Scott Trostel 96 pages softcover
The era of the electric railway in western Ohio is even more brief on the timeline of history than the days of the Miami and Erie Canal. The Dayton Covington & Piqua Traction Company was a simple line, just 34 miles long, mo branch lines to connect, a small fleet of cars and a unique park unlike most trolley parks of the day, to relax and enjoy the scenic Stillwater River at West Milton, Ohio. Faced with stiff competition, they ran a very tight and prompt service. They encouraged their passengers and those with freight, in every way they could, it paid off handsomely. Overlook Park was a dazzling success, far outliving other trolley parks in the region. It became a shining gem even though it lacked the carnival type rides of others. It was not unusual to find reports of 4,000 to 8,000 people at Overlook Park on a weekend. The population of West Milton was only 1,000 people. Admission to the park was free for those riding on the DC&P. The success of the park was so great that the line invested in two open-air cars, which were used four months of the year, exclusively to transport patrons along the line to Overlook Park. The motormen and conductors knew their passenger and like-wise the passengers knew the DC&P men. They were respected, so much so that when the line encountered problems during times of heavy snow, residents and businessmen would volunteer to help shovel snow and keep the line open. When the road first encountered financial difficulties, it was the people in the towns they served who formed committes and put plans together to try and save the line. Although their freight service was limited in size, they went after every bit of business they could muster, from the delivery of a pair of shoes to entire car loads of sorted tobacco leaves and even livestock. The DC&P played a major role in helping the Dayton flood refugees during after the 1913 flood. The line was a success until WW1 when a strongly socialist government under President Woodrow Wilson destroyed the financial integrity of many lines with the burdens of excessive taxation and steep freight and passenger tariff increases. People simply could not afford to pay the government imposed rates, this limited their use of the transportation services. It was too late for many and their salvation was a date with the bankruptcy.