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Railroad History of Washington Co, 1882

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The "Chartiers Valley Railroad Company" was incorporated under an act of Legislature (approved Feb. 7, 1853) conferring the right "to construct a railroad from the city of Pittsburgh, in the county of Allegheny, by way of Canonsburg to the borough of Washington, in Washington County;" also to connect with the Pittsburgh and Steubenville Railroad at a suitable point, and with the Hempfield Railroad at or near the borough of Washington. John H. Ewing, John Bausman, L. P. Hitchcock, Jacob Morgan, William S. Calahan, George S. Hayes, John Boyce, Thomas Watson, John Weaver, Daniel Houston, Robert McKnight, David P. Morgan, James O'Hara Denny, Thomas Bakewell, Henry Graff, James K. Moorhead, Frederick Lorenz, William Larimer, Jr., George Ledlie, Lecky Harper, Mansfield Brown, William M. Daniel, and Charles Paulson were appointed to receive subscriptions to the stock of the company, which was authorized to the amount of $500,000. The incorporating act authorized public subscriptions to the stock, as follows: By the city of Pittsburgh, 5000 shares; Birmingham, East Birmingham, and South Pittsburgh, each 500 shares; the borough of Canonsburg, 550 shares; the borough of Washington, 500 shares. At a meeting of citizens of Washington borough, held at the courthouse Dec. 31, 1853, a resolution that the borough subscribe "500 shares of the captial stock of the Chartiers Railroad Company" was adopted by a vote of 84 to 3. The commissioners of Allegheny and Washington were also authorized to subscribe on behalf of their respective counties upon recommendation of the grand jury. The construction of the road was required to he commenced within three years, and completed within seven years from the passage of the act of incorporation.

The route of the road was surveyed and permanently located to connect with the Pittsburgh and Steubenville Railroad at Mansfield, Allegheny Co. It was laid off in one-mile sections, placed under contract, and the work of grading commenced on all parts of the line. Reports of the chief engineer (D. Mitchell, Jr.) showed that up to Jan. 1, 1856, the sum of $162,525.26 had been expended; that from that time to Jan. 1, 1857, the further amount of $88,139.45 was expended, making a total of $250, 664.71; and it was believed that the grading of the road would be completed in four months from the latter date, at an estimated cost of $86,809.40, exclusive of ballasting, which, with superstructure, bridging, right of way, and incidentals, would require an additional amount of $268,525.89. Total amount required to complete the road and pay indebtedness already incurred, $382,292.62.

The usual embarrassments and delays experienced in the building of railroads were encountered in this. Finally the unfinished road was sold to William J. Howard, solicitor for the Pennsylvania Railroad Company, for $45,100. A mortgage of $500,000 was placed upon the road, with the proceeds of which it was pushed to completion. In December, 1870, the announcement was published that on and after the 19th of that month trains would run regularly between Pittsburgh and Canonsburg. On the 15th of the following May trains commenced running to Washington, and on Thursday, the 18th of the same month, the road was formally opened in in entire length by the running of excursion trains and a celebration of the event in the town hall at Washington; the address of welcome being delivered by the Hon. George S. Hart, who made reference to the long and disheartening struggle which had been made to secure the construction of the railway which had that day been formally opened; a struggle which had been commenced forty years before by Judge Baird, Charles De Hass, Maj. John H. Ewing, and others. Maj. Ewing, who was present, made some remarks in response, and Judge Hart's address of welcome was replied to by John H. Hampton on behalf of the visitors from Pittsburgh and Allegheny City.

On the 8th of December, 1871, the Chartiers Valley Railroad was leased to the Pittsburgh, Cincinnati and St. Louis Railway Company, and is still run in connection with that line as the Chartiers or Washington Branch.

The Pittsburgh, Virginia and Charleston Railway was first projected by a company which was incorporated by an act of Assembly approved April 8, 1867, as the Monongahela Valley Railroad Company, with power to construct and equip a railroad from a point at or near Pittsburgh, along the Monongahela River, to a point at or near Rice's Landing, in Greene County, Pa., and thence to Waynesburg, with the right to construct any branch or lateral road, not exceeding ten miles in length, to the coal-fields of Allegheny, Washington, Westmoreland, Fayette, and Greene Counties; the capital stock not to exceed twenty thousand dollars per mile of road constructed and equipped.

By a supplemental act, approved March 31,1868, the company was "authorized to construct its railroad with single or double tracks from a point at or near the city of Pittsburgh, by such route as the board of directors may determine, to a point at or near Monongahela City, in Washington County, and thence up either bank of the Monongahela River to a point at or near Rice's Landing, with power to construct such branches, as the directors may deem necessary, and to connect all or either of them with any railroad or railroads now constructed, and that may be hereafter constructed;" and the company was further authorized to extend its road or branches to the boundary line of West Virginia. On the 4th of February, 1870, an act was passed changing the corporate name of the company to that of the Pittsburgh, Virginia and Charleston Railway Company, which from that time became also the name of the line of road.

The survey of the route of the Monongahela Valley Railroad was commenced in the spring of 1869, and completed during that season; but no part of the work of construction was done until after the name of the company had been changed by the act of February, 1870. Operations were commenced soon afterwards and prosecuted without much of the delay which is usual in the building of railways; and in the fall of 1878 the road was completed and opened to Monongahela City, and trains commenced running regularly between that place and Pittsburgh. The great financial panic which began in that year caused serious delays and embarrassments in the construction of the road south of Monongahela City, so that it was not until May, 1881, that the line was opened to West Brownsville, giving to that borough and to the two towns on the opposite side of the Monongahela the first railroad communication they had ever enjoyed.

In May, 1879, this road and its franchises passed to the control and management of the Pennsylvania Railroad Company, by which it is now operated as the "Monongahela Division" of its lines. The Uniontown extension or branch of the Pittsburgh, Virginia and Charleston Railroad is now in process of construction, having been commenced by the Pennsylvania Railroad Company in January, 1881. Starting from the completed road west of the Monongahela at Huntsville, it crosses that river by a bridge at the mouth of Redstone Creek, below West Brownsville, and runs from that point to Hogsett's Cut, about one mile north of Uniontown, where it joins the Southwest Pennsylvania Railroad. It is now very near completion, the announcment being made that it will be opened in its entire length (sixteen miles) in August, 1882.

The Pittsburgh Southern Railroad (narrow-gauge) connects Washington borough with Pittsburgh, its route being from Washington through the northeast part of Washington County, and thence though Allegheny County to Temperanceville, on the south side of the Monongahela opposite the city. The project of building this road was originated by A. C. Hays and John H. Miller in 1876. With them were afterwards associated in the enterprise M. D. Hays, T. P. Roberts, Dr. Kerr, Colin M. Reed, Sr., Joshua Wright, W. W. Smith, and George P. Hays. A company was formed to build the road, and incorporated as the "Pittsburgh, Castle Shannon and Washington Railroad Company." An amendment to the charter and a reorganization succeeded, the corporation under the amended charter being J. H. Miller, M. D. Hays, Joshua Wright, Joseph Phillips, John Rogers, West Fry, Thomas McClelland, Josiah Reamer, Dr. Kerr, and A. C. Hays.

The work of construction was commenced in July, 1877, at Finleyville and other point nearer Pittsburgh, and was carried forward so rapidly that in January, 1878, the track was completed from Pittsburgh to Finleyville, Washington Co., amd the grading was finished from there to Munntown, in Nottingham township. In the following spring the name of the road was changed to "Pittsburgh Southern Railroad," and at the same time the plan was changed so as to make the northern terminus of the road at Temperanceville. Work was continued during 1878, and in the succeeding winter the road was completed to Washington, this making a third railway line connecting the county-seat with the Ohio River. The first regular train ran through over the entire length of the road Feb. 24, 1879. The road soon became so much embarrassed that it was sold at sheriff's sale, the purchaser being James H. Hopkins, of Pittsburgh, who, as is understood, still holds a controlling interest and is president of the road. The stations of the Pittsburgh Southern in Washington County are Boyer's, Finleyville, Peters Creek, Anderson's, McComb's, Virginia Junction, Thomas', Gilkeson's, Brownlee's, Wyland's, Clokeyville, Zeideker, Vance's, and Washington. The length of the road is thirty-four miles. It is in contemplation by the management of the Pittsburgh Southern to build a southern extension of the road, commencing at Virginia Junction, and passing thence by way of Bentleyville, Hillsborough, and other points to Morgantown, W. Va. A part of that line was placed under contract in June, 1878, and the grading was completed ready for the iron to Hillsborough, but operations were suspended, and nothing has since been done towards carrying though the extension.

The Waynesburg and Washington Railroad (narrow-gauge) connects the borough of Washington with Waynesburg, Greene Co., being twenty-seven and one-half miles in length. The company was organized in 1875, the following-named persons composing the board of managers, viz.: J. G. Ritchie (president), W. G. W. Day, S. W. Scott, W. T. Lantz, Jacob Swart, Henry Swart, Clark Hackney, W. S. Bryson, John Ross. The work of construction proceeded, and on the 6th of August, 1877, the tracklayers moving southward from Washington reached Banetown, a distance of ten miles. On the 1st of September following, fourteen miles south from Washington had been completed, and trains commenced running. On the 17th of the same month the track crossed the Greene County line, and the locomotive "General Greene" entered that county, the first locomotive ever within its boundaries. About the 1st of October in the same year the road was completed, and trains commenced running regularly over its entire length from Washington to Waynesburg. The cost of the road was $4975 per mile exclusive of equipment.

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Last modified: 31-Dec-2002

Source document: Crumrine, Boyd, 1838-1916. "History of Washington County, Pennsylvania : with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men" edited by Boyd Crumrine ; Illustrated. Philadelphia: L.H. Everts and Co., 1882.