Most people think the train station in Powell was located on Depot Street. In fact, it sat on the west side of the tracks just north of state Route 750.
Construction of the Columbus and Toledo Railroad stations in Powell and Hyattville began in November 1876; they were completed in July 1877. Just a few years later, in 1881, that railroad consolidated with the Ohio and West Virginia Railway Co. and became the Hocking Valley Railroad.
A news article in the Powell Liberty Historical Society's collection at the Martin-Perry House quotes Powell resident Eddie Williams, who remembered when the Hocking Valley Railroad first came through Powell. Fewer than 100 people lived here then.
Ed Lentz, executive director of the Columbus Landmarks Foundation and a regular contributor to ThisWeek Community News with his "As It Were" column, described early railroads in central Ohio in a Jan. 19 column. He wrote that the newly completed Hocking Valley Railroad brought coal, wood and iron to shops and factories after the end of the Civil War.
Speaking to the fact that Columbus became a center for railroad activity is the knowledge that the city was called the "Buggy Capital of the World." There were 22 buggy factories in the city.
Note the buggy to the left of the Powell train station in today's image.
The historical society recently was given a description of a privately owned painting, "Train Station -- at Powell." Eugene Chase of Upper Arlington, who began painting with pencil, pen and oil in 1929, created the painting in 1987. At that time, he wrote, "It is so good to know that someone else whose roots are in Powell will own the painting of the Powell Train Station."
Chase had been interested in painting scenes of the Powell area because three generations of his family were born in Powell or had spent portions of their lives here. His great-grandfather, Joseph Staggers, came with his wife, Rebecca, from Iowa where he had served with the Union Army during the entirety of the Civil War. His brother, Frank, also came here; they both built homes about 2 miles west of Powell.
Joseph and Rebecca Staggers had five daughters. Cleora, Jennie, Daisy, Francis and Josephine all attended the one-room schoolhouse, called Bovee, as their farm was nearby. Josephine and Cleora later taught there.
Chase's mother, Mary Kirkpatrick Chase, attended the Bovee school as well.
In addition to the painting of the train station, Chase's depiction of the school is in the historical society's collection at the Martin-Perry House.
Chase signed more than 500 of his works to honor his wife with the phrase, "I love Julia Shea." He was among the winners of the Governor's art shows at the Statehouse in the 1970s and 1980s. Those oils focused on Columbus locations and the Great Depression. At that time, his bio indicated his paintings were in 150 private collections in 38 states and three foreign countries.
Chase was pleased to have had the opportunity to paint places related to his family's heritage. The Powell train station was torn down in 1967, but the Bovee school still stands, located today on the Columbus Zoo's property.
Carole Wilhelm is a member of the Powell Liberty Historical Society.