(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.)
The Grove City and Greenlawn Street Railway
In 1898 Adam Grant again attempted to build an interurban line. This line would be between Grove City and Greenlawn Cemetery. This line (with a little “hometown” help) would be successful!
By the beginning of 1898 Joe Briggs was a Franklin County Commissioner. Adam Grant decided that he, with the help of the local people, would try again to provide interurban service to his hometown of Grove City. He made a proposition to the citizens of Grove City, :that if they would buy $10,000.00 of his property, at it’s true value, to be appraised by committee that they might name for the purpose, he would build the line–$5,500.00 of property was quickly sold. Mr. Grant felt that the rest of the money would soon come in. Since $4,500.00 was still needed to meet the total, Mr. Grant would count every $1.00 subscribed as $2.00 because he could still sell the property for $1.00. In this manner the $10,000.00 total commitment was made.
On Sunday, May 2nd, 1898 Mr. Grant and his crew of 20 men moved their tools and equipment to Greenlawn and the next day, Monday, May 3rd, construction began. The 20 man crew were augmented by men who were donating their time to keep the project on schedule. Mr. Grant’s plan was to have the line constructed in operating before October 4, which was the scheduled opening of The Grove City Fair.
(But as luck would have it, on Saturday, May 1, 1898 U.S. Navy Commodore George Dewey steamed his naval squadron of six ships into Manila Bay in the Philippine Islands, and sank the Spanish Fleet of ten ships and silenced all of the shore batteries. “The Spanish-American War” had begun. War news filled the newspapers for the rest of the summer. I could find no news about the construction of the “Grove City and Greenlawn Street Railway” until it was completed.)
Construction of the line was in “turmoil” all summer due to the country being at war. It took months to get the rails promised in just a few weeks. It was the afternoon of the “inaugural run” that Mr. Grant found that he would have an interurban car to run that evening on the newly finished line. Mr. Grant said, “If it had not been for the delays in the work building the new electric line would have been done last August.”
(The continuation of this story in the next blog entry.)