Thursday, February 19, 1987
PIX #1 - While the local Hocking Valley baseball team was playing in Fostoria there was one also at Logan, Ohio batting the ball around. Here are the names of those on the Logan team that Bill Richardson, 932 Leonard St., on that team, can recall at this late date. Top row left to right: Joe (?), next unknown, Geo Roberts, Bud McConnell, Earl Rakto, next unknown, Fizzie Stallsmith. Bottom row: John Smith, Will Richardson, next unknown, Book Johnson, next unknown.
PIX #2 - J.C. Harriman, who was once the Hocking Valley Railroad Agent.
PIX #3 - With only two passenger cars, pulled by a B & O diesel engine, the once famous Sportsman train that ran from Ashland, Kentucky to Detroit and returned each day, made its last run March 14, 1970.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Today's article is another in the series which started last week, about the six railroads, which once served Fostoria, and provided passenger stations to accomodate the many travelers who used the trains.
The station which once accomodated both the New York Central and the Toledo & Ohio Central (T & C) railroads still stands midway between E. North and McDougal streets. It now serves as a warehouse for Gray Printing Co. which still turns out fine printing in the same location where they started in 1888, and still owned and operated by third and fourth generations of the Gray family.
The old B & O station on S. Main St., probably the most modern of all those the catered to passenger traffic in the golden era, still stands in silence, except to accomodate a few of the personnel still employed by the railroad giant CSX, who presently own what was once the C & O and the B & O. More about that combination later.
Campfire Girls Headquarters on W. North St. has occupied the LE&W station for many years. The building was used by others after it was the train station, and before the Campfire Girls residence. The last passenger train to travel through Fostoria on the LE&W was in 1929.
The Nickel Plate station, located midway between s. Wood and S. Union St. was demolished many years ago when passenger service was abolished.
PART OF HOCKING VALLEY LAND ONCE PLAYGROUND
One part of the old Hocking Valley property was not included in the photo that appeared with last week's article. It is the triangular shaped area east of the station bordered by E. High and Sandusky Streets. It was there that kids in that section of town played baseball and probably other sports about 1926, as recalled by John Harriman, son of Hocking Valley agent, J.C. Harriman, the agent for that railroad from about 1913-1930. John Harriman grew up in Fostoria, graduated from FHS and now is a resident of New Riegel. He recalls having been stationed at the cross over tower which controlled all train traffic going north and south and east and west. He also performed some duties at the station on Sandusky St.
One of John's pleasant memories was when the H.V. had a baseball team of younger Fostoria residents, including "Mope" Doyle, Fred Roberts, the Spangler brothers, Ira Ballfinger, "setter" Rozinski, and others whose names can no longer be recalled.
Those older Fostoria residents, like myself, who have been out of touch with Harriman, will be glas to know about his activities since leaving Fostoria, after graduating from FHS in 1926.
He attended Wooster College, OSU, and Stetson U., all of those because of his ability in the sport of football. Later, he was an instructor in the U.S. Air Force during WW II, and later organized the Air Force for Indonesia in 1950. He was also involved in setting up Tiffin's airport, and was Seneca County Auditor in 1938.
RAILROADERS RECALLED BY TWO OF THEM
The author of this column consulted with John Lee and Bill Richardson, both old railroaders of years ago, and came up with a list of names of other railroaders that could be recalled:
One of the Agents was W.M. Ralston, with the Hocking Valley; Also the only Socialist mayor Fostoria ever had. Ralston's son, Bryan became an officer in the U.S. Navy and after retirement an attorney in New York. This author recalls the entire family, having lived beside them on E. North St. as a young lad.
Other old railroaders were: Roy Green, Agent for Hocking Valley, Ted Williams Sr., Ted Williams Jr., Dwight Young, Ken Smith, Ted Komerak, Robert Hunt, "Stub" Burdick, Bid Kuhn, Clarence Bame, Bob Hickman, Charles Bixler, "Butch" Bixler, John L. Doll, Charles Smith, Louis Davis, Harvey Martin, Frank Thomas Don Miller, Jack Stiffler, William Stultz, "Mope" Doyle, Kenneth Franklin, Charles Griffin, Herb Knepper, J.C. Harriman, Agent, H.V., Carl Johnson, Sam Horner, Buck Barringer, Homer Spangler, Jim Spangler, Bill Saldusky and Kenneth Franklin Jr.
There are probably many, many other names of railroaders who were employed by one of the railroads here in Fostoria. Those with whom I talked could recall faces, but not the name.
In response to the question of how many local people were employed by the six railroads once in Fostoria, Bill Richardson quickly replied "several hundred" perhaps more.
LOSS OF RAILROADS AFFECTED TOWN GREATLY
As the six railroads in Fostorie either went out of business or consolidated for various reasons, it was a great loss to the town in various ways: direct loss of tax dollars; loss of U.S. Mail service in and out of Fostoria by train; as railroad employees were layed off and their earnings no longer available, the town's economy and growth were directly affected.
When the C&O Sportsman passenger tain made its last run through Fostoira on March 14, 1970, The Review Times published a photo and article about that dark day in the long history of railroads in Fostoria.
In the earlier days, more than 45 passenger trains passed through Fostoria each day. On that fateful day, there were only four passenger trains daily on both the B&O and C&O. The Sportsman had once pulled a train of 12 cars each way on its run between Detroit and Ashland, Ky., including coaches, diners, smoker and club cars.
Steadily, the number of trains diminished. residents made some attempts to block the lack of service. Many people said they were mad or sad at the loss of train service.
The Review Times suggested they should write to the Interstate Commerce Commission, Washington D.C. It is unknown at this late date, seventeen years later if they did or not.
STEAM ENGINE SPECIALS ALL WE CAN NOW SEE
The only thing that is known is that the only passenger trains that ever ran through here now are the retired steam engine specials, which make special runs now and then.
The city of Fostoria closed a road at the edge of town to permit the Chesapeake and Ohio to install a track for their benefit. More recently the city also granted them permission to install a new length of track with a bridge overhead on Lytle St.
Now it is learned that CSX, the new owner of C&O and B&O has further diminished its labor force in Fostoria to the extent that if any tracks or other repairs are needed they call in a crew from out of town to do the work. There is no longer a local work-force.
What has happened to the belief in and practice of respect and regard for good will and repayment in kind. It would appear that Fostoria has been short-changed by the railroad giant CSX, located in Jacksonville. Fla.