Dan Rager 310 pages softcover
The history of what became known as the B. & O. Lake Branch began as
early as 1835 and spanned approximately 185 years. Over that timeline
(1835 – 2021), a dozen different railroad company names blanketed the
road between Painesville and Youngstown, Ohio. Each company expanded and
changed the route between Lake, Geauga, and Trumbull Counties. The
story of this branch has more turns and twists than the Grand River it
was associated with. Furthermore, the author provides a perspective into
the lives of those who lived and worked on the road as well as the
events that took place.
What began as a pedestrian and freight mover became an essential vehicle
to move coal, oil, and iron ore from Fairport Harbor to Youngstown and
beyond. Much of its early history has been forgotten until now. The book
chronicles all of the railroads that covered the region, beginning with
the Clinton Air Line Railroad that built the first right-of-way in
1852. The Painesville & Hudson, Painesville & Youngstown,
Pittsburgh & Western, Baltimore & Ohio among others created an
empire of transportation that fed the hungry fire-breathing furnace
mills of Youngstown and Pittsburgh. In all, some 46 railroads were
associated with the branch.
The villages of Painesville, Fairport Harbor, Concord, Chardon, East
Claridon, Burton, Middlefield, West Farmington, DeForest Jct. and Niles
have their own histories written in independent chapters. Each town
includes current photographs to show the remnants of what still exists.
Some areas in the back country remain inaccessible to the public. The
author has provided a plethora of current photographs in these areas
including a comprehensive detailed analysis of each town.
In addition, more than 300 color and black & white photographs along
with blueprints, maps, ‘then and now’ photos are illustrated. The photo
anthology contains exclusive photographs never before published.
Newly discovered information about the DeForest Junction and Niles area
is presented, including the 2021 razing of the railyard. In addition, an
abundance of railroad materials unearthed during the 2018 excavation in
Chardon of the Maple Highland Trail has been photographed.
From the shores of Lake Erie to the Mahoning Valley and beyond, this
book chronicles every step and ‘Stop’ along the branch. The journey from
Painesville to Youngstown was approximately 64.4 miles. However, the
story of the Lake Branch should be measured not in miles, but memories,
as they have no limitations.