Barberton station (Erie Railroad)
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The Barberton depot in July 2013, facing the former platform and front of the depot.
|Location||356 4th Street NW, Barberton, Ohio|
|Line(s)||Main Line (Kent Division)|
|Platforms||1 side platform|
|Closed||August 1, 1965|
Barberton was a train station along the Erie Railroad main line in the city of Barberton, Summit County, Ohio, United States. Located 612.8 miles (986.2 km) from Hoboken Terminal on the Kent Division of the main line, the station first saw service in 1890 while under ownership of the New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio Railroad, a subsidiary of the Erie, to be help bring people to the new community. The last passenger train to go through Barberton was terminated as of August 1, 1965, with the cancellation of the Atlantic Express (eastbound) Pacific Express (westbound), multi-day trains from Hoboken to Dearborn Station in Chicago, Illinois.
Located at 356 4th Street NW, the city of Barberton was a big part of the large rubber manufacturing area in and around nearby Akron. The depot was constructed by Ohio Columbus Barber, the founder of the community which forked from New Portage Township, was designated a Type IV structure by the Erie Railroad in the Valuation Report to the Interstate Commerce Commission. The depot has also been important stops for several Presidents of the United States, including two campaign stops for Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft, as well as the funeral train for Warren G. Harding.
The Erie Depot is Barberton, Ohio's first commercial building and was built in 1890 by Barberton's founder, American industrialist Ohio Columbus Barber, to promote the new town. Barberton was officially founded in 1891. The depot is built in the Stick Eastlake architectural style and is on the Erie Railroad. The Erie Railroad linked New York City with Chicago.
What became the Erie railroad tracks were running through what was then Norton in 1851, 39 years before the Erie Depot was built. The Erie Railroad was built only 50 years after the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad, which, prior to the Civil War was the main east-west link between New York City and Chicago. The first Erie station was built in the town of New Portage in 1860. It was replaced by the Erie Depot built in the new town to the west, which is Barberton.
Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft made whistle stop tours visiting the Erie Depot while they were campaigning for office. In 1921, at the death of Warren G. Harding, the funeral cortege stopped in Barberton at the Erie Depot so that mourners could view the casket.
On February 3, 1896, Anna Laura Barber married Dr. Arthur Dean Bevan at the Barberton Inn. The honeymoon couple left Barberton at 1:30 am on February 4, 1896, on a special train held at the Erie Depot to take the couple back to Chicago, where Dr. Bevan practiced medicine. Inventor of a surgical technique called the "Bevan button", Arthur Dean Bevan was a renowned surgeon and personal physician to Theodore Roosevelt; he was also president of the American Medical Association.
The buildings of the Diamond Machine (still standing on Second Street in Barberton) hosted, at different times, special envoys sent to Barberton by Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany and his cousin, Czar Nicholas of Russia. These special envoys arrived in Barberton via the Erie Railroad and were met with great fanfare by O. C. Barber and other officers of the Diamond Match at the Erie Depot. The envoys had come to Barberton to see special new match making equipment fabricated by Diamond Machine for use in Diamond Match plants throughout the world. Diamond Match controlled 85% of the U.S. match trade and 1/5 of the world's match production. Diamond’s largest plant was in Barberton, Ohio.
During March 1914, 200 Mongolian pheasants arrived at the Erie Depot headed to the Anna Dean Farm. These were the first pheasants to be introduced in Ohio.
In 1915 the Liberty Bell passed by the Erie Depot while traveling on to the Panama Pacific Exposition. Along the way the Liberty Bell made several stops, although the train did not stop in Barberton.
"Moby Dick is Coming to Town", large ads in the local paper invited Barbertonians to view the 68 ton whale on exhibit at the Erie Depot. The exhibit was open 24 hours and cost $.25 for adults and $.10 for children. The 55 foot long whale arrived in the 1920s. A special railroad car had been constructed to transport the gigantic whale. Captain Jonathan Barnett accompanied the exhibit and regaled the public with talk of whale lore.
This occurred not by the station but on the Erie line at Fairview crossing. On April 29, 1951, an Erie train and an Ohio National Guard tank crashed. Three guardsmen were killed. The tank and other vehicles had been returning to Barberton from field maneuvers. The convoy was crossing Fairview Avenue, when an eastbound Erie passenger train traveling about 60 miles per hour struck the second tank.
The Barberton Historical Society was founded in 1965. In late 2012, it began a fund-raising campaign to acquire the depot and restore it as a visitors center and office for the historical society’s use. It is reported that one individual donated $5,000, and the Barberton Community Foundation contributed a further $8,500.
The depot was under restoration by the Barberton Historical Society. It is painted in the original Erie color scheme of dark forest green, light sea foam green, with red accents. Although the depot no longer sees a passenger service, the Barberton Historical Society found an adaptive reuse for this structure when Rhonda and Gary Zigenhorn reopened the building in 2016. The Erie Depot now is a destination with imagination featuring high quality ice cream and Hungarian baked goods with the occasional weekend mini train rides for children and live music for adults.
- "List of Station Names and Numbers". Jersey City, New Jersey: Erie Railroad. May 1, 1916. Retrieved April 17, 2014.
- "Erie Lackawanna Time Table - Effective 2:01 AM August 1, 1965" (PDF). Youngstown, Ohio: Erie Lackawanna Railroad. August 1, 1965. Retrieved April 18, 2014.
- "Erie Lackawanna Time Table - Effective 2:01 AM April 25, 1965" (PDF). Youngstown, Ohio: Erie Lackawanna Railroad. April 25, 1965. Retrieved April 18, 2014.
- DeYoung, Larry (1991). Erie Lackawanna in Color. Edison, New Jersey: Morning Sun Books. p. 88. ISBN 187888705X.
- Yanosey, Robert J. (2007). Erie Railroad Facilities in Color. Scotch Plains, New Jersey: Morning Sun Books. p. 60. ISBN 9781582482088.
- Taylor, Phyllis (1996). Talk of the Town: Stories from the Barberton Herald. Akron, Ohio: Summit County Historical Press. pp. 89–90. ISBN 9781883916039.
- "Most Brilliant: Bevan-Barber Wedding". The Barberton News. February 7, 1896. p. 2.
- Price, Mark J. (April 26, 2008). "Local History: Deadly crossing". Akron, Ohio: The Akron Beacon Journal. Retrieved October 10, 2013.