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Mountain Line

 

By Ross C. Durst

The Tragic End of the Mountain Line

For two decades the residents of Cuyahoga Falls had the choice of riding two lines to Akron. In many respects, the Mountain Line was the more thrilling, with its many, many bridges and trestles and its wild scenery.

In the spring and summer of 1918, we lived briefly in the Falls.  On the afternoon of June 11, 1918, for some reason I had returned home early, riding the Mountain Line.  Later in the afternoon, we heard that a streetcar on the Mountain Line had gone over the bridge and fallen into the Gorge.  It was the next car after mine.

We had no radio or telephone and it was some time before we learned the details.  The track made a sharp turn onto the east end of the bridge.  The car failed to make the turn and went off the north side of the bridge, carrying part of the railing with it.  The structural part of the bridge received little damage.  The car landed in the river.  It was so badly smashed that no attempt was ever made to salvage it.  No doubt parts of it could still be found in the Gorge 46 years later.

Fortunately, there were few passengers at that early hour. The conductor and 3 passengers were killed.  Miraculously, the motorman and one passenger survived, after a fall of nearly 100 feet.  Two of the victims were from Cuyahoga Falls, C.C. Hoye and Emory Prior. Those escaping were Motorman Leroy Bessemaer and passenger Henry VanLoosen both of the Falls.

The Falls City Council promptly cancelled the Company’s franchise and it never resumed operation. About the only trace of its existence can be seen on Furnace Street.  A strip down the middle of the pavement shows where the tracks were ripped out.

To close with a lighter touch to a somber story, consider this true incident. A young lad was recently heard to tell his wide eyed friends, “ I heard my grandpa say he used to ride a Mountain Lion all the way to Akron.

 

Graphics, stories, articles and other partial content are all Copyright ©2006-2011 Jeri Holland and other respective authors.