Ostrander and Scioto Township History

 
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RAILROAD
Interest in building a railroad from Springfield to Mt. Vernon via Delaware, Ohio began to build and the Olentangy Gazette reports on April 25, 1851 that directors of the Springfield & Mansfield Railroad Company and engineers have been working in the area.  On July 4, 1851, the Gazette is reporting $75,000 in subscriptions in stock in the new railroad; $25,000 from Delaware Township and $50,000 from Delaware County.  August 8, 1851, it is reported the corps of engineers are lying out the route from Delaware to Marysville and just two short months later, on October 17, 1851, the Gazette reports the permanent route of the new railroad bed has been determined.

This must have taken the people of Scioto Township like a whirlwind.  We're talking six short months;  April to when in October, it's announced locating the permanent route of the new railroad is complete. It was located just south of Edinburgh and didn't pass through any existing village between Delaware and Marysville.  Instead, a series of railroad stations developed along the line.  The initial plat map for Ostrander was done in 1852.  The following article appeared in the Delaware Gazette on February 4, 1853.

RAIL ROAD LETTING
Proposals will be received until the eighth day of March, next, for the clearing, grading, masonry, bridging, ties, track-laying, and ballasting for that part of the Springfield, Mount Vernon and Pittsburgh railroad lying between Mount Vernon and the intersection with the Ohio and Pennsylvania road, being about 32 miles in length.  The said work to be completed in 1853.  Profiles, estimates, etc, will be ready for examination at Mount Vernon from and after the twenty-first day of February 1853.  Proposals will also be received up to the same time for furnishing ties and laying that portion of the track upon the road between Mount Vernon and Delaware.  A preference will be given to the bidder who shall offer to take the largest amount of stock, other things being equal.  Proposals may be directed to the Chief Engineer, S.R. Ostrander, Esq. either at Mount Vernon or Springfield.

C. Anthony, President
S.M. & P.E.R. Co.

The Gazette reports in early 1854 the completion of the "Springfield, Delaware, & Mt. Vernon Railroad."   

Eight years later, in 1862, the railroad finds itself, due to financial problems, selling the rail bed to the Cleveland & Columbus Railroad, which a few years later merged with the Cincinnati & Dayton Railroad, and finally became known as the Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati, & Indianapolis Railroad.

A notable train wreck occurred on February 25, 1913 when due to a broken wheel, twenty-two cars left the tracks at Ostrander where the railroad passes over Little Mill Creek.

The Vanderbilt family controlled the companies which owned the railroad in Ostrander from 1889 to 1954.William Kissam Vanderbilt (1849-1920), a third generation Vanderbilt railroad tycoon, managed the family railroad holdings until 1903 when his sons, Harold Stirling Vanderbilt and William Kissam Vanderbilt II, managed the Vanderbilt railroad holdings.  William died in 1944.  Harold Stirling Vanderbilt (1884-1970) was the last Vanderbilt to control the railroad when he lost a proxy battle to Robert Young and his Allegheny Corporation in 1954.  Cornelius Vanderbilt (1794-1877) is pictured on the stock certificate.   He built a shipping empire and turned his attention to railroads at the age of 70.  Born to a family of modest means, he was estimated to be worth more than $100 million at his death in 1877.

Several stories circulate with regard to locomotive being named the "Jerk".  One such story is the name originates from the sound of the cars bouncing back and forth as the train began pulling away from the railroad station.  Another story is that the name originates from the sudden start and stops which resulted from the many stops along the way.  The train hardly left Ostrander when it arrived in White Sulphur Springs, a train stop best known for transporting people to and from the Girls Industrial School in Rathbone.  Although history favors the "Jerk", a coal-burning locomotive, there were actually three different trains utilizing the track as remembered by Wendell Calhoun.  He told me that he and his friends would jump onto the train as it was building up speed leaving Ostrander and ride it into Delaware where they would jump off as the train slowed to cross the bridge over the Olentangy River.

The Ostrander Farmer's Exchange built the towering concrete elevator in 1948.  Passenger service is discontinued in 1961 and on February 11, 1971, one-hundred seventeen years after the first train pulled into Ostrander...  the last one pulled away.

It's no wonder why the citizens of Ostrander idolize the train even though almost all evidence of it's existence is gone.  It was a part of our community for one-hundred seventeen years and was the catapult to civilizing our township.

 

 

 

ADDITIONAL READING
Marysville Tribune, 3/17/1897 Ostrander Boys Who Made Their Mark
History of Delaware and Ohio, 1880 - Selections regarding Railroad
PHOTO ALBUM
The "Jerk"
John Horn to left.  Max Cramer & Oliver Ryan on locomotive
Carolyn Van Brimmer
Stone Trestle east of Ostrander
2006
David Cooper
Stone Trestle east of Ostrander
circa 1909
Carolyn Van Brimmer
1913 Train Wreck east of Ostrander
David Cooper
1913 Train Wreck east of Ostrander
David Cooper
Christina Johnson's Notes from Reverse
David Cooper
1913 Train Wreck east of Ostrander
David Cooper
Christina Johnson's Notes from Reverse
David Cooper
railroad station 3.jpg (15260 bytes)
Train heading East from Ostrander
David Cooper
Railroad Station
c. 1960
David Cooper
Railroad Station
c. 1900
David Cooper
Railroad Station
c. 1900
David Cooper
Railroad Station
David Cooper
Railroad Station
David Cooper
4th Street Pedestrian Bridge
David Cooper
Railroad Block in Distance
1944
Martha Irwin
Railroad Block in Distance
1944
Martha Irwin
Unidentified Women at Railroad Stockyard
David Cooper
Railroad Block in Distance
1943
Martha Irwin
Railroad Bock
2006
David Cooper
Railroad Block in Distance
1944
Martha Irwin
C.C.C.& I Stock Certificate
David Cooper
William Kissam Vanderbilt
1849-1920
David Cooper
New York Central Railroad Stock Certificate
David Cooper
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Looking South across Business Block after 1925 Fire
David Cooper
Look again and see the Hutchisson Bros. Store to the far left just past the Tracks
David Cooper
Ostrander Firm Starts Remodeling Its Facilities
1954
Carolyn Van Brimmer
1953 Letter
Responding to Request about Early History of the Railroad
Carolyn Van Brimmer
TrainTrestleHutchisson.gif (271223 bytes) Telegraph Insulators.JPG (671463 bytes) Train with 4th St Bridge in Background.jpg (317100 bytes)  
Stone Trestle with Hutchisson farm in distance.  Notice early bridge crossing on High Street.  Debbi Hutchisson would like a better copy (so would we) if you have one!
David Cooper
Cable Insulators from Telegraph Poles along Railroad Tracks in Ostrander
Josh Ewing
Train arriving in Ostrander.  You can see the 4th Street Bridge in background
David Cooper