Fort Wayne, IN to Findlay, OH

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Map submitted by Aaron M.

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The right-of-way, here facing west, is now part of a hiking trail at Oakwoods Nature Preserve. The trail forks away from the old ROW at the west end. Photo by Bryan Miller, June 2012.

This line began in 1887 under the direction of the Cincinnati, Hamilton and Dayton Railroad (CH&D). It reached Ft. Wayne in 1895. Its original name was the New York, Mahoning and Western Railroad. After several name changes, it became the Findlay, Fort Wayene and Western Railroad. It connected to the T&OC West Division in Findlay, and to the Pennsylvania and Wabash Railroads on the east side of Fort Wayne.

In 1904, an extension was built to connect it to the CH&D's Delphos-Dayton Branch (also abandoned).

In 1916, the Baltimore and Ohio bought the CH&D, and immediately removed the connection. The B&O had no use for the line, and by 1919, the entire line was abandoned, except for a small portion from the Cincinnati Northern (also abandoned, see Jackson, MI to Franklin, OH) at Haviland to Grover Hill. This was removed in 1920. Various roads now occupy much of the right-of-way.

Thanks to Aaron M. and Jim Curtis for contributing information about this route.

I have always been interested in old road beds, where they went, why they were there....why they dissappeared. I knew there had been a line that went west of Findlay but seemed to lose the connection from where it left the west side of Findlay and where it ended up....tks...now I know.

Paul Marsano
Crestline, OH
1/7/2012

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Grew up in McComb,OH. Enjoyed listening to my grandpa telling me about the Findlay, Fort Wayne and Western RR. It was a tangent line until Townley,IN. Then it curved toward Fort Wayne and made connection there. It's eastern terminus was "Fort Wayne" junction in Findlay,OH. Stations along the route were Benton, Moffatt, to name a few. There are still several bridge abutments remaining but no rails that I'm aware of. Sadly, Ottawa,OH station was torn down several years ago. Interestingly enough, you can still follow the line on Google maps because it's so straight. Would enjoy corresponding with anyone on this line.

Jim Curtis
Franklin, NC
5/26/2012

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From Findlay to the Ohio line there are many stations that were used to pick up freight, passengers etc: Benton, Moffatt, etc to name a few. Tawa creek was the first "large" water the line had to cross. The bridge abutments are still at this location. (my dad and I used to fish there). Then came the Blanchard river and two abutments plus the pillar in the river, all still there. In Ottawa the line crossed the CHDRR and there was a station: that WAS still there up till a few years ago but know is gone. (It was a beaut too.) Continuing west the line became (or runs along SR114). On some of the creeks that are crossed, you can still see evidence of bridging. Once across the state line, the line curves towards Fort Wayne at Towsley (sic?). There are fabulous bridge abutments along the route. One other point being that the RR had a through Pullman on schedule from the PRR.

There is one other thing. I read somewhere, that the FFWW didn't allow women on the line. That's bogus as my grandma used to ride the train from Findlay to Cloverdale then hitch a ride (horse and buggy) back to McComb when she worked in Findlay around this time. Don't know if that means anything or not. I do know that they used to have a really big poker game once a week on the one car (PRR perhaps?) bwtn Findlay and Fort Wayne. Maybe that's where the urban legend comes from.

Jim Curtis
Franklin, NC
7/22/2012

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The Ottawa, Ohio depot (at least the CH&D) is far from torn down. Its in daily use by CSX as a maintenance office. In tact is the oddly arranged telegraph office on the north end of the depot. The depot rested at the diamond of the FFtW&W and the CH&D.

Eric
Columbus Grove, OH
8/28/2012

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To Eric from Columbus Grove:

Saw your post about the depot in Ottawa. If I can say this without getting into a pissing match about it, I'm referring to the Findlay, Fort Wayne and Western RR depot. It sat at the corner of 4th street and the CHD track on what would be the Northeast corner of spot. The track ran e/w right along 4th street until it crossed (diamond) the CHDRR and then headed for Ottawa/Glandorf. The depot had a beautiful "tower" in front so the clerk could look down the track e/w and n/s down the CHD. Now,one caveat. I say it was torn down or gone after 2005. I have looked at this location and tried to find it on Google maps but could not. According to "maps" it's no longer there. If I may be so bold, are we referring to the same depot? (Mark J. Camp has two pictures of the area in question one of the diamond and a later one of the depot in question.)

Jim Curtis
Franklin, NC
10/28/2012

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Is this the depot in quetion:

http://flic.kr/p/b7APUe

Eric

Eric
Columbus Grove, OH
10/28/2012

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And if I may also be bold, I was referring to the CH&D depot, not the FFtW&W depot, which I assumed was one in the same...since the Ottawa depot was built with a specific purpose to house both the passenger and freight station, but also the operator for the diamond.

I guess I need to see what photos you are referring to from Mark Camp. Do you have a link?

Eric

Eric
Columbus Grove, OH
10/28/2012

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Update to Eric from Columbus Grove:

You were right! (Thank goodness,never happier about being wrong!) When I looked at Google maps again after the previous post and checking Mark J. Camp's photo I was looking at the wrong building. The depot sits on the SW corner not the NE which would be 4th and Taft Streets. Fantastic Eric!! You can't mistake that "tower" on the corner. Hey I'll make you a deal... you drive up from Columbus Grove and get a picture of that badboy and I'll send you money for gas!! I'm so tickled it's still "alive". Thanx again Eric!

Jim Curtis
Franklin, NC
10/28/2012

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To Eric:

Now, if I could only find out if that terrific diner still sits across from the courthouse. hmmmm...

Jim Curtis
Franklin, NC
10/28/2012

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I am in Ottawa quite a bit and I can get you some photos.

Two summers ago CSX was gracious enough to open the depot for Ottawa's Arts Festival. Our son and I manned the depot and I gave tours of the facility. It was quite a fun time... I have my brochure somewhere around here with old photos.

The diner across the street from the Putnam County Court House is no more...

Eric at CG

Eric
Columbus Grove
10/28/2012

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Crap! I ate at that diner when I was a kid. Great food. You made my day about the depot however. I am NOT an internet groupy and would love to exchange an email address with you if you'd be willing. No inundation of emails. Just an occasional note. Also have to get you my home address. Have a good day friend!

Jim Curtis
Franklin, NC
10/28/2012

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Shoot me an email: cgtower@gmail.com

Eric

Eric
Columbus Gove, OH
10/28/2012

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It is possible that at least west of Haviland, a high tension electric line was built on the abandoned roadway, although it is hard to see anything. It goes along the south side of SR 114 through Tipton, McGill, and curves slightly left and right into Townley, Indiana. West of Townley there are bridge abutments crossing a Flatrock tributary, which can be seen from SR 30 or local roads to the north. There is presently some sort of red marker at the site. The line continues westward to the elevator at Tillman and then curves right toward Fort Wayne. My sister-in-law's family lived near Tillman and might know more.

Jim Sekel
Deerfield, OH
9/30/2013

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The depot in Ottawa at the diamond of the FF&W and CH&D hosted probably its most famous moment in 1984. Ronald Reagan had a whistle stop tour on the Ferdinand Magellan up the CH&D and stopped to speak at the depot. I think he might have been re-elected not long after.

Bert Okuley
North Creek, OH
9/4/2016

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