RailsandTrails.com - Texts - 1916 Pennsylvania Railroad Guide
Columbus to Indianapolis
via Xenia and Dayton
LEAVING Columbus for Indianapolis via Xenia and Dayton, Pennsylvania System passengers traverse a section of country which is interesting in many ways, but more particularly from an historic point of view, for it is dotted with towns large and small in which history has been made from the earliest days up to the present time. Its story ranges from the building of the ancient mounds to the development of the modern aeroplane.
On the left, as one passes over the bridge crossing the Scioto, which, rising to the northwest of Columbus, flows almost directly south, passing through Chillicothe, the former capital of the State, and empties into the Ohio at Portsmouth, one of the very early settlements in this section, are seen the buildings of the Ohio State Hospital for the Insane, surrounded by some very attractive landscape gardening.
Beyond, the double-track roadway of the Pennsylvania stretches out across the thirty-five mile section of very rich farm land, most of it the black clay for which Ohio is famous. This tract was for many years known as the Virginia Military District, so named because Congress, following the Revolution, set it apart for the use and settlement of the officers of the Virginia regiments who had served during the war with Great Britain.
West Jefferson, on Darby Creek, is noted as the place where the family of Logan, the Indian, were massacred in 1774, which led to Logan's joining the bad Indians in the West.
Between London and South Charleston, the railroad crosses the water shed between the Scioto and Little Miami valleys and comes into Xenia, a busy city of 10,000 population, lying between the two forks of the latter stream, the county seat of Greene County. Here, too, is Wilberforce University, one of the most noted negro institutions of learning in the country.
Xenia is the junction point with the Cincinnati Division and with the branch line running northwest to
Springfield, an important manufacturing city of 52,000 population and the county seat of Clarke County.
Four miles west of Xenia the railroad crosses the Little Miami and continues in a northwestwardly direction to
Dayton, noted throughout the civilized world as the home of the cash register and the flying machine, and, in addition to this distinction, as an exceedingly thrifty manufacturing city with a population of 123,677.
First laid out in November, 1795, by General Israel Ludlow, a veteran of the Revolution, who helped to found Cincinnati, and named by him after General Jonathan Dayton, a noted figure of early American politics, the first permanent settlers found their way to the new town in 1796. Here, on December 17, 1903, Wilbur Wright made the first successful flight of man in a heavier-than-air machine, and paved the way for the wonderful science of aviation.
Dayton was almost wiped off the map in March, 1913, by the disastrous flood of the Great Miami River, which, with the Ohio Canal, runs directly through the heart of the city. The devastated portions have all been rebuilt.
From Dayton to New Paris, the point of junction with the line running from Columbus to Indianapolis via Bradford, the railroad passes through a fine agricultural section.