What the newspapers said
Pomeroy has had a spate of newspapers since the 1880s. The early ones were all weekly publications, 8 to 12 pages. Fortunately, the local library has them ALL on microfilm. And equally fortunately, they have a microfilm reader with printer -- something that's not readily accessible here in suburban Pittsburgh ["But what would you want to look at old newspapers for?"]
Although I started my research in April, 1900, an article from 1896 was brought to my attention. Basically it said "we don't care who does it -- build the car line." In some cases I've added artwork that wasn't part of the original article, or made comments. These are in red type. The date of publication, and the newspaper -- D for Democrat, L for Leader -- follow each item. This series will be broken into several pages for ease in loading. This page covers the year 1900. If you get to the bottom of a page and the link to the next doesn't work, that means I haven't uploaded it yet.
And to interject a personal note, you have to love the writing style of the last century. I was a newspaper editor for 15 years, and I just shake my head and smile at some of the things I'm reading here -- as well as the articles that weren't relevant to the car line. That's one of the reasons this is taking so long -- I get sidetracked!
There is absolutely nothing new in street railway matters this week. It was confidently expected that something definite could be given this week but up to the hour of going to press the desired news that the line would be begun at once, had not been received.
Next week we hope to say that the tools are on the ground to begin work with. 5/17/1900 D
It's a Go!
STREET RAILWAY WILL BE COMPLETED WITHIN SIX MONTHS
Superintendent of Construction Here and at Work
And Men and Tools Will Arrive Within a Week
At last the DEMOCRAT has the pleasure of telling its readers that the Pomeroy, Middleport and Racine Street Railway will be built.
There is no longer any doubt about it and the "croakers" who lost faith when they failed to see the cars moving next morning after the franchise was granted will have to take a back seat.
The newspaper having consistently maintained that the work was progressing and that the road would be built, and a majority of our citizens have shown a disposition to give the promoters a chance to show what they could do, but a few have belittled the enterprise from the start and tried in every way possible to throw cold water on the undertaking.
Last week the DEMOCRAT stated that it hoped to be able to say this week that the tools were on the ground ready to begin work with, and while this hype is not exactly fulfilled, we are able to say that the tools are now upon their way and will arrive in time to begin work the first of next week.
W. H. Walmsley of Philadelphia who will superintend the building of the entire line arrived here Saturday night from Elmira, N. Y., where he just completed an electric railway the other day and will remain until out road is completed and in operation. All the tools and implements necessary for building a railroad are now being shipped here from Elmira and will arrive in a few days together with a number of foremen and skilled mechanics who will oversee the work to be done here.
Mr. Walmsley was accompanied by his wife who will remain here while the road is being built. A Mr. Leech, a practical railroad builder from Grand Rapids, Mich., arrived on the same train and will probably also have something to do with building the line here.
Mr. Walmsley says that with good luck the road can be completed within four months, but that if any delays are encountered it will require a longer time -- probably six months.
The contract for the power house will be let at once and bids for its construction are solicited.
An advertisement appears in another column for 28,000 ties with which to build the road. The rails have been bought of Carnegia (cq) and are of the latest and most approved style, being especially designed for paved streets.
Engineer Gilmore Brown came up from Ashland, Ky., Sunday to confer with the Superintendent but returned the same day. He is superintending the construction of an electric line there but notwithstanding will be the chief engineer of the line here.
Gen. B. D. Spilman and Harry Camden of Parkersburg and H. E. Spilman, Spilman, W. Va., were here Sunday and together with Mr. Walmsley drove over the entire route. The latter was highly pleased with the situation. 5/24/1900 D
Actual work began on the Middleport, Pomeroy and Racine Street Railway Monday morning.
A large force of men and teams were set to work between Minersville and Syracuse where the heaviest work is to be done and they are making a fine showing for the time they have been at work.
Men and teams are being added every day and a new squad was started yesterday morning at the cut beyond the long fill at the lower end of Syracuse.
It is the intention of Superintendent Wamsley (cq) to work on the upper end of the line until such time as the ties and rails are on the ground, when the track will be laid through this city and Middleport. There is practically no grading to do in the latter places and it will not be necessary to disturb the streets until they are ready to put down the rails and replace the paving. [Although other items indicate the street in Pomeroy wasn't paved until 1908. The car line paid about $3000 for paving, or 40% of the total cost.]
There are a few people who still believe that this work is all a bluff and that the road will not be built. They will probably not be satisfied until they take hold of the trolley wire and find it loaded. 7/7/1900 D
George Bauer received the contract to build the power house and has already begun work. He agrees to complete the work within ten weeks which will require the employment of a large force of men. [Nothing was ever reported about building the adjacent car house. ]
The work of grading the road between here and Racine is progressing rapidly a large force of men and teams being employed.
The teamsters went out on a strike Monday for shorter hours, but their places have been taken by others and the work is progressing as before. They were receiving $3.50 for a day of ten hours but wanted only nine hours' work and the same wages.
The company will probably come before Council at the special meeting next Monday night and ask for an extension of their franchise. The work will have progressed sufficiently by that time to convince the most skeptical that the road will be completed at once. It is not believed that any opposition will be encountered in the Pomeroy Council. 7/14/1900 D
Street Railway Company Given Until November 1st to Complete the Line
At a special meeting of the council Monday night the time fixed for the completion of the street railway was extended from July 1st to November 1st.
This will give the Company a little more than four months in which to complete the line and have it in operation which they think will be ample time.
| The extension was favored by seven
members of the Council and opposed by but one -- President Weed. Two or three members had shown a
disposition to oppose the extension and this brought out a large crowd of
citizens who came to encourage the members to support the measure and thus
insure the success of the enterprise.
D. C. Davis presented the ordinance asking for the extension and moved a suspension of the rules to advance it to its third reading. The motion carried by a vote of seven to one.
On the final motion for adoption President Weed made a lengthy speech in opposition and was replied to by Judge D. A. Russell on behalf of the citizens present. He favored granting the extension and appealed to the members not to kill this great enterprise by refusing to grant the time asked for.
The final vote on the adoption of the ordinance was the same as on the suspension of the rules -- seven to one. 7/14/1900 D
Street Railway Notes.
The street railway is being rapidly pushed to completion in an effort to complete it upon schedule time -- November 1st.
The track is now laid from Racine to the Pomeroy salt works, about four-fifths of the entire distance, and from present indications the rails will all be down within two weeks. The ballasting crew is close upon the heels of the track layers and if anything is wanting to have the road in operation on November 1st it will be that the machinery at the power house cannot be gotten into position.
The crew that is setting the poles for the trolley wires is far ahead of the other crews and will be through to the lower end of the line in a few days.
The pavement through the business portion of this city is being replaced by contractor Bauer and much of the opposition to the road is dying out now that it is seen that the street is practically as good as ever when paved. It is also becoming evident that in a few narrow places at least the street will have to be paved before bad weather sets in, and the city council might as well make up its mind to that effect first as last.
The cars are standing in the railroad yards, ready to be put to use as soon as the line is completed.
The hum of the trolley will be heard by election day. 10/18/1900 D
MIDDLEPORT CITIZEN STOPS STREET RAILWAY BY INJUNCTION PROCEEDINGS.
Didn't Want the Cars Too Near His Door.
J. W. Wells, the Middleport dealer in furniture and farm implements secured an injunction against the Street Railway Company last Friday night, catching Judge Lechery as he returned from making a speech at Syracuse.
The Deputy Clerk was routed out of bed at half past eleven to file the suit and the injunction was allowed upon the representation that the street railway company was gong contrary to the terms of their agreement with the village council and the property owners.
Mr. Wells owns a block on the corner of Second and Mill streets and objected to the company laying their track too near his sidewalk in turning the corner at Mill street.
|(Continued from above)
He wanted them to keep in the middle of the street, which was next to impossible as the cars could never go around so short a turn.
The sheriff was unable to get service on either Mr. Oppenheimer or Mr. Wamsley the local representatives of the company until about noon the next day and had some trouble in making the men in the ditches stop working. He finally succeeded however and all work below Mill street was suspended until the matter could be settled.
The citizens of Middleport were considerably worked up over the matter and those living in the lower part of town denounced Wells roundly for stopping the construction of the line. They feared that it would result in the road stopping at Mill street and leaving them out entirely as the promoters threatened to this very thing. They fully appreciated the value of having the line extend to the lower part of town and blamed the uptown people for their interference. The indignation of the citizens had been so great that it is said that the suit would be dropped if the company would proceed with the work, but so far nothing has been done. 11/1/1900 D
[Apparently the injunction was dropped because the next news item was two weeks later. Wonder how Mr. Wells' business did after he filed suit.]
Hum o' 'th Trolley!
MAIDEN TRIP ON THE OHIO RIVER ELECTRIC RY. WEDNESDAY MORNING.
Road Promoters and City Officials Make First Round Trip.
The Pomeroy, Middleport and Racine Electric Street Railway is a reality at last, The doubting Thomas' who declared that the road would never be built, even after thousands of dollars had been expended in preliminary work, will not have to come down and admit their error, for the hum of the trolley has already been heard in the land. The initial trip was made Wednesday morning, the first car to go over the line containing the city officials of Pomeroy and Middleport, the county commissioners and the officers and promoters of the road. They made the trip upon the invitation of John Blair McAfee, the first car leaving Gravel Hill, Middleport at 9 o'clock and picking up the members of the party as they were encountered along the street.
The cars started from Middleport and ran to Racine and back, stopping at the power house of the company, where a banquet was given to all the party by Mr. John Blair McAfee, the chief financial man of the enterprise. Judge J.P. Bradbury presided and toasts were responded to by C. E. Peoples as attorney for the Company in Pomeroy, since the beginning of the enterprise, by Judge Stanberry, Mayor Williams of Middleport, S. A. Englehart, Mayor Jenkinson, I. L. Oppenheimer and Mr. McAfee.
Mr.. McAfee is a street railway constructor and he assured the writer that this is the best built and best equipped suburban trolley road he has ever constructed and the best he has ever witnessed the opening of and he has built more than one hundred and five miles of trolley road. The opening was a splendid success.
I. L. Oppenheimer received the following telegram from Percy M. Chandler Wednesday afternoon congratulating him upon the completion of the line:
PHILADELPHIA, PA, Nov. 14, 1900.
I. L. OPPENHEIMER, Pomeroy, O.
On behalf of our company please exchange congratulations with the honorable bodies of Middleport, Pomeroy and Racine and Commissioners on opening of our new line and express our wish that the enterprise may be a fruitful source of local development. Regret exceedingly I am unable to be on hand.
F. M. CHANDLER
Mr. McAfee asks us to state that some of the invitations issued by him on account of the opening, failed to reach the parties addressed, and that in the event he failed to discover all of them in time to remedy the fault, he begs the indulgence of those who were overlooked. 11/15/1900 D
[Note the confusion over the name of the line.]
Street Car Conductor Knocked From His Car and His Skull Fractured.
Bert Hodge of Gallipolis, a conductor on the street cars was terribly injured by being knocked from the platform of his car by contact with a telephone pole Saturday night.
He was standing on the foot-board of a crowded open car collecting fares and in moving from one seat to another he swung to far out just as the car passed a telephone pole in the upper end of Middleport. His head came in contact with the pole and he was knocked senseless.
His skull was fractured and his whole side was terribly bruised. He would have fallen beneath the wheels had it not been for passengers who caught him.
He was taken to the Walnut Street House, Middleport, and medical aid summoned, and though it was at first thought that he would die he is now in a fair way to recovery. He is a married man and his wife is at his bedside caring for him.
There are a number of poles in different parts of the city that are a menace to those who ride on the steps of the cars. Either the poles or the track should be moved or accidents of this kind will be of frequent occurrence. 11/22/1900 D
[No one seems to object to the fact that it's the end of November and they're running open cars.]
PLAY HAVOC WITH OUR TELEPHONE SYSTEM.
Switchboard Completely Destroyed and the Service Ruined.
A flash of lightning came into the telephone exchange early Sunday morning and in about two seconds the switchboard and whole mass of wires in front of the operator were in flames.
Miss Garnet Strickland, the night operator, was on duty and was dozing on a cot before the switchboard and was frightened pretty nearly out of her wits when she opened her eyes and beheld the blaze. With rare presence of mind, however, she rang up Manager Davis at his home, who sprang out of bed p.d.q., knowing that something was wrong that he should be called at such an unseasonable (cq) hour. Just as his wire burned out he heard her say "fire."
Mr. Davis ran with all his might to the exchange and arriving found the young woman in charge crowded into the farthest corner of the room and the switchboard and cables leading to it a mass of flames, the blaze reaching to the ceiling. He subdued the flames by throwing on water but the damage to the telephone plant was compete and will cost probably a thousand dollars to replace.
The fire was caused by one of the telephone wires coming in contact with the trolley wire of the electric streetcars. The telephone wire entering I. L. Oppenheimer's residence gave way and fell across an electric light wire, The light wire soon burned the telephone wire in two, when it fell on the trolley with the result mentioned.
The accident occurred about 5 o'clock and by 9 o'clock Manager Davis had connected the long distance telephone wire so that they could be used, and notified head quarters at Columbus and steps were at once taken to repair the damage.
Not alone is the switchboard destroyed, but, the great cable carrying the wires across the street is ruined also. It will take some time to repair the damage and have the system in perfect working order and in the meantime the patrons should be patient. D 12/29/1900
[Does anyone else think it's amusing that the wire leading to the house of the manager of the car line is the one that fell on the trolley wire and caused the blaze? I have no idea if that's Miss Strickland in the picture. And they threw water on an electrical fire!]
Fare to Syracuse
MUST COME DOWN OR COUNCIL WILL APPLY PRESSURE.
Syracuse Represented at Council Meeting.
Council met in regular monthly session Monday and it was a real lively session too.
A delegation representing the citizens of Syracuse was present to ask council to aid that village in forcing the street railway management to comply with the terms of their franchise in the mater of fares and the members evidenced a disposition to lend every aid within their power.
When an adjournment was had it was until tonight (Thursday) when, if the company has not complied with the terms of the franchise some action well be instituted to compel them to do so or relinquish their rights.
The Syracuse representatives were J. W. Shaver, Capt. J.P. Capehart, Q. N. Bridgeman and G. W. Gilliland and they had been chosen at a citizens' meeting Saturday night at which about every male inhabitant of the little village was present.
Col. Shaver was chairman of the delegation and made a strong speech setting fourth the manner in which Syracuse had been discriminated against by the company. The dividing line had been placed at the lower extremity of the village and people who got on the cars in the business portions of the village had to pay an additional fare to reach this city or even to ride to Minersville a mile below.
Col. Shaver was followed by Councilman Kaspar who said that he had worked as hard as any man in town to have the road built and that he would work even harder to force the company to make good its promises. He waned to take immediate action and was not in favor of asking any more favors only to be put off from time to time.
Supt. Furbay of the company was present and upon invitation addressed the council. He said that the reason the company placed the dividing line at Blair's road was because it was about half way between extremities of the road. To move the line to the upper end of Syracuse would make the lower division about twice as long as the upper and would be an injustice to the people using the upper end of the road. He declared that he had no authority to take any action for the company or even to speak for it but that he had just received a telegram from President Chandler in which he said that the road would be turned over to the owners next week at which time the matter of tariff's would be taken up and disposed of.
G. W. Gilliland of Syracuse and Col. Barnes of this city then spoke and then a motion was carried to the effect that when council adjourned it would be until tonight (Thursday) when action would be taken. 12/06/1900 D
COMPANY MUST AT ONCE COMPLY WITH TERMS OF FRANCHISE
Or Suit Will be Brought to Annul Same.Council met in special session Thursday evening with all the members present except D. C. Davis and adopted a resolution that is expected to bring the Street Railway company to time as far as the matter of fares are concerned. (cq) Mr. Kaspar presented the resolution, which sets forth the different respects in which the franchise has not been and is not being observed and gives the company until Dec. 13th to comply with same or suit will be brought to set aside the franchise.
The resolution, a copy of which is to be presented to the company complains that the contract is being violated in the following respects:
First: That the road was not completed and in operation of Nov. 1st, 1900.
Second: The contract price for carrying passengers to and from Syracuse is not being lived up to.
Third: A failure to provide good and suitable cars to provide for the comfort of the public. also a failure to observe the schedule for running cars as provided in the franchise.
Fourth: That culverts have been destroyed and when not destroyed have been obstructed in such a manner as to destroy their usefulness. The Company is given until Thursday Dec. 13th (today) to have the line in operation in accordance with the terms of the franchise or the solicitor will bring suit to annul the franchise and is authorized to call additional counsel to his aid for that purpose.
Mr. Oppenheimer the local representative of the company was present and addressed the council, saying that the company only wanted a sufficient amount of time to repair the damage to the streets. He handed the following telegram from the company's attorneys in regard to the fare question to the clerk to be read. He thought the mater would be settled satisfactorily:
PHILADELPHIA, PA., DEC. 4, 1900 I. L. OPPENHEIMER
Have fully considered fare plan question, Have formulated plan which we believe will be acceptable to you and citizens generally. Plan will be presented to you and council on or before Dec. 12th by owner of company who will visit Pomeroy with power to act. Have meeting fixed for Thursday (Dec. 6th) postponed one week
HARRITY, LOWREY & THOMPSON
[That part about "the road would be turned over to the owners next week" was kind of interesting. Apparently McAfee and Chandler owned the construction company rather than being part of the local operation. The comment about "good and suitable cars" is strange since they had eight new ones and possibly two older ones to run.]
Fare to Syracuse
REDUCED TO FIVE CENTS. STREET RAILWAY COMPANY ACCEDES TO WISHES OF PATRONS.
Will Repair the Streets as Fast as Possible
The special meeting of the City Council last Thursday night at which time it was proposed to take some decisive steps to compel the Street Railway Company to comply with the terms of the franchise in the matter of the fare to Syracuse, resulted in a decisive victory for the Council and public and without the necessity of taking any action against the company. The latter was on hand with a proposition exactly in accord with the expressed wishes of the up-river people and after some discussion the proposition was accepted and a motion was unanimously carried to reconsider the vote by which the resolution was adopted at the previous meeting by which the solicitor was instructed to attack their franchise for failing to comply with the terms of the same.
The proposition submitted was about the same as given exclusively in the DEMOCRAT as of last week. It is to move the "Zone" line from Blair's corner up to the post-office, the acknowledged center of the town and then charge a single fare on either end of the route. To permit Syracuse people to ride across the line without being charged double the Superintendent will instruct the conductors to allow people in Syracuse who get on the car on either side of the line to ride over the line before their fare is collected. This will do away with the only objection the Syracuse people had to establishing a line any where in their village.
Judge Bradbury, who acted as spokesman for the company said that the matter of repairing the damage to the streets would be attended to as fast as the company could get over the ground. The road was still in the hands of the contractors and they would be held responsible for the damage to the streets and it was as much the duty of the Railway company to see that the work was done as it was Council's.
Mayor Jenkinson, who had been appointed at the last meeting to reduce to writing the demands that Council would make upon the company in the matter of repairing the streets, reported that he had filed the following with the Railway company:
1st - Replace all paving around poles in a neat and workmanlike manner, sitting in good and well-dressed curbstones where the same have been destroyed.
2nd - Relay crossings at Ebenezer street, Locust street, Adam Darling's and elsewhere where they have been disturbed. Same to be re-laid on good foundation and in as good style as they were before.
3rd - Cut down Locust street (Monkey Run) so as to make as good a grade as before and cover same with cinder. Also lower stone sidewalk on west side of Locust to correspond with street.
4th - Lower sidewalk on East side of Salt street along property owned by Mrs. Rappold, Val Kossuth and Adam Bentz. The same is to be re-laid in as good condition as it is now and upon a grade to correspond with the street as it is at present.
5th - Re-open and repair all damage to culverts of whatever kind along the entire route within city limits and put in tile cross drains in First Ward where instructed by street commissioner.
6th - Fill space between rails at all crossings by spiking down heavy planks. This to apply especially to crossings at corners of Front and Nye streets (Schwegman's corner) and corner Salt and Locust Streets (Monkey Run.)
7th - Lower track to grade of street at all places where same is too high between electric light plant and Hess' store.
8th - Cover bridge near Buckeye Salt Works and place railing outside of track.
9th - Re-pave the street at switch near Massar's store so as to make the same safe for driving over.
10th - Put tile drain through fill above Owen's corner to carry water off the street.
[It's difficult to tell how much of this work was really the result of construction, and how much of it was an attempt to get the railway to pay for work the city should have done -- a not uncommon ruse employed by city fathers everywhere! And the "accommodation" to not collect fares until the rider had crossed he zone limit is pretty interesting as well. How many fare disputes and/or free rides do you suppose that caused?]