Berea Union Depot, Berea Ohio
The Berea Union Depot was a significant hub in the railroad networks of northeastern Ohio from the time of its construction in 1876 until its closing in 1931.
The Cleveland, Cincinnati & Chicago Railroad was constructed in 1850 and passed through Berea. By the mid-1870s a new passenger station was needed. The growth of Berea and its railroad facilities was due to the fact that the Berea stone quarry industry constituted the world's largest sandstone operations in the late 19th century. Construction of the new depot was completed on May 3, 1876. The Plain Dealer called the building "the finest passenger facility outside the big cities." In addition to the Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago & Indianapolis Railroad, the station was later used by the Big Four (Cincinnati, Indianapolis, St. Louis & Chicago) and the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern, later combined to form the New York Central and finally the Penn Central. In the 1880s ten trains each day east and west and eight trains each day north and south stopped at the station. The depot also served a local street railway.
The sandstone construction and Victorian Gothic detail of the Berea depot are unusual for northeastern Ohio, where wooden and occasionally brick stations are more common. In addition to its architectural character and its importance in the history of Berea industry, the Berea Union Depot has always been a significant source of civic pride, including its designation as a historic site by the Berea City Council in 1980.
The Berea Union Depot is a two-story building in the Victorian Gothic style with a gable roof and a square tower projecting from the north side of the building. It is a masonry structure of Berea sandstone measuring approximately 24 feet by 70 feet, with load-bearing walls approximately 12 inches thick. The wooden roof joists support a roof of slate shingles. The windows of the first story are rectangular, and there are two Gothic windows in each end of the building, a large pointed window in a south gable, and three lancets on each face of the tower. A large masonry archway in the base of the tower provides the main entrance to the building. The tower originally had a steep mansard roof and elaborate ornamental cresting which have been removed. There are 10-foot wide platforms on the north, east, and south sides of the building which are sheltered by bracketed veranda roofs.
The interior is divided into two waiting rooms, a ticket and telegraph office, a baggage room, and a rest room. The ceilings are 17 feet high. The interior wooden trim of oak, consisting of ceiling moldings, window casings, and walls of vertical siding, is 90% intact.
The building was converted into the Berea Depot Bar and Restuarant and features a restored Pullman dining car. Visit their website.