Before the 4-lane highway, the easiest way for workers to travel between Athens and Nelsonville (and many points in between) was the interurban railway. Today, the Hock-Hocking Adena Bikeway follows much of the same route.
The car system, called the Hocking-Sunday Creek Traction Company, operated between 1915 and 1932. In 1926, it was reorganized as the Nelsonville-Athens Electric Railway Company. The car unloaded in Athens at Second Street and Central Avenue.
Nelsonville also had it’s own street car system with a 3-mile loop between Nelsonville and Doanville, near Greenlawn Cemetary. In fact, the cars were often used for funeral processions.
In Nelsonville, the car traveled west on Columbus Street, turned at Fulton and traveled east on Fayette before crossing the main track at Chestnut Street. You can see a sketch of the in-town loop on this map from the Nelsonville Nostalgia Notebook.
Left to right: Charley Vorhes, Gaston Co, Marcellus Kreig, Ed Shafer (the train manufactor representative from Nebraska), Warren Badger, Colonel Tutt, Ed Young and “Hud” Price. Jim Beard is in the front window.
Railways were an important part of the industry in the region and quickly replaced the Hocking Canal as the preferred method of transporting coal and workers. The railroad system also included many shortlines to connect smaller towns such as Chauncey and Millfield to the bigger arteries.