SIDNEY — Shelby County’s next event in the Bicentennial celebration will be a program on the history of rail and interurban transportation in the county. The program will be at the Ross Historical Center, 201 North St., on Thursday, June 13, beginning at 7 p.m.
No person is more qualified to speak on the topic than author Scott Trostle. The Miami County resident has written and spoke on Ohio railroads and interurban railway travel for many years. His book on the Western Ohio Railway is the best reference source of its kind on this important system of transportation which connected Sidney and most of the county villages to Cincinnati, Toledo and other major cities. Residents of Anna could mail a letter to a friend in Sidney in the morning and receive a reply the same day — a service which is not available today. Some county residents recall their parents taking the interurban from Sidney to a Reds game and returning that night.
The railroads which connected Shelby County to the outside world were critical to the growth of this area. Trostle will chronicle the history of the Dayton & Michigan as well as the Bellefontaine & Indiana Railroad beginning in the 1850s. These lines followed the Miami & Erie Canal and preceded the arrival of motor vehicle transportation shortly after 1900.
This new mode of transportation came at a cost. There were numerous deaths caused by the trains. The author will share the details of the Palmissano family tragedy in Sidney occurring in the late 1930s.
Trostle will also bring photographs and post cards showing the early train stations which dotted the county landscape.
The program is free and open to the public. This Bicentennial program series is sponsored by Steve and Peggy Baker.