As I have already mentioned, Ellwood City owes its birth to the Ellwood City railroad tunnel, Beaver Falls, the vision and dedication of Ellwood’s founder H.W. Hartman, and hard work of men like Merritt Green. Hartman was dissatisfied with the conditions in Beaver Falls where he was the head of the Beaver Falls Water Company and Hartman Steel Company when he heard the railroad was planning to carve out the tunnel to bypass the slower line through Hazel Dell. That is when the visionary put his plan for an industrial resort town into action by building that town around the new “shortcut” line.
The railroad you see in the picture beside the train station was the Pennsylvania Railroad, whom also owned Rock Point Park at the time. The railroad through Ellwood City was more commonly known as the Ellwood Short Line and it replaced the B&O railroad that was built along the Northern bank of the Connoquenessing Creek in 1876. After the Ellwood Tunnel was completed in 1892 the railroad connecting North Sewickley & Rock Point ran through the natural plain which Ellwood City was built upon and the hilly B&O railroad was abandoned.
Pictured above is the original Ellwood City passenger train station on the Ellwood Short Line. The station was located between Beaver Avenue and the railroad tracks closer to Fifth Street than Sixth Street. Originally acting as a passenger station and a freight station, the need soon arose for separate freight stations and new larger passenger station.
Twenty years after the tunnel was completed, the new Union Station was built in 1912. The new building, built to be a permanent fixture in Ellwood City, was constructed from brick whereas the original station built in 1891 was completely built of wood. The new station had two waiting rooms compared to the earlier structure that housed just one waiting room. Of the two waiting rooms, one was for the Pittsburgh & Lake Erie railway and the other waiting room was for the Baltimore & Ohio trains.
The Union Station served Ellwood City until the mid-1950’s, but when exactly is not clear. One text says the station was torn down as late as 1957, while another says it was torn down as early as 1955. Robert Baney recalled it still standing as late as 1958 as he hung out there at lunch while in High School. Today, a parking lot is all that remains beside what is now the Buffalo & Pittsburgh Rail line.
After passenger rail service was suspended in Ellwood City the railroad companies had a bus that would pick up passengers in Ellwood City, bus them to Wampum where they would board the trains there. The Wampum train station was located right at the end of the bridge on the left (I believe it is still standing). Records show that this was included as part of the eighty-nine years of rail service offered to Ellwood City. I do not know the date as of when the passengers actually stopped boarding in Ellwood City though; hopefully someone reading this will be able to help us out.
Passenger rail service ended for Wampum and Ellwood City on August 25th 1981 (P&LE was the last). The event marked the end of eighty nine years of rail service on the Pittsburgh & Lake Erie spur line which connected Ellwood City to the mail line at west Ellwood Junction across the Beaver River.
Another mystery I have been unable to solve is the fate of the Park Hotel that is seen across the tracks from the Union Station. The Park Hotel was built in 1895 on the North side of the Ellwood City Short Line and housed the offices of Henry W. Hartman . Today, most people don’t remember the Park Hotel and I have had a difficult time uncovering the fate of the old Hotel. Did it catch on fire from the sparks of a passing train, or was it simply torn down due to dilapidation?
I would love to hear from you on any of the topics mentioned above. Please share your memories below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Originally posted January 2009