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

Men in Front of Trolley

Men in Front of Trolley

The Interurban Electric Line carried a lot of passengers through Medina. Since it connected to an extension of a line from Cleveland, so many cultural aspects from around Northeast Ohio funneled through Medina because of the easy accessibility of the Interurban. The train car shown here, and many other cars like this one, were able to transport an abundance of people like the group shown in the picture. With a train car filled with an amount of people like this image, this gave conductors and railroad workers along the Interurban Electric Line a fairly big income and it also helped the railroad industry boom. Image Courtesy of Medina Library. View File Details Page

Interurban's Interior

Interurban's Interior

The interior of a Medina Interurban street car. The coach seating can be seen in the rear. Image courtesy of Medina Archives. View File Details Page

Kids on a Trolley

Kids on a Trolley

Lots of different people rode the Interurban Electric Line through the city of Medina, including children. Some kids, especially boys, liked to go train hopping. The young ones would try and follow a train and hop onto the outside of the trolley, such as the boys shown. After a short ride along the train tracks, they would jump off the train car, possibly leading to a very dangerous situation. This way of fun may sound like a bad idea, but it provided something for the children to do on a hot summer day. Image Courtesy of Medina Archives. View File Details Page

Trolley in the Snow

Trolley in the Snow

In Ohio's cold, unpredictable winters, the Interurban Electric Line obviously had some trouble transporting people and goods through the snow. With no easy way to plow the Medina roads to get down to the frozen tracks, the train cars had a much tougher time traveling around Northeast Ohio. Income for train stations along the Interurban Electric Line took a drastic drop during harsher winters, like the one shown in the photograph, which would lead to a lot less travelers taking the train. Also, the trains running along the line would be way off their normal running schedule, leaving the limited number of traveling passengers unsatisfied, and very late to their expected destinations. Image Courtesy of Medina Archives. View File Details Page

West Liberty Street

West Liberty Street

The Cleveland Southwestern track ran the length of West Liberty Street in Medina. The exposure was made from the present Chessie System railroad tracks, looking towards the east. Photo courtesy of the Medina Gazette, loaned by Dick Carver. View File Details Page

Audio

Al Mathewson and Joe Gavlak

Gazette article about the last two trolleymen of the Interurban Electric Line. View File Details Page

Cite this Page:

Ally and Kyle, “The Interurban Electric Line,” Discover Medina, accessed May 26, 2017, http://discovermedina.org/items/show/225.

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