(The following was written by Earl Nicholson 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.)
In 1892 Adam Grant of Grove City, and Joseph Briggs of Briggsdale, decided that they would like to bring the convenience of an interurban line to their respective villages. This idea also seemed to be a good investment for both the people that served as well as the investors.
The name of this line would be “The Columbus and Harrisburg Electric Street Railway” and it would run the entire length of the Columbus and Harrisburg Turnpike, that is, it would run from Mound and High streets in Columbus to the Village of Harrisburg. This was a distance of about eight miles.
A stock company was formed with $1,500.00 initial capital. This was in the form of 15 shares of stock at $100.00 each. Ten investors were initially involved. These men were: Gideon Martin, Wheeler Young, George Van Sciever, H.C. Cook, Joseph Chenoweth, Levi Hite, Michael Starks, John Young, an “eastern capitalist”, and a “Canadian”.
Joseph R. Briggs was the company president, Gideon D. Martin was secretary. On December 31, 1982 the company was incorporated with Briggs, Grant, Martin, Young, Chenoweth, Hite, and Stark signing as witnesses on the incorporation documents. Adam Grant procured the right-of-way agreement of the owners for a majority of feet abutting the proposed interurban line.
On March 16th, 1893 the Franklin County Commissioners approved the right-of-way to build the Columbus and Harrisburg Electric Street Railway. The first stipulation of the right-of-way agreement states, “That it shall begin the construction of said railway at a day no later than the first day of July 1893, and complete the same and run cars thereon according to the stipulation herein set forth, on or before the 1st day of December 1895”.
The plans for the construction of the street Railway seemed to be progressing well. Then one day it was discovered that $1,200.00 had been spent recklessly by the industrialist making trips that had nothing to do with the project, yet was charging the expenses to the railway project. At a later meeting the industrialist and his “side partners” tried to get Mr. Grant and Mr. Briggs to give $5,000 to head the list of subscribers. Mr. Grant immediately resigned and withdrew from the deal, took his right-of-way agreements, and walked out. Thus ended the plans to build the “Columbus and Harrisburg Electric Street Railway”.
(The continuation of this story in the next blog entry.)