Brookville Historical Society

Railroad Depot and Caboose

Railroad Depot and CabooseOur Railroad Depot building sits at the corner of Hay and Cusick Avenues along the location of the former train tracks from Dayton, Ohio to points west. The building was constructed in two parts. The older part was opened January 15, 1900 following a special village council meeting on September 28, 1899. In it was a waiting room, agent's office and a small freight room. Brookville was the largest and most important village in the northwest section of Montgomery County. As shipping by rail increased a larger freight room was needed and in 1918 an addition was made to the original depot greatly increasing the space needed to handle goods coming and going.
The coming of the railroad in the mid 1800’s greatly influenced the growth of Brookville. In 1846 the Greenville and Miami Railway Company was chartered and a right-of-way was secured from Dayton to Greenville which passed through the area that would become the village of Brookville. As the railroad became a reality there was a need for housing and business places which were built along Main Street from the right-of-way to Wolf Creek Turnpike. Benjamin Baker built a general store at the intersection of Salem and Liberty Streets (now Mulberry Street) and became the first railroad station agent. The first waiting room was located in his store.
With the tracks completed the D & G Railroad held a grand opening on June 10, 1852 and many persons watched and waved to the travelers who rode the first train. Later in the year the tracks were extended to Union City, OH and the name became Dayton and Union (D & U) Railroad. Also in 1852 The Dayton and Western Railroad Company completed its tracks as far as Dodson. The line was extended in 1853 to Richmond, IN and on to the Great West. 
A large brick warehouse was built in 1863 by Isaac Hay at the corner of Market Street and the railroad tracks (now bordered by Sycamore Street and Hay Avenue). The waiting room was moved to this location and Mr. Hay became the station agent. Over the years many station agents held this important position serving travelers, receiving the mail and managing the many items shipped and received. 

With the arrival of cars and buses railroad travel began to decline. The D & G in 1925 combined freight and passenger business until September 1931 when regular passenger service locally was discontinued. The station agent could still signal the train to stop for a passenger but by 1946 all passenger service stopped. On May 18, 1952 there was a special B & O Rail Fan Excursion train that traveled from Dayton to Union City, OH and back. With the demise of passenger and freight service the depot was abandoned in 1974 and used for storage for railroad repairmen until 1979. 

On Labor Day in 1945 a tragedy occurred involving the depot. The Spirit of St. Louis Special train and an automobile collided at the Linda Ave. Crossing (now Albert Road). Many passenger cars were derailed along Cusick Avenue and one of the engines narrowly missed crashing into the building. The bell from one of the engines has been donated to the Historical Society and can be viewed at the depot. 

The Historical Society and others in Brookville became interested in acquiring the depot and restoring it for a railroad museum. Finally in November of 1980 funds had been obtained and the site was purchased from CSX. Restoration began the following year. Two old railroad crossing signs, once at Temple Road and about 50 years old, were donated. Other new signs were created using a 1900 postcard. Finally on June 6, 1987 a Grand Opening and Dedication Ceremony was held and the public was invited to tour the restored building. Inside were railroad memorabilia as well as large items from the historical society collection. 
The last train through town in 1992 was a special one for railroad buffs. An engine and caboose went from Brookville to Arcanum then back, stopping for a few pictures before going on its way. An era had come to an end and the line was officially abandoned. The tracks were then torn out. The roadbeds were converted to scenic biking and walking trails. The link between Trotwood and Brookville was dedicated on April 18, 1994.  By June of 1998 the trail was paved all the way to Verona with Brookville owning the section from Hecathorn Road to Dodson Road. The clatter of trains was now silent but the resurfaced roadbed could now be traveled on two wheels or two feet. 
Following a request to and negotions with CSX Inc. a railroad caboose was donated to the Historical Society in 1991. It was a 1969 Chessie System - C&O 90365. It was moved into place on tracks opposite the train depot museum and restoration began.  Over time it became faded and worn looking and in May 2012 it was sandblasted and repainted.  It stands with the depot museum as a vivid reminder of the early history of Brookville when railroading was very important to the local area businesses and economy.
These areas are open April to October on the second Sunday of the month from 2:00 - 4:00 pm. Tours are self guided. The depot building is not heated.