(The following was written by Harold Moreland and is reprinted from “Reflections II”, a collection of local stories available at the Grove City Welcome Center and Museum. Any opinions made in the article are from the author.)
The railroad going through Grove City and its station was built in 1884 by the Cincinnati, Midland, and Columbus Railroad Company. Later the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad company purchased it and is the present owner. By March 1884, the construction gang reached Grove City and continued the road to Columbus. On November 1, 1884, the first train rolled over the system causing much excitement and hilarity. A man by the name of Storey was engineer of this train. The effect of the railroad was felt immediately by the community, for it stimulated farming on a large scale. Within a few years the farmers turned their attention more to raising grains, livestock, produce and lumber which now could be easily shipped to ready markets. Within a year shipments had increased three-fold. Lands were being constantly improved, gaining value each year. Grain elevators sprang up all along the railroad. Modern equipment replaced old four-wheeled box cars and wooden coaches as the years passed.
In 1894, has small steam locomotive pulled a one-car passenger train to Columbus in the morning–at night it returned with the same passengers. The train was known as The Grove City Commuter. The passengers all worked at the Columbus Buggy Company. The buggies were horse-drawn vehicles. The commuter service ended when the streetcar line was built in 1889. A picture of this commuter train is among the permanent displays.
Other through passenger trains operated until 1956. In 1972 the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad was forced by economic reasons to abandon its freight agent and partial car loading service. The P.U.C.O. ordered its abandonment.
In August 1972, a “Save the Depot” project was begun by The Grove City Jaycees. It came to the attention of the Jaycees that the B&O Railroad was planning to discontinue the agency use of the station and then it might be moved to a railroad museum in Dayton, Ohio. Petitions were circulated for local citizens to sign, merchants were contacted for pledges, City Council passed the resolution supporting the Jaycee project, and a proposal was made to the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad for acquisition of the dilapidated building. After over a year of waiting, in November 1973 the Jaycees entered into a contract with the B&O Railroad which would allow renovation to begin. The walls were insulated, a new furnace was installed, a large storage space was paneled, the floors sanded and varnished, and coats of paint were applied inside and out.
The landscape was completed in May 1975 and a formal opening and dedication was held on July 4, 1975.
In 1987 the City of Grove City approached the Historical Society and asked if they were interested in helping to again restore and rehab the depot. The Chamber of Commerce would use the building for two years and pay for part of the restoration period. After the two years passed, they moved into other quarters and the Historical Society began using the building for meetings and storage.
PostScript: In January 2018, the Depot was moved to Century Village, and is currently being rehabbed to be used as an exhibit.