Ohio History Journal

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Ohio was among the first of the States to commence the

building of railroads. As early as 1832, when there were but

two hundred and twenty-nine miles of railroad in operation in

the United States, a special charter was granted by the State of

Ohio for the construction of a railroad to extend from Sandusky,

Huron County, to Dayton, Montgomery County, a distance of

one hundred and fifty-six miles. The road was completed as

far as Bellevue, sixteen miles, and put into operation in 1839.

The balance of the road was not completed and put into oper-

ation until 1844. It is now a part of the "Big Four" system.

In order to aid this enterprise, special acts were passed by

the Ohio Legislature authorizing the State to loan its credit

to the amount of $200,000, and also authorizing some of the

counties through which the road was to pass to subscribe cer-

tain amounts, ranging from $25,000 to $60,000 toward the cap-

ital stock of the company. The city of Springfield was also

authorized to subscribe $25,000.

Another road was projected in 1832, the Kalamazoo and

Erie, to extend from Toledo, Ohio, to Adrian, Michigan, thirty-

three miles. A company was formed in 1835 and the road was

completed the following year, this being really the first road

constructed in the State.

Oak stringers, covered with strap iron, five-eighths of an

inch in thickness and two and one-half inches in width, were

used for track in place of rails. The road was first put into oper-

ation by means of horse power in 1836, and continued in that

primitive way one year, when a locomotive was purchased and

steam power was used thereafter.

In October, 1837, a contract was made with the United

States government for carrying the mail.