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September 25, 2021

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Presentation on historic interurban railroads

Author, local historian and former Bluffton Icon owner Fred Steiner will give a free presentation on Bluffton’s electric trolleys at the Bluffton Senior Citizens Center at 10 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 15.

According to director Tonya Meyer, the talk is titled “115 years ahead of its time, or what are those rails doing under Main Street?” The presentation will include over 75 Bluffton-related images including photos, maps and timetables.

The interurban trolley, known as the Western Ohio Railway, served the community from 1906 to 1932. Its rails were never removed and still exist under the Main Street pavement.

The line extended from Piqua through Wapakoneta, Lima, Bluffton to Findlay. It had connections to Cleveland, Toledo and Dayton bringing over 28 trains daily through Bluffton.

Steiner’s talk will demonstrate how railroads impacted growth of the village, and will provide details of Bluffton’s two other steam railroads, Lake Erie and Western, today the Norfolk Southern, and the Northern Ohio, (AC&Y, which is abandoned).

A Bluffton native, Steiner is a student of Bluffton history. He has a particular interest in railroads and how they aided in Bluffton’s growth as a village.

The program is free and open to the public. For more information, visit the Bluffton Senior Citizens Center, 132 N. Main St., or call the center at 419-358-8971.