by Tami Wenger, Gloryland Ministries
Today, getting into a vehicle, plane, boat, motorcycle and many others, we don't think twice about. They get us where we need to go without taking very long. Back in early history the choices were very different.
People in West Liberty could walk, maybe ride a bicycle, take a canoe down the Mad River, hop on their horse or hitch it up to a buggy for the family or to pick up supplies when you went to town. These were all normal at the time it but took much longer to get where you were going.
They didn't have roads like we do today but followed the old Indian trails. Sometimes in a low or swampy area they would lay down a corduroy road. These were made by placing sand covered logs perpendicular to the direction you were traveling.
Hulls Trace was a well known trail that General Hull's Army used to marched to Detroit, Michigan in 1812. This is now West Liberty's main street called Detroit Street.
The largest carriage maker in town was Simeon Atha. He had a wheel plant called The West Liberty Wheel Company that made 30 sets of wheels each day.
The West Liberty Mad River & Lake Erie Railroad came through town in the late 1800's. The first station was built by the M.R. & L.E. but exact location was not mentioned. The second train station was located at Baird and Miller Streets.
Later, the Big 4 had a cut off at West Liberty in 1926 and the station was by the track. This is the Depot station that was later moved to Marie's Candies, and is in use once again, just a bit differently.
There was also a depot station by King's Feed but it burned down. Mention was made of a depot station on Twp Rd 193 at Runkle Avenue. All prior stations were located on the old main line on Baird Street.
Margery Headings remembers taking the Trolley to Bellefontaine and back again when she was a teenager. The Trolley was part of an Interurban Electric Railway formed in 1907, consolidating with 14 smaller railways. It connected Toledo, Lima, Dayton, Columbus, Cincinnati and smaller towns in between. At one time it had 617 miles of track, but went bankrupt in 1921. It's because of our ancestors who kept trying to improve on modes of transportation that we can get around much easier today.
Sources: The Heritage Collection History and Biography, Historic West Liberty, Ohio, and Wikipedia.
West Liberty History Stories
West Liberty, Ohio was established in 1817. Read a sampling of our village's 200+ years of history or SUBMIT YOUR OWN STORY for all to enjoy!