Dennison Yard and Shops
Panhandle Division, Pennsylvania Railroad
The Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, and St. Louis Railway began construction of the Dennison Railroad Shops here in 1864. This rail line was chartered as the Steubenville and Indiana Railroad in 1849, opened in 1855, and integrated into the Pennsylvania Railroad system in 1870. The yard and shops, situated exactly halfway between Pittsburgh and Columbus, were known as the "Altoona of the Pan Handle" and boasted foundries, machine shops, and two roundhouses. The Dennison Shops experienced their busiest period between 1900 and 1921, with over 3,000 workers employed in the complex. A bitter 1922 strike prompted consolidation, and the facility was gradually phased out. The last passenger train stopped in 1970. Ohio Central Railroad Systems revived the line in 1992 as the Columbus and Ohio River Railroad.
The Dennison Depot, built in 1873 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is symbolic of Dennison's railroad heritage. Purchased from Conrail in 1984, the Depot was restored and reopened in 1989 in memory of the many railroad employees, travelers, and servicemen and women who passed through its doors. The depot is most famous for its role during World War II, when the Panhandle Division played a vital role in the movement of troops. The Salvation Army Servicemen's Canteen operated 24 hours a day, every day, from March 1942 to April 1946. More than 1.3 million GIs received food and friendship from thousands of volunteers from the area—hospitality that earned the town the nickname of "Dreamsville, Ohio."