Thursday, October 6, 2011

Rail Fanning Day comes to the Painesville Depot

Rail Fanning Day is this Sunday at the Painesville Depot located at 475 Railroad Street in Painesville.  What is Rail Fanning Day?  Webster, does not define it, but in a nutshell: It is the art of watching railroads in action.  Nearly four trains per hour pass by the depot.  The last passenger train left the Painesville station in 1971.  However, the historic depot is currently on the CSX Waterfront Main Line and the depot, at the moment under restoration,  will be open for visitors from 10am thru 5pm. 

On February 8, 1848, the Ohio Legislature incorporated the Cleveland, Painesville and Ashtabula Railroad Company.  The railroad reached Painesville by 1851 and over a hundred year history had begun.  The Lake Shore Railroad Company took control of the line in March, 1869.  By June, 1869, it had consolidated with the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railway.  The Painesville Depot opened in 1893 for the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Line.  Built by the architectural firm of Shepley, Rutan and Coolidge of Boston, Massachusetts, it was a crown jewel in the Ohio railroad era. The depot cost $18,075 to construct.   Richardsonian Romanesque in design, the depot featured sandstone walls, a slate roof, and a red oak interior.  The New York Central was formed in 1914 and consolidated with the Lake Shore and Michigan Line.  The NY Central and the Painesville Depot continued on for the next 57 years.  The last passenger train left the depot in 1971 and the station remained dormant for the next few decades.

The Depot attained Ohio Historic Marker ( #18-43) status in 2002.  The Painesville Depot Organization (a non-profit) acquired the site and its volunteers have been in the process of restoring the railroad depot as well as taking inventory of its artifacts for the depot museum to follow. Their mission is to maintain the sentiment and history that is railroading.  Sunday, October 9th is Rail Fanning Day at the Painesville Depot.  So come relax and enjoy the ride!

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