Friday, March 31, 2017

Lima Interurban Building

On July 1 of 2005, I took a long and winding drive through northwest Ohio taking photos of remnants of the interurban electric railroads that once stretched through the area. In particular, I made a stop in Lima, Ohio, where in 1910 the Ohio Electric (later Cincinnati & Lake Erie) Railroad had built a two story brick passenger station at the northwest corner of Market and Central. This was a more modest interurban station than those found in Saint LouisIndianapolis, or Akron, as befit a smaller city, but it was still an attractive structure. Thankfully, it still stands today, housing the Allen County Board of Health.
Photo of front of former Lima interurban terminal, taken July 1, 2005.
Tracks and canopies were on the other side.
The building had a deep lawn with landscaping in front, and the three station tracks were in the rear. The mainline ran east-west on Market Street, with tracks on Central and Union connecting the station tracks to the mainline. This track arrangement allowed the trolley cars to enter whether they were headed east or west, and leave in either direction as well. Heading eastbound led to mainline to central and southern Ohio. Westbound led to three different lines that branched off toward the northern part of Lima.
Very rough approximation of track plan at Lima station

Waiting passengers were protected from the worst of the elements by canopies running parallel to and between the tracks. The area where the tracks and and canopies once lay is now a parking lot, with little of interest to see. Electric trolleys ran from this station to Fort Wayne, Indiana; Defiance, Ohio; Toledo, Ohio and Detroit, Michigan; and to points in southern and central Ohio, such as Springfield, Columbus, Dayton, and Cincinnati. By 1938, though, the trolleys were all gone; some of the routes had been abandoned earlier in the decade, in the depths of the Great Depression.

I understand it may have seen service as a bus station for some time, but that was no longer the case when I visited in 2005. However, Greyhound's modern Lima bus station is located at the north end of the same block, facing High Street.

Historical marker for the building.

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