The former Pennsylvania Railroad passenger station in Hudson was razed on Friday after efforts to save the century-old prairie-style depot fell short.
Norfolk Southern had given those hoping to save the station a year to do so but when no viable plan emerged the railroad hired a contractor to take down the structure.
The depot was located north of a railroad bridge that crosses Ohio Route 303 near Library Street.
Akron Railroad Club member David Mangold expressed sadness over the demolition of the station.
“We’re losing our history in Northeast Ohio,” he told the Akron Beacon Journal.
Mangold made arrangements to pick up some corner posts and bricks from the demolished building.
“It’s just one of those morbid things I do to remember the old structures,” he said. “It’s a shame that’s all that’s left.”
From an NS perspective, the station was a safety hazard that no longer served an operating function.
“We got to a point where we said, OK, the preservation or movement of this station isn’t going to take place, so we’ve got to act,” railroad spokesman David Pidgeon told the Beacon Journal.
For many years the PRR and later Penn Central and Conrail stationed an operator at the station who controlled the interlocking plant.
Hudson was where the Akron Branch of the PRR joined the Cleveland Line. There is still a wye located here, but control of it has long since passed to a dispatcher located near Pittsburgh.
NS uses the wye to turn locomotives, but otherwise the Akron Branch is unused although the tracks are still in place and Akron Metro has studied using part of it for freight service.
Efforts to save the Hudson station began in 2005.
A group known as All Aboard Hudson collected $5,000 toward the cost of preserving the 60-foot-by-30-foot building, which had been built about the time that the PRR relocated its tracks between Hudson and Ravenna to eliminate grade crossings.
However, the group estimated that it would cost nearly a half million dollars to move the station to a new location and restore it.
All Aboard Hudson disbanded in 2009 and donated what it had collected, which included a switching light, model of the depot and newspaper clippings, to the Hudson Library & Historical Society.
The society’s Gwen Mayer told the Beacon Journal that she expects to use the material in a future display.
Mayer said the depot that was demolished on Friday was the third to have been built in Hudson.
“Certainly, we’re sad to see the building demolished, but we understand without a purpose, or money, or a place, you can’t possibly preserve everything,” she said.
Through the early 1950s, Hudson was the eastern terminus of shuttle trains from Akron that were timed to connect with Cleveland Line passenger trains.
The last shuttle, which operated with a gasoline-electric car, ran on July 31, 1951. The last PRR passenger train between Akron and Hudson was the Akronite, which connected with the Clevelander at Hudson and carried a New York-Akron sleeper.
The Akronite ended on April 26, 1958. The last PRR passenger train to call at Hudson was Cleveland-Youngstown Nos. 38/39, the former Clevelander. These trains last ran on Jan. 29, 1965.
Since November 1990, Amtrak’s Capitol Limited has used the Cleveland Line, but never stopped in Hudson.
The Beacon Journal reported that a city of Hudson building department inspector looked over the demolition site on Friday after the crews had left.
The department placed a zoning code violation notice on a piece of equipment left behind.
“Demolition of structure requires approval and demo permit,” the notice said, suggesting the contractor and/or NS had failed to obtain the proper permit.
To view photographs of the demolished depot, click on the link below: