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.
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
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, &
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.