The Growth of Waynedale Transportation
Pioneers with their families pushed westward with all of their possessions led by trusty horses or, like the ancestors of Mrs. Violet Fairfield Meyers, came west via oxen pulling a Conestoga wagon capable of crossing rivers as well as dry land.
The canals (1835-1856) made the western move both inviting as well as exciting. The Wabash & Erie Canal grew to 459 miles, the longest in the world. My thanks to the canal for bringing my great grandfather and his family to Fort Wayne as hundreds of others did. Unable to generate enough revenue in 1875, the courts ordered the canal sold, and railroads eagerly bought it in 1881.
The Fort Wayne, Muncie, and Cincinnati Railroad raised money by public subscription of stock in 1851 and in 1869, opened with 109 completed miles of track. The Fort Wayne route went to Connersville then on to C & I Junction and to Cincinnati, Ohio. This railroad installed a spur track at Waynedale called the Mason Siding at the Lower Huntington intersection (Hill’s Market area) having a profound effect on Waynedale.
Travel via horse and buggy and wagons on gravel and mud roads was rough riding and in 1902 the call for better transportation and quiet, efficient trolleys became the major urban means of travel and accommodated small shipments, as well as, great numbers of people. The miracle of electricity was a welcome improvement to all existing modes of travel. In 1905 the Fort Wayne, Bluffton and Marion Traction Company was incorporated and laid track starting from Fort Wayne going south. Another line started laying rails going north from Muncie and Hartford City. They laid 43 miles of track heading for Fort Wayne. The stockholders of both companies realizing the folly of competing lines, side by side, agreed the Muncie Company would abandon its efforts.
Another happening speaks for itself. The laying of Interurban tracks was seen as a leap forward. Excitement ran high when we saw “gandy dancers” laying track. The laying crew didn’t know Norman Prince, a large Christian family who lived about a mile from the Interurban station, (McArthur near Simon’s Body Shop). The plans called for the track to go due south, across the center of his property.
Norman’s family entertained both adults and scores of youth, all coming to ‘Princes’ Hill’. A big bon fire was always burning regardless of how cold. Older family members ran a tight ship. No bad language and no alcohol. Norman needed an Interurban stop to make it easier to get to this fun place. The Interurban needed the ground. Compromise. An Interurban car will stop when flagged. The remains of the “stop” are still on location.