RailsandTrails.com - Texts - 1916 Pennsylvania Railroad Guide

Crestline to Fort Wayne

From Crestline practically all the way to Chicago the Pennsylvania System traverses the great prairies of the Middle West. These wonderful level areas, miles in extent, with but few trees, and those mainly planted by early settlers, are very productive for farming and provide fine grazing for stock of all kinds.

Bucyrus, the center of a fine stock-raising section and a manufacturing point for farm machinery and the various appliances utilized in the care of cattle, as well as of fine furniture, is the junction point with the Toledo Division branch extending through the center of Ohio from Columbus to Sandusky.

Just after passing Bucyrus station, going west, trains cross the bridge spanning the Sandusky River, one of the largest water courses of Western Ohio, around whose banks the Indian and the white man, in the later years of the eighteenth century, waged bitter warfare.

Upper Sandusky, where the railroad again crosses the Sandusky River, which turns northward to empty, some miles north, into Lake Erie, is a busy city. Its factories turn out machinery, furniture, and wagons of various sorts, as well as foundry products and flour.

A few miles to the northwest is the site of a terrific battle between the Delaware Indians and a force of white men, under the command of Colonel William Crawford. During the year 1782 these Indians had been ravaging the homes of the settlers in the Sandusky Valley, and Colonel Crawford was sent from Fort Steuben, at Steubenville with 500 men to subdue them. He met the Indians, whose habitat at that time was the Tuscarawas Valley, at this point and was badly defeated, being captured and burned at the stake, in revenge for the slaughter of Indians then going on in Southern Ohio.

Near Forest station, twelve miles beyond Upper Sandusky, the tracks cross the Blanchard River, one of the main tributaries of the Maumee River.

Ada is the seat of the Ohio Northern University.

Lima is in the heart of the great petroleum and natural gas belt of Western Ohio, and is also the seat of Lima College, a Lutheran institution of learning. With a population of 34,500, Lima is interested in the refining and handling of petroleum and its by-products. There are also large railroad repair shops located here, as well as locomotive and car works.

The little station of Auglaize marks the crossing of the Auglaize River, another tributary of the Maumee. Four miles farther on is

Delphos, a busy town of 6,000 people, which contains a railroad repair shop of the Pennsylvania System, and several furniture and wooden ware manufactories. Just west of the city the railroad crosses the Erie and Miami Canal, connecting Lake Erie with the Miami River.

From Delphos to Fort Wayne the line lies through an agricultural section, which is under fine cultivation, and dotted with a number of villages and towns.

Van Wert, in the center of this section, is an enterprising community of 8,200 people who are engaged in the manufacture of needed products for the surrounding country and in stock raising.

The line between the States of Ohio and Indiana runs directly through the center of the town of Dixon, the main street of the town, on which is located the Pennsylvania Station, being the dividing line.

Fort Wayne, the largest city passed en route between Pittsburgh and Chicago, is, next to Indianapolis, the most important railroad center in the State of Indiana, seven steam railroads and a number of electric lines converging at this point. It was named for General Anthony Wayne.

Historically, Fort Wayne goes back to about the middle of the seventeenth century, when it was visited by La Salle, who found there the central city of the once powerful Miami tribe of Indians. It was known then as Ke-ki-on-ga. At various times during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries both the French and the English had military posts at Ke-ki-on-ga. In 1790 General Harmar, at the head of an expedition, was badly defeated within the limits of the present city, and a year later General St. Clair, of the American army, was also defeated just outside of Fort Wayne.

During the campaign waged by Tecumseh and his brother, The Prophet, in August, 1812, Fort Wayne was invested by the Indians and its meager garrison hard pressed for about two weeks, until relief came from other posts.

The city to-day has a population of 75,000 persons. Its public buildings are ornate and costly, and its business buildings and residences are modern in construction. There are many manufactories located in and around the city producing a wide variety of goods.

The St. Joseph and St. Mary rivers unite within the city limits to form the Maumee River, and the surrounding scenery is charming. Concordia College and a number of schools and academies are located within the city limits, and the State Home for Feeble Minded is just outside the city.

The lines of the Pennsylvania System are elevated through the city. The Grand Rapids & Indiana Railway, one of the Pennsylvania's subsidiary lines, extending from Richmond up through Michigan to the Great Lakes, crosses the main line a short distance east of the city limits.

North of Fort Wayne, this important division of the Pennsylvania System extends through one of the most delightful summer resorts regions in the Middle West, as well as one of the greatest furniture producing sections in the world.

Historically, the State of Michigan was one of the earliest visited regions west of the Alleghenies. Jean Nicolet had come thither as early as 1634, and Father Marquette made a settlement at Michilimackinac (now Mackinaw City, the terminus of the line) in 1670. At the latter point, the British garrison in the old fort were massacred by Pontiac in 1763.

Grand Rapids, the chief city on this important line of the Pennsylvania System, was first settled in 1828, when Joseph Campeau established an Indian trading post where the city now stands.

To-day, with a population of 123,227, it ranks as one of the most important furniture centers in the world as well as a busy manufacturing city in other lines. It is also the chief center in the great fruit belt of central Michigan. The Michigan Soldiers' Home is located three miles from the city.