Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Corwin, Ohio ~ Waynesville's Sister Village

Corwin, Ohio is located directly east of Waynesville across the Little Miami River Little Miami River. It was founded in 1844 by John Johnson and Joel W. Johnson in anticipation of the construction of the The Little Miami Railroad. Although the name "Johnstown" was considered, the little hamlet was named "Corwin" after Thomas Corwin of Lebanon. By 1845, the Little Miami Railroad had been constructed from Cincinnati up through Corwin on its way to Xenia. The Waynesville Depot of the Little Miami Railroad was located in Corwin. None-the-less, Corwin has always taken pride in itself as its own village and community separate from Waynesville. It had its own school system, post office and municipal government. Waynesville and Corwin, however, were always united in the common cause of commerce and trade. (See the 1903 map of Corwin to the upper left.)

Corwin was one of the busiest Depots on the Little Miami Railroad for both passenger traffic and freight. It was noted for the Panhandle Hotel located just off the tracks opposite the depot where persons riding the "Panhandle Express" would stay on their visit to Waynesville and to Miami Cemetery. The cemetery entrance was located only a few yards from the hotel. (See the photograph at the left with buggy in front of the Panhandle Hotel. The depot is directly to the left. Miami Cemetery is directly to the right.)

Besides the depot and hotel, the village became the site of a coal yard owned by Seth Cook, Dr. Mary L. Cook's father. It had its own lumber yard, the W. H. Madden and Co. dealers in lumber. In 1904, the Waynesville Canning Company (see photograph below) was established in Corwin. It specialized in the canning of sweet corn. The endeavor was so successful that a second factory was built a year later in Yellow Springs, Ohio. The highly successful Hiram Kilbon general store and grocery were located directly on the tracks of the railroad. The Kilbon home was behind and attached to the store (see photograph to the upper left).

Corwin also had two grain elevators (left), a saw mill, a blacksmith shop, two water towers, stock yards, and its own Union Sunday School. Produce from all over the area was brought to Corwin to be stored, processed and shipped. Besides corn and grain, there was a booming business in tobacco and hogs as well. The Shakers of Union Village, three miles west of Lebanon, brought their stock to Corwin to be shipped out on the railroad. The train depot had a telegraph operator and Corwin received mail delivered by the train daily. At the turn of the 20th century, both Waynesville and Corwin were thriving merchant and farmers villages with a thriving industry packing sweet corn.

Below is another photograph of Corwin's Panhandle Hotel:

Below: Waynesville Canning Company in Corwin, Ohio
Waynesville can be seen on the ridge in the distance.

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