Bradford celebrates 130 years of railroad history

By Ilene Haluska ihaluska@civitasmedia.com

June 22, 2014

BRADFORD — Area residents and visitors helped celebrate the Bradford Ohio Railroad Museum’s 130 Years of Railroad history Saturday.

Marilyn Kosier, M.D., decked out in railroad overalls and bandanna for the festival, said she hopes to improve on the museum.

The Ohio Facilities Construction Commission awarded the Bradford Ohio Railroad Museum $275,000 for upgrades this year as it celebrates 130 years of existence. It is using the funds to help people who visit it to know that even in the new children’s education area that to work on a railroad requires math and science skills, she said.

State Sen. Bill Beagle, Dist. 5, toured the museum and tower with Kosier during the Bradford Railroad Festival on Saturday. Sen. Beagle presented her with a certificate from the Ohio Senate recognizing the 130 Years of Bradford Railroad history.

Adjacent to the children’s area is a diorama railroad reconstruction model showcasing the original layout of the Bradford Ohio Railroad during the railroad’s heyday. It includes the replica of the Miami YMCA building and a roundhouse where trains switched out, got worked on and housed blacksmiths. Kosier hopes the museum will build a life-size replica of the roundhouse.

Mike Taylor from Riverside sold collector trains as a vendor and train enthusiast at the festival. Anyone traveling through town can see that at one point a railroad existed, he said and questioned why Bradford was a railroad center and not a community like Greenville.

Attendees, nevertheless, viewed the new children’s addition, the model trains and related railroad materials collections. Then outside folks visited the restored caboose and toured the restored BF Tower. Visitors got to the tower by walking the path or taking a kiddy train ride across the street from the museum.

One visitor reiterated from a photo digital presentation on the upper level of the museum that the last steam engine came through Bradford in 1957. Another visitor brought with him a photo album showing his own work helping to restore original train steam engines.

Troy attorney Dennis Donnelly said he helped close the sale of the building that was built in 1919 as a bank and is now the Bradford Ohio Railroad Museum. The group purchased the building in 2004-05 from what used to be a Fifth-Third Bank. At one point everyone in Bradford worked for the Pennsylvania Railroad, he said.

The museum is located one mile north of U.S. 36 on State Route 721, which becomes Miami Avenue in Bradford, specifically 200 North Miami Ave., Bradford, OH 45308. Museum hours are Saturdays 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Sundays 1 to 4 p.m. April through December, according to its website. Go online at bradfordrrmuseum.org for more on the railroad and to verify hours.

Up next for the museum is a Run for the Rails set for Oct. 11 to support the museum and the Darke County YMCA.