Our County History
by County Historian Marion W. Coplen

 A short time ago we discussed in this column the building of the B. & O. railroad and mentioned, in passing , that there was considerable rivalry between Syracuse and Goshen over the proposed route.

This rivalry between the two towns was at fever pitch in the fall of 1871, because B. & O. engineers were in the area surveying two possible routes--one through Syracuse and the other through Goshen. Each town wanted the road to go through her respective town. Each claimed that there were subterranean lakes under the land surveyed for the other route. A Syracuse man writing to the editor of a Warsaw paper in September, 1871, said that on a survey near Goshen they (the engineers) "found a swamp, and after several unsuccessful efforts to cross it, the chief engineer sank to the ground from exhaustion, and had to be carried to the Violette House (a Goshen hotel), and have medical attention".

Another railroad project which led to considerable rivalry between towns was the "Gold Spike" railway. In a meeting at the Wright House in Warsaw in January of 1883, this railroad company was organized with a Warsaw man, Amos T. S. Kist, as president. This "Gold Spike" railroad was supposed to run from Fayette, Ohio, to Bloomington, Illinois, passing through Kendallville, Albion, Warsaw, Palestine, Burket, Sevastopol, Rochester and Renssalaer. A few months later it was reported that Warsaw would be bypassed and the railroad would run through Oswego, Leesburg and Atwood. The railroad never got farther than the "talking stage".

The desire of towns to be on one or more railroads caused many projects to be planned which never materialized. If all the railroads had been built which were projected at one time, or another, a railroad map of our county would look something like a spider web. The type of rivalry between towns mentioned above was not uncommon in that day of railroad building. After all the stakes were rather high. When a railroad was built through a town, its importance as a trading center was greatly increased.

Warsaw Times Union Tues. May 5, 1953