The rain ended and the sun came out just in time May 21 for the unveiling of an Ohio Historic Marker commemorating the Interurban Depot in Canal Winchester.

The rain ended and the sun came out just in time May 21 for the unveiling of an Ohio Historic Marker commemorating the Interurban Depot in Canal Winchester.

"This is the culmination of a lot of work by a lot of people, and it's fantastic to see it come together," said Bruce Jarvis, head of Main Street Canal Winchester and a former councilman who spearheaded depot revitalization efforts.

"If it wasn't for him, the depot would probably still be sitting here with stucco on it," Mayor Mike Ebert said after the unveiling.

The village purchased the depot in 2002 from the South Central Power Co. The $125,000 worth of exterior rehabilitation -including blasting away old stucco with cornhusks in order to preserve the bricks -was recently completed and paid for through donations and village funds.

Canal Winchester's construction services manager, Bill Sims, said the village will receive architectural drawings this summer for rehabbing the depot's interior, which will serve as the basis for cost estimates.

Interurbans were a series of electrified rail systems that connected cities and towns across Ohio and other states.

"Ohio had more interurbans than any other state," historian Alex Campbell said.

A local interurban car won first prize at the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair, he said. The car was henceforward referred to locally as "The Prize," Campbell said, and could be seen around central Ohio.

Central Ohio travelers could take an interurban north to Columbus and south to Lancaster or Chillicothe. The cars traveled up to 60 miles per hour.The interurban was powered by a third rail, a sometimes-dangerous 600-volt electrified track, Campbell said.

"Small animals were in for a shock," he noted.

When the Canal Winchester interurban depot was in operation for passengers and freight from 1904-1930, "this was the edge of town," Campbell said.

Two local residents at last week's celebration, siblings Dorothy Boving Hockman, 89, and George William Boving, 87, were among the passengers who rode the last local interurban train on Sept. 30, 1930, and were included in a picture of that event called, "The Last Ride."

Hockman recalled that the track ran near the family farm and she used to take the Interurban to school.

In 1926, when she was nearly 6, she said, "I had to cross a creek, follow a cow path through a pasture field, climb a fence and walk a short distance more to reach the station. Because we had a mean cow in the field that didn't like little kids, either my grandpa or mother had to walk with me as far as the fence."

Boving said the third rail was "dangerous" and remembered seeing "at every crossing, a cattle bar."

"I learned to keep time by the interurban," he said.

The third rail and interurbans had blazed an electric trail into the village, which Jarvis said brought household electricity to Canal Winchester before it otherwise would have been available.

After the automobile, better roads and the Great Depression killed the interurbans, Campbell said the Scioto Valley Traction Co. transformed into a local power company.

Kim Schuette of the Ohio Historical Society praised the local support for preserving and rehabilitating Canal Winchester's interurban depot.

"A marker doesn't take the place of the real thing of history," Schuette said. "I want to commend Canal Winchester for its efforts for historic preservation."