Tales From The Tollgate House - Do You Remember....The C.L.&W / B&O, Ohio Depot Station.?

Map of C.L.&W. Railway Co. Parma, Ohio is indicated on map.

Early Residents of Parma Township like many other townships in Cuyahoga County had only small dirt roads and wooden plank roads to travel along on horseback, on foot, by bicycle, by stagecoach or by wagon for many years. The Brooklyn and Parma Wooden Plank Road Company along the Wooster Pike and York Road was established in 1876 and ceased operations in 1907. A railroad route was not built until 1894 in a small northwestern section of Parma Township. The Cleveland, Lorain & Wheeling Railroad (C.L.&W.) was both a passenger and freight route from 1895 to 1926. C.L.&W depot stations were built at five-mile intervals south of Cleveland in 1895. The C.L.& W. Parma depot station was constructed in a rural area in Rockport Township where it served no major businesses or industries. There was no telegraph operator assigned to work there. 

Several small independent owned sandstone quarries were located further southwest in Middleburg Twp. and Berea. Future development was planned near the Parma depot when the New York Central Railroad's Short Line south of Cleveland began in 1906 and was completed in 1912. The Parma depot location was some eight hundred feet north of Parma Twp.'s Town Line road (now Brookpark Road). The C.L.&W. Parma Station was known as a “Flag Station” where the daily train would be stopped by flagging it to pick up passengers. The B.&O. R.R. was able to purchase controlling interest in the C.L.&W. In 1901. The C.L.&W. Parma depot Station number 2319 closed in June 1904. Later, the closed vacant station was used for limited use as a 'freight station' after January 10, 1926 and later for storage purposes. A track existed from the depot to Brookpark Rd. for the unloading and public sale of coal. Another track off the main line existed to allow loading and unloading at the rear backside of the depot. Each of the C.L.&W. rural depots were recognized by a similar roof design and unique wood roof supports. The design architect for the C.L.&W. Depots could not be documented in 2014. Several of the C.L&W. 1895 depots were replaced by B.&O. R.R. depot station designs of the 1907 time period. For example, the 1895 Berea, Ohio depot burned down in a fire in 1902.  

In February 1907, a tragedy occurred along the B.&.O. track at Town Line Road in Parma Township. A B.&O. R.R. Special coach train traveling at high rate of speed hit a couple in horse drawn buggy, which was on the B.& O. railroad track at the Parma Town Line Road crossing. Mr. and Mrs. Houkiss of Parma, Ohio were struck at 3 p.m. February 17, 1907. The horse was killed and the buggy broken into small pieces. Mr. and Mrs. Houkiss both died of their injuries occurred in the crash. The B.&O. R.R. special coach train carried the B.&O. General Manager Fitzgerald and the other company officers who were returning to Cleveland from a rail route inspection tour in Lorain held earlier in the day.  

The B&O. R.R. built a second station along Town Line Road in 1909 that consisted of a small wooden waiting shed for passengers. Any passengers who stopped there were holding through tickets issued from other rail lines in 1910. When daily train passenger service ended in 1926, the Parma station location indicated on local land parcel maps on Brookpark Rd. was removed and forgotten. The B.&O. Cleveland to Lester Branch became a coal and freight train route. Passengers were rerouted to ride the C.T.&V. route to Akron, Ohio and continuing on to southern Ohio. In 1913, a two-story tall interlocking train control tower was built at the junction of the B.&O. R.R. and the New York Central Cleveland Short Line. The Parma Tower had the telegraph code letters “PA” assigned to it. Parma Tower was abandoned in 1961. Both the old C.L.&W. Parma depot station and Parma Tower was torn down in 1962. Such abandoned rail buildings had become an “attractive nuisance” for young children to explore , a violation of the Cleveland Building Code and a liability to the two local railroads.  

Kenneth Lavelle

Paralegal. Local Historian. I promote pride of place with my walking tour and helping to erect Ohio Historical Markers. My e-mail is: kenneth_lavelle@yahoo.com for those who wish to contact me.

Read More on Parma Heights
Volume 6, Issue 9, Posted 10:31 AM, 10.09.2014