Our County History
by County Historian Marion W. Coplen

If certain events in the history of Syracuse had been just a little bit different the athletic teams representing Syracuse High School might be called the "Railroaders" instead of the "Yellow Jackets."

In 1871 it was learned in this area that the B & O Railroad was planning a line from Tiffin, Ohio to Chicago, Ill. At that time Syracuse had not yet been fortunate enough to become a railroad town, so her citizens hoped that they would be favored with a railroad this time. In those days a town's growth--in fact in some cases its very existence--depended on whether it could induce some railroad company to include it on their rail line.

The B & O surveyed several routes before coming to a final decision. One of the proposed routes took the line through Goshen while another included Syracuse. This led to quite a rivalry between the two towns which is an interesting story in itself.

When the route through Syracuse was finally approved there was great rejoicing. Those dreams of Syracuse becoming a great metropolis would now surely come true! Then came an additional report that since Syracuse was the half-way point between Tiffin and Chicago, the railroad shops would probably be located in Syracuse. The enthusiasm of the people of Syracuse knew no bounds!

The B & O Railroad decided to locate their railroad shops at Garrett rather than Syracuse, but for a time it was thought that the Kosciusko county town was a sure bet. One can only wonder how the history of Syracuse might have been different had the railroad shops been located there. That leads us back to our opening statement. Garrett High School has named her athletic teams the "Railroaders." Perhaps Syracuse would have done the same had the B & O railroad come to a different decision when they built the railroad back there in the 1870's.

Warsaw Times-Union Tues. Apr. 21, 1953