in Steubenville in October 1856 and then the mill burned down within a few months. After the incident, passengers used an old railroad car until a new depot was built. The second depot was built in 1857 and then replaced again in 1864. Camp said the Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Chicago and St. Louis Railroad used an existing structure as its first depot at Steubenville until a two story brick depot was built in 1979.
“The year 1971 brought an end to the Steubenville passenger service,” Camp said. “It was subsequently torn down.”
Camp said the Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, and St. Louis Railway formed a southwestern east and west route of the Pennsylvania Railroad. The Ohio section of the railroad began at Mingo Junction in Jefferson County.
Camp said this depot dates to 1888 and replaced two separate early depots. The Wheeling and Lake Erie Railway also had a depot in Mingo Junction and the next station was in Brilliant.
Tiltonsville and Yorkville were a part of the Cumberland and Pennsylvania Railroad. In 1900, a passenger coach served as a temporary depot in Tiltonsville.
“This brick depot tower was the center of C&P operations in Martins Ferry,” Camp said. “Nearby was a C & P freight house. The Cleveland, Lorain, and Wheeling, later B&O, had separate passenger and freight depots along First Street in the late 1800s. The Wheeling and Lake Erie passenger and freight depots were located on Sixth Street. Little evidence remains of these structures in 2017.”
To view remaining depots in North America, museums and other information visit rrshs.org. Camp’s book was released July 16 and is available for purchase at arcadiapublishing.com.