Street Cars


Researched by Sharon Milich Kouns

The street railroad was talked about in the early 70’s, however, Ironton did not get one until 1888.

·         IR Oct. 17, 1872 – A street railroad is talked of from Petersburg to Hanging Rock. An estimate made some time since fixed the cost at $45,000.

·         IR Jan. 12, 1888 – ABOUT THE STREET RAILROAD

As will be seen in our Council Notes, the Council evinced no hesitancy in determing to grant S. T. Dunham, of New York, the right of way which he asks to build a street railroad through Ironton.

The ordinance formally granting that right, comes up for consideration at a special meeting of Council tonight.  As submitted by Gen. Enochs, Mr. Dunham’s attorney, it specifies a route for Second street from the corner of Lambert’s machine shop to Adams street, thence on Adams to Third, and along the center of Third street to the corporation line.  The proposed grant is for 25 years.  The limits proposed are five months in which to begin work, the road to be completed by the 1st of next December or the franchise to be void.  It is probable these limits will be cut down somewhat, when the Council passes the ordinance.

Mr. Dunham was in town one day last week and spent the day with W. M. Kerr, to whom he first wrote concerning the street railroad project.  He is a bustling enterprising New Yorker, who speaks freely of his plans and projects, and gives every indication of substantiality, in his dealings.  He represents a syndicate of rich New York capitalists, and has just completed a street railroad at Portsmouth, Va., to which point he went upon leaving here last week.  he is also the moving spirit in a street railroad project at Huntington , which has come up since his first visit to Ironton.  Mr. Dunham says if the franchises are granted, it is his purpose to begin work as soon as the weather will permit, and that the road can be built in 60 days.  Though the proposed ordinance permits either animal, cable, or electric motive power, it is understood the former will be used, (do not have end of this article in my files).

·         IR Jan. 19, 1888 – The County Commissioners met Monday to consider the application for right of way for the street railroad.  They gave it from the corporation line to the fill and bridge over Ice creek, and then the street railroad company must run outside the fill and make their own bridge.  They agree to the use of the river side of the fill providing the inside rail is not nearer than 10 feet to the center, and will allow the company to use the present bridge abutments for the street railroad bridge.  By these concessions, the street railroad could get beyond Ice creek without serious expense.  On the road above and below, the center of the road is allowed the company.

·         IR Apr. 19, 1888 – Street Railroad – At the last meeting of the City Council, a resolution was passed requiring Mr. Dunham to show why he had not begun work on the street railroad in accordance with the stipulations of his franchise which ended April 1st.  Mr. Dunham has been notified of this action, and has written here that the arrangements for beginning work are completed, and that the rails and cars have been ordered.  He says the Chicago parties are in the company and the work is certain to proceed.  As the Register before reported, it is likely that Mr. Burkholder is owner of the rights and franchises and will be on ground to begin work in a few days.  It is a matter of interest to Ironton that operations begin soon, for it is highly probable that other parties stand ready to prosecute the work.

·         IR June 7, 1888 – It seems quite likely that the street railroad will be extended to West Ironton, or further.

·         IR June 7, 1888 – The street railroad is ballasted from Adams street to Sarah Furnace, and the rails are laid to the bridge.  “All aboard” for the 4th of July, sure.

·         IR Sept. 13, 1888 – City Council….The Street Railroad Co. is to be notified to ballast their track with limestone, between the rails and 1 foot on each side, according to ordinance.

·         IR May 8, 1890 – We think the Council ought to have given the freight car idea on the Street R. R. a trial, say for a few months to see how it works, and if it will be a blessing to the community.  There is no good reason for not trying the experiment.  If it doesn’t work right, stop it, that’s all.  These are days of progress and new things.

·         IR May 8, 1890 – Pres. Ingalls said that the bridge at Ashland would pay 4 per cent. on the whole investment, from foot and horse travel alone, while the railroad business would greatly increase the revenues.  Whenever the bridge is built, it should provide for foot passengers and teams.

·         IR June 26, 1890 – A pleasant and cheap ride these warm evenings is a 20ct. trip in an open street car to Petersburg and back. [this same paper states “The Common Pleas Court has changed the name of Petersburg to Coalgrove.”]

·         IR June 26, 1890 – All Aboard. – Open street car excursions to the Moonlight Badge Picnic and Social given by the Whitwell Sabbath School.  Everyone attending is expected to wear a badge.  The one wearing the greatest number of badges will be the most popular.  Don’t forget the date, Friday evening, June 27, 1890.  Grand balloon ascension at 11 o’clock.

·         IR Sept. 18, 1890 – STREET R.R. NOTIFIED. – The County Commissioners have notified the Ironton Street Railroad Co. to remove their track from the Ice Creek bridge by October 1st.  When the Commissioners gave the Company the right over the bridge, two years ago, ti was stipulated that the Company should move the track from the bridge by October 1, 1890, or that thereafter they should be subject to a rental of $5.00 per day.  This notice is given to carry out the terms of the contract.   Whether the Street R. R. Co. will vacate and build a new bridge, or pay the rental named or some other, we don’t know.  We are certain that some judicious arrangement will be made between the two parties that will be of advantage to the public welfare.

·         IR Mar. 5, 1891   The President of the Street Railway Co. will be here this week, to look after some necessities of the road.

·         IR Mar. 26, 1891 – The summer street cars are being dressed in a garb of lovely orange.

·         IR May 28, 1891 – Three new cars have arrived for the street railroad, and henceforth all trips of the cars will be made to Ashland, except at night, there will be shorter trips to town.  In order to enable all the cars to run to Ashland, two more switches are being put down one at Isaacs and another at Cemetery lane.  The withdrawal of the shorter trips will make the intervals between cars about three minutes greater than now.  All cars will have two horses.

·         IR May 28, 1891 – Work Begun. – The work of laying the ties and stringers on the extension of the street railroad to Hanging Rock has begun.  At present, the progress is slow, for much of the force has been taken away to put down the new switches on the line above town, but when that work is done the line will be pushed with all vigor to Hanging Rock.  The timber work will all be done by the time the iron gets here.

·         IR June 25, 1891 – 200 street railroad passengers cross the Ashland ferry every day.

·         IR June 25, 1891 – The first rail was laid on the Hanging Rock street railroad extension yesterday.  A large portion of the timbers are down, and the road may be completed and cars running next week.  Some additional cars will be received for that portion of the road.  They will run on the extension independent of the main line, the cars making connection each way, at the stables.

·         IR July 2, 1891 – The street railroad is three years old today. It is a flourishing infant. … The street railroad will celebrate by opening the new extension to Hanging Rock.

·         IR July 2, 1891 – The first car went down half way on the Hanging Rock street railroad, last Saturday.  It was filled with children from along the route.  The people on the line welcomed the car with manifestations of joy.

·         IR July 9, 1891 – Ironton holds out two arms to greet the people – street railroads to Coalgrove and Hanging Rock.

·         IR July 9, 1891 – The Street Railroad carried about 4,500 passengers on the 4th.  It was the biggest day up to date.

·         IR July 9, 1891 – Notes on the Fourth – A street car broke an axle with 80 passengers aboard…A. N. & W. bridge pier was finished….217 tickets sold by the N. & W. agent, beside Ashland business…Hanging Rock street railroad extension opened with a large patronage…

·         IR July 9, 1891 – Last Friday, the street railroad extension to Hanging Rock was completed and Capt. Johnson, Superintendent, and W. M. Kerr, Secretary and Treasurer of [the] Co., took a trial trip over the line accompanied by several residents along the route.  They made the trip from the stables to the Rock in 15 minutes and back in 14.  The track was in fair condition and regular trips were established at once.  For the present, there is but one car on the extension, and it makes a round trip every hour.  The road was built under the direction of Mr. A. Lawless, who finished it practically in ten days.  This is pretty quick work, and it is a good job.  About 300 passengers went over the road the first day.

·         IR July 16, 1891 – Means, Kyle & Co., are putting the cinder on the street railway’s extension to Hanging Rock.

·         IR July 30, 1891 – A shuttle train now runs between Kenova and Wayne C. H., making four trips a day.

·         IR Jan. 21, 1892 – Give us an electric street railway.

·         IR Jan. 21, 1892 – An electric street railway from Hanging Rock to Coalgrove would be a big thing for Ironton – a great deal bigger than the “hose” cars.

·         IR Feb. 4, 1892 – The Street Railroad carried 3170 more passengers last January than in the corresponding month of last year. This is a good showing. The Street Railroad is one of the most beneficial of our institutions.

·         IR Feb. 11, 1892 – City Council. – The street railroad matter was up, and members urged the street committee to report on the company’s request for right to lay T rail.  Council will meet next Friday night to hear this report.

·         IR Feb. 11, 1892 – The majority of Council seems to be in favor ot the T rail.

·         IR Feb. 11, 1892 – One of the greatest exports from Ironton are railroad ties.

·         IR Feb. 18, 1892 – An electric street railway is a mark of improvement, but it looks as if the mark will not be made.

·         IR Feb. 18, 1892 – The street railroad would be worth a hundred per cent more to the business of Ironton if it was electric.  Then why not have it?  Do not the business interests count for something?

·         IR Feb. 25, 1892 – The vote on the petition to allow the Street Railroad Co. the right to lay a T rail was four in favor and four opposed.  Those who voted “yes” are entitled to public thanks for doing what they could to give Ironton an electric railway and do away with the slow, horse-murdering concern.

·         IR Mar. 3, 1892: – Mr. Harmon, the President of the Street Railroad, is in town.

·         IR Apr. 7, 1892 – The Ironton Street R. R. paid over $2700 into the county treasury, last Tuesday – amount of judgment and rental for using Ice creek bridge.  The street railroad pays the county if it doesn’t pay itself.

·         IR Apr. 28, 1892 – Now that Spring has come and the days have grown longer, an additional street car has been put on the route from here [Ironton] to Coalgrove, and the last car down leaves there at 7:10 p.m.

·         IR May 12, 1892 – It is highly probable that the street cars will run by electricity before many months.

·         IR May 12, 1892 – Charles G. Stroup, of Lynchburg, O., has accepted the position of conductor on the street railway, and is now doing duty in that capacity, between this city and Coalgrove.

·         IR May 19, 1892 – The Council is not far from agreeing on the electric road and the T rail.

·         IR May 26, 1892 – The Council have decided against the T rail.  Well, we ought to have electric cars anyway,

·         IR June 30, 1892 – TWENTY FIVE YEARS. – Last Monday evening was the occasion of a pleasant gathering of friends at the home of Capt. and Mrs. T. T. Johnson on Front-st.  It was their twenty-fifth anniversary, and the daughters saw to it – that it should not pass unobserved.  The invitations were for seven o’clock sharp, and there was an air of expectation about the staid married folks who were assembled promptly at that hour to the number of thirty or more.  It was no ordinary evening party to which the guests were bid, for the superintendent of the Street Railway, the host of the evening, was going to treat them to a ride over the line.  A more delightful evening could not have been chosen for such a trip.  There was not a hint of sultriness in the air, and most ladies of the company had provided themselves with wraps, which they found very comfortable on the homeward ride.  At the hour named an open car, decorated with a frieze of red, white and blue, was at the corner of Second and Center streets; the merry crowd comfortably filled the car, and it sped along without any stoppages, to its destination, the end of the line.  Much joking and laughter was indulged in, and the street occupants saw that it was an unusual company that filled the car.  To many of the guests it was a complete novelty and pleasant surprise; neither business nor inclination having taken them that way for a long time, and it was a matter of constant wonder to them at the way in which the town had been built up along the route.  Pleasant homes had sprung up where green fields were remembered, and the new industries that had taken root, were commented upon with pride.  It was a little over an hour from the time the car started until the guests returned to the host’s pleasant home, where refreshments were served and the more keenly enjoyed, after the ride in the exhilarating air.  The guests lingered to enjoy pleasant conversation and reminiscence, when they went their ways, thanking Mr. and Mrs. Johnson for the delightful evening spent, wishing them continued prosperity and long life, that they might reach their “golden wedding.”  A case of handsome silver spoons and other articles were left to remind them of the land-mark they had just passed.

·         IR Sept. 22, 1892 – They are changing the street railroad track at Coalgrove, from the N. & W. land to the county road.

·         IR Mar. 16, 1893 – There is fair talk of extending the street railroad to Sheridan.

·         IR Mar. 16, 1893 – Councilman Austin came up from Cincinnati to vote for the T rail ordinance.

·         IR Mar. 16, 1893 – Capt. Johnson thinks it is doubtful whether the Street Railway Co. will accept the T rail ordinance.

·         IR Oct. 12, 1893 – Capt. Johnson went to Charlottesville last Monday, to confer with President Harmon, of the street railroad.

·         IR Oct. 12, 1893 – We may say that the Street Railroad Co. has contracted for its electric cars and wire, and that 30 tons more of the 5 1/2 inch T rail will be shipped from Johnstown, Pa., today or tomorrow.  This will complete the track up through the 3rd street improvement.  The shipment of iron has been delayed by the manufacturers.

·         IR June 6, 1895 – Street Railway. – Mr. Lamar, the purchaser of the Street railway, is here for the purpose of completing the sale and having it confirmed, which will probably be done tomorrow.  The charter for the new company has been obtained.  The name will be The Ironton Street Railway, Light and Power Co.  The immediate problem to be solved relates to the franchise which will be asked of the City Council.  It is to be hoped this question will be considered carefully and from a friendly standpoint, for if there is anything that Ironton needs badly, it is an electric street railway.  Such an addition to Ironton will be of immense service to the business of the city.  Should the proper franchise be obtained Ironton capital will join the enterprise and its policy governed by home people.

·         IR June 13, 1895 – We imagine that the big sleeves [on] the street cars are as much a nuisance [as] the hoop skirts of our great-grandmothers would have been.  Notice the look of hate which a woman of fashion cast at any one who dares to crowd himself against her fibre chamoised sleeves.  [____] when a woman with balloon sleeves crowds herself in between two men, they, poor abused ones, have to give up all thoughts of reading their papers, it is impossible to see over Madame’s sleeves.  If they only had some kind of patent umbrella like arrangements with which they could hoist or let down their sleeves at pleasure, as the funny papers suggest, we would all be a little more comfortable.


·         IR June 13, 1895 [left side of my copy was cut off]  _____STREET RAILWAY.

_____gone glimmering again.  The

_____to have been confirmed, last

_____, but Mr. Lamar, the New

_____gentleman, appeared and stated

____was unable to to meet the final

_____whereupon the court ordered

_____property be again offered which

_____on July 1.  When the sale was

_____.  Lamar paid $1000 when the

_____was knocked down to him.

_____amount, $2000, is forfeited, and

______in paying the costs of sale

____the obligations on the


___ of Mr. Lamar to complete

____purchase was occasioned by his

____to get the control of bonds

_____to his purpose.  We regret

_____prospects of an electric

______ revenue obscured, and yet the

______ offer may result in a purchase

______serve the people as well, if not

______ Mr. Lamar’s plan.


IR July 18, 1895 – STREET R.R. CASE. – At Common Pleas Court, last Saturday, the Street Railway case was finally disposed of.  The city was allowed $537.36 on its claim; $280.83 being for the Second-street portion, which the Court allowed against the finding of the Commissioner, and of which the Court at the close said there was still some questions, but to which it still adhered.  There are 4.3 miles of railway in the city.  Of this there were 6761 ft. on the improvement, distributed as follows:

Second Street 3147 ft
Adams 194 ft
Third 3146 ft (figures are hard to make out on my copy)
This is 1.28 of a mile, whose valuation at $1500 a mile, constituted the portion adjudged assessable, to the extent of 25 per cent of its value, which however makes less than $537 for which judgment was given.  In addition to the $537, the Court allowed the City $832.79, on contract with the receiver, which amount was not in controversy.  Thus the city gets out of the case $1370.05.

There was considerable interest in the termination of the matter, an account of the costs, which ran up to $6,000, or over a quarter of the judgment.  The Court was disposed to be liberal and the lawyers holding judgments, threatened motions to relax the costs.  Attorney Johnson was allowed $1750, he to pay his own expenses, which were considerable and receiver Johnson $1800 and expenses.  With these allowances, claims represented by attorneys Hamilton and Anderson, were let in on the ground floor, and so they resisted no further.  The status of the case resulted in about what the REGISTER stated last week – the money would last long enough to pay a small portion of the Wesley and Improvement Co. judgments; but it would not reach within calling distance of the bondholders’ claims.

The attorneys for the city indicated a purpose to appeal from the rulings of the Court, and so $3000 was the amount of the bond they were to file in case the appeal was taken.

According to the judgment in the case the $22,000 resulting from the sale of the road will be thus distributed:

Receiver’s Certificates 9,767.50
Costs in Court
249.00 (or 349.00)
Taxes 740.50
City of Ironton 1,370.05
County Commissioners 279.01
Commissioner Booth 1,000.00
Receiver Johnson 1,800.00
Attorney Johnson 1,750.00
Sheriff Ward 350.00
Stenographer Cleaver 562.00
Goldcamp Mill Co. 1,270.74
Thomas Mulligam 100.46
Ironton Cross Tie Co. 658.49
Mrs. Newcomb 36.18
A. Winters 78.21
Total $20,102.16
Thus leaving about $2000 to be distributed between C. C. Wesley’s claim of $5132.50 for damages and the National Improvement Co.’s claim for construction $6727.11, which claims stand upon the same basis.

·         IR Sept. 26, 1895 – The Street Railroad Superintendent bought some sleigh bells, the other day for the horse cars; but oh, for the buzz of the electric.

·         IR Jan. 23, 1896 – The four new cars for the street railroad will go on the track early next week.

·         IR Jan. 23, 1896 – Four cars for the street railroad arrived over the C. H. & D. last Tuesday.  They came from Cincinnati.

·         IR Mar. 12, 1896 – At the last Council meeting, Dr. Ellison moved to reconsider the vote by which the street railroad amendment was lost at the previous meeting.  The question was tabled, being effected somewhat by the statement that if amended, the ordinance could not go into effect during the life of this council, and so would be void.  So, the electric railroad ordinance seems to be settled.  Is it so with the road?

·         IR Mar. 26, 1896 – The Council again refused to modify the street railroad ordinance.  They were right.  Let it stand as passed.

·         IR May 21, 1896 – The Ironton Fire Brick Co. are making a special fire brick for the street railroad on Second and Third to where the new rails are laid.  All the rails on Second and Third to that point will have to be re-laid.

·         IR May 28, 1896 – THE TROLLEY AND THE BRIDGE.

All the rail on Second and up Third some distance will have to be taken up and a six inch 60 lb rail substituted.  This work has not yet been started, except brick are being made to fit the track.  The iron rails have not yet arrived.  Only about six  weeks are left for completing this work under the franchise, and it seems impossible to do it within that time.

We cannot understand the delay, but it is to be surmised that the new bridge project exerts more or less influence.  If the bridge is built and a trolley links Ironton and Ashland in that direction, the present street railroad system will be seriously menaced.  Whether there is anything in this situation that discourages rapid movement, we can’t say; but there has been some interchange of ideas between the railroad company and the bridge projectors, in which prices have been discussed, but no possibility of an agreement appears.

In the meantime, the bridge enterprise seemed surrounded with the halo of hope.  Col. Bigstaff informed us last week, that several engineers had been engaged, and their part of the work pushed, and estimates hastened with all speed.  He has received the most direct assurances that the money will be ready when needed.

IR Jan. 30, 1897 – AS TO A FREE BRIDGE – Conference of Council Committee With the Coal Grove Village Council.

Messrs. Heald, Ellison and Henry, special council committee, also Councilman D. J. James, attended a special meeting of the Coal Grove village council Friday evening, held for the purpose of conferring on the matter of the free us of Ice creek bridge by the street railway.  Editor Feuchter and Mr. Chas. Lintner were also present.  It was almost the unanimous sentiment of all that the county commissioners should abolish the $1 per day bridge toll charged the street railway and that the company then give a five-cent fare.  A petition signed by [do not have end – my paper is cut off]

·         IR Sept. 23, 1897 – City Council – Petition of street railway to lay a new switch on 3rd between Pleasant and Kemp referred.

 IR Sept. 23, 1897 – A New Motor – The motor cars which the Baldwin people ship to the C. H. & D. Traction Company next week will, it is expected, prove an epoch in railroad local transportation matters.  The design of the car is entirely new, nothing of this description ever having been attempted before in this country.  It is calculated to run at high speed on the steam railroad track, and, at the same time, by virtue of condensing appliances, can be operated through the streets of a city without frightening horses.  In this feature, it is really not quite offensive as the trolley line with its poles and attendant noises and sudden and starting flashes from the trolley connections.  There are great number of steam railroads in the country today anxiously awaiting the result of this experiment of the C. H. & D. people in the hope that it may afford a solution of the problem which now faces them, of carrying people on such short hauls as the inter-urban lines can do without the impracticable feature of the trolley wire over the steam railroad track.

·         IR Mar. 2, 1899 – Appointed. – Very unexpectedly to himself, E. S. Wilson has been appointed Receiver of the Ironton Electric Light and Street Railway Co.  He has accepted and entered upon his duties.  In all probability the road will be offered for sale before many months, but in the meantime it will be the receivers duty to operate it to the best advantage of the creditors and the public.  Mr. Walsh will continue as general manager.

·         IR Apr. 27, 1899 – SUMMER CARS. – The contract has closed yesterday for four Summer nine-seat cars for the Ironton street railway, which are to be on the track and running within a month.  They will be equipped with the latest and best Westinghouse equipment, purchased new.  The cars themselves come from Massachusetts and are second hand, for new ones could not be secured within the time, but they have been used only a little, and are practically new, and will be refinished for use here.  The equipment comes from Pittsburg.

·         IR June 1, 1899 – Summer Cars. – The four summer cars for the Ironton Street Railway have arrived.  It may take some days to equip them with the motors and put them to business, but in the meantime, they will be used as trailers as occasion may require.

·         IR Aug. 17, 1899 – The First. – It is said the first trolley railway ever operated for business in this country is the one now running between Guyandotte and Huntington.  There were [do not have end]

·         IR Sept. 9, 1899 – Consolidation Talk. – An Effort Being Made to Put Street Car Lines Under One Management. – The following from the Huntington Advertiser, will be read with interest:  “For some time there have been rumors of a consolidation of the trolley railroad interests from Huntington to Ironton.  The Advertiser is in position now to state authoritively that there is a likelihood of consolidation in the near future.  Eastern capitalist, it is understood, have secured control of the Ashland & Catlettsburg line, of a franchise to Huntington from the banks of the Big Sandy, and now have an option on the Consolidation Light and Railway property until October 1st.”

·         IR Oct. 19, 1899 – The burning out of an armature at the electric plant, Saturday, suspended street traffic for three hours.

·         IR Dec. 9, 1899 – The conductors and motormen of the street railway are each grateful to A. J. Brumberg for a pair of warm gloves which were presented to them on Saturday night.

·         IR May 17, 1900 – Trolley Extensions. – The contractors on the trolley road from Central City to Catlettsburg are hard at work.  They are to complete their contract and have the work ready for the cars by the 1st of August.  The track on the Kentucky side has been completed to the Big Sandy river, which will be bridged about 200 feet below the C. & O. bridge.  The effort to get the the use of the C. & O. bridge has failed, so the trolley company will have to build their own bridge.  This will not be completed for a year, and in the meantime there will be a transfer car or a temporary crossing of some kind.  The road will be supplied with 75-pound rails, and the Huntington line will have to be entirely reconstructed.

·         IR Oct. 4, 1900 – For some time past the light committee of the City Council has been dissatisfied with the amount of street illumination furnished by the Electric light company and have felt that the power given falls short of the contract in order to ascertain just the amount of light given, the committee secured the services of Professor Thomas and two assistants from Columbus, who came to the city quietly Friday evening, and made a test, the result of which will be submitted to light committee in time to report at the next meeting.

·         IR Oct. 11, 1900 – Pote Henson, the contractor in the construction of the Ohio Valley Electric Railway Company’s bridge across Big Sandy River, in the South End, now has all the piers above water, and work will hereafter be rushed forward much more rapidly. – Catlettsburg Independent.

·         IR Oct. 18, 1900 – Fred Davies has accepted a position as conductor on the street cars.

·         IR Oct. 18, 1900 – Another change has been made necessary in the management of the Ironton branch of the Ohio Valley Electric Light and Railway Company, owing to the resignation of Mr. H. D. Pole, who recently assumed the management of the line.  Mr. Pole’s resignation was effective Saturday evening and the temporary management of the property of the company here has been committed to Allen Thuma.

·         IR Oct. 18, 1900 – The horse hitched to Adam Daniel’s bread wagon took fright at a passing street car on North Fifth street and ran away spilling bread and cakes promiscuously along that thoroughfare and damaging the wagon to some extent.  The runaway was stopped before much damage was done.  No one was in the wagon at the time, Mr. Daniels having left the horse standing unhitched.

·         IR Oct. 18, 1900 – James Watson has resigned his position with the city engineer and accepted a position on the street cars.

·         IR Oct. 18, 1900 – A team of horses belonging to John Roush of Aid township took fright at a street car on South Third street last Saturday and ran away. The driver attempted to hold them, but his lines parted and he jumped out.  The team dashed out Madison street and ran into a tree on the sidewalk between Third and Fourth.  One of the horses was thrown and cut in several places and the wagon tongue was demolished.

·         IR Nov. 29, 1900 – Big Improvement. – The new street lamps being put in by the Ohio Valley Electric Railway Company here are what is known as the “enclosed arc.”  They are very attractive in appearance and entirely protected from the weather, which in the past in times of sleet storms, caused outs in many instances in the old open arc lamp.  The principal advantages of the lamp are:  Absolute steadiness of light, better distribution of the same, the elimination of strong shadows, also of the large dark circle that was prominent under the old lamp; the dazzling effect of the old lamp is not present in the new lamp.  The company expects to have the city fully equipped with the new lights by December 15.

·         IR Jan. 10, 1901 – Council Proceedings – A resolution was presented, granting the street railway company the privilege of constructing and maintaining four switches and turn-outs from the main track at their new car barns; to remove the Cemetery lane switch 1000 feet north; the abandonment of the Pleasant street switch and the construction of a switch on North Fifth street between Vesuvius and Mill streets.  The resolution was referred to the street committee and City Solicitor….A request of the street railway company for permission to connect their sewage at the new car barn with the Pleasant street sewer was referred to the sewer committee with power to act.

·         IR Jan. 10, 1901 – Power Plant Abandoned. – President J. M. Camden, Jr., of the Camden Interstate Railway Company was here Friday and held a conference with the light committee of the City Council at City Solicitor Thompson’s office regarding the efficiency of the street lights now furnished by the company.  – At this conference statements were made which indicate that there is no longer any doubt of the intentions of the company to abandon the local electric light plant and furnish the power necessary from the Ashland plant, which is to be enlarged and improved.  However, the company gives assurance that the improvements now in progress and to be made will not decrease the company’s valuation on the tax duplicate or decrease the number of men employed.

·         IR Jan. 31, 1901 – Important Change. – The following in relation to a proposed change in the officials in the Camden Inter-state Railway Company, mentioned in the Register some days ago, appears in the Huntington Advertiser:

Col. W. W. Magoon has tendered his resignation as general manager of the Camden Inter-state Railway Company, whose lines operate in all the towns between here and Ironton, O.  His resignation will take place February 1 and he will immediately accept the very responsible position of treasurer of the company and will handle all the finances of the entire system.

“Colonel Magoon ranks among the leading street car men of the country and his ability as a superintendent is known in many cities.  He began his career with the Consolidated Light and Railway Company in this city in 1893 as bookkeeper.  So efficient did he prove himself, that he was soon promoted to secretary of the company, and later became the general manager which position he held until last May when the company changed hands.

“He was then selected by the new company as their general manager and has since filled that responsible position with great credit to himself, and the company.  The work and responsibility, however, was more than Mr. Magoon cared to assume, so he tenders his resignation to take the position of treasurer, his salary remaining the same as before.  Mr. Magoon during his reign as general manager brought the Huntington lines up to a standard equal to the best lines in the country, and the managers of many other lines frequently called on him to get his ideas in connection with their systems.

“Mr. Magoon will be succeeded here by Mr. Joseph C. Lugar of Wilmington, Del., who for a long time past has been superintendent of the Wilmington and Chester Electric Railway Company, whose lines extended from Wilmington to Philadelphia, a distance of more than 60 miles.

·         IR Mar. 21, 1901 – A Raft of Business Handled by the Council Friday Night.  Many Ordinances Adopted. – … A resolution granting to the Camden Inter-state Railway Company the right to construct a switch 780 feet east of the Pleasant street switch and to abandon the switch at Adams (Cemetery) lane, was adopted.  The previous [do not have end]

·         IR Apr. 25, 1901 – New Cars Arrived. – Two of the new cars for the Camden Inter-state Railway Company have arrived and will be put in shape for the track at the earliest possible date.  The cars will be run for the present between here [Huntington] and Big Sandy River, and will make hourly trips.  This will give patrons a car from Ninth street to Sandy every half hour.  The new cars are simply magnificent, there being nothing finer in the State.  In fact, they compare favorably with the best cars on metropolitan railway lines.  Huntington Advertiser.

·         IR July 4, 1901 – “Thirteen years ago today,” remarked Councilman  Jno. Sullivan, the first horse car on the Ironton line was run starting from Buckhorn street and I was the driver ….”

·         IR Aug. 22, 1901 – It takes an hour and fifty-five minutes to go from Ashland to Huntington on the trolley.

·         IR Sept. 12, 1901 – Struck a Car. – Ray Booth, whose parents reside on South Fourth street, met with a painful accident about 4 o’clock Monday afternoon.  he was coming out Center street on his wheel and collided with a street car,  going over the handlebars and striking the car with considerable force. He was picked up in a semi-conscious condition and taken to the office of Drs. Merchant and Ballard.  It was found his injuries consisted of a gash in the lid of the left eye, the loosening of several teeth and lacerations about the mouth.  His injuries were given medical attention and he was able to go home.

·         IR Feb. 6, 1902 – Hip Fractured. – Richard Barron, an employee of the Camden Inter-state Railway, had his right side fractured about noon Monday.  He was on the top of the construction car, near Cemetery lane, engaged in fixing a broken trolley pole.  The pole was chained down, but slipped, striking Barron and throwing him from the car, with the result stated above.  The injured man was brought to Dr. Merchant’s office and later moved to the Deaconess Hospital where the fractured limb was given attention.

·         IR May 15, 1902 – New Cars. For the Ironton Division Promised for June 1. – Superintendent Allen Thuma of the street railway company, informs the Register that J. G. Brill & Co., car manufacturers of Philadelphia, have promised to have furnished by June 1 the four fine convertible cars ordered last fall.  The new cars will be 38 feet in length, so arranged as to be made closed or open at will.  They will be equipped with two 60 horse-power motors, electric headlights, electric brakes, and cane seats.  The assurance is given that the cars will be as fine as anything on the company’s line.

·         IR June 12, 1902 – The wages of all the employees of the Camden Inter-state Railway company have been increased from 15 cents to 16 cents an hour. This makes the wages within two cents of the rate paid in Cincinnati.

·         IR June 12, 1902 – R. A. Andrews has resigned his position as superintendent of parks for the Camden Inter-state Railway Company and his successor has not yet been named.  Superintendent Allen Thuma now has charge of Beechwood Park.

·         IR June 12, 1902 – The Camden Inter-state Railway Company is putting in at the substation on South Third street a storage [do not have end]

·         IR July 24, 1902 – Street Car Men of Ironton and Huntington Have Organized. – The employees of the Ironton division of the Camden Inter-state Railway Company held a meeting in the A. O. H. hall Thursday evening. – The men in the meeting decline to be interviewed on the subject, but it is known that representative from the new union at Huntington was at the meeting, and the Register has it on excellent authority that a local union was formed under a charter of the American Federation of Labor. – Superintendent Allen Thuma went to Huntington today to confer with the general manager of the line, and it is understood that the organization of the men occasioned the visit. – It is probable that a demand will be made for an increase of wages.

·         IR July 24, 1902 – The Camden system’s force of men met last night at Huntington and joined the American Federation of Labor.  The lodge will be known as Huntington Council No. 225. – There has been a “walking” delegate here for some time, endeavoring to induce the men to join this union. – Tonight they will notify the company of their action, and this in itself will be a demand for an increase in wages, as the scale for the American Federation of Labor is 22 1/2 cents per hour, and the employees are now receiving only 16 cents per hour. – The company will, of course, be much surprised at this action, and it is not possible yet to tell what the result will be. – Exchange.

·         IR Jan. 1, 1903 – Crossing Accident. – Street Car Turned Over but Passengers Escaped. – An accident, which fortunately was not attended by loss of life or serious injury, occurred on Second street near the Ball-Warfield Drug Co. store Saturday afternoon about 4:30 o’clock, in which Car No. 37, on the Camden lines was struck by a Detroit Southern train.  The car was in charge of Conductor Blackwell and Motorman John Tufts, and the motorman applied the brakes just before reaching the railroad crossing at that point, to stop the car to ascertain if the tracks of the railroad company were cleared.  The car failed to stop and slid along on the rails, almost clearing the Iron Railroad tracks, when a Detroit Southern train backed down the “Y” towards the Palace Hotel, and struck the rear end of the street car with considerable force.  The car was knocked from the tracks, and turning over on its side, struck the street near Collett’s insurance office.  There were about twelve passengers aboard at the time and all escaped any serious injury, although several were badly shaken up. – Immediately following the accident a large crowd gathered and the passengers were assisted from the car.  Among the passengers were:  Mrs. M. V. Brady and her two months’ old child of Dayton (Mrs. Brady being formerly Miss Emma Double of this city, and was here visiting relatives).  Will Lambert and George E. Fisher, both employees of the Olive Foundry company, Mrs. Maud Smith of Hanging Rock, Miss Jennie Sheperd of South Fourth street, and the Misses Myers. – George E. Fisher, one of the passengers, upon arriving at his on ____Seventh street, began feeling [do not have end]

·         IR Apr. 2, 1903 – The jury in the case of Nane A. Swartzweleder [sic], an infant, by her next friend, W. H. Swartzwelder, against the Camden Inter-state Railway Company, damages, returned a verdict for the defendant.  The case occupied almost the entire day, Thursday, the hearing being closed and the case given to the jury about 4 o’clock.  They retired for deliberation, and in a very brief time returned the verdict for the railway company.  The plaintiffs sued to recover $1900 as damages for injuries alleged to have been received about July 1, 1901, near Kemp avenue, by a car colliding with a buggy in which plaintiff was riding with her parents.

·         IR Apr. 3, 1903 – The bridge which is being constructed on Ice Creek by the Camden Company is about completed, and work is being pushed as rapidly as possible.  Upon the completion of the bridge the service will be greatly improved, as the larger cars will make the through trip, whereas it is now necessary to transfer at the soap factory.

·         IR Sept. 3, 1903 – When President Graham of the Camden Inter-state Railway Company returns from the east, where he has been for some time on business, it is likely that the company will apply for a franchise to construct and maintain a street railway track down Third street from Adams to Etna.

·         IR Dec. 24, 1903 – The sale of the franchise for a street railroad through Catlettsburg for a period of ten years took place Wednesday and was purchased by the Camden Interstate Railway Co., they paying $1,000 for same. The city council met last night and ratified the sale.

·         IR Dec. 24, 1903 – James Sutten, formerly an employee of the street railway company here, but now located in Wheeling, W. Va., is here to spend the holidays with his folks on South Third street.

·         IR Dec. 24, 1903 – W. W. Magoon, of the Camden Inter-state Railway Company tendered his resignation as superintendent Friday afternoon to take effect January 1st.  Mr. Magoon has been connected with the Camden Company for twelve years, and at the time of his resignation, was superintendent of the entire system from Hanging Rock to Huntington.  He resigns to accept a position with C. Crane & Co., _____ Cincinnati lumber firm.  Who will succeed him was not learned.

·         IR May 26, 1904 – The schools of Miss Lillian Davis and the Misses Mattie and Hattie Price will enjoy a picnic at Beechwood Park Friday afternoon to be followed with a trolley ride.

·         IR Apr. 6, 1905 – Common Pleas Court – The much talked about electric light pole case, in which Thos. L. Collett and the Camden Inter-state company were the participants, and which has been watched with great interest by the citizens of Ironton, has at last been settled by the company taking the pole down. – Thursday afternoon Judge Milner ordered the Sheriff to have the pole removed in case the company did not do so, but at an early hour Saturday the Camden Company had a force of men at work taking the pole down, which was completed some time before noon. – The case is the result of the Camden Company placing a large electric light pole in the side walk in front of Mr. Collett’s residence some two or three years ago, and has been pending in the courts since.  – Until lately there has been some doubt as to the right of electric companies to place poles in front of residences, but the ruling of higher courts of late has settled such cases in favor of the property holders.  It seems that the matter in dispute narrowed down to who is the owner of the sidewalk and shade trees.  – J. O. Yates was attorney for the plaintiff, and A. R. Johnson for the Camden Company.

IR June 10, 1909 – AUTO LINE BETWEEN IRONTON AND PROCTORVILLE. – The long talked of automobile line between Ironton and Proctorville now seems to be an assured fact.  Mr. _. G. Griffith of Huntington, accompanied by Mr. Commack, was here today and says he owns a 14 passenger car that can easily make 20 miles per hours while loaded.  It is his intention to run the car from Proctorville to Ironton, making two round trips per day.  He also said the car was equipped with excellent facilities for hauling packages and special attention will be given this phase of the work.

Mr. Griffith says there is only one drawback to the project now and that is the awful condition of the public road at Coal Grove.  He says if the authorities will put about two days work on the road which runs around the street paving, it would be in good condition.  We hope this road will be fixed as it would be a great benefit to all the upriver farmers who want to reach Ironton.

Capt. Jno. M. Norton had on foot a plan to establish this auto line last year, but just as it was about to be completed he suddenly died, and the project was allowed to fall through.  We trust Mr. Griffith will be able to establish this auto line, as it will be a great help to Ironton in many ways.  Our people ought to aid him in every way possible.

·         1914 – I have a very fragile copy of a booklet from Ironton’s First Apple Show and

Old Home Coming, Sept. 14-19, 1914 which states:

An interurban traction line connecting the territory from Hanging Rock,

Ohio, three miles below Ironton to Guyandotte, W. Va., affords excellent

travel facilities. The Scioto Valley Traction company has completed

surveys from Sciotoville to Hanging Rock and when the line is completed,

which is considered an early probability Ironton will have direct traction

communication to Columbus, the state capital, which lies directly north of

Ironton and distant less than one hundred, fifty miles.

Another traction line projected is a Pittsburg-Cincinnati line and the

surveys for this is practically completed. It will run through Ironton,

following the river from beginning to end.

SWI Apr. 17, 1917 – Asks for Damages. – Henry Scherer of Hanging Rock today filed a suit for $200 damage against the Ohio Valley Electric Ry. Co. for damages to his property caused by the building of the traction line from Ironton to Portsmouth.  A. J. Layne, attorney.

IDR Dec. 5, 1917 – [headlines] Want Street Car Practice in Ironton Changed Now. [do not have article]

IT Mar. 9, 1920 – Brick Company Closes Contract. – A contract has been made by the Tri-State Brick and Tile company with the Ohio Valley Traction company for the extension of the high tension wire from Coal Grove to the new plant at Sheridan.  The plant is now well under way in its construction, the excavation for the buildings being in progress.  The plant will be completely motorized a large number of 300 horse power motors having been ordered through the firm [do not have end]

IET Nov. 21, 1938 – Two Fatally Injured in Traction Crash. – Martins Ferry, O., Nov. 21 (AP) – Two traction cars of the Co-operative Transit Co. crashed head on and burned in a fog north of here today, injuring 17 persons, two perhaps fatally. – Urban Green, 38, of Wheeling, W. Va., motorman on a northbound car, was crushed and attaches at a Martins Ferry hospital said they did not expect him to [do not have end]

IT Oct. 8, 1949 – Centennial Edition, Section D. – Horse Cars, Street Cars — Bygone Modes of Transportation. – Animal Drawn Vehicles In ‘90’s Were Pride of Ironton – By Don Mayne.

The winter of 1888 brought the big snow to New York City, a record which was to stand for 59 years.  1888 was also Ironton’s 39th birthday.  July 4th was the 112th year of America’s Independence.

But Irontonians liked to associate the 1888 Fourth with the first running of the Ironton & Petersburg Street Railway.  This was the initial year for the “horse cars.”

Behind this advancement in transportation, which today seems ancient and stereotyped, lies the story of the efforts to afford this rising Ohio community with the best possible mode of transportation.

It all began in January of ‘88.  Although overtures had been made previously, with a similar plan failing 12 years before, this did not dismay S. T. Dunham of New York City.  After surveying the situation and realizing the need for a street railway here, Dunham, with 40 similar constructions already under his belt, approached the Ironton City Council.

At a meeting on January 12, he proposed the plan for erection and maintenance of animal, cable or power motivated cars, operating on flat railroad iron rails.  Although realizing that this was a step forward in service to the public, the local city fathers decided to let it cool off before definitely approving it.  But they did approve the right-of-way for its future construction, thereby virtually cinching the deal to Dunham’s satisfaction.

The proposed street railway called for a route extending from Lambert’s machine shop on Second (now Meehan Steel Co.) to Adams street, thence on Adams to Third, and along the center of Third street to the corporation line.  The proposed franchise was to extend for 25 years.

A stipulation by the council provided that the work must be started within five months, and the line was to be in operation by the first of December, 1888.  If these provisions were not carried out, the franchise would be voided and would be open to a contract from some other firm.

The next local group to be reckoned with was the county commissioners.  Dunham had to secure their “O.K.” on the property from the corporation line to Petersburg (later Coal Grove).  On February 9, a joint meeting of the city council and the commissioners  was scheduled.

It was common talk that the railway promoters would have a long row to hoe with the commissioners, who were somewhat leery of the street car idea.  And then Fate stepped in.

Looking for a stable organization to mould the future of the city and act as a general reference point, and a lobby for the city’s interest, the merchants and business men of Ironton held a public meeting at the Courthouse for the purpose of forming some sort of business governing body.


This meeting was held right in the midst of the street railway controversy.  And, the outcome of the meeting was the first Board of Trade in the city of Ironton, with General W. H. Enochs, its first president.

But at this meeting, S. B. Steece, with an eye toward the public’s interest suggested that a committee of five or those present, be appointed for the purpose of meeting with the county commissioners.  It would be the committee’s job to try and dissuade the commissioner’s from their disapproval of the street railway.

Some of the merchants and professional men, however, felt that this was not the underlying purpose of the meeting and expressed some dissatisfaction at the suggestion.  Gen. Enochs, long a prime mover and booster of Dunham’s plan, sided with Steece’s suggestion, and cast his lot with the committee.

It was finally decided that five of those interested in the formation of a street railway company would consult with the commissioners in an effort to stymie their opposition.

Whether it was the work of the committee, or the realization that there would be an increased tax revenue with the advent of the street railway that changed attitude of the commissioners, may never be known.  But they did approve the proposal with the amendment that the Ice Creek bridge be shored up and strengthened for the added weight of the four-ton cars.


It is interesting to note, at this time that Dunham used all his tricks to convince the city fathers and the commissioners of the advisability of constructing this type of transportation.  He went so far as to suggest that the city establish an electric plant along with the railway.

It was his contention from the first that the cars should be powered by electricity, a realization he was not to enjoy.  He was so convinincing in his approach that he had the local officials eager for the railway.  And he added to his case by producing a Professor Mott of New York, an authority on electricity, who charmed local ……[