Running the Rails
The 1890s brought with it the heyday for the railroads. With unprecedented urban growth occurring in cities such as Chicago, New York, and San Francisco, metropolitan areas had to scramble to keep their transportation and food infrastructures up to date. For Wooster, this meant that its rails would be used to maximum capacity as cities imported raw materials such as iron and coal, crops like wheat and barley, and livestock from cattle farms.1 Trains carrying cargo would leave the depot, either heading west to Chicago or east to Pittsburgh. Farmers found themselves shipping less to market to avoid paying too high of a freight tariff, leaving plenty of stock for sale back in town. Meanwhile, Any Woosterite who wanted to use the train to visit Cleveland or Columbus could do so by looking up a railroad departure time in the local newspaper and then waiting at the depot for the next passenger train to arrive.2
1 “A History of Wayne County, Ohio: Compiled and Edited By Members of the Wayne County History Book Committee.” (Dallas: Taylor Publishing Company, 1987). Accessed through Genealogy department of the Wayne County Public Library.
2 Hauenstein, E.H.. “Recall Days When Railroads, Abandoned Two Decades Ago, Flourished in Wayne Co.—Few Traces Remain”. Daily Record, July 21st, 1948.