From the Past

I recall the three dummy lines that ran into Cleveland. I remember their small glittering engines, passenger and freight cars; the location of their depots; their routes to the suburbs; and I have ridden on their miniature trains.

First came the Cleveland Newburgh Railroad, chartered September 7, 1865. Its station was on the east side of Willson Avenue (E. 55th Street), just south of Woodland. It ran on Kinsman and a short distance beyond Ensign turned south to Tod Street crossing Kingsbury Run. Passing under the Atlantic & Great Western Railroad, it followed Bessemer Avenue to Railroad and Dummy Streets and on to Broadway. Past the Cataract House, it stopped close to Pennsylvania Railroad.

The steam road was 3.33 miles long. It had two trestles totaling 400 feet. It was fenced except for a strip of timber and one deep cut, each three-quarters of a mile long. It had two small locomotives that cost $5,400 each. There were three dummy engines (cost $2,200 each); two passenger cars (it carried no freight), and a force of 10 men, Jo Turney, Stillman Witt, J.H. Wade, Amasa Stone, jr., A.A. Mitchell, Hirman Garrettson, George W. Howe and A.J. Hamilton owned or directed the line.

Second was the Rocky River Railroad with its station on Bridge Street a few feet west of old Waverly Avenue, once the city limits. It was chartered February 20, 1867, and the first through run was made to the Cliff House on the east bank of Rocky River on September 1, 1868. It was 5.33 miles long and crossed Detroit Avenue in a sweeping curve something more than two miles west of W. 25. It continued on the north side of the road to the river, where its engine house and shop stood some distance back of the hotel. Equipped with three locomotives, five passenger and three freight cars, it employed seven persons and its trains raced through vegetable gardens at a speed of 20 miles per hour, including stops. Promoted and managed during its first years by Daniel P. Rhodes, Elias Sims, S.B. Marshall, John Spalding, Ezra Nicholson, Charles Pease and John H. Sargent, railway and equipment cost nearly $110,000.

Line No. 3

Third was the de luxe Lake View & Collamer Railroad, incorporated February 3, 1874, with a capital stock of $250,000. It started on a sandy lot between E. Madison and Becker Streets and its well built depot was a short distance north of Superior Street. I remember its passenger locomotive with its four drivers, burnished steam dome, bell and fluted-top stack; cab, tender, headlight and cowcatcher, it was a complete engine of its day. A small freight locomotive with red painted drivers and expansive stack often stood on the turntable east of the depot near the shop. These engines cost $8,700. There were two dummies--combination car and engine--costing $4,164 each; two passenger coaches and four freight cars.

The track backed in on the north side of the depot. The route lay along the north side of Superior. Doan Brook soon was crossed on a trestle said to be 500 feet long and 35 high. Dugway Brook was crossed. Then the road swept in a curve at Euclid Avenue and proceeded east on the present line of Nickel Plate. Crossing Nine-Mile Creek, the train roared into Euclid Village over Euclid Creek on a trestle recorded as 900 feet long by 14 high. The exact length of the road from its Cleveland depot to the village was 7.25 miles.

Promoted by John D. Rockefeller, Marcus W. Montgomery, William West, John H. Ammon, Issac H. Page, James McCloskey and Hezekiah Avery, meetings were held after incorporation in Collamer to work out plans and expenditures.

-- S.J. Kelly, Cleveland Plain Dealer, 1941



Long Struggle for Through Right-of-way W. 117th Street-Cross Town Line Ends as Neighborhood Frolics on Next Wednesday; Wiegand, Marshall to Speak

Opening of the new grade crossing at W. 117th street and Madison avenue under the New York Central railroad tracks will be celebrated by a citizens committee Wednesday, December 3, at the crossing corner at 8 p.m., it was announced this week by H.B. Harsch, chairman of the committee, and president of the Harsch Foundry Co., Madison avenue.

Mayor E.A. Wiegand of Lakewood, Mayor John D. Marshall of Cleveland, and New York Central railroad officials are expected to attend the ceremonies besides executives and legislative officials of the various suburban villages in the western part of the county woth Fred Maerkle as master of ceremonies.

Merchants in the neighborhood benefited by the crossing will aid in the celebration and are expected to award valuable prizes to the public who attend.

The opening was practically completed this week, and with the paving of streets done, it will be ready for use to the public, providing a thoroughfare from Lake avenue straight south to Lorain street.

The battle for the crossing began ten long years ago and has finally been rewarded by the successful finish of the improvement.

The prize committee is headed by Guy Burrows, who will be assisted by M.C. Burnett, JaJmes Uher, Harold E. Chafer. Invitations will be extended to Lakewood High and Cleveland West Technical High school bands to play.

Walter Parsons has been elected treasurer of the committee. Other members of the executive committee who are assisting in the arrangements are Foster Narrows, William Bossinged, Harper J. Endsley and John Spanur.

The West 117th Street Crosstown association was formed several years ago through the efforts of the late J. W. Chrisford, its organizer and first president. Walter S. Parsons of the Cleveland Trust Co. was its first secretary.



Loyal Citizens of Lakewood Will Work to End Grade Crossings at West 117th and N.Y.C.R.R.

James W. Chrisford, who is chairman of the Lakewood committee that is working tooth and nail to put an end to the West 117th street New York Central Railroad grade crossing says that every citizen should exert every effort in an endeavor to see that the bond issue for $100,000 is endorsed on the 29th day of April, when the presidential primary election is to be held in Cuyahoga County.

Mayor Ed A. Wiegand is untiring in behalf of the bond issue, saying that "now is Lakewood's golden opportunity," and that if it is not taken advantage of at this time "it may be years before the death trap's abolished."

Cleveland and the railroad are ready to do their part of the elimination work, so it's up to Lakewood to get into the swim and remain there until the polls close on the 29th.

Couniclmen A. Heidloff and James Gormson, of the councilmanic committee on streets, are doing their part to "push the thing along," while the Lakewood Chamber of Commerce is pulling with might and main to enhance the chances of the bond issue.

As one man sums it up:

The real meat of the proposition is this: That it provides for Lakewood a $600,000 improvement for an expenditure of only $100,000. Such a program should be sold to the voters very easily, especially as it is well known that immediately the grade crossing is out of the way the Cleveland Railway company will once build a a crosstown line on West 117th street.

That last proposal should make the bond issue result about ten to one in the right direction, for that crosstown line would be a boom to thousands of citizens, not to speak of its doing away with the dangerous grade crossing.

The ways and means committee of the West 117th Crosstown Association met in the Cleveland Trust Co. office at Detroit avenue N.W. and West 117th street to outline its program to urge Lakewood voters to support a $100,000 bond issue April 29.


LAKEWOOD POST (?) n.d. ca. 1924?

Lakewood Finds Itself Up Against a Stone Wall as to Elimination

Since the recent Painesville railroad crossing horror in which nearly 20 persons were killed municipal officials have "again concluded" that something should be done to eliminate all grade crossings where human life is put in danger by fast trains.

At the meeting of the Lakewood City Council Monday night the question of Nickel Plate and New York Central railroad crossings were discussed.

And when all was over the City Dads, because of a talk by Law Director Robert G. Curren on the legal side of the problem, ran up against the fact that nothing can be done to force the roads to begin elimination work until the State Legislature passes an act compelling them to get busy.

Councilman James Gormsen were named as a committee to call upon the railroad officials and talk matters over and report back to their colleagues at some future meeting of the council.

There are twenty-five grade crossings on the Nickel Plate and one on the New York Central at Highland avenue in Lakewood. The ordinance providing for a subway at this crossing has already been passed, Law Director Robert G. Curren said, but Lakewood has been unable to secure the co-operation of either the city of Cleveland or the officials of the New York Central.

County commissioners declared that they had no power to force the elimination of dangerous grade crossings.

"I don't believe any political subdivision has, either," said Commissioner Jerry R. Zmunt.



Engineers of Road and Mayor Wiegand Would Act to Make Them Safe for the Public

How to make Nickel Plate railroad crossings in Lakewood safe for the public is the task that Mayor Edward A. Wiegand and the road's engineers have undertaken.

An inspection trip along the tracks was made this week by His Honor, City Engineer Ed A. Fisher and the engineers with a view to see if the danger at the crossings cannot be lessened.

What conclusions, if any, they reached has not as yet been divulged.

Mayor Wiegand said that, in his opinion, it would be quite a time before the grade crossings are completely eliminated.

"And for that reason we thought it advisable to see if soemthing could be planned to protect vehicular traffic-as well as the foot passenger-at the present time," observed the mayor.

Whether gates are established or watchmen engaged no one of the investigators would say.

Officials of the Nickel Plate are inclined to do something for the safety of the people-hence the inspection of the death traps, if they may so be called.

Many trains pass through Lakewood in twenty-four hours. In fact, the road is about the busiest institution in the city, a fact that nobody regrets.

"But if they will put up gates or do anything to protect our citizens we'll feel quite benevolent toward the Nickel Plate," remarked a member of the Lakewood City Council.


Vote Up Bond Issue of $100,000 to End Death Trap at W. 117th St.

Nobody is surprised at the result of the election on Tuesday.

For it was a certainty that the bond issue of $100,000-Lakewood's share toward the elimination of the West 117th street-New York Central Railroad grade crossing-would win by a wide margin.

The election is the end of an agitation of years on the part of the citizens here-as well as the local civic bodies-to have this death trap abolished for all time.

Now, the city council will make its plans, in conjunction with the Cleveland city council and the New York Central, to the end that work shall be started without delay to remove the danger spot.

Pressure will be brought to bear by Mayor Ed A. Wiegand and his cabinet officials on John J. Stanley, president of the Cleveland Railway Company, to have a crosstown car line constructed in West 117th street at the earliest possible moment.

But possibly pressure may not be necessary, as Mr. Stanley had tacitly promised to install the line "if the bond issue should win."

And as Mr. Stanley is known as a man of his word, it is a foregone conclusion that street cars will soon be running across town.

And once again we'll to congratulate the voters of Lakewood, for the reason that they have proved true to themselves and true to their city, now destined to go on to greater glory.

"The vote was 3,724 to 727, which is somewhat overwhelming," remarked Mayor Wiegand.