Posts Tagged ‘Dennison Railroad Depot Museum’

Ohio Rail Conference Set for Sept. 29 in Dennison

September 18, 2018

Five Northeast Ohio railroad historians will give presentations at the 2018 Ohio Rail Conference to be held Sept. 29 in Dennison, Ohio.

Among the presenters is Akron Railroad Club President Craig Sanders who will give a program titled The 3‑C Route: Past, Present, and Potential. Also presenting will be ARRC member Blaine Hays with a program titled Northern Ohio Interurbans.

Other presenters and their programs include: The New York Central’s M‑497 Jet‑powered RDC by Don Wetzel; What Ohio Lost with the Creation of Conrai by Sheldon Lustig; and The Lake Erie, Alliance & Wheeling Railroad by Chip Symes.

The conference will run from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and be held at the Dennison Railroad Depot Museum and the Masonic Hall.

The registration fee is $20 and includes a light or boxed lunch. There will also be tours of the Depot Museum.

Checks made payable to Ohio Rail Conference should be sent to Ohio Rail Conference, 526 Superior Ave. East #320, Cleveland, Ohio 44114-1964.

For further information, contact Sheldon Lustig at 440‑823‑7762 or by e‑mail at LELLAW@EX100.COM

Tuscarawas Eyes Excursion Service

April 23, 2018

Tuscarawas County officials are eyeing a former Baltimore & Ohio rail line for use as excursion trains, including the annual Polar Express trips made from Dennison.

The line in question extends from Dennison to Dover and is owned by CSX but leased to R.J. Corman.

The route begins at the Aleris plant south of Uhrichsville, crosses the former Pennsylvania Panhandle rail line at Uhrichsville, and then goes through Midvale, New Philadelphia and Dover.

A mile-long section of track would need to be built between Uhrichsville and the Dennison Railroad Depot Museum. That would cost an estimated $1 million to $2 million.

New Philadelphia Mayor Joel Day is describing the proposed service as an economic development proposal.

“It would generate revenue from those tourism dollars and create another tourism attraction,” he said.

Scott Robinson, president of the Tuscarawas County Chamber of Commerce, said the project would create a great train ride but said “it would take a tremendous effort by a lot of different parties to make it work out.”

Day also said that, “restoring the rail lines from New Philadelphia to Dennison would connect the northern communities of the county with the southern, and give us direct access to the rail corridor that runs between Columbus and Pittsburgh. Plus, with the abundance of natural gas we have in eastern Ohio, technology could be developed (if it hasn’t already) that allows train engines to be powered by natural gas.”

Day recently met with the Ohio Rail Development Commission to discuss the plan. They talked with Tim Brown, project manager for the rail commission.

“Tim was there to gather information,” Day said. “He wasn’t a decision maker. That was sort of disappointing in a way, but he was a good resource for us. What he’s going to help us do is get a meeting with CSX to talk about the rail line through New Philadelphia.”

Brown told the Tuscarawas county contingent that railroads in Ohio are more interested in earning revenue from freight than operating passenger or excursion trains.

“But we hope that if we can get in front of CSX and explain the plan and the benefits of that, we can convince them it’s a good idea,” Day said.

He noted that the railroad is not making a lot of revenue off the line, but if the connection to Dennison was made, CSX could earn money off tourism dollars.

The excursion train, if it comes about, would be operated by the Dennison museum.

“We’re exploring the options to tie Dennison into Schoenbrunn and New Philadelphia and Warther’s Museum in Dover with train rides,” said Wendy Zucal, the director of the museum.

She said the depot already has passenger cars, excursion insurance and volunteers trained in railroad safety.

It operates the Polar Express train ride in December from Dennison to Newcomerstown in cooperation with the Genessee & Wyoming Railroad.

Dennison Museum to Unveil Restored Locomotive

October 21, 2017

The Dennison Railroad Depot Museum will conduct an “unveiling party” on Nov. 3 of its recently restored Chespeake & Ohio steam locomotive No. 2700.

The event will begin at 1o a.m. at the museum, which is housed in a former Pennsylvania Railroad passenger station on the Pittsburgh-St. Louis mainline.

The cosmetic restoration used more than 320 parts that were recreated by Jason Johnson of Gemini Industrial to complete the restoration.

Prior to restoration, No. 2700 had one of the most vandalized steam locomotives in the county and been stripped of many of its parts.

The engine sits on the east end of the Dennison Depot, which has been designated a National Historic Landmark as the best example left in the country of a World War II Servicemen’s Canteen Site.

Those who join the 2700 Club Membership Program for $27 will help ensure the upkeep of the engine. Members will receive a print of the engine.

Restoration to Begin on C&O 2700

September 12, 2017

Cosmetic restoration work is set to get underway on former Chesapeake & Ohio 2-8-4 Kanawha-type No. 2700, which is currently housed at the east end of the Dennison Railroad Depot Museum.

It has been in Dennison since August 1997 and the restoration work will be done on site.

Museum Director Wendy Zucal said the work will cost an estimated $150,000 and be completed late this fall.

Funding is coming from the Ohio Department of Transportation local Enhancement project with matching contributions from Dennison, the Reeves Foundation, the Harold C. and Marjorie Q. Rosenberry Foundation, the Leggitt Foundation, the Doris and Floyd Kimble Foundation, the Tom E. Dailey Foundation, the Brach Foundation, the Tuscarawas County Community Foundation and Wendy’s.

The work will be done by Gemini Industrial Machines of Dover, which is owned by Jason Johnson.

The museum said in a new release the work will include sandblasting and painting the locomotive to its original livery. Several missing parts will be recreated.

Zucal said the locomotive has been stripped of its gauges, valves, name plates, driving rods, windows, bell and whistle.

“There were many obstacles in the road challenging the completion of this project,” Zucal said. “The Depot restoration had to be completed first, funding had to be raised twice and ownership had to be proven twice. Although it has taken far longer than ever anticipated, the community and museum have shown tremendous tenacity to keep the engine restoration on track.”

No. 2700 was one of 90 locomotives in its class built in the World War II era with 20 built by Lima Locomotive Works and 70 constructed by American Locomotive Company.

No. 2700 was built by Alco in 1943 in Schenectady, New York.

Dennison Museum Gets $7,500 Dailey Grant

September 2, 2015

The Dennison Railroad Depot Museum landed the top grant of $7,500 from the Tom E. Dailey Foundation for the third quarter of 2015. The Dailey Foundation, based in Chicago, is awarding $22,500 in railroad heritage grants.

The money going to the Dennison museum will supplement an 80 percent Ohio Department of Transportation matching grant for the cosmetic restoration of a 1940s era Kanawha steam locomotive and the restoration of a former Pullman car.

No. 2700 is the one of the only remaining Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad engines of its kind.

The Pullman car is being transformed into a bed and breakfast that will bring in hotel tax revenues to the community, enable exhibit and tour opportunities, and house college interns for railroad research projects at the museum.

The Dennison museum is housed in a restored 1873 Pennsylvania Railroad station that is expected to be designated Ohio’s 70th National Historic Landmark.

Restoration of the depot began in 1984. The museum, which draws more than 65,000 visitors annually, was named 2011 Museum of the Year by the Ohio Museum Association.

Three Pennsylvania museums each received Dailey Foundation grants.

Railways To Yesterday in Rockhill Furnace will use its $2,000 grant to transport a 1937 Baldwin electric locomotive to its museum, the Rockhill Trolley Museum.

Originally constructed for the Niagara Junction Railway Company, No. 404 was overhauled in 1974 and is fully operational. The museum acquired the locomotive for the cost of its relocation.

The Pennsylvania Trolley Museum in Washington will use its $2,000 grant to restore and interpret the historic Wexford trolley interurban passenger/freight station.

The depot has been moved to a new concrete foundation from its original home on Pennsylvania Route 910 in Wexford.

The museum has $203,000 of the estimated $220,000 needed to fully restore the building. The depot, which closed in 1931, was along the “Harmony Route.”

After closing it served as a post office, antique shop and delicatessen. Despite that, the structure has retained much of its original design.

The Colebrookdale Railroad Preservation Trust in Boyertown, Pennsylvania, will use a $1,000 grant to continue restoration of a 1920s heavyweight passenger car.

The car has already received a new roof; new Spanish cedar windows; exterior steel repair; new electrical, sound, light, and heating systems; a new floor, and a new restroom.

The grant will help fund the remainder of the interior work to include re-tiling the bathroom, replacing cloth with original mahogany paneling, a pantry, bar/buffet, and replicated Tiffany windows.

The Colebrookdale Railroad operates a tourist line that attracts 20,000-30,000 passengers annually.

The Taltree Arboretum and Gardens in Valparaiso, Indiana, received a $1,000 grant to make improvements to its outdoor G-scale train garden that tells the story of American’s steam engine history and its impact on the Civil War.

The grant will be used for an educational display inside the depot visitor center.

The display will include photo-representations of people from the steam engine era, including Civil War railway workers, Chinese immigrant workers from the Sierra Nevada range, and rail workers from the 1920s, who rebuilt sections of track and bridges.

The focus is to accentuate the hardships and danger that often accompanied early railway jobs. The Taltree Arboretum and Gardens served 4,700 students in 2014 and saw 48,000 visitors last year.

Other railroad organizations that received grants include:

  • Rosenberg Railroad Museum, Rosenberg, Texas, $2,000
  • Center for Railroad Photography and Art, Madison, Wisconsin., $2,000
  • Rochester & Genesee Valley Railroad Museum, Rochester, New York, $1,000
  • Southern Appalachia Railway Museum, Inc., Oak Ridge, Tennessee, $1,000
  • Deltaville Community Association, Inc., Deltaville, Virginia, $1,000
  • Hopewell Depot Restoration Corp., Hopewell Depot, New York, $1,000
  • Colfax Railroad Museum, Inc., Colfax, Wisconsin, $1,000

Since its creation in 2013, the Dailey Foundation has awarded rail heritage grants totaling $414,300.

Dennison Museum Seeking Funds for Cosmetic Restoration of C&O Steam Locomotive No. 2700

April 21, 2015

A fundraising drive has been established with the goal of raising $20,000 to pay for a cosmetic restoration of Chesapeake & Ohio 2-8-4 Kanawha Class No. 2700 at the Dennison Railroad Depot Museum.

The restoration project is part of a Transportation Enhancement Local Project sponsored by the Ohio Department of Transportation.

ODOT is administering 80 percent of the funding provided by the federal government. The museum must match the remaining 20 percent of the project.

After the funds have been secured, the restoration work will go out for bid. Museum officials hope to have the work completed by 2016.

Built in 1943, the 2700 is in poor condition and has been stripped of most of its components.

“It is important to have a steam engine of this size on site in order for visitors – especially children, to understand the industrial power the railroad symbolized that not only built our nation, but helped win the war,” said museum Director Wendy Zucal. “This particular engine, built in the early 1940s, was a typical engine used during World War II. It was the first in a series of Kanawha-Class engines built for the C&O and is one of the few left today.”

For more information on the “Save Steam Engine No. 2700” campaign, go to

1940s Themed Eatery Opens in Dennison Depot

August 20, 2014

A 1940s themed restaurant opened earlier this month in the Dennison Railroad Depot Museum. Luicille’s draws upon the station’s World War II heritage when the Dennison Canteen served 1.3 million soldiers between 1942 and 1946.

The restaurant opened in connection with the museum’s 25th anniversary celebration. The museum is a former Pennsylvania Railroad facility situated on the Pittsburgh-St. Louis mainline of the former PRR. The tracks are now owned by the State of Ohio and operated under contract by an Ohio Central subsidiary, the Columbus & Ohio River Railroad. The OC is, in turn, owned by Genesee & Wyoming.

Lucille’s is open for lunch and between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday; and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday.

Named for Lucille Nussdorfer, the concept behind Lucille’s was one of four that the depot museum trustees reviewed after the existing restaurant, Trax Diner, closed last spring.

“Our final decision was guided by two overriding goals: To provide the best possible seamless experience between museum and restaurant for the visitor; and to increase the number of people through the door,” said Board President Melissa Stocker. “For that reason, it was a unanimous decision by the board, after extensive consideration, that the best option to accomplish these goals was to make the museum the operator,” with an experienced manager.

Dennison resident Danielle Albaugh, the general manager of Lucille’s, has management training for Golden Corral and served as assistant manager of the North Canton location for four years.

Museum Director Wendy Zucal said the Depot’s business model envisions the restaurant drawing visitors to the museum.

“In order for the Depot to be successful and the restaurant to be successful, we know that we must be authentic,” Zucal said. “Our restaurant should be inspired by our history, our story, our location and our customers. All of these ingredients need to be integrated for that wonderful experience we hope to create.”

Dennison Depot Museum to Mark 25 Years

July 29, 2014

The Dennison Railroad Depot Museum will host a program on Saturday, Aug. 2 about the former Pennsylvania Railroad shops and yard.

The program by Ed Swain will begin at 2 p.m. and is part of the depot’s 25th anniversary celebration that will begin at noon on Friday.

The depot will be open for 25 continuous hours during the celebration and offer a range of activities on the platform. A two-day admission of $10 per person or $20 for families will be offered.

Swain has conducted extensive research in the PRR archives and written about Dennison’s role on the railroad for The Keystone, the magazine of the Pennsylvania Railroad Technical and Historical Society.

This presentation will be part of the depot’s “bonus hour” and will be free.

Dennison Depot Gets Landmark Designation

August 16, 2011

The Dennison Railroad Depot Museum has been designated as a National Historic Landmark, culminating 11 years of work to gain the designation. The depot is Tuscarawas County’s first National Historic Landmark and Ohio’s 70th.

“It’s a huge honor,” Wendy Zucal, director of the museum, told the Dover-New Philadelphia Times-Reporter. “When we went to Washington and thanked them for making us the first one in the county, they said, ‘Not every county gets one.’ ”

Efforts to save the station, once served by the Pennsylvania Railroad and later Penn Central, began in 1984 when Dennison Mayor Greg DiDonato began working to save the last building associated with the community’s railroad history.

The building was in decay and slated for demolition. But instead of allowing it to be torn down, DiDonato shared his vision for the building and spearheaded a grassroots effort to save it.

Located about midway on the Pennsy’s New York-St. Louis route, Dennison claimed some of the most complete railroad shops and yards in the country at the turn of the 20th century. As a division headquarters, Dennison’s yards and shops employed more than 3,000 people and handled 22 passenger trains a day.

During World War II, the depot became known for its Salvation Army Canteen that earned the nickname “Dreamsville USA” from the soldiers it served. Only the North Platte, Nebraska, canteen and the New York Stage Door Canteen served more than Dennison’s canteen. Neither of those has survived. Dennison had the nation’s third largest World War II canteen and served 1.3 million soldiers, 13 percent of U.S. armed forces personnel.

The restored Dennison station re-opened in 1989. The depot was designated a National Historic Landmark on June 17, 2011, by the National Historic Landmarks Commission and the National Park Service.

C&O Steam Locomotive To Stay in Dennison

September 24, 2009

A Tuscarawas County judge has ruled that a former Chesapeake & Ohio steam locomotive will remain where it is in Dennison. Judge Edward O’Farrell determined that the Dennison Railroad Depot Museum has clear title to No. 2700, a Kanawha type locomotive that was built in the 1940s.

The ruling came in a dispute with Nick Kallas, executive director of the Illinois Railway Museum, who purchased No. 2700, but never took possession of it. At the time, the locomotive was located on Timken Company property in Canton. Timken took possession of the locomotive after the Wheeling & Lake Erie Railway announced plans to reconfigure its tracks in that area. Timken based its action on the locomotive being abandoned property.

Timken offered the locomotive to the Dennison museum with the stipulation that if the museum refused the offer the locomotive would be scrapped. The museum and Timken sent certified letters to Kallas informing him of their intentions, but he never responded. The C&O steamer has been in Dennison for the past 10 years.

The Dennison museum, which is housed in a former Pennsylvania Railroad passenger depot, has received a grant to fund restoration work on No. 2700, which will remain at the museum on static display. That work is expected to begin next year.

In an interview with the Times-Reporter of New Philadelphia, museum executive director Wendy Zucal said the museum is glad that the locomotive will remain there. “We plan to put it in a place of honor as a showcase at the east end of Dennison,” she said.