Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA


January 25, 2007

The end of the Interurban Railroad


In September, 1966 a fire severely damaged the long timber trestle on the Chariton River bridge, and it was never rebuilt. The wire was taken down in 1966 ending all excursions. In 1972 the Company dissolved the Southern Iowa Railway Company.

There was talk of trying to preserve the railroad roadbed for a bicycle and hiking trail but it never materialized. The railroad was sold to Forbes & Son for $1.00 in 1965 and disbanded in 1967. Oscar Gavronsky had a salvage business and disposed of the rails and trolley wire. Trolley No. 9 was preserved and later placed in operation at the Mt. Pleasant Thresher’s site as a museum piece.

Peter Weller and Charles Franzen co-authored a pictorial history in 1992 entitled “Remembering the Southern Iowa Railroad” with the purpose of preserving some of the colorful history of the bygone era of the electric railroads. It is a very fine booklet filled with maps and pictures relating to street cars and interurban passenger service, not only in the Centerville area but in other towns such as Burlington and Ottumwa. It also describes the “Fantrip Era” that followed after freight service was discontinued.

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The Iowegian wants readers to think about the solicitation ordinance that will prevent groups or individuals from entering a roadway to solicit money. The Centerville City Council in June by a 5-0 vote passed the first reading of just such an ordinance. Public pressure and during a subsequent special meeting, the council voted 3-2 to table the ordinance. A second special meeting to discuss the solicitation ordinance is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 7 at City Hall. So, the question of the week is, "Do you or do you not support the ordinance to prevent solicitation of funds in city streets?"

A. I support the ordinance
B. I do not support the ordinance
C. Not sure
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