131 years ago Tracklayers on the Cincinnati, Jackson & Mackinaw (later known as the Cincinnati Northern) Railroad reached West Unity. This report of the railroad’s arrival in West Unity is from the October 19, 1887, issue of the West Unity Reporter newspaper:
“Never in the history of West Unity people, did the excitement run so high as it did here last Saturday. In the morning it was announced that the rails would be laid as far as the bridge across Jackson Street, and all eyes, during the day, were turned to the railroad track. Yes, after waiting years and years, and paying out thousands and thousands of dollars, West Unity is at last a railroad town.
“With her fair name and fair record and after waiting so many years, can it be wondered at that the people were excited, when at last their fond hopes were to be realized? Excited! Of course they were. During Saturday afternoon nothing was thought of or talked about but the new railroad. People were happy, delighted. Dynamite cartridges were exploded, sending forth the news to the surrounding country that the road would soon be into West Unity. The band was out in full force and the workmen drove spikes to the time of their music. The Italian workmen all seemed to be in high glee, and they were as anxious to get into town as the people who were looking on. A little before 6 o’clock they got to North Street and stopped for the day.
“A supper furnished by R. W. L. Ely, W. H. Denman, W. C. Coslet, G. Rings, T. G. Elliot, S. & G. Clifton, and a few others, was quite a surprise to the Italians. The supper was served on tables in the street, and the way the Italians and other workmen made the cheese, bologna, dried beef, crackers, cakes, bread and sweet cider disappear was a caution to the natives. Although the supper was gotten up in a hurry it was a good one, and that it was relished by the Italians, was manifested by one of the leaders thanking the donors as follows: ‘Wa po kon & Koe ko. She bang a Jo hon I kee woo. Pan a ban to ka, la, la, la, bully good.’ That is to say West Unity is a great town, the people are liberal and kind, the supper excellent.
“After supper the Italians gave our people several songs, bid them goodbye, got on their train and went back to Bryan for the night. No intoxicating liquors of any kind was given to the men and not a drunken person was seen on the streets. That Italians or any other foreign people most have their beer, whiskey, or something to intoxicate is all bosh. A more sober, better feeling, happy lot of men was never seen than those who got on the train last Saturday night. The contractors and headmen of the different gangs speak in high praise of the treatment of the people at West Unity. Saturday night was the winding up of the glorious victory of a hard fought battle of getting a railroad. Property in West Unity will increase, the town will grow, business will boom for the reason that there are businessmen here who know how to do business, and it will pay customers to come many miles to trade here.”
The C.J & M. Railroad constructed a wooden frame depot on the east side of what is today U.S. 127 (Liberty Street), south of Rings Cemetery. The Cincinnati Northern Railroad abandoned passenger service in Williams County in 1936. The State Utilities Commission authorized the Cincinnati Northern to discontinue its West Unity freight station in 1955. The railroad ceased operations in the 1970s. This vintage image of the West Unity Cincinnati Northern Railroad depot is from the Kevin Maynard collection.
Anything pertaining to railfanning in Ohio.
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