Corporate History


Like most things regarding the history of the car line, the corporate structure is somewhat occluded, at least without further research.

What we are reasonable certain of is that the line began operation November 15, 1900. It operated until February 25, 1919 as the Ohio River Electric Railway & Power Co. The line filed for bankruptcy at that point and was placed in the hands of a receiver. Later the property was sold in a sheriff's sale and was purchased by a committee of bondholders. The sale was finalized July 5, 1924 following issuance of PUC order #3068.  The name was changed to the Ohio River Railway and Power Co.

On June 26, 1929 passenger service was abandoned. Freight operations on the upper end of the line continued until 1936. A PUC order (10057) granted permission for final abandonment of the line, and the company's final report filed with the PUC was for the year 1936.  Part of the line from the interchange with the Hocking Valley Railroad up to the White Rock Salt plant (Minersville) was sold to the HV and operations continued there from May, 1937 until ???.

According to the 1902 "American Street Railway Investments" the municipal franchise was granted In February, 1900,l to run for 25 years. A state charter was granted in May for the same period. Capital stock to the tune of $300,000 was authorized and issued At the rate of $25/share. The funded debt consisted of first mortgage 5% gold bonds, authorized and issued for $315,000, dated July 2, 1900, due July 1, 1924. Denominations were $100, $500 and $1000. Interest was payable each January and July. The trustee of mortgage was listed as the Union Surety & Guaranty Co., of Philadelphia.

The line carried 841,159 riders during 1901. (Not bad when you consider the local population was 22,000.) Revenues were $42,577, operating expenses $22,455 and interest on bonds and other fixed charges totaled $18,037 for a net income of $2,084. The report notes that 11 cars and one electric locomotive were on the property. (The revenue comes out to about 5 cents/rider. Can that be correct?)

Officials were listed as: Pres. Percy M. Chandler V., Vice Pres & Gen. Man. Jno.. Blair MacAfee, 1000 Harrison Bldg., Phila, Pa.; Sec. J. Clarke Moore, Jr., Treas. Jos. T. Walmsley, Supt. Charles L. Furbay, Pomeroy, O.

Directors were P. M. Chandler, 6th and Chestnut Sts., Edwin F. Glenn, 1430 Chestnut St., M. N. Willits, Sr. Middletown, Del., John Blair MacAfee and Jos. T. Walmsley, 1002 Harrison Bldg,. Philadelphia, PA. That address was given for the general offices. (If you've read the newspaper accounts of the period, you'll recognize Chandler and MacAfee as the moving force behind the line. Why they show Furbay instead of Oppenheimer as the superintendent is unknown.)

The 1918 "McGraw Electric Railway List" shows 14 passenger cars, two locomotives and two "other" cars. The cast of characters has changed a bit. In Pomeroy were I. L. Oppenheimer, general manager and purchasing agent, D. Curtis Reed and M. S, Webster, claim agents, Superintendent D. W. Hennessy, Chief Engineer W. L. Thomas (Minersville), Electrical Engineer J. C. Chase, Master Mechanic James Chisolm and Engineer Overhead Construction N. A. Kaspar. In Philadelphia were Vice President F. W. Bacon, Secretary J. K. Trimble, Treasurer Harry Williams, Jr., and Auditor H. D. Brown Jr.  What's particularly interesting is that Bacon, Williams and Perry Chandler also show up as officials of the Kentucky Securities Corp., a holding company for the Kentucky Traction & Terminal Co., Lexington Ice Co., and Lexington Utilities Co.

So far I have a years' worth of Ohio PUC orders (1915) and I'm going to have to refer to one of the "Philadelphia lawyers" to have then made into plain English. One thing certain, is that, at least in 1915, the trolley line ended "at a point where the said Gallipolis Road intersects the main line of The Kanawha and Michigan Railway Company's tracks in the village of Hobson, Ohio."