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Railroad History

1848: The Lake Michigan, Logansport & Ohio River Railroad is incorporated by James Dunn, Williamson Wright, and George Walker. Capital stock is fixed at $1 million, at $25 a share.

1855: The first engine is shipped by way of the Wabash & Erie Canal and unloaded at Broadway and the old Canal, now Fifth Street. It is dragged on hewn logs by three yoke of oxen, driven by Sam Berryman, down Broadway to Third Street, south on Third Street across the Wabash River and placed on the track.

1855: The Newcastle & Richmond Railroad, later renamed the “Richmond & Logansport,” arrives in Logansport. The first depot in Cass County is located across the Wabash River near the Michigan Road in Taberville (now Burlington Avenue) where a railroad turntable is installed. It was later known as the Panhandle Railroad and extended to Cincinnati. It later became part of the Pennsylvania Railroad system.

1856: The Lake Erie, Wabash and St. Louis Railroad extends from Toledo to St. Louis. It would later go by several names, but is eventually was known as the “The Wabash Lines,” and later as the Norfolk & Western.

1860: The State Line Division of the Panhandle is extended from Logansport to Peoria, Ill. It would later become part of Pennsylvania Railroad.

1861: The Logansport & Chicago Railroad opens, later known as the Chicago Division of the Panhandle, and runs from Chicago to Logansport. It would later be then extended on to Bradford, Ohio, and would also became part of the Pennsylvania line.

1863: The extensive Panhandle Shops – later owned by the Pennsylvania Railroad — opens in Logansport and would build a number of engines.

1870: The Repair shops are transferred to Peru, Ind.

1875 (approx.): The Vandalia Shops are built in Logansport on Water Street.

1879: The Logansport, Crawfordsville Railroad runs from Terre Haute to South Bend (later part of Vandalia).

By 1889: Travelers and goods from Logansport can now reach Chicago, Cincinnati, Detroit, Indianapolis, Peoria, Pittsburg, Toledo, and St. Louis. With access to the Great Lakes and the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers, goods from iron to cotton can be quickly and economically imported, creating a boom in manufacturing that sparked unprecedented growth: Logansport’s population nearly doubled between 1880 and 1920, from 11,198 to 21,626.

1890: The Pittsburg, Cincinnati, Chicago & St. Louis Railroad organizes, passing through Logansport. This was later known as the Vandalia (1916), and in 1921 the Pennsylvania Railroad took that over.

1901: 216 trains are registered coming through Logansport daily.

1912: 1,100 men are employed by the Panhandle Shops, making it the city’s largest industrial employer. An electrical plant on the premises lights the compound so workers can be on the job around the clock

1917: The railroad plays a big part during WWI, moving troops and war supplies.

1921: A strike takes place as the workers want to form a union. An official of the Railroad is quoted as saying “I will see the grass grow on Broadway before I give in.” Some men go home, and some never return to the job. But some stay and are housed and fed on the company property, around which a wooden fence is built. The word “scab” comes into use for the first time, and the episode causes bitter feelings to remain for many years.

1942: WWII brings with it the building of a new car shop in Logansport, which is in use today. Earl Harrison would build the car shop and increase the number of employees from 40 to 150. During the war years, railroading is a full time, 24 hour, 7 days a week job with very little time to stop and repair engines and cars. Minor repairs are made just to keep things running.

Post WWII: Business declines after the war. Equipment is worn out, tracks need repair, and profits dwindle.

1957: Only seven passenger trains come through town during the day, and only four or five at night. The various Railroads begin to merge until the Pennsylvania Railroad becomes the Penn Central. It will eventually be taken over by Amtrak (for passenger service) and Conrail (for freight).

April 1, 1970: The last passenger train runs from Logansport to Kokomo.

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The Cass County Historical Socier\ty
Phone:  574 753 3866
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