The small settlement later known as Homewood Junction (or later yet as simply Homewood and sometimes as Racine) in Beaver County, Pennsylvania, was first settled in about 1831. The area was jumpstarted in 1852 when the tracks of the Ohio & Pennsylvania Railroad (O&P) were laid through the area. A hotel known as the Johnston House (later known as the St. Cloud Hotel) was built in about 1852 and right alongside the tracks of the O&P in Homewood. The bar of the hotel served as the passenger station for the railroad until a dedicated train station was erected just across the tracks in 1864.
The village became a railroad junction as lines branched out south to Pittsburgh, west to Ohio and on to Chicago, and north towards New Castle and beyond to Lake Erie. The O&P was consolidated under the new Pittsburgh, Fort Wayne, & Chicago Railroad Company (PFW&C) in 1856 and was later absorbed into the powerful Pennsylvania Railroad Company (PRR) in 1871. For many years this railroad route, essentially linking Pittsburgh to Chicago, was often referred to as the “Fort Wayne Line” of the PRR.
The train station at Homewood remained in 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 the country was in the grips of the Great Depression and at this time the train station at Homewood was no longer the center of activity it once was. I believe the PRR closed the old station, located at the end of Norwood Drive, at about this time. It was later demolished and today nothing remains but an empty lot atop Homewood Falls (Buttermilk Falls).
Passengers await a train at the passenger station at Homewood Junction. Just across the tracks to the left is the Johnston House/St. Cloud Hotel. (c1905)
Looking northeast from Homewood proper towards the old train station. In the background you can see the belfry of the Homewood United Methodist Church. (c1907)
Women in flowing dresses cross the tracks to board a train in Homewood. (c1905)