Elkton Trestle Was a County Landmark
Torn Down 15 Years, Ago, Served its Purpose
By JAMES MURPHY
The old Elkton railroad trestle on the P.L.&W. Railroad east of Lisbon was dismantled exactly 15 years ago. In its day there were few Columbiana County landmarks more widely known and photographed. The Pittsburgh, Lisbon and Western Railroad was begun in 1880 as an extension of the Darlington Cannel Coal Railroad. Work progressed rather smoothly through Negley, (then called Holly Station), Mill Rock, Rogers and Signal (Oakville) but then they ran into trouble trying to cross Elkrun gorge north of Elkton. Several routes were planned, involving tunnels and trestles. The one finally adopted called for a huge trestle, reputedly the highest curved single track railroad bridge in the world. When completed, June 1, 1887, the bridge was one thousand feet long, 104 feet high and built on a very sharp curve. A letter written from Elkton a month before the first train crossed the trestle says, “There are some men here fixing the big bridge. They are putting more braces under it. It is the dandiest railroad bridge ever I saw". While trying to walk across the trestle, several people fell to their deaths, history recalls. The body of an unidentified man was found beneath the bridge in September, 1903. In the case of one young lady, Anna Spencer Zellers, the only thing that saved her life when she fell off the trestle was her hoop Skirts, which acted somewhat like a parachute and broke her fall. She is the grandmother of Ward Zellers of Salem and now resides in Florida. Although there was talk of extending the line, the railroad never went farther than Lisbon. This was partially responsible for its abandonment, but the main reason was the condition of the Elkton trestle. Not a very sturdy structure to begin with, the bridge was finally condemned in 1942 and torn down a short time later to provide scrap metal for World War II. One railroad trestle still remains in Columbiana County. This is on the now abandoned Montour Railroad which runs from the mouth of Little Beaver Creek near East Liverpool to Negley on the Youngstown and Southern Railroad. Built during the 1920’s, the road was backed by Youngstown steel interests as a cheaper route for coal supplies. Ohio River barges entered the mouth of Little Beaver Creek and transferred their loads.