The old interurban station (DHI Media/Jim Langham)
The old interurban station (DHI Media/Jim Langham)

By JIM LANGHAM

DHI Media Staff Writer

jlangham@timesbulletin.com

A drive around Middle Point these days brings to light spots where history once lived, including portions of downtown, older church buildings, the school and especially the decayed remnants of the interurban station located on the south side of town.

“From 1896 to 1907 a number of interurban rail lines were built all over Ohio,” states a local Middle Point history document. “The Ohio electric gradually acquired the smaller lines and assembled interurban network that reaches Toledo, Fort Wayne, Lima, Van Wert and many other places along the way.

“As early as 1899 connecting Ohio and Indiana interurban lines began joining together to offer through-car limited services between important cities. Luxery services were considered essential if the interurbans were to successfully invade the long-haul market,” noted the history.

The history records that luxury features included electrically heated curling irons in the ladies room and electric cigar lights in the men’s smoking room. Electric fans in the passenger cars were also part of the package.

The history notes that the line that ran through Middle Point was called Fort Wayne, Van Wert and Lima Traction Company. It was owned by the Lima and Toledo Traction Company.

“The branch line ran from Lima, Elida, Scotts Crossing, Delphos, Middle Point, Van Wert, Convoy, Dixon, Monroeville, New Haven to Fort Wayne, a distance of 65 miles,” stated the document. “Train number 113 would stop at Middle Point and Elida to discharge passengers from beyond Lima and receive passengers holding tickets beyond Fort Wayne.”

In order to stop a car at night, passengers were asked to strike a light. They would stop for passengers at any lane or crossing. Six trains ran daily in each direction, one every two hours.

The cars were 40-ton cars powered by four 150 horsepower motors and 60 feet long. They were capable of traveling up to 80 miles per hour on level track.

Renae Hundley, who wrote a historical paper about Middle Point, said that the village was first called Sykestown. The name Middle Point came about when a passenger riding on the train through the village asked just where they were. The conductor’s reply was that they were at about the middle point between Van Wert and Delphos and thus the name, Middle Point.

The village of Middle Point was laid out in 1852 on land belonging to S.B. Sykes and H.N. Sykes.