County Line Trail Progress The Wooster design firm of Shaffer Pomeroy, Ltd., with Keith Amstutz as project leader and John Long as design engineer, completed detailed plans this summer and have been negotiating with ODOT for approval. Formal ODOT and Wayne County Commissioner approval is critical to our moving forward with three private property appraisals, followed by purchase offers presented jointly by ODOT and RTWC.
Keith Amstutz and Ted Short have also spent considerable time negotiating with the CSX Corporation to build the Sterling section of the trail on their property. This has involved discussions at local, regional, and national levels with CSX personnel in Lodi and Berea, Ohio, as well as Jacksonville, Florida. Negotiations with private landowners for right-of-way purchases and public easements are expected to occur in early 2008. Final design, bidding, contract awards, and construction will most likely be accomplished into 2009.
We continue to appreciate the enthusiastic involvement and interests of our membership and local residents in realizing RTWC’s vision for this trail. We have raised a total of $2 million for the project and we continue to work with State Representative Jim Carmichael to acquire the remaining $400,000 in state capital funds to complete construction. Members are encouraged to let Representative Carmichael know the importance of this trail to the economic viability and vitality of the Creston, Sterling, and Rittman communities.
Dalton Railway Station History The next time you ride or run the Sippo Valley Trail, as you head east past Buckeye Feed and pass along the Wenger Construction equipment storage yard, use your mind’s eye to picture the railway station that Paul Winner ran from 1947 until it closed in 1972. A lifelong resident of the Wooster area, Paul came home from WWII in need of a job, and soon found one working as the freight agent in Dalton. The Wheeling and Lake Erie Railroad transported carloads of raw materials from all over the country to Dalton Equity Feed, Buckeye Feed Mills and the Yost Candy Company, boards to the local lumber mill, lime to the farmers, and coal which a Mr. Douglas sold to local homeowners. There were shipments of cattle coming in from Kansas and some years, when the local growing season had gone well, carloads of hay and wheat going out. There were also the LCL’s (less than carloads) that included everything from bathtubs from the Sears and Roebuck catalog to smaller packages that Paul occasionally carried out to a lady’s buggy or car. For the first ten years, in addition to running the place, Paul sent and received Western Union telegrams for the community.
Passenger trains had ceased to roll through Dalton back in 1934, so the former waiting room functioned as a storage room for records. There was a huge amount of bookkeeping involved in the job, as Paul Winner kept track of everything that came in from the terminal at Brewster, everything that went back out, and the payments for all COD shipments. An early morning phone call to Brewster would inform Paul what to freight to expect and the list would be further clarified by another phone call mid-morning to the clerk in Massillon. Paul would then call the intended recipients and tell them to come and pick up their freight.
The train would arrive with its engineer, conductor, brakemen and fireman. Some of the cars would be shunted onto branch lines and detached. The contents of other cars were unloaded into the terminal for later pick-up. On the train’s return trip to Brewster, Dalton Equity Feed and Buckeye Feed Mills shipped out their products by the carload, and the candy company shipped out enough all-day suckers to delight legions of baby boomers. For many decades the railroad was the primary means of shipping and receiving goods in Dalton and for the last two and a half of those decades, freight agent Paul Winner greased the wheels of Dalton’s commerce with meticulous communications and record-keeping.