Our County History
by County Historian Marion W. Coplen

The first railroad to be built through our county was the east-west line now called the Pennsylvania. This line, completed through the county in 1854, opened up the county to east and west trade, but there were still many sections of our county which were not reached adequately by rail. In the 60's a definite effort was made to put through a Goshen-Peru line, but opposition of the rural areas, particularly in Clay township, caused failure at that time.

Railroads would not usually build through an area, unless the townships through which they passed would vote a subsidy.

It was felt by many Kosciuskoans that a road running north and south would provide competition for the east and west route and tend to lower freight charges. An editorial in the Northern Indianian newspaper in 1863, for example, claimed that the east and west route was very unaccommodating and that oftentimes farmers could not get their wheat, cattle, and hogs to market. In a latter editorial it was claimed that New Orleans was our logical market rather than New York. It was pointed out that a north-south railroad would open up immense tracts of fine timber land which was but little improved due to distance from railways.

In 1869 interest again increased in the projected enterprise. Advocates now hoped that not only would VanBuren, Plain, Wayne, and Clay townships vote a subsidy, but that other townships not directly on the route would vote money under a new county subsidy plan.

They were disappointed in this, however. VanBuren, Plain, and Wayne voted the subsidy but Clay, directly on the line, voted it down. Jefferson and Scott voted the county tax, but all the others refused. Washington township voted 296 against and six for it.

The action of Clay township made it impossible to build the railroad as originally planned, but the line from Goshen to Warsaw was built and on August 7, 1870 the rails reached Warsaw. Thus Leesburg and Milford became railroad towns and Warsaw was the southern terminus of the new line. At that time it looked as if it might be several years before the line was built south of Warsaw, because of the opposition in those areas.

Warsaw Times-Union Sat. Feb. 20, 1954