St Joseph Valley Railroad eastern most terminus in Columbia Ohio

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Notch 8
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St Joseph Valley Railroad eastern most terminus in Columbia Ohio

Postby Notch 8 » Sun Nov 05, 2017 11:26 am

Gone now for nearly a Century.. St Joseph Valley Railroad Columbia Ohio Depot !

The St. Joseph Valley Railway was organized to build a railroad connecting South Bend, Ind., with the Toledo & Western Railroad at Pioneer. The railroad was owned by H. E. Bucklen, who had become a millionaire selling his “Arnica salve.” By the time rails reached the village of Columbia in Northwest Township in May 1915, the T&W’s owners were more interested in electric power production than railroads. Bucklen and the T&W couldn’t come to terms and the railroad was never extended past Columbia. This 18' x 30' wooden frame depot was built on the east side of Main Street at the north edge of Columbia in the summer of 1915. Freight was hauled over the “Valley Line” using steam locomotives. Several coaches powered by batteries or gasoline engines provided passenger service. Bucklen operated the railroad more as a hobby than a business and it was never profitable. After Mr. Bucklen’s death in January 1917, the railroad was placed under a board of trustees until it was sold for junk on April 3, 1918. On April 18, 1918, trains ceased running between Columbia and LaGrange, Ind. The rails were soon removed and the depot was converted into a residence before later being moved to Clear Lake, Ind. This vintage image of the Columbia St. Joseph Valley Railway depot is from the Williams County Public Library’s Photographic Archives. The Columbia schoolhouse is visible in the background to the right of the depot.
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St Joe Valley Line Columbia OH 1915-16.jpg

cjberndt
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Re: St Joseph Valley Railroad eastern most terminus in Columbia Ohio

Postby cjberndt » Sat Nov 11, 2017 6:46 am

I labeled the attached aerial to show where the buildings were located. You can see some of the depot foundation in the ground on the west side of the road.

When the county realigned the road, the school was demolished. The village historian told me that someone moved the depot to Clear Lake. He didn't know who or where. I drove all the streets in Clear Lake and didn't find the former depot, so if it's up there, it looks different.

Craig
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Aerial Columbia StJV.jpg

Steve Bryan
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Re: St Joseph Valley Railroad eastern most terminus in Columbia Ohio

Postby Steve Bryan » Sat Nov 11, 2017 8:35 am

Craig, didn't the SJV have a wye to turn the engines at Columbia? Where would that have been located?

cjberndt
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Re: St Joseph Valley Railroad eastern most terminus in Columbia Ohio

Postby cjberndt » Sun Nov 12, 2017 11:10 am

This aerial shows the right-of-way that was graded east of Columbia for the proposed line to Pioneer, for connection to the Toledo & Western. It was reportedly graded to Pioneer, but the two lines could not agree on the type of power, steam or electric, so the track was only laid a short distance east of Columbia.

StJV also talked to Wabash about a connection at Montpelier for access to Toledo. One or more potential routes were surveyed from Columbia to Montpelier. 1916 newspapers mentioned that this connection was going to be made, but it didn't happen, possibly because Bucklen became very ill in mid-1916.

The turnaround Y-track was someplace east of the village. A July 22, 1915 newspaper reported that construction of the Y-track was in progress on 6.1 acres of land acquired from Charles Wisner. In 2002, I stopped at one of the farms along US-20 and asked about the Y-track. They were aware of it but not its exact location.

Construction of the depot at Columbia began Mon., June 7, 1915, and was not done as of July 15. The flour mill at Berlien was reportedly almost finished July 29, 1915.

Craig
Attachments
Aerial Columbia OH & East 1994.jpg


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