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Oscar Hott President

        In 1957 when this article from the Columbus Dispatch was written, Oscar Hott was the man you associated with public transportation in Columbus.  As President of the Columbus Transit Company he often appeared in public as the Transit Company spokesman.  What you will learn in this article is that Mr. Hott and his father Charles E. Hott went back to the very beginning of electric streetcars in Columbus.


Spanning Streetcars and Busses

By Perry Morison

Columbus Dispatch – Nov. 17, 1957

Oscar Hott


        Tomorrow morning when Oscar R. Hott hangs up his hat in his office at 43 W. Long Street he won’t believe the calendar at all.

        He’s president of Columbus Transit Co., and tomorrow he will complete 50 years with transportation in Columbus going back to the old street car which bounced along High St., always in a hurry.

        He comes by transportation honestly.  His father, the late Charles E. Hott, was with the street car company here some 40 years, too.

        HIS FATHER’S DEVOTION to his job rubbed off on young Oscar and his bent at being meticulous about his work stems from his dad.

        The Hotts came to Columbus form Commercial Point, Pickaway County, when Oscar was 4 [1891].  He’s 70, but doesn’t look it by many a year.

        They lived on Deshler Ave. on the South Side, then on Franklin Ave., Bryden Rd., Bexley and now at 172 Fairlawn Dr. on the North Side.

        THE FIRST ELECTRIC street car hadn’t been on High St. too long when the Hotts came to town.  Oscar’s farther for years was master mechanic for the street car company.

        The elder Hott brought work home, talked shop to Oscar.  At 16 while Oscar still was in school [1903], he would go to the Kelton Ave. barns with his father before school, would work until school time and then come back in the afternoon.  Most of it with books and drawings.

        He attended Fair Ave. Elementary School, East High and a prep school downtown know as “Daddy” Cole’s.  At 20 [1907] he began with the street car company full time.

        BY THAT TIME THE HORSE CARS were gone.  Electric cars came on the scene here in 1888.  First cars ran on a line from High St. on Chittenden Ave. to the state fairgrounds, known as the Short System.

        Old dobbin gave up at last in 1892 on the Oak St. line and the electric street car was here to stay another 56 years until Sept. 5, 1948.

        When Oscar Hott got on the payroll first in 1907 he was a draftsman of mechanical equipment at the Kelton Ave. shops of the old Columbus Railway Power & Light Co., forerunner of the Columbus & Southern Ohio Electric Co.

        IN 1914 OSCAR, STILL WORKING for his dad, was promoted to general shop foreman and drew plans for the Kelton Ave. body shop.  He helped build the shop, too.

        Soon after Hott began his drawings he went to a party one evening and a Miss Edna Judy was there.  She, too, had come to Columbus from out of town, Washington C.H., to live.  She sang.  Oscar was a pianist of some excellence.

        At this party Hott sat down and entertained the guests.  He played while Edna Judy sang.  She’s been Edna Judy Hott for 46 years now.

        THE PIANO PLAYING will come as a surprise to people who know Oscar Hott as a meticulous person, quiet, with an eye for drawing, not a landscape, but drawings for giant engines which still work and haul coal at the C&SO Picway station here every day.

        As the years went along Hott went through the 1913 flood, saw street cars go tumbling into the Scioto’s waters on Glenwood Ave., [and] fought the 1917 winter when the city was in the midst of World War I’s efforts.

        He drew plans for a snazzy new street car years ago.  They called it the PCC (presidents Conference Committee) because the heads of the top transportation companies wanted a standard car.

        OSCAR’S WAS ACCEPTED, still run in New York, Chicago, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.  They have gadgets to make them quieter, slanted windshields to reduce sun glare, indirect seating lights, crank lowered windows and standee windows for strap hangers.

        Hott moved up through the ranks as his years grew with the C&SO.  When the Columbus Transit Co., was formed in 1949 he was named vice president, and when W. Glover Porter, the first president, was named chairman of the board, Oscar Hott was named president in June of 1949.

        Oscar, known beyond Ohio in transit companies, remembers well when some 50,000 miles of track were used by street cars in this country.

        HE KNOWS THAT FROM the old Chittenden Ave. line Columbus now has 168 miles of line and the CTC uses 121 trolley coaches and motor buses.

        He will tell you that you can ride 15.068 miles on one fare from Jeffrey Place and N. High St. as far as Port Columbus.

        Hott, working with the mechanical section of the American Transit Association, contributed to such safety features and improvements as magnetic brakes, “dead Man” controls in case the operator is stricken ill, and fibre gears.

        HE HAS NO INTENTION of getting up from his desk and going home for good tomorrow at all.

        “I am planning to stay as long as they want me,” he said yesterday.

        At his home there are 2000 tulip bulbs just planted for the winter’s rest and that will be another place he can “shoot” more pictures next spring and summer in what could be called at least one hobby of a street car man.