Learn of county’s railroad depots

Join Chase Putnam and the Warren County Historical Society in the main courtroom of the Warren County Court House on Thursday, March 21, at 6:30 p.m. for a special presentation about the numerous railroad depots that once graced Warren County.

The first freight train passed through Warren in 1859 after 22 years’ worth of struggle to bring the railroad to the area. The first passenger train arrived five years later, on August 15, 1864, on the Philadelphia and Erie Railroad and within a few weeks regular passenger trains were passing through Warren. With the influx of travelers, Warren needed a railroad depot and the need was fulfilled at Fourth Avenue and Hazel Lane, now Morrison Street, but it became very neglected within a few years. It was, according to the Warren Mail, “the tumble-down ramshackle sty.” In 1868 the Pennsylvania & Erie (P&E) Railroad President asked for proposals for a new depot to be built of brick opposite the foundry, (Struthers Wells) with platforms extending from Pennsylvania Avenue to Fourth Avenue. The two story brick structure was finally completed in July 1869 and stood until 1986 when it was demolished due to its instability.

Much like every other depot in the country in the latter part of the 19th century, the P& E Depot was a hub of activity for years. Newspaper reporters flocked to arriving trains for news of who was coming and going, horses and buggies met the trains to offer transportation as early taxis, and later streetcars went by the depot regularly. A saloon was built nearby and in 1872 the three story Revere House was built near the corner of Chestnut Street on Pennsylvania Avenue and housed a lunch room and could accommodate overnight travelers.

As more rail lines were built in the county almost every village boasted at least one depot and each rapidly became a center of activity for that community and continued for nearly a century. In the borough of Warren, the P& E and the DAV &P (Dunkirk, Allegheny Valley, & Pittsburgh Railroad) each had a freight and passenger station on Fourth Avenue and there stood a Pennsylvania Railroad station at the foot of Carver Street called the Struthers Station. With the increase in automobile and bus travel in the late 1950s and 1960s, passenger railroads lost many of their customers and began to shut down. In Warren the final public passenger train went through in 1965.

Very few depots are left standing, but in some cases they have been transformed to serve another purpose or the remnants were incorporated into other structures. Sheffield has turned the former Pennsylvania Railroad depot built in 1880 into a museum. The DAV depot in North Warren is a well known eatery, there is still a DAV station building on the corner of Beech Street and Fourth Avenue in Warren, and the Akeley DAV station is now a shed although still in its home village.

This captivating program will be a trip down memory lane for many guests! It is free and open to the public.