Posts Tagged ‘Star of the West grain elevator’

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.

Some Erie Sights

November 16, 2017

Hunter’s railroad wasn’t being very cooperative. I had set up on the West Main Street bridge in downtown Kent hoping to get a train or two on the CSX New Castle Subdivision.

Westbound intermodal trains Q015 and Q137 have been operating in mid to late afternoon of late. But I got crickets. There wasn’t as much as a peep on the radio.

After about 45 minutes of waiting, I got out and walked around to make photographs of whatever caught my eye, including some Erie Railroad relics.

The most prominent of those is the former passenger station, which has been restored and now houses an Italian restaurant.

Just south of the station is a heavyweight passenger car painted in Erie colors. It apparently is used as a meeting room, although I’ve never seen anyone in it.

There is a signal box by the station that I know I’ve seen dozens of times, but never photographed. Today I saw something there as the late afternoon sunlight cast a warm glow on the rust-covered box. Who knows how many years it has been here and how many trains it has seen?

Finally, I checked out the siding for the Star of the West grain elevator. Just the night before during a program at the Railroad Enthusiasts meeting in Cleveland there was speculation as to what will happen with this property, which closed earlier this year.

The Erie would have served this facility as did the Akron Barberton Cluster Railway. Now the siding sits unused.

At one time, one of the mainline tracks would have been here, but it has been a long time since these rails were a double-track mainline.

Kent Grain Mill May Be Closing This Year

March 21, 2016

A regular reader of the Akron Railroad Club blog reports that the talk around Kent is that this may be the last year of operation for the Star of the West grain mill.

The downtown Kent landmark sits next to the former Erie Railroad mainline and is served by the Akron Barberton Cluster Railway.

The owner of the mill is reported to be building a new facility near Bellevue and has said the Kent facility might be used as a smaller “specialty” facility.

There are no apparent plans to sell or demolish the Kent mill, but that is subject to change.

There might be a short time left to photograph rail operations at the mill.

The ABB job to Kent that serves the mill operates  on weekdays and generally arrives in Kent at about 8 or 9 a.m.

The mill has a trackmobile that it uses to shuffle cars around.

Still Rockin’ After All These Years

April 3, 2014

The Rock Island logo is badly fading, but still visible on this covered hopper in Kent. The car now carries WE reporting marks.

The Rock Island logo is badly fading, but still visible on this covered hopper in Kent. The car now carries WE reporting marks.

The Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railroad ceased operations on March 31, 1980, but every once in a while you can still spot RI rolling stock. Such was the case on Sunday when I captured two ex-RI covered hoppers in Kent, Ohio.

The two cars were part of a string of hoppers at the Star of the West grain elevator that sits alongside the former Erie Railroad mainline. The ex-Erie tracks are now operated by the Akron Barberton Cluster Railway and the grain facility has a trackmobile to shuffle cars around. The ex-RI cars now carry Wheeling & Lake Erie reporting marks.

Photographs by Craig Sanders

The RI logo on this car has pretty much survived but the blue paint and the "The Rock" slogan are rapidly fading away.

The RI logo on this car has pretty much survived but the blue paint and the “The Rock” slogan are rapidly fading away.

An eastbound CSX manifest freight passes on the ex-Baltimore & Ohio line along the Cuyahoga River with a covered hopper in tow that is of more recent vintage.

An eastbound CSX manifest freight passes on the ex-Baltimore & Ohio line along the Cuyahoga River with a covered hopper in tow that is of more recent vintage.