Side A: The Dayton, Springfield, and Urbana Electric Railway (DS&U) was an “Interurban” rail system that ran between the cities of Urbana, Springfield and Dayton. Its beginning can be traced to the franchise given to William H. Hanford to operate a single line of electrical railway between Springfield and the southern boundary of Champaign County in 1895. Hanford then sold his rights to John G. Webb of Springfield and Colonel Frederich Colburn of Kentucky, who along with other syndicate members formed the Dayton, Springfield, and Urbana Electric Railway. In 1897 Boston promoter Arthur E. Appleyard joined the syndicate and brought investment monies, organizational skills, and energy to the venture. He quickly became managing director/treasurer and the real driving force of the DS&U. The railway was organized into two divisions. One operated between Dayton and Springfield and the other between Springfield and Urbana. [continued on other side]
Side B: [continued from other side] The Dayton, Springfield, and Urbana Electric Railway ran on 600 volts of direct electrical current with power generated from a 24,600-volt plant located in Medway. To sustain the current over the track’s length, several “booster” stations were constructed along the line. The initial run took place on February 14, 1900 between Springfield and Dayton. Regular passenger service on the Urbana division opened on March 3, 1901. Trolley cars carried freight, livestock, and passengers at speeds of 60 miles per hour. Interurban lines were popular due to reduced noise, smoke, and soot compared to steam powered railways. They could also be “flagged down” for pick up along the line. On October 29, 1938, motorman Hal Angell drove the last railway’s run. This corner was the site of a DS&U substation that also served as a ticket office, waiting room, maintenance garage, and living quarters for the operator and his family.
Sponsors: The Peoples Savings Bank, Champaign County Bicentennial Historical Marker Committee, and The Ohio Historical Society