All Aboard to C.A. & C. Depot
Welcome to the C. A. & C. Depot, we hope you are enjoying your travels on our Point of Interest Trail. At this location, the Heart of Ohio Trail ends and the Kokosing Gap Trail begins as you cross Main Street at the traffic light. As you visit, we hope you learn the history of Ohio Railroads and their significance to the growth of these towns. Before automobiles and good roads, recreational day trips of any distance were chosen if the desired destination was close to a railroad. The alternative means of travel simply were too slow and would consume much of an outing therefore, leaving little time to socialize, picnic, or swim.
In the late ’90s, Knox County began to explore the idea of taking the abandoned rail beds and converting them to a multi-use recreational trail. Now our trail system contains three trails that make up the Ohio to Erie trail which is 326 miles from Cincinnati to Cleveland.
As you discover areas on the Heart of Ohio Trail, imagine vast woodlands of Black Walnut and Sugar Maples and or a possible encounter with Native Americans. Can you identify a nearby creek or a tree?
History of the C. A.& C. Depot
While visiting, notice the Stone Arch Bridge also known as The “Viaduct” which was built in 1892 to replace the dilapidated wooden covered-bridge. It is said that the bridge was designed so that a full team of horses could turn in the opposite direction without having to reverse. The Viaduct Bridge is one of the landmarks most often identified in Mt. Vernon. There are many bridges in Knox County which represent one of the town’s historic industrial companies, the Mount Vernon Bridge Company, which flourished from 1880-1962. The Mount Vernon Bridge Company used the town’s railroad lines as a primary means to transport supplies. Even today, the steel bridge behind the viaduct is a symbol of Mt. Vernon’s local industry.
The Pennsylvania Railroad line remained very busy running freight trains in the 40’s even after passenger rail service declined in post World War II due to traveling by automobile. The Columbus, Akron, and Cleveland (CA&C) depot was built in 1905 located just south of the Kokosing River viaduct on S. Main Street. It later became known as the Pennsylvania Station. Please notice the architecture of the building as it was built with an Asian influence, especially the roof structure.
The first passenger train to arrive at the depot was in the summer of 1905. The last passenger train to arrive and depart was Train #625 in June, 1952, north-bound for Akron. In 1949 a train leaving the station soon after the diesel engine started, derailed and tumbled over the embankment near the Pennsylvania depot just west of S Main Street in Mount Vernon.
The CA&C Depot was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1972. Today the Depot occupies the Knox County and Mount Vernon Chamber of Commerce.
If you visit this location on a Thursday evening, stop and say “hello” to the Kokosing Valley Central Ohio Railroad Club who occupies a room in the lower level of the Depot to display their model railroads from 7:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m.. They are also open every 3rd Sunday of the month from noon-4:00 p.m. for viewing. You may follow them on Facebook at Kokosing Valley Central Ohio Railroad.
Since the railroad industry was founded, a railroad spike was a well-known piece of railroad equipment that everyone can identify. A railroad spike is a type of fastening device, which is designed to hold the rails firmly in place to a railroad tie, or some other form of lateral support. The entire track structure includes the rail, tie, tie-plate, and ballast system all of which have a very important and specific function. The earliest spikes were simply crude nails and within today’s modern industry the most common type has been in regular use since the early 1830’s (when used in conjunction with wooden ties).