The 50th Anniversary of Nickel Plate

Here are some tidbits published in the Bellevue Gazette Oct. 20, 1932 issue on the 50th anniversary of the Nickel Plate.

“The NYC and St. L. (Nickel Plate) road was practically finished on Monday, Aug. 30, 1882. The short gaps at Cleveland and Buffalo were closed on that day, and the inspection left Chicago on the same day for Buffalo. Work on the road, which is 520 miles long, was begun May 10, 1881. The cost of the road and equipment is between $25 million and $28 million – about $50,000 per mile. The equipment cost between $8 million and $9 million, the rolling stock $50 million. It is mortgaged for $50 million.”

The first freight for Bellevue over the Nickel Plate was received and delivered by C.L. Callaghan Oct. 25, 1882.
“Our enterprising liveryman, Ed Miller is bound to serve his customers in first class shape, if he don’t make a cent. His latest is the purchase of a new Brette in Cleveland. It is a handsome double carriage of the Barouch order and its original cost was $900.” – The Bellevue Gazette, May 31, 1882.
“W.W. Howard, of the Exchange Hotel, proposes to make things as comfortable as possible for his guests. His latest move is a telephone connecting his hotel with the depot. No more running down to he depot and waiting for late trains. All can remain in the hotel until telephone calls ‘time’ then light out.” – The Bellevue Gazette Nov. 30, 1881.
“The first accident on the Nickel Plate in the corporation occurred on Saturday. One of the cars on the construction train jumped the track just south of East Main Street and it took an hour to put things to rights. No lives were lost and no one injured.” – The Bellevue Gazette, July 18, 1882.

Here is the story of the nickel plate spike that was never driven: “The ‘best laid plans of mice and men’ were wont to go awry a half century ago (1882) through some quirk (accidental or designed) a plan to complete the last link of the Nickel Plate by driving of a nickel plate spike, miscarried. The Bellevue Gazette explained, ‘Today, the spike which wasn’t driven is the prized possession of a Bellevuean, a son of the road’s builder and himself at least a near-veteran in the ranks of the railroad employees.

The nickel plated spike was exhibited with other relics of years gone by is a possession of Nickel Plate engineer, Walter B. Collopy.

James Collopy, his father, was the contractor in charge of laying the steel between Bellevue and New Haven, Ind., at the time the railroad was built. ‘Colby,’ a Nickel Plate station west of Bellevue, was named for him.”

A Bellevue Gazette scribe offered this sentiment of the Nickel Plate Railroad 50 year celebration and how it revived the interest not only in railroads but in all kinds of roads.

“One hundred and twenty-five years ago, the roads in most sections of our now thriving commonwealth were little more than trails. These following lines of least resistance rounded the heads of gullies instead of crossing the gully, passed around the base of hills and sought the shallow riffles of streams for a crossing. When there were unbroken ridges for a distance, these trails often followed the crest of the ridge. Locally, our ‘North,’ ‘South,’ and ‘Butternut Ridge’ roads, to mention but a few, are roads developed from Indians and other trails.

“Trees of small diameter and saplings cut into 12 or 16 foot lengths and laid through miry places made what the early settlers called a corduroy road. Later, while oak timbers were yet abundant and saw mills numerous, plank roads were found in many places. Much of our State Highway 4 was at one time a plank road, about one-half of the width of the road being so covered.

The Maumee Turnpike, from the heart of Bellevue to Perrysburg, was an example of the better class roads in this section of Ohio. It had a stone roadbed, ample width was marked by milestones, and for many years and as late as 1886 (for four years after the Nickel Plate’s coming through here) was a toll road. One toll gate stood on the elevation on third mile west of the Mt. Pleasant grocery.”