RailsandTrails.com - Texts - 1916 Pennsylvania Railroad Guide


Columbus to Cincinnati


THE Pennsylvania System's through route to Cincinnati is the same as that traversed by through St. Louis trains as far as Xenia; thence, it turns almost directly southwest through the deep gorge of the Little Miami River, nearly to the mouth of this stream in the Ohio.

As one leaves Xenia station the tracks make a steep descent through a picturesque glen in which tumbles Glady Stream, familiar to students of the exploits of Daniel Boone. For it was down this glen that Boone made his dash for freedom, after his escape from the Indians, on June 16, 1778.

Six miles south of Xenia, at Spring Valley, a most beautiful section of meadow land, the railroad curves into the canyon-like valley of the Little Miami, a rapid tumbling stream which descends 700 feet in eighty miles, or nine feet to the mile.

This valley was one of the first to be occupied by a railroad line west of the Allegheny Mountains, trains having been run through it early in the last century between Cincinnati, Xenia and Springfield.

Fort Ancient, located just beyond the twenty-third mile post west of Xenia, is supposed to be a relic of the prehistoric occupants of the land now known as the United States. If one looks up the hill, on the lefthand side of the train going west, the irregular eight-foot-high walls of this ancient fortification or communal dwelling, for it is uncertain just what it was built for, may be seen stretching for some distance along the ridge, 230 feet above the river.

Morrow is the junction point with the Zanesville Division. Beyond Morrow, the railroad and the river turn toward the west, each still disputing the way of the other through the narrow gorge. At Middletown Junction a branch line runs northwest for some miles through the hills to Middletown, a prosperous city in a rich agricultural district, which was settled about 1794.

Camp Dennison is noted as the spot where the Ohio troops rendezvoused during the war between the States. It received its name from Governor Dennison, who was the chief executive of the State of Ohio at that time. The frame buildings used as headquarters at that time are still standing and may be seen from passing trains.

Between Clare and Rendcomb Junction the railroad leaves the valley of the Little Miami and curves westward into the valley of the Ohio. About five miles before the station in Cincinnati is reached what was once the second oldest settlement in the Northwest Territory is traversed. This was the town of Columbia, where, on November 18, 1788, twenty-six hardy Pennsylvanians erected a blockhouse and laid out the town.

Beyond Columbia the route lies along the steep banks of the Ohio at the foot of the high hills on which the greater part of the city of Cincinnati is built.

Cincinnati, with a population of 400,000, is the thirteenth city of the United States in point of population, and next to Pittsburgh, the largest city in the Ohio Valley.

Historically, Cincinnati is one of the early cities of the Middle West. Major Benjamin Stites, of Pennsylvania who was engaged in the Indian campaign in Ohio, in 1786, was so pleased with the scenery around the mouth of the Little Miami River that he decided to found a city there.

The following year, Major Stites, with Judge John Cleves Symmes, a member of Congress from New Jersey, obtained a grant of the land on which the city now stands from Congress and by 1788, the little settlement had begun to grow. Settlers came from Kentucky, under the leadership of Colonel Patterson and John Filson, who named the new settlement Losantiville.

With the coming of St. Clair as Territorial Governor, in 1790, the name was changed to Cincinnati in honor of the then newly formed order of the Cincinnati, and as the location of Fort Washington the new town was for some years the center of activity in Ohio.

With the starting of steamboat service on the Ohio in 1811 Cincinnati became one of the most noted stopping places for river steamers, and was also early noted for the number of Germans who settled there. During the Civil War and the years preceding it, the city was one of the stations on the "underground railroad."

It is a hustling, busy city, with many and varied industrial interests. Its prominent lines of industry are clothing, shoes, and leather goods, woodworking machinery, lithography and printing, printing inks, whiskey and beer, pork and beef products, electrical supplies, decorative pottery and soap. In raw materials, Cincinnati is a great market for cotton, hides, wool and lumber.

The land adjacent to the river is low. The main business section of the city is built on this narrow strip, extending for several miles along the river front. But rising abruptly behind this is a high bluff, the summit of which is crowned with fine residential sections, which extend for several miles over the hills north of the city.

Eden Park, the largest of the city's pleasure grounds, occupies 214 acres on this elevated section of the city. The views of the river and the rolling farm lands of Kentucky to be obtained from this park are extensive and remarkably beautiful. The Art Museum, with its wonderful collection of paintings, sculpture, ceramics, and metal work, is located in Eden Park.