The Interurban Electric Line

When the train reached Medina’s familiar public square in 1897, people young and old gathered with anticipation as it brought friends, family, goods, and the creamery car. The excitement buzzed in the air as everyone heard the friendly whistle as the cars rolled down West Liberty Street. Medina had never been more accessible, bustling, and full of life.

A welcome source for transporting people and freight throughout Medina County, the streetcars that ran through Medina followed a line that from an extension of the Cleveland-Berea line, which began in downtown Cleveland. The extension picked up in Berea, stopping at Kamm’s Corners at the intersection of Front Street and Lorain Avenue.The train arrived in Medina from the north at a station along Rt. 42 to pick up passengers, then continued into Medina Square and hooked a right onto East Liberty Street. It then proceeded to Chippewa Lake and Seville, to Creston, Wooster, Ashland, and Columbus. The trolley opened a whole new way of communication for Northeast Ohio.
The line arrived in Medina at the peak of industrialization, so the construction and processes put into the creation of the track brought lots of job opportunities to our area.An electric line could penetrate an area with inadequate or no railroad service, such as early 1900’s Medina, mainly because of lower overall construction costs (most did not embrace the high construction standards of the steam roads).

One problem about the Interurban Electric Line persisted as its limited use of power. During some periods of time, the power turned off for hours on end. This took away a lot of customer satisfaction, making many passengers stay in the Station house to wait for the power to eventually come back on. On December 16,1903, an accident occurred. The train had a defective wheel that eventually broke, causing the train to go off the tracks. The incident left one man to eventually have his leg amputated and quite a few other passengers ultimately injured.

Due to the automobile industry and the constant power problems that plagued the operators, the use of the cars dwindled in the 20’s. February 1st, 1931, the streetcars in Medina County stopped for the last time.

Images

Audio

Al Mathewson and Joe Gavlak
Gazette article about the last two trolleymen of the Interurban Electric Line.
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