The Big Four Railroad Depot was located in downtown Springfield, Ohio at Washington and Spring Street. The depot was constructed on the site of one of two Indian mounds in the city. It was demolished in 1969.
Planning for a consolidated railroad depot began with the formation of a railroad committee in 1906.3 It was to replace the small and dated passenger depot for the Big Four that was located on the south side of Washington Street opposite of the Arcade.8 The location was decided upon at Washington and Spring Street due to practicality. Locating a depot on the site of the old station would have required the construction of a viaduct on Limestone Street and at Fountain Avenue.6 There was also discussion of building an elevated track line for the Big Four, but that would have been cost prohibitive.
Work began on the Big Four freight station on March 1, 1908 and was completed on January 1 of the following year.7 That era also saw the completion of the Pennsylvania passenger station on April 26, 1908 and their freight house on January 1, 1910, and the DT&I station on May 1, 1909.
Ground was broken on the Big Four passenger depot on November 15 5 and construction was started on November 22, 1909.2 Financing was provided partially by the railroad, who provided $500,000 towards the project.3 Designed by Schlacks of Chicago, the building featured cut stone sourced from Illinois and a foundation prepared by the American Concrete Company. The foundation was completed in February 1910, with the laying of brick and stone beginning by April 11.7 A roof was completed on August 1, and officials moved in on August 5 and 6, while cooper work was completed by November 22. The interior was decorated with Roosevelt ferns produced by the American Rose and Plant Company of Springfield.6
A festive celebration welcoming the station to the Springfield community was held on June 6, 1911, sponsored by the Springfield Commercial Club that included a banquet and speakers from officials of the Big Four/New York Central Cincinnati Division, the Detroit, Toledo and Ironton (DT&I) and the O.E. Railway of Cincinnati.3 6 7
The station, exclusive to the Big Four at first, was later used by the Big Four, the Pennsylvania, the DT&I and the Erie.3
By 1928, Springfield boasted 58 miles of mainline railroad track and 40 miles of industrial and yard track, with 26 through passenger trains daily.3 At its peak, the city hosted 650 Big Four employees and the station accommodated 123,466 passengers. In 1939, the Big Four consolidated its Bellefontaine operations into Springfield, bringing with it 50 to 60 employees, expanding the facility in a $25,000 project. The station was the site of countless stops by politicians, most notably Richard M. Nixon during the 1968 presidential campaign.5
In February 1969,3 the Big Four Railroad Depot was demolished by the Birt Construction Company, subcontractor to Bate & Rogers,4 to make way for the Spring Street Bridge, which carries OH 72 east of downtown. Ironically, Spring Street was once a through street that was cut off with the construction of the passenger station, so the construction of the bridge and associated roadway was the restoration of that through movement.
Today, the station lot is used as parking for Clark State Community College.[/stag_one_half] [stag_one_half_last]