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Railway marker derailed

Andy Ouriel • Jul 10, 2014 at 10:30 AM


Huron Township trustees collectively derailed a proposal to spend public money for a historical marker near a former railway.

At a recent public meeting, trustees came to a stalemate in deciding whether to expense roughly $1,755 in taxpayer funds for an officially licensed indicator, denoting the Lake Shore Electric Railway’s importance.

Their indecision means local taxpayers won’t front any funds for a marker.

How the three trustees voted:

• Don Ritzenthaler voted to expense the funds.

• Ed Enderle voted against spending any money “basically because it has nothing to do with our township citizens.”

• Robert Boos abstained because he “wanted more time to think about it.”

The marker would’ve been installed at the trail’s opening near Jim Campbell Boulevard by Huron High School’s football field. The marker would’ve appeared similar to other Ohio Historical Society markers around the area.

Huron Historical Society president Kathy Muehlhauser-Moore, lobbying trustees for money, said the marker’s total cost equals about $2,730. 

She already secured $975 toward the marker from a $750 grant and $225 from the city of Huron.

It’s not known when, or even if, she’ll obtain the remaining $1,775 to fully pay for this marker. Her group’s a nonprofit organization interested in preserving Huron’s and Huron Township’s history.

“We would really like the money,” said Muehlhauser-Moore, adding she’ll continue searching for possible funding avenues.

About a year ago, the pathway — closed for decades after the railroad ceased operation— was reopened as a 1.25-mile-long paved bike path after  Huron city and township officials collectively spent $240,000.

What the marker would have read:

Side No. 1: Electric Interurban Railways

For over three decades, the electric interurban railways played a major part in the economic life of the Midwest. Interurban railroads were electrically powered trains designed to connect communities together. A quick and cheap alternative to regular railroads, canals or horses, the interurban became a popular mode of travel at the beginning of the 20th century. By 1915, Ohio had 2,780 miles of interurban track, including the 1.2 miles that now comprise the Lake Shore Electric Trail.

Side No. 2: The Lake Shore Electric Railway operated routes from Cleveland to Detroit. For many years, Huron residents used the Lake Shore Electric Railway to travel to neighboring towns and students relied on the trolley to take them to and from school. The Lake Shore Electric carried hundreds of tourists to lakeshore communities and Cedar Point. The increased popularity of the automobile combined with the Depression eventually led to the demise of the electric railway.

Note: This railroad line, previously catering to freight trains and trolley lines decades ago, traveled to Cleveland and Toledo, making stops in smaller cities, such as Sandusky and Fremont, along the way. The route could also link up with other railway systems going through Fostoria, Lima, Toledo, Cincinnati and Detroit, according to the Encyclopedia of North American Railroads. The company’s demise occurred around the late 1930s after executives declaring bankruptcy, forcing them to close all existing lines, including Huron’s corridor.

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