Salem Railroad Depot
In 1867 the Ft. Wayne Railroad Depot was built on S. Ellsworth Ave. (Depot St.) near the tracks. It was used until 1893, then torn down and replaced with a brownstone structure that stood until July 31, 1997, when it was demolished by the collision of two trains. The stone came from the same Beaver Falls quarry that supplied the stone for J. Twing Brooks’ mansion on Highland Ave, and the Episcopal Church.
Residents praised its stone architecture, and were very proud of the handsome structure. It was, in fact, so outstanding that it was used as a model for designing a railroad display at the 1893 World’s Fair (Columbian Exposition) in Chicago. Inside the station were the familiar pot-bellied stove, hard oak benches and regulator clock. The waiting room was a place of joyous greetings and sad farewells, muffled by the hiss of steam and the clamor of bells. During World War II thousands of military troops passed through Salem. Trains carried men to points of embarkation.
At one time, there were as many as 32 passenger trains passing through Salem every day. They had names such as the Clevelander, Golden Triangle, Broadway Limited, Trailblazer, Manhattan Limited, Detroit Red Arrow, General, Admiral and Pennsylvania Limited. Families would often gather at the depot in the evening to see the huge steam locomotives stop or roar through town. It was exciting entertainment.
In the late 1930s, Salem residents and especially children, looked forward to seeing the streamliner trains speed through the city. These new "luxury liners on wheels" were scheduled to begin operating between New York and Chicago on June 15, 1938. They represented a major step in train design.
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