Atlantic & Greatwestern RR

Atlantis & Great Western RR in Kent, Ohio
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Originally called Franklin Mills, the town of Kent was renamed to honor Marvin Kent, founder of the Atlantic & Great Western (later part of the Erie Railroad). Kent's first depot was a boxcar; the second was a small frame building. When citizens requested a more substantial structure, the railroad's generosity was limited to about 60 percent of the cost. The balance was pledged by the community in a single meeting. Standing above a dam and mill race of the Cuyahoga River (and the parallel Pennsylvania & Ohio Canal), the perfectly symmetrical, red brick depot was built in a Tuscan Revival style with a slate roof. One story segments hyphenated the depot's trio of two-story towers. Stone-arched windows on the upper floor were grouped in threes above a platform canopy dripping with pendants. The first floor housed the ticket and telegraph office, men's and ladies' waiting rooms, and baggage and express rooms. Big double doors on the track side led to an elegant restaurant, whose manager lived upstairs. The second floor also provided bunk space and a "Reading Room" for railroad workers (the book collection formed the nucleus of today's Kent Free Library). Just to the south was a wooden freight house (now gone); beyond that were rail yards with shops for building and repairing coaches and freight cars (a few structures remain). Passenger service ended in 1970. Five years later, the local historical society purchased the boarded up and neglected station. The exterior and upper tower areas were restored, including replicating the woodwork and stripping paint from the brick. The first floor was sympathetically renovated for commercial use. Depots from two other railroads still stand in Kent: the Baltimore & Ohio (separate freight and passenger) and the Wheeling & Lake Erie (combination freight and passenger).
exerpted from: Great American Railroad Stations  by Janet Greenstein Potter, Preservation Press


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