Posts Tagged ‘Kent Ohio’

Cause of Kent Mill Fire Still Under Investigation

December 7, 2022

The future of a former grain mill devastated by fire last week remains uncertain as investigators continue to seek to find the cause of the Friday blaze.

The investigation involves the Kent Fire Department and the Ohio Fire Marshal’s office.

The fire at the former Star of the West mill complex was reported around 9 a.m. last Friday. Firefighters nearly exhausted all of the water supplies in Kent’s water supply stored in towers.

The city issued a water conservation order and borrowed water from Ravenna.

Firefighters were still on the scene on Monday and North Water Street remained closed to through traffic.

The mill is one of the oldest and most iconic structures in Kent. It sits next to the former Erie Railroad mainline, which is now used by the Akron Barberton Cluster Railway. The mill is on a bluff above the CSX New Castle Division tracks.

Officials have yet to determine the full extend of the damage to the structure.

The mill complex was acquired by Tulips LLC for $405,000 in 2019.

Tulips has said it was planning to convert the property into a mix of businesses and apartments.

Fire Strike Landmark Kent Mill

December 3, 2022

The Star of the West grain mill burning in Kent on Friday. The tracks below are the CSX New Castle Subdivision. (Photograph by Roger Smith and provided via Facebook by David Mangold)

Firefighters said it may be as late as Sunday before they will be able to extinguish a fire that struck the former Star of the West Milling Company grain elevator in Kent on Friday morning.

No injuries were reported in the blaze that began just before 9 a.m.

Kent Fire Chief Bill Myers told reporters that an explosion occurred at the scene about three minutes after firefighters arrived.

A cause of the fire has yet to be determined. Located at 162 N Water Street, the mill is located next to the former Erie Railroad mainline, which is now used by the Akron Barberton Cluster Railway. Fire hoses were stretched across the tracks.

Myers said at one point that firefighters were hindered by water supply issues, which forced firefighters to reduce the use of water.

The City of Kent issued a water conversation notice in an effort to conserve water.

The mill was built in 1879 and has been a fixture in countless photographs made in Kent of railroad operations.

At one time, the mill produced hundreds of millions of pounds of flour.

Firefighters from several Northeast Ohio departments were at the scene battling the fire, including units from Hudson, Stow, Munroe falls, Ravenna, and Tallmadge.

Scott Budzar, owner of Scribbles Coffee, located near the mill, said his businesses and others in the vicinity were forced to close due to the fire. “It’s such a massive structure, too, and iconic,” he said.

The mill was reported to be oldest building still standing in Kent.

“It used European technology, and so it took over and it became very, very successful,” said Sandy Halem, president of the Kent Historical Society. “1879 until 1999, it’s a long time for a continuous business.”

Building owner Manouchehr Salehi told the Record-Courier the building was locked up and no one should have been inside.

Salehi said the fire could change his plans to convert the structure into a multi-use complex that would include businesses and apartments.

“Let’s find out what the damages are,” he said. “The structural integrity completely changes everything.” The mill complex includes nine buildings. It was purchased in 1992 by Star of the West Milling Company of Emmett, Michigan. Mill operations ceased in 2016.

When Jim Wrinn Came to Town

November 30, 2022

Back in April 2011 Jim Wrinn, the editor of Trains magazine, came to Akron to speak to a banquet of the Akron Railroad Club to celebrate the group’s 75th anniversary.

The banquet was held on the night of April 23, but earlier in the day we arranged for Jim to have a cab ride on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad. He also got to operate SD18M No. 321 at Shelly Materials in Kent, courtesy of ARRC member and Shelly worker Bob Rohal.

In the image above, Jim speaks from the engineer’s seat of No. 321, which was known as “Flash” in honor the Kent State University Golden Flashes athletic teams.

Wrinn died last March of cancer and No. 321 is no longer on the property at Shelly’s Kent facility.

Photograph by Craig Sanders

Chasing the ABC Local to Ravenna

November 3, 2022

On Tuesday I caught the Akron Barberton Cluster Railway local to Ravenna. Wheeling & Lake Erie No. 302, a former Denver & Rio Grande Western GP40 still lettered for that railroad powered the train.

In the photos above the train is shown switching at Kent, heading to Ravenna and on the turn trip at Ravenna

Article and Photographs by Todd Dillon

More Than 50 Years Ago in Kent

September 18, 2022

An eastbound Baltimore & Ohio merchandise train in Kent has just passed the passenger station behind me. The Erie Lackawanna passenger station is up the hill to the right. It is the late 1960s/early 1970s, so this image is more than 50 years old.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

EL Monday: The Lake Cities in Kent

August 8, 2022

It’s 1967 or 1968 in Kent and the Erie Lackawanna’s westbound morning Lake Cities is at the station. It was scheduled through Northeast Ohio in the morning hours after its overnight journey from Hoboken, New Jersey. Therefore, there are far more images of the westbound No. 5 than eastbound No. 6, which reached Akron and Kent in the evening.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

W&LE Receives ORDC Grant for Spencer Project

July 23, 2022

The Wheeling & Lake Erie will receive a $490,626 grant from the Ohio Rail Development Commission for track work on four subdvisions.

In a news release,  ORDC said the grant will fund a reconfiguration of connecting tracks among the Hartland, Akron, Brewster and Carey subdivisions in Spencer.

The ORDC grant matches a $6.8 million federal Consolidated Railroad Infrastructure and Safety Improvement awarded to the project last month.

The project is designed to alleviate traffic congestion while increasing operational fluidity, ORDC officials said in a press release.

In a related development, ORDC approved a $50,000 grant to Renewable Lubricants to help develop a transload facility in Kent that will be served by the Akron Barberton Cluster Railway.

The facility will be located in southwest Kent and involves various input oils that will be shipped by rail and transferred to truck for final movement to Hartville. 

The facility project’s total cost will be $600,000. The facility will have two spurs and a total capacity of 20 to 30 rail cars. ABC is a W&LE subsidiary.

Glad I Got Them When I Did

July 19, 2022

I was going through some slides recently when I ran across three image of former Baltimore & Ohio structures in Ohio that are no longer standing.

The top two images are of the former passenger station in Dover. I stopped by there in August 2006. Although it had an R.J. Corman sign on it, the building was no longer being used. It was razed on April 9, 2013, after being in derelict condition for several years. It was located on West Third Street.

The bottom image shows the B&O freight station in Kent. Because I visited Kent quite frequently I often saw this structure but seldom photographed it.

This image was made on July 5, 2003, when I was in town to photograph the excursion trains that used to run during the Kent Heritage Festival. CSX razed this structure on Dec. 10, 2010. It was located a short distance south (railroad west) of the passenger station.

Today I look at these images and am glad I took the time to make them when I did. I now value them more than when I made these photographs.

Photographs by Craig Sanders

Stone Train in Kent Two for Tuesday

May 23, 2022

The wayback machine has taken us back to a time when mainline Class 1 freight trains still often had standard cab locomotives, when there were still pole lines in place even if not in use, and when traffic on the CSX New Castle Subdivision was more frequent than it is today.

We’re standing on the bridge carrying Middlebury Road over the tracks on the southwest side of Kent. A westbound stone train is headed back to the quarry in western Ohio to pick up another load of limestone. I believe this train delivered stone that was unloaded at the nearby Shelly Materials facility.

Both images above were made on Sept. 16, 2007, and scanned from slide film.

Photographs by Craig Sanders

GE Center Cab Switcher in Kent

May 22, 2022

This GE 45-ton switcher is at a locomotive dealer in Kent on June 23, 2012. There are no reporting marks on the engine so we were unable to determine anything about its history or disposition.

Photograph by Robert Farkas