Submitted by scott on

Railroads laid the tracks for local industry

By Hal Johnson
Herald Writer

The Erie Extension Canal was in its heyday and the Civil War was raging when the first freight train rolled into Sharon on Oct. 11, 1869.

Less than two months later, Sharon residents saw the first passenger train. The death knoll of the canal era may have been obvious. The railroad offered a faster, better way of shipping pig iron from local blast furnaces, coal from local mines, and moving people. Although less obvious at first sight, the railroad would usher the steel industry into the local economy.

As the Erie & Pittsburgh Railroad tracks followed the route of the old Erie Extension Canal, it led to Lake Shore Railroad and linked the industrial centers of Sharon and Youngstown by 1880, according to the book, “Mercer County History.”

Johnson's article may  be in error regarding the date passenger railroad service entered Sharon. Another reference has it much earllier, at October 1864.  See my entry on the Erie and Pittsburgh Railroad.

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