1905 1905 1916 1949 1952
Railroad Depot Locations
All five images above show the locations of the Cincinnati depots. The first, 1905, map shows the railroad depots very nicely but will take a very long time to load due to its size. The second image shows basically the same image but shows a smaller area and thus loads much faster. The third, 1916 map, gives a closer look at downtown Cincinnati. The last image was taken in 1949 and shows very clearly all the depots still existing along the riverfront. This image is also very large. The last one is closely related to the 4th image, just in a different manner.
PENNSYLVANIA and L. & N. STATION (PAN HANDLE) / LITTLE MIAMI RAILROAD
On March 11, 1836 the Little Miami Railroad was
chartered and thus became the first railroad company to serve the city of
Cincinnati. The line went from Cincinnati to Springfield, Ohio. From there it
connected with the Mad River and Lake Erie Railroad, thus providing a route from
the Ohio River to Lake Erie at Sandusky. The first train ran to Loveland in
1843, Xenia in 1844 and to Springfield in 1846. Within 20 years the system
joined Cincinnati with Pittsburgh.
The first Cincinnati terminal was not allowed to be built close to town because the city council believed the locomotives would be seriously disturbing to horses. So the depot was constructed 3 miles from the city in Pendleton. This ruling condemned the rail passengers to riding in the cars from the Front Street depot pulled by horses to the corporation line at Pendleton where the cars were transferred to the locomotive. The first image shows the depot in Pendleton and the next one is a layout of this facility.
This depot was used from 1841 to 1859
The first 3 images below show the original Front Street depot where all trains had to back in thru the eastward facing doors. The passenger depot by 1848 measured 60' by 154' (1st image). Expansion became necessary and in 1853-54 a new depot was built. Measuring 90' by 465' and 60' tall, trains again entered thru the east end only (2nd & 3rd image). By 1859 the city's fear of horses being frightened had been clearly shown to be unfounded and so a new depot was built and the Pendleton station was shut down. The 4th image below shows this depot in 1875.
1848 1854 1854 1875
This depot survived until 1889 when it was destroyed by fire, but it had already been reduced to the status of a freight station in 1881 by the erection of a new depot by a lessee of the Miami Company the Pittsburgh, Cincinnati and Saint Louis Railroad. This station was located at Pearl and Butler Streets which was next to, and one block closer to the city center. The old depot was reworked into a freight house. The layout is shown below.
By 1868 all the Little Miami lines were leased to
Pittsburgh (PRR) and the number of passenger trains serving
Cincinnati was 65 per day, adding all the mail and express, special trains, and
those operated exclusively for employees the total reaches 75 to 89 arriving and
departing per day. The rising traffic and general prosperity of most railroads
spurred the directors of these lines to expand. The first to expand was the
company that had taken over the Little Miami Railroad in 1868, the Pittsburgh,
Cincinnati, Chicago and Saint Louis Railroad, to which the Miami road and its affiliate,
the Columbus and Xenia, were leased in 1869. Known as the Pan Handle Route
(later Panhandle) after
the corporate title of one of its constituents, the P. C. C. and St. L. was
essentially a Pittsburgh to Cincinnati line.
The first image below is the Little Miami's locomotive Rueben R. Springer built in 1854 by the Cincinnati Locomotive Works. The picture was taken in Morrow, Ohio in the early 1860's. The second image is the Little Miami and Columbus & Xenia locomotive Dr. Goodale in 1865. The Dr. Goodale was built by the Cincinnati Locomotive Works in 1853. The photograph was taken in front of the Xenia hotel depot.
Reuben R. Springer-1854 Dr. Goodale-1865
The construction of the Newport Bridge (1868-72) opened up
Kentucky and points south for trade and forced the Panhandle to erect a new depot.
Construction began in 1880 one block west
and one block north of the old depot on East Pearl and Butler Streets. This
building, seen below would last for 52 years, until 1933 when all depots
consolidated at Union Terminal.
The Newport bridge of the Louisville, Cincinnati and Lexington Railroad was located and constructed in such a way as to connect directly with the Little Miami tracks. With the new depot being built the tracks were relocated along the southern side of the station. The L & N Railroad and the PRR Railroad enjoyed a close and long partnership. L&N traffic from Louisville and further south was forwarded east on the Pennsy. (PRR). The two railroads cooperated in the construction, ownership and use of many facilities in Cincinnati. The operated freight houses on opposite sides of the same street and operated car interchanges together. The L&N's "Short Line" name refered to the fact its route to Louisville was shorter than any of the other rival RRs. The PRR now had access south all the way to New Orleans.
Ca 1920/30s Blueprint of depot
The first non-postcard image below show the old 1854 Little Miami Depot buildings after its conversion to a freight house in 1881 during the 1883 flood. In front of the old depot you can see the newer P. C. C. & St. Louis freight house. The 2nd image shows the loading platforms looking west toward the depot. The elevated approach to the L & N Bridge can be clearly seen between the station and the freight house which had been the second Little Miami Railroad Station. At the far end of the stone wall is the switch to the Eggelston Street track which went to the Court Street Depot (see below). The next two real photo postcards are great images of the freight house as seen from the east end and the interior of the freight house.
.The first non-postcard image below is a aerial view that clearly shows the freight house and station. The 2nd image is an 1880's lithograph of the depot and the 3rd 1929 photograph looks eastward along Pearl St. The elevated L & N bridge approach goes to the right. (Pearl St. is now Pete Rose Way). The 4th image shows the approach to the bridge. The next view is a close-up of the bridge, which is called the Little Miami Bridge. The last image is the 1884 flood seen from Pearl Street.
Penn. Depot interior
A rare non-postcard image of the interior of the depot that was taken during the 1913 flood.
Railroads that used the Pennsylvania Station over the years: Pennsylvania Railroad; Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Chicago and Saint Louis (PCC&StL) Louisville & Nashville (L&N); Norfolk & Western (N&W) and the Grand Rapids & Indiana (GR&I).
Cincinnati Limited ad
J. M. Harris J. A. McCrea R. F. Thayer Brent Arnold
Superintendent L&N Freight Agent
Except for what is in the picture there is no other information given about any of the newspaper artists drawings on this site. I try to do some research on who they were but many apparently were not very important as far as history is concerned because I can find no reference to them, so far. Thayer looks like he may have been a ticket agent, Harris, no idea.
BAYMILLER STATION (C. H. & D.)
The second Cincinnati rail line was the Cincinnati, Hamilton and Dayton (C. H.&D) which started service to Hamilton in 1846 and to Dayton by 1851. located on the northwest corner of 5th and Wood (now Baymiller) Sts. this site was to remain for almost a century (1933). The original building was 103' by 500' with both freight and passengers occupying the same space. By 1860 the growth of traffic resulted in intolerable confusion, errors, discomforts, and congestion at the depot that a new structure had to be built. The old depot was kept and used strictly as a freight depot after the new depot was built wholly separate right along side the old one. Completed in 1864 it had sidings for 800 freight cars and a roundhouse capable of holding 25 locomotives. Measuring 50' along 5th St. and extending 475' along Baymiller St. to 6th St. with the 2 1/2 story head house on the corner. There was also a large machine shop. The CH&D was acquired by the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad in 1917 and was known as the B. & O. Baymiller Station from then on.
The first non-postcard photo above is a very early view of the CH&D Baymiller Station, possibly during the 1898 G.A.R. National Encampment in Cincinnati. The next image is a very early photograph and shows the rear of the early buildings. It shows 3 train sheds with the one on the left being the passenger train shed. You can see the main station building, aka headhouse, over the top of the middle freight shed. The third shed on the right was also a freight shed. The middle train shed was the depot's original passenger facility. One of the railroads that used these facilities was the Atlantic & Great Western which rode on rails that were known as broad-gauged, while the CH&D used standard gauged tracks. This is why you see all the tracks in this photo were double railed. This rare arrangement was a maintenance nightmare. Most railroads that had a dual-gauge operation would just add a third rail so that both trains would use the same rail on one side. The last image above shows the main building in 1918 when a large white sign was placed over the top of the entrance to proclaim that the station was now a B&O Railroad facility.
The two images above are of the depot in the 1920s showing the front of the station with Baymiller Street on the right of the depot. The 2nd non-postcard image is from the loading area with Baymiller Street on the left.
C. H.& D. Depot Parlor car-C. H. & D. R. R. Locomotive 210-built 1892
Railroads that used the Baymiller Station over the years: Baltimore & Ohio (B&O); Cincinnati, Indianapolis & Western, the Cincinnati, Hamilton & Dayton (CH&D) and the Chicago, Indianapolis & Louisville (CI&L) AKA Monon, Cincinnati & Westwood, Cincinnati-Northwestern.
C. A. Wilson D. G. Edwards E. Zimmerman J.A. Edson A. H. McLeod Russell Harding
Chief Engineer CH & D Passenger President CH & D General Manager Ch & D Freight Vice-President
CH & D Traffic Manager CH & D Traffic Manager CH & D
W. H. Brimson W. M. Greene S. T. McLaughlin
General Superintendent Vice President & B. & O. Freight Agent
B. & O. General Manager B & O
OHIO & MISSISSIPPI STATION
In 1854 the third depot was opened in Cincinnati to open a track between Cincinnati and points west particularly Saint Louis. It was called the O. and M. or the Ohio & Mississippi Line. As can be seen in the two non-postcard images below the company was not financially well off. The line was constructed along the south side of Front Street between Mill and Wood Streets. For some five years the O. & M. Railroad had the trade to the west to themselves until the C. & I. came along. The station was rebuilt in 1873 on the same site.
COURT STREET STATION
This homely little station was built by the narrow-gage Cincinnati Northern Railway in just three months in 1882, four years after the railroad had dug Cincinnati's only railroad tunnel that was dug to reach the head of the steeply descending Deer Creek Valley along Gilbert Avenue. This tunnel (sometimes referred to as the Oak Street Tunnel) can be seen in the non-postcard images below. Finished in 1881 it is approximately 1/3 of a mile long with a 19' bore. Originally it had two narrow gauge tracks but it was later converted to two standard gauge tracks despite the fact that the tunnel was too small for trains to pass each other. An accident in 1916 led the railroad to replace the two tracks with a single track. This meant the trains had to wait at either end until a clear signal was given. It was reported that in the 1920's this line generated more freight in a 5 mile stretch than any other in the Cincinnati area. The line was still in operation until the late 1980's. It is currently owned by SORTA (Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority) and is being maintained for possible use in the future for passenger rail service. The main problem would be its small size. The map in the center shows the location of this tunnel (in yellow) with the north entrance under the northeast corner of Oak & May Sts. and the south entrance is in a cut between William Howard Taft & McMillan St. parallel to the N I-71 entrance ramp. A short underpass of identical brick construction was built under McMillan St. and can be seen in red.
The Court Street Station was located on the north side of Court Street between Broadway and Gilbert Streets. The road was reorganized as the Cincinnati, Lebanon and Northern in 1885 and converted to standard gage in 1894, two years before the Pennsylvania acquired a controlling interest. This miniature station endured for 40 years due mainly because of the numerous communities in the Cincinnati-Lebanon corridor. This station was the only railroad untouched be the floods of 1913 and 1937. The first two images are not postcards. The first is the depot with the loading platform seen extending out to the left and the 2nd image shows the platform from the end toward the station. That is the Times-Star Building in the background. The depot was closed the same year the picture was taken (1933) which explains the weed filled nature of the depot. In 1933 all trains were using the new Cincinnati Union Terminal when these photographs were taken.
This very nice postcard shows what the depot looked like when it was in operation.
Norfolk & Western Station.
PRR Railroad Disaster in Pleasant Ridge Lester crossing today
The 3 postcards above show the Cincinnati, Lebanon & Northern (PRR) train disaster that occurred on August 2, 1922 at the Lester Road crossing in Pleasant Ridge. Six died and Fifty were injured when the engineer forgot to sidetrack his train to allow the daily southbound train #11 from Lebanon to pass on the single track. The northbound train was a special excursion train that was taking 200 members of the Park St. Methodist Church (black) from the Court Street Station to their church picnic at Highland Grove that was owned by the C.L.&N. at Kenwood and Pfeiffer Roads. The two trains smashed head-on near a bend which did not allow for very much braking. The tenders behind the locomotives were driven into the locomotives while the wooden coaches were driven forward into the tenders and each other.
Railroads used by the Court Street Station : Cincinnati, Lebanon & Northern (later became the PRR); Ohio & Northwestern RR, (later became the Norfolk & Western (N&W)), Cincinnati, Portsmouth, and Virginia.
PLUM STREET DEPOT
In 1861 the Cincinnati & Indiana Railroad
received a charter to lay tracks to the state line. The company did a farsighted
act by buying the properties of the abandoned Whitewater Canal. This property
made track laying much quicker and with much less expense. In 1863 the C. &
I. passed to the control of the Indianapolis and Cincinnati, whose directors
began to plan for a new depot in Cincinnati immediately. The new company
petitioned the city of Cincinnati to lease the Pearl Street Market House and the
surrounding market space for station facilities. This area was originally the
terminal basin for the Whitewater Canal. The railroad company's plan was to
rebuild the market house as a passenger depot, and to construct a freight
station and warehouse in the remaining space. The petition was granted by the
council and the lease was drawn up before the end of 1863. The freight station
was erected first along Pearl Street between John and Central in 1863-64. The
passenger depot, facing Plum Street at Pearl was open in 1865. It was called The Plum Street Depot and it was stated
to be "one of the finest railroad depots in the country". Three full
stories in height the east half of the main floor was for ticket offices,
parlors, toilets, lavatories, and of course, a saloon. "The ladies' parlor
adjoins on the north side, the carpet is a fine and beautiful Brussels, while
the furniture is the best of walnut: mirrors, chandeliers, etc., add greatly to
the elegance of the room.....The dining department is certainly the finest in
the United States." The Indianapolis & Cincinnati (C. & I.)
operated five trains in each direction and the Marietta & Cincinnati three
for a total of 16 in and out. This was one quarter of the city's passenger
service at the time.
This depot is considered to be the city's first union station. The I. & C. was leased to the Indianapolis, Cincinnati, and Lafayette Railroad in 1866, and this railroad was consolidated with still other companies that year to form the Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Saint Louis and Chicago Railroad (Big Four).
With the construction of the Central Union Station in 1883 the Plum Street Depot was expanded into the new depot. Plum Street Depot ceased operations as a passenger depot and became the center of a vast complex of warehouses of the Big Four that were built over the following years. Partly destroyed by fire in July 1944, it was rebuilt and continued being used until 1961 when it was razed to clear the way for the Mill Creek Expressway.
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