Moving to its new home

By Sandi Latimer
Staff Writer

Photo courtesy of the city of Grove City
For more than 130 years, the Grove City train depot was located at Front and Park streets to welcome arriving and departing train passengers. The depot last hosted passengers in July 1956 (pictured here). The train depot was moved to Century Village in Fryer Park on Jan. 23. Southwest Franklin County Historical Society members plan to restore the depot.

After some lengthy work, the train depot inched its way to Century Village on Orders Road. It made its way the short distance in people terms, but a long way in hauling terms on a blustery rain-threatening Jan. 23.

One of the first things that had to be done was remove the windows and board up the frames so the panes could be preserved.

Then workers from the Steller Co. in Worthington removed the heavy floor boards to lighten the load when the building was hoisted on the semi-truck for its journey. It also meant that it would be easier on the road.

But then it was still too high to go under the traffic light standards, so the peaked roof had to be removed. All these items were hauled to Orders Road where the train depot would be put back together.

Once the shell of the building was resting securely on the semi-truck, it began its journey north on Front Street, east on Grant, south on Broadway and east on Orders Road to Century Village.

The total travel time was about four hours for the two-mile journey.

The depot had been constructed in 1884 when the Columbus, Midland and Cincinnati Railroad made its way through Grove City. Midland was a small town near Wilmington. The depot was a gathering point for both passengers and freight.

The tracks reached Grove City in 1882, but the first train didn’t arrive until Nov. 1, 1884, according to memorabilia on display at the Grove City Welcome Center and Museum in the Town Center.

Poring through railroad journals revealed the Columbus and Cincinnati Railroad Co. had been incorporated April 12, 1882, and the name was later changed through the Fayette county Common Pleas Court to Columbus and Cincinnati, Midland Railroad Co.

On Jan. 3, 1890, the Central Ohio Railroad Co. leased the line for 99 years, renewable forever, and the lease assigned to the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad.

On Aug. 13, 2004, the Indiana and Ohio Central Railroad announced its intention to purchase 107 miles of track between Columbus and Cincinnati and lease the railroad from its then owner CSX. The plan was to run 18,000 carloads of commodities a year. That included agricultural and farm product, chemicals and paper products.

The depot was removed in 1974 and 1975 and was used as the setting for fundraising events.

Now, the train depot will join other area structures from the 1800s at Century Village.
Southwest Franklin County Historical Society volunteers will now begin its restoration to enhance the Century Village experience for visitors.

Restoration plans include an operating telegraph system similar to the one used by depot managers, a photo gallery, operating train displays and fixtures including a period-correct, potbelly stove.

“Moving and preserving our train depot has been a decades-old dream of many residents, including me,” said Grove City Mayor Richard “Ike” Stage. “Our community is truly fortunate to benefit from the many volunteers committed to the restoration.”

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