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PRR Train Station & Rail Yard - Enon Valley PA

In 1838 the village of Enon Valley, usually translated to mean “Valley of Many Waters,” was laid out in Little Beaver Township in Beaver County, Pennsylvania. Enon Valley became a stop along an established stagecoach line between Beaver, Pennsylvania, and Cleveland, Ohio, and a thriving little settlement flourished at that location. Enon Valley soon became part of Lawrence County when that new entity was created from parts of Beaver and Mercer Counties in March 1849.

The Ohio & Pennsylvania Railroad (O&P) was organized in 1848 to link Allegheny City (Pittsburgh), Pennsylvania, with central Ohio, where it would link up with another line to reach points much further west. By late 1849 the railroad was completed up through Beaver County and the southwest corner of Lawrence County before banking off westward into Ohio.

By November 1851 a stop on the O&P was established south of the existing village of Enon Valley, and a small settlement known as Enon Station (or “New” Enon Valley) quickly sprung up around it. Hotels, homes, churches, and schools were built in the next few years and eventually the “Old” Enon Valley was basically vacated as the “New” Enon Valley came into local prominence. The lobby of the St. Lawrence Hotel actually served as the train station for many years – and was essentially the first ever passenger station opened in Lawrence County. Other stops on the O&P were established at New Brighton, Beaver Falls, Homewood Junction, Darlington, New Galilee, and East Palestine in Ohio.

The O&P was the first railroad in operation in Lawrence County and the Enon Valley stop served as the primary railroad access point for New Castle and surrounding areas until the mid-1860’s. When many of the young men of Lawrence County went off to fight in the Civil War (1861-1865) they boarded trains at Enon Valley.

The area east of Enon Valley was the scene of a terrible train accident at about 4:23pm on January 1, 1856, as a westbound passenger train (totaling five cars carrying 100 people) collided head-on with an eastbound freight train. The snow-covered scene was strewn with burning debris, twisted metal, and injured people. Two men were hastily dispatched to the telegraph office at Enon Valley to call for help, and a train was dispatched from New Brighton to render assistance. Three people died and several dozen were seriously injured.

In July 1856 the O&P and several other railroads were merged to form the Pittsburgh, Fort Wayne, and Chicago Railway (PFW&C), with funding provided by the powerful Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR). A railroad bridge was also built across the Allegheny River and the line was extended into Pittsburgh proper. The PFW&C was reorganized and greatly expanded and the PRR eventually took over its operations by 1871. For many years this railroad route, essentially linking Pittsburgh to Chicago, was often referred to as the “Fort Wayne Line” of the PRR.

In 1877 a dedicated train station (replacing the lobby of the St. Lawrence Hotel) was finally erected in Enon Valley. That station remained in active operation for the PRR for many decades. A general decline in passenger train service began with the widespread use of the automobile and more economical bus service beginning in the 1920’s. By 1930, as the Great Depression began its stranglehold on the nation, the station at Enon Valley was no longer the hub of activity it once was. The PRR closed the old station, located on modern-day Depot Street, in mid-September 1932. It was razed about two decades later.


This dedicated passenger station was opened in Enon Valley in 1877. Prior to it being built the lobby of the St. Lawrence Hotel was utilized as a train station. (1910)


Another old photo of the Enon Valley train station, which served the local area until it was closed in 1932. (c1908) Full Size


A closeup of the old train station in Enon Valley. The facade on the left side reads “1877.” (Photo courtesy of Patrick Lindner) (c1910) Full Size


In the early 1900’s the PRR operated a small rail yard and maintenance facility just across from the train station in Enon Valley. (Patrick Lindner photo) (c1910) Full Size


In this photo you can see the rail yard on the left and the train station on the right. (c1911) Full Size


The former site of the train station and rail yard in Enon Valley, as seen as you cross the tracks on Route 551 (Main Street). (May 2013) Full Size


The train station was located just to the left of the grey pickup truck – where the pile of gravel is situated. (May 2013)


The original cornerstone/marker from the train station (as seen in photo #3 above) is on display in the local memorial park. (May 2013)

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Comment

  1. I am a lifelong Enon Valley resident with a family history of the Pennsylvania railroad.
    I remember playing at the old station and watching the wrecking ball tear it down in the mid 1950s. The Enon sign, from the station at the time of demolition, has been in my family for many years. I have several other pictures of the station

    Patrick Lindner · 04/08/2012 07:24 PM · #

  2. (EDITOR’S NOTE) Patrick, Thanks so much for the post and also the photos you sent to me of Enon Valley. The ones of the old train station are really great. Your efforts are much appreciated! Jeff

    Jeff Bales Jr · 07/29/2012 11:52 AM · #

  3. Hi, Jeff! Just wanted to clarify that this particular train station wasn’t built till 1877. Before that, the St. Lawrence Hotel, across Main Street (Route 551) to the east, had a platform in front for passengers to board. During the Civil War, it was owned by W.P. Alcorn, who also ran a stage coach company. Alcorn’s 2 sons boarded with their regiment (Battery B, 1st PA Lt. Artillery) to go off to Camp Wright near Pgh. to train for the Civil War. One of Alcorn’s sons, Alex, was killed at Gettysburg. At the time, Enon had the only train station in the area, even before New Castle, so all troops boarded from here.
    The building is long gone, as are a lot of old Enon buildings.

    judy foster · 08/18/2013 09:39 PM · #

  4. Thank you for this information on Enon Valley. My ancestors lived in Enon Valley for many years. My 3rd great grandfather is John Smith, his wife is Sarah Wright. Their son Philip, my 2nd great grandfather, died in the Civil War. To those of you who have lived in the area for quite some time, do you have any information on Alexander Wright (Sarah’s father) or on John’s parents. I believe their names might have been George and Magdalene. I would love to know where my Smith ancestors were from before coming to Pennsylvania.

    Thank you so much, Patti

    Patti Smith Hanks · 08/23/2013 10:21 PM · #

  5. Hi guys! Can anyone tell me if the grade crossing in town is open? I got in trouble last month when my GPS guided me through Enon, unable to get through town to access Wayne Cole’s annual Ohio & PA Railroad Seminar, as I found NS’s Fort Wayne Line crossing closed off for repairs. Is the fire hall for next Saturday’s railroad program on the north side or the south side of that grade crossing, and is its location on Cass Street?

    Rich Ballash · 11/16/2014 10:58 PM · #

  6. Can you tell me anything about the Enon Valley Creamery? It was part of a dairy business started by my wife’s great grandfather, Edward Rieck.

    Thanks!

    Brad Fisher · 04/30/2015 11:40 AM · #

  7. Would anyone know of families named Huston and Russell who lived around Enon Valley during the mid 1800s? My GGGrandfather Jeremiah Huston married Agnes Chambers Russell in 1850 and eight of their children were born there until 1864-65. Jeremiah was mustered into Company I, 134th PA Volunteers during the Civil War. Any information would be most appreciated.

    John D Huston · 10/12/2015 05:59 PM · #

  8. I hav some info on the families of old enon but not new enon. My mothers family settled in enon 1800. A lot of rev vets settled north of enon an south of petersburg

    Robert wire · 02/14/2016 10:00 PM · #

  9. I lived in the house across from post office now condemned today on liberty street . has anyone ever metal detected any of these old properties just curious . i’m looking for people to metal detect with on these properties. even if I can get permission to do so that would be great. email me if anyone is interested to uncover some history of enon valley. this town has a lot of history. who knows what could be found….

    jack yurshia · 08/06/2016 02:04 AM · #

  10. Hi,
    I recently acquired a photo of a massive New York Central train accident with “Enon, OH” as the only info on the back. It appears to be sometime between 1950-65. Does anyone know the actual date and particulars of this accident? Any info would be appreciated.
    Thanks.

    gary everhart · 12/13/2016 04:32 AM · #