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1946 - Spruce Street Yards
This photo and the "CUS & West" photo which overlaps this one were taken at the same time. The streetcars which appear on the CUS & West photo place the photo date at 1947 or earlier. Dave Bunge one of my cohorts at columbusrailroads.com points out that in both photos there is no train activity. Five class I railroads used these tracks with passenger, freight and switching activity. It is almost impossible not to have any train activity. One explanation is that the photos could have been taken during the 1946 national railroad strike.
The strike shutting down all railroads from coast to coast lasted two days ending on May 25, 1946. The strike end came as President Truman was addressing Congress requesting the authority to draft the railroad workers. His plan was to draft the railroad workers into the Army and put them back to work on the railroads. It didn't pay to cross Harry Truman when he thought he was right.
The Pennsy yard known as the Spruce Street Yard was where passenger engines were serviced as well as the passenger cars. The Pullman Co. maintained a commissary for servicing dinning cars and Pullman sleepers. The Pennsy also serviced the N&W's passenger cars, but not their locomotives. The Spruce Street Yard was closed down in the early to mid 1950's when steam locomotives were eliminated on passenger trains.
The Big Four's Dennison Avenue yard served as a passenger coach yard. At one time it had a roundhouse, but when the NYC took over the T&OC, which had larger facilities at their West Columbus Yard, the roundhouse was torn down and locomotives were serviced at West Columbus. The coach yard remained in service into the early 1950's.
According to the Hocking Valley Railway Employee Time Table #13, 1903, all tracks between the Scioto River Bridge, Mound Street, and Lanevue* were know as "Yard A". That designation lasted through the C&O era as well. Time Table #13 also stated that the tracks between the Scioto River Bridge, Mound Street, and Greenlawn Avenue were know as "Yard B" and finally tracks between Greenlawn Avenue and Parson Avenue were know as "Yard C".
The Ohio Penitentiary had a special arrangement called a Sally Port that allowed an engine and one car to enter a walled off area. The outside door would be shut and the second door into the penitentiary would be open allowing the locomotive and car to enter. The Penitentiary received coal for the power plant and may have received other materials at one time.
*The area around Lane Avenue was known as Lanevue and even had a post office from 1898 through 1900. Later it was called Seagrove. The small town grew up around a stop on the Toledo Division of the Hocking Valley Railroad. Today it is remembered by Lane Avenue in north Columbus. (Thanks to Whit Wardell for this information.)