RAILROAD BROUGHT VILLAGE OF COOPERDALE, OHIO INTO EXISTENCE
By Todd Fast
The Coshocton Tribune 1949
One house and a school building were all that stood on the present site of Cooperdale until plans were made for the Cleveland, Akron and Columbus railroad.
There was some difficulty about getting land for a station in neighboring Wakatomika and George Cooper, who owned a store there, moved to his holding at the present location of Cooperdale, set up a store and laid out part of the town. The other portion of the town site was owned by Ephraim Crane, who had divided a part of his land into lots.
After the trains started running Jacob Helmikee built a sawmill, a stave mill, handle factory and hotel, Stockyards were built to hold cattle from the surrounding hills awaiting shipment. A warehouse held wool and other agricultural products for the railroad. Flocks of turkeys were driven down the roads from farms in the area to be processed after creamery and poultry packing plant. A harness shop, several groceries and a blacksmith shop were also located in the town flourmill was built by David Gault.
All these industries dependent on the railroad are now gone. Some, such as the creamery, moving to Coshocton. Others lasted until the railroad washed out by a flood in 1935 and never rebuilt.
Present businesses are all retail establishments. The Rodhe hardware store, F. W. Butler feed store, Evans and Graham electrical shop. The Stop and Shop grocery, and Ward Graham’s Sinclair filling station are now located in the town.
Several bad fires have hit business and public buildings in the town. The last was in 1945 when the Johnson store burned. In 1932, the telephone office and two stores burned. Over 25 years ago, another fire destroyed several stores and the stockyards.
Two school buildings were destroyed by fire. One, the Crane School that preceded the town, burned 50 years ago. The next school is still standing but was not been used since Union School was completed.
There was a Christian Union church about 20 years ago, now the church is Nazarene. Its pastor is Rev. Donald Carrico. A Knights of Pythias lodge was there at one time; now there is no lodge or club in the town.
Hugh Daugherty rand a store there, which was sold to Barney Anderson. Destroyed in one of the fires, which swept the town, Lane Dickerson owned the creamery. The blacksmith shop was started by John A. Evans and later taken over by his brother, W. H. Evans who ran it until about 1940. Some of the men who shipped livestock during the town’s heyday were Moses McKee, Robert Cochran, Bernard Preston and William McBride; A. T. Kline had the harness shop.
Fine rifles were made near the town by a gunsmith, William Wright; some of these guns are still kept by residents of the area. The house where L. R. Rodhe now lives is the one occupied by Ephraim Crane at the time of the town’s founding.
The line of the railroad right-of–way, which can barely be seen now, runs not far back of the filling station.
For more pictures of the area, please visit the gallery
Walhonding Valley Historical Society