Lima Pennsylvania Railroad Passenger Depot, Lima Ohio
The land on which the depot is located is part of McHenry's (first) addition. William McHenry and his wife Malvina obtained the addition as part of a larger portion, the east lot of the northwest quarter section of section 31, township 3 south, range 7 of the Piqua Land District from Joseph Edwards and his wife Comfort in 1845 for the sum of $600. The property was approximately 29 acres.
On July 13th, 1853, Dr. McHenry's 29 acres were subdivided into a rectilinear grid system of streets, blocks, lots, and alleys continuing the original Lima town plan pattern. It became part of the McHenry's Addition surveyed by John P. Haller. More than a year later, on November 27th, 1854, he sold for $1,200 to the Ohio & Indiana Rail Road Company, two acres and 64/100ths of an acre, more or less, and another parcel containing 18/100ths of an acre, more or less, for the site of the future Ohio & Indiana Railroad station in Lima. The lot was bounded to the west by Main Street, and along the line between sections 30 and 31, reached Accommodation Street (the north-south railroad axis).
The Lima Pennsylvania Railroad Passenger Depot, situated in the northeast quadrant of Lima, is an 1887 replacement, after a long request by the local officials and citizens, of a very deteriorated passenger depot. The new masonry passenger depot was built between an existing frame one-story engine house to the west and the old passenger depot to the east situated approximately 76' apart and aligned along the existing railroad tracks. The Lima Depot, in the English and Continental tradition, was located at the edge of the already established town. In this case, it was situated on the northeast quadrant, four blocks away from the center of the city's grid platted in 1831.
The plans for expansion by the Pennsylvania Railroad and improvements were put on hold after the 1873 railroad collapse and the 5-year economic depression that followed. In October of 1882, when Lima was in the midst of a significant building boom, the president of the Pennsylvania Railroad left Fort Wayne towards Lima, with the superintendent of the Western Division of the Pennsy. President Roberts and his staff officers stopped for 15 minutes to "...examine the shops and depot buildings." It seems that they were looking at plans in their possession for a new union depot for Lima. That meant that this new depot would serve as a station for other rail lines also, The Democratic Times reported that those plans were drawn already in 1873 by Mr. Slataper, the Chief Engineer of the lines west of Pittsburgh who was with president Roberts that morning. The plan was favored by Roberts and if built the new union depot would fulfill "what our citizens had so long prayed for, a suitable passenger depot that will accommodate all the travel of the four important roads entering this city. Mr Roberts was observed sitting in the rear end of his elegant car as the train moved out, surrounded by his chief advisers in earnest consultation with them. He wore kid gloves, had on a jaunty white stiff hat. His very handsome dark mustache was in perfect keeping while his keen black eyes seemed to take in the whole situation. It is a fine position to hold the controlling lever to the finest railway system in the world. Mr. J.N. McCullough Vice President, Hon. Henry D. Welsh of Philadelphia, and other dignitaries were with the party." (The Democratic Times October 28, 1882). It must have been the most important visit by railroad officials that Lima ever experienced.
The result of this trip along the line was the construction of a double track along the Pittsburgh-Chicago Line the following year, 1883. The tremendous increase in rail traffic, freight and passenger, forced the expansion of the lines.
Among other important people that traveled through Lima in 1883 along the Pennsylvania rail lines, was industrialist George Pullman, manufacturer of Pullman's train cars from Pullman, Illinois, in his private car, a gorgeous piece of workmanship. Pullman manufactured passenger cars with different levels of comforts.
In March of 1884, officials of the Pennsy arrived in Lima looking at the site of the future new depot and the local news reported: We have not definitive knowledge as to when work will be begun upon this much needed structure, but hope that it may be soon.
New depots were being built along the rail line elsewhere in Ohio, like Wooster, as reported in May of 1885. The local citizens' expectations rose, but after so many promises they did not see it happening in Lima soon. In December of 1885, Bucyrus, east of Lima, announced that two engineers from the railroad were surveying and measuring the rail yard in preparation for the construction of a new depot. In the meantime, the city of Lima was building a sewer system, water lines through their Water Works Board, and gas posts along the streets.
The results of the discovery of oil on the railroad facilities in Lima were finally seen when the Allen County Democrat reported in November of 1885 that: The talk of a new depot here by the P.Ft.W.&C., folks is being revived, since their carpenter here has been ordered not to put on any more repairs. Even the citizens from the surrounding region felt the tremendous need for the replacement of the old Lima Depot. The Upper Sandusky Republican wrote: Lima is having a nice new depot on the Ft. Wayne railroad. The local paper's answer was "We would be glad to see it".
In January of 1886, a new baggage truck was acquired by the depot. The railroad staff wanted to see how the passengers would react to its use before they put up a new depot. Nothing happened until December when the P. Ft. W & C started laying sidetracks in their station and mentioned that a new depot would be built in the spring. Expectations were running high.
Finally, on March 11, 1887, the Allen County Democrat announced that: The stone masons have begun work upon the foundation for the new Pittsburgh. Ft. Wayne & Chicago railroad depot. Work will be pushed on rapidly, as the building is under contract to be completed for occupation by the first of June. One of the reasons for such a delay must have been the financial loss incurred by the railroad lines west of Pittsburgh leased by the Pennsylvania Company during 1885. It was being built in 1887 because the lines had a profit in 1886. On April 1, 1887, it was reported that: The new P.,Ft.W. &C depot is being pushed rapidly, the brickwork being now in course of construction. This coincided with another building boom in Lima where 400 new buildings were under contract for the summer.
The whole site of the Lima Depot was designed and landscaped under the direction of the Pennsylvania Railroad headquarters. A formal garden design was adopted with lawn circles defining the drives. Large canna beds were located in the center. The type of vegetation used was determined by the head gardener who supervised the horticulture department of the Pennsylvania Railroad system stations. The supervisor had greenhouses in Sewickley, Pennsylvania. The 1892 railroad building guidelines recommendations were: The employment of a landscape architect in connection with the artistic design of rural stations has in a great many cases produced most picturesque and artistic depot surroundings. The planting of the ground around depot buildings and the maintenance of flower beds and shrubberies at stations, together with the use of neat railings, graveled walks and roads, have been introduced with good results by a large number of railroads in this country.
The surrounding neighborhood in 1887, was already an established railroad intersection, the largest in Lima. It had a new Second Empire hotel, the Arlington House (originally called International Hotel) on the northeast corner of N. Tanner Avenue (today N. Central Avenue) and the alley. The new depot was part of a residential neighborhood consisting of one-and-a-half and two-story frame dwellings on a street leading passengers to a new train station. Towards the west were the rail yards and the soon to be demolished Engine House. Five saloons and a hotel, the Heitzler House, lined up across the railroad tracks facing the north. The Dayton & Michigan Rail line, north-south bound, with its frame depot defined the eastern boundary, together with the old depot (soon to be demolished).
The new Lima Depot was finally providing up-to-date services for the passengers of the growing oil city and the region. The prominent Queen Anne structure was part of the Pennsylvania train system servicing the new oil entrepreneurs from Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Ohio, including the Rockefellers and the management of the Standard Oil Company, and many other oil and railroad companies. The depot also provided train services to resorts, expositions (like the Columbian of 1893 in Chicago), and professional conventions with service cars like the elegant Eastlake Day Coaches and Pullman's Palace Sleeping Cars. The local ticket agent advertised in the local newspaper, the Allen County Democrat, fares using Parlor Cars and "comfortable day coaches", the Pullman Buffet Sleeping Car, the Pullman Sleeping Car, the Pennsylvania Smoking Car, and Pennsylvania Palace dining cars. The Pennsylvania line introduced in 1887 the Day Express, Fast Line, Limited Express, Eastern Express, and Atlantic Express.
The Lima Passenger Depot was most heavily used in the 20th century when troops were being transported for service in WWI, WWII, Korea, and Vietnam.
The Pennsy merged with New York Central in 1968 to form Pennsylvania Central, only to declare bankruptcy two years later. After a vacancy of five years, the station and railroad line was purchased by the Amtrak system. Rail lines were improved and the Lima station underwent a $30,000 remodeling in 1975. The federally sponsored rail system continued operating Lima's passenger service until 1990 when the station officially closed. The station was used for a brief time in the 1990s as overflow storage space for the adjacent Taylor Glass Company. Two fires have occurred in the structure, damaging the roof.
The Lima Pennsylvania Railroad Depot is a medium-sized, Queen Anne/Eastlake passenger railroad station built in 1887.
The passenger depot was designed perhaps by an architect or William H. Brown, chief engineer of the Pennsylvania Railroad. The 1877 depot building plans are not available. Historic pictures and Sanborn Maps facilitated the understanding of the Lima Depot's layout and architecture.
The one-story multiple-roof high-pitched structure with a two-story former telegraph/ticket office tower has two wall dormers defining its main entrances, one on N. Central Avenue and the other at the platform. The irregular and volumetric massing define one of the most prominent masonry train depots in Lima.
The Queen Anne style architecture of the Lima Depot is defined by irregular massing, high pitched roof, towers, a variety of surface architecture treatment, half-timbering, variegated shingle patterns in multiple materials. Other architectural elements of the style include bay windows, overhangs, dormers, decorative gable ends, pressed brick with narrow mortar joints, prominent and decorated chimneys. The Lima Depot has also elements of the Eastlake style, like carved or jigsawed ornamental brackets and posts.
The Lima Passenger Depot is situated today on a 1.05-acre site, which was formerly part of a larger property owned by the Pennsylvania Railroad. The rectangular, linear L- shaped parcel has an overall dimension of approximately 115' x 500', being formerly part of a main track station system of an original site that ran from Elizabeth Street to the west, to the former Dayton & Michigan Railroad lines running in the north-south direction to the east.
Passengers arrived at the railroad depot by carriages along N. Tanner Avenue (N. Central Avenue) which dead ends at the main entrance of the Queen Anne structure. Pedestrian passengers walked along the east sidewalk of N. Tanner Ave. and up the stairs to the main entrance door facing the city. This entrance lines up with the axis along the sidewalk of the West side of the former Second Empire International hotel built in 1882 on N. Central Ave (N. Tanner Avenue). The International hotel, known later as the Cambridge Hotel was formerly used by travelers doing business in Lima with the oil, railroad, and manufacturing industries. The west-east alley perpendicular to N. Tanner Ave. separates the depot from the former Hotel and the rest of the southern neighborhood. Between 1893 and 1899, N. Tanner Avenue was renamed N. Central Avenue and during the first decades of the 20th century it was paved with brick.
The formal exterior landscape, so typical of the Pennsylvania Depots, does not exist anymore. But the original space is still surrounding the depot. The former brick platform facing the tracks is covered today by quite a few layers of asphalt along its total original length. There is a large brick-paved surface overgrown with grass on the east side of the depot and a large asphalt parking surface to the west along the former platform. This west surface was covered originally by an oval landscape surrounded by a driveway giving access to carriages and cars for passengers to the platform. One can still reach the front entrance along the asphalt paved drive reached from the bricked N. Central Avenue. The concrete steps leading to the main entrance from the former hotel sidewalk are still there but not the elaborate bed of flowers on each side. In their place there are two large trees.
The Lima Train Depot is a one-story masonry building covered with wood frame structures of steeply pitched multiple roofs and gabled dormers, higher than the masonry walls. The wood shed roof covering the platform area was part of the platform shelter system. The prominent main pyramidal asphalt roof covers the former gentlemen's waiting room, and the smaller hipped roof, extending to the east, covers the baggage room. The larger hipped roof extending to the west covers the former ladies' waiting room, restrooms, hallway and part of the former ticket room space. A two-story square tower, facing the track side, partially inserted between the former ladies' waiting room and men's waiting room, defines the former operating offices of the railroad depot. The tower is covered with a steep truncated pyramidal roof. Two wall dormers project from the main roof defining the front and track entrances to the former gentlemen's waiting room. A third wall dormer projects from the tower as part of the bay window where the former telegraph office was situated. The dormers were another significant feature of the Queen Anne period, which contributed to break the design of the structure from the box concept. The built-in tin-lined framed gutter system is supported by a dentiled corbeled brick frieze laid by alternating a stretcher and header course creating a rhythm in the design. The cutaway bay at the three-bay window of the telegraph tower has double-hung, one/one windows facing the tracks. Visibility to the incoming and outgoing trains was the most important feature for the office of the telegraph operator.
The exterior chimney of the former ladies' waiting room emphasizes the vertical thrust of the roof. Chimneys were important decorative elements of the Queen Anne Style.
The pressed brick wall system has narrow mortar joints, another architectural feature of the Queen Anne style. The brick was laid in running bond with recessed red mortar joints. The general specifications of the Pennsylvania Railroad chief engineer's office at that time specified that the mortar to be used for pointing the outside walls shall be colored with mineral red in such proportions as to insure permanent color.
The building rests on a rock-faced ashlar sandstone foundation; the top course, acting as a water table, is smooth dressed.
The depot fenestration has tall wood frame rectangular double-hung windows (boarded up) of an approximate size of 4'x7'9". Smaller and narrower windows were used for the toilet rooms, the bay windows, the ticket office and the baggage room. Most of the original window openings have a sandstone rock faced lintel and a smooth dressed sill. Only the track windows have tongue-and-groove wood panels acting as a spandrel with a wooden sill.
Significant defining architectural stylistic features are the Eastlake wood brackets with a jigsawed floral pattern supporting the flared eaves of the tower's pyramidal roof. The brackets are set upon a projecting brick course defining a patterned frieze. The recessed brick square panels, separated by the brackets, create a rhythm in the design.
The primary south elevation facing North Central Avenue has the off-center main volume projecting from the side wings with a symmetrical fenestration composition. The main entrance door has a centered wall dormer above it. The larger wing to the west encloses the link to the former ladies' waiting room which includes the toilets, the hallway and a partial ticket office. A set of small, narrow windows define the restrooms. The lower part of this fenestration has an original masonry panel inset. The smaller wing to the east was the original baggage room. There is a total of 8 rectangular double-hung windows on this elevation.
The two entrances from N. Central Ave., to the ladies and gentlemen waiting rooms respectively, were defined by one story partial projecting porches. They were cross- gabled with decorative half-timbering ornamentation at the gable ends. The same roof cresting as the depot defined the ridge of the slate roof. The low pitched roof structure was supported by turned posts embedded into sandstone piers. A set of brackets connected the posts with the roof. These porches had an approximate size of 18' wide by 12' deep. They provided shelter to the arriving or leaving passengers. The two porches were removed between 1950 and 1956.
A centered transomed wood and glass double door defined the main entrance at the gentlemen's waiting room on N. Central Avenue. These doors were replaced in 1975 by contemporary aluminum glass doors. The replaced double doors leading to the principal waiting room are presently covered with plywood, as are the rest of the windows. Half timbering laid in a diagonal and rectilinear grid was applied to the entrance wall dormer at the gable end, a Queen Anne stylistic feature used to treat the architectural surface. The entrance dormer had a tripartite window scheme, each surrounded by small panes (perhaps colored, a Queen Anne feature). It seems that this window might have had a decorative function. The half timbering and the window scheme, which highlighted the wall dormer entrance has been removed together with the brackets and the iron cresting.
A centered single wood and glass door with transom marked the entrance to the ladies' waiting room on N. Central Avenue. This door was infilled with a lighter color masonry.
A large heavy wood sliding double door on rolling tracks accessed the baggage room from the street driveway. The door had an arched transom window with a decorative metal grill, a Romanesque or Renaissance Revival feature. The doors were defined by beaded wood panels rotated at a 45-degree angle. A pair of new windows replaced the door, with new sandstone sills, but instead of sandstone lintels, steel lintels were used. The former door opening was partially infilled with a similar color brick, but with light color flush mortar joints. This change took place when the old baggage room became the ticket office, the original ladies' waiting room became the baggage room and the original ticket office became the baggage master's office. This first major alteration occurred sometime in the early 1940s at the time of the beginning of WWII according to Dwight Fullerton in his Recollections of the P.R.R. Station at Lima, Ohio.
The secondary west brick elevation has a prominent exterior chimney centered on the ladies' waiting room wing. One standard rectangular tall window to the north balances the composition with a newer large wood double door opening to the south.
From the two original chimneys, only the exterior one remains on this elevation. They were elaborately designed with projecting brick lines stressing its verticality and acting as a decorative surface element. The exterior chimney was rebuilt between 1918 and 1942, tapering above the eaves without the original ornamentation. The Ladies' Waiting Room exterior elevation changed c.1942, when it became the new baggage room as mentioned before. The double-hung window at the SW corner was removed and it became the new baggage entrance. The original track wooden doors of the original baggage room were reused and a new steel lintel was built. The new door opening is trimmed with wood jamb guards.
The track elevation to the north is prominently defined by the projecting two-story former railroad operator and ticket office tower, situated off-center towards the west. The roof surface is broken by a projecting wall dormer defining the angled bay window with a cutaway bay. The ladies' waiting room wing maintains its symmetric fenestration, as on the south side. The baggage room has two windows. The significant difference between these window openings with the rest of the elevations is the tongue-and-groove spandrel, another contributing surface treatment of the Queen Anne style. A shed roof covered with rolled roof asphalt and supported by Eastlake columns and brackets acts as a former railroad passenger shelter. There is a secondary exterior 5-panel wood door on the track side, on the projecting east side of the ticket office tower, leading to the former telegraph room on the second floor.
The shed roof below the corbeled cornice on the track side was part of a very long platform. This former brick platform with a wood frame gabled tin roof was supported by a row of single chamfered columns, regularly spaced approximately every 20', with Eastlake decorative elements, triple incised bands, and two decorative board knee braces. The original length of the platform on each side of the station was approximately 75'. Train tracks run along the north side of the building approximately 12-15 feet away. The covered platform was extended by approximately 150' to N. Union Avenue to the west, between 1905 and 1911. A brick platform 16' wide by 412' replaced the original wood one with a standard concrete curb. Between 1908 and 1917, a second covered platform was erected on the north side of the second tracks after the Pennsylvania Railroad purchased additional land to the north, and the many structures serving the hotel and saloon business were removed.
Between 1950 and 1956, after WWII, the covered platform system was removed. Part of it remained with the depot building facing the tracks. The asphalt roll roofing replaced the original galvanized tin roof.
Originally, a centered transomed wood and glass double door defined the track entrance at the gentlemen's waiting room. This Queen Anne/Eastlake main entrance was replaced in 1975 by contemporary aluminum glass doors. The replaced double doors leading to the principal waiting room are presently covered with plywood, as are the rest of the windows. A centered single wood and glass door with transom marked the entrance to the ladies' waiting room on the tracks. This door opening was later enlarged to accommodate the other door of the old baggage room, when the ladies' waiting room became a baggage room. The smaller stone lintel of the original door remained above the sliding door with a new steel lintel below.
Originally, a large heavy wood sliding double door on rolling tracks accessed the baggage room to the tracks. The door was defined by beaded wood panels rotated at 45 degrees. The mail and express trucks were able to access the baggage room from the track side (Bulletin #91 Railroad and Locomotive Historical Society). At a later date these doors were removed and the openings were filled in with similar brick but with light color flush mortar joints, and the elevation received a set of windows symmetrically situated. The new windows had no sandstone lintels, but a beaded tongue-and-groove vertically laid spandrel like the rest of the windows facing the tracks. This change took place when the old baggage room became the ticket office, the original ladies' waiting room became the baggage room and the original ticket office became the baggage master's office. This first major change occurred sometime in the early 1940s at the time of the beginning of WWII according to Dwight Fullerton in his Recollections of the P.R.R. Station at Lima, Ohio.
Half timbering laid in a diagonal and rectilinear grid was applied to the entrance wall dormer, the tower's dormer at the gable end, as well as the bay window spandrels. The entrance dormer had also a tripartite window scheme, each surrounded by small panes (perhaps colored). It seems that this window might have had a decorative function. The half-timbering which highlighted the wall dormers was removed together with the brackets and the iron cresting after 1940. The ornamentation of the bay windows' spandrel has been replaced by white painted plywood boards.
The secondary east elevation, defined by the former baggage room is the smallest. It has also a symmetric composition with two upper small rectangular windows centered on the facade. They are situated above head height, as a security feature.
The small east windows had iron grills as a security feature typical of depot baggage rooms. They were removed at a later date.
Through the years no additions have been made to the structure, only some fenestration changes due to new uses of part of the interior space. The major architectural elements removed were the two one-story gabled porches on the south side and the extension of the platform roof to the east and west on the track sides.
From the two original chimneys with projecting vertical courses only the exterior one remains, as mentioned previously. The second interior ridge chimney, between the baggage room and gentlemen's waiting room was removed perhaps in 1975 when the slate roof was replaced with asphalt shingles.
The roof system was originally covered by slate, perhaps Pennsylvania slate (commonly specified by the chief engineer's office). There was an elaborate cresting and finial system defining the ridges and topping the pyramidal roofs. They usually were either of terra-cotta or galvanized iron per specifications standards for passenger Depots Class F of the Pennsylvania Lines West of Pittsburgh-Southwest system. The slate roof and the decorative finial and cresting of galvanized zinc were still in existence in 1957, but after the Amtrak system passenger rail line purchased the former Pennsy and NYC line in 1975, they were removed and replaced with asphalt shingles during an extensive remodeling. It was the second major remodeling of the depot before it was officially closed in 1990.
The Lima Pennsylvania Railroad Passenger Depot represents a typical interior of depots built during the Gilded Age serving a county seat and a medium size town. Its rectangular layout is divided into four distinctive functions starting in the east end with the baggage room of approximately 20' x 20', which is completely separated from the rest of the depot rooms. It is followed to the west by the former gentlemen's waiting room, the largest space of the depot, being approximately 34' x 34' square. This space is separated from the former ladies' waiting area to the east by the former railroad ticket offices and common service area (the toilet rooms and hallway). The former ticket area projects towards the tracks 7' to the west and 5' to the east. It is approximately 15' x 18'. The 12' wide hallway separates the ticket area from the toilet room area. This 15' long hallway linked the former gentlemen's waiting room with the former ladies' waiting room, which anchored the west end of the rectangular station. This rectangular room of approximately 30' by 19', is larger than the former baggage room to the east. All the mentioned rooms have access to the tracks, except the toilet rooms which face N. Central Ave. The second story, defining the tower above the ticket office, was the space used by the telegraph operator. It was reached by a side door from the track area and a very narrow staircase. There is a partial basement under 1/3 of the building (under the ticket office/ladies' waiting room), where the furnace room is located. The rest of the building has a crawl space.
The former baggage room has an approximately 10' high plastered ceiling. The room is surrounded by an approximately 6' vertically beaded-board wainscoting to protect the wall originally from baggage handling. The wall above the wainscoting is plastered and separated by a molding trim. The floor is separated from the wall by an approximately 10" baseboard. The window surround consists of simple wide trim of approximately 5" and a 4" molded projecting sill.
The baggage room seems to have complied with the guidelines used by all the railroads at that time. "The baggage room ..... need not be very large, as the baggage business is handled mainly on the platform next to the baggage room, and the baggage room proper serves more particularly as the baggage master's office and for storing of baggage overnight. The same remarks hold good at large local passenger depots, especially for the incoming baggage; but the outgoing baggage is more liable to pass through the baggage room, as it is received on the street side from wagons and passes through the baggage room to the trains." (Buildings and Structures of American Railroads. 1892).
The Lima Depot had two very heavy, large wood sliding doors linking the street level with the track level through the baggage room. The specifications for the Pennsylvania Railroad Stations west of Pittsburgh said that "Baggage room will have two (2) double doors 6 feet by 9 feet 6 inches to be framed of 2-inch stuff, with panels of 4-inch beaded and matched boards, well fastened with screws". The baggage master had a small office in the northeast corner enclosed by a wooden grill with a wall-high desk. Emergency aid equipment, a stretcher and two fire buckets, were located on the west wall. The 1917 Interstate Commerce Commission Survey reported a 16' long counter in the baggage room. All this changed two decades later.
Circa 1942, the historic baggage room was converted to a new ticket office, serving the increased and growing use of the passenger station. The original floor of the baggage room which was almost flush with existing grade in order to facilitate the movement of baggage carts and mail freight, was raised approximately 10" on wood sleepers. The large sliding doors were removed and two sets of wood frame double-hung 1/1 windows replaced them. The windows were compatible in size, material and color with the original existing windows of the south and north elevations. The new windows were located symmetrically on their respective elevations. The former door openings were infilled with brick, plastered and beaded wainscoting installed matching the original one. The window surrounds were plain, compatible with the smaller original windows facing the east. A standard door opening was added in the west wall to provide interior connections to the former gentlemen's waiting room, as well as a new ticket window. In 1975, during Amtrak's renovation, the small section of the c.1942 ticket office was partitioned with a door-height drywall on the NW corner. This former ticket window was filled in with drywall. A sink was added on the SE corner. During Amtrak's ownership, the former baggage/ticket room was used as an office.
The hot air heating system did not seem to reach the baggage room, therefore it was heated by a large stove before a new heating system was installed in later years.
The two waiting room system was typical of the 19" century passenger depots. Even if there were some examples of depots with single waiting rooms, a ladies' parlor and separate toilet room were usually included. Where railroad stations built depots only to serve the passenger, separate gender waiting rooms were created. The social norms and conditions existing during the Victorian era, created this type of separation. It was a time when society deemed it proper to protect women from the vulgar habits of the male population. This must have been very noticeable during Lima's oil exploration period, when the city, considered the oil city of the west, brought businessmen, adventurers, laborers, etc. to seek new venues of fortune. Janet Greenstein Potter writes in The Great American Railroad:
The separation of genders was necessary, especially when women traveled with children and when there were long waiting periods. The gender separation of the waiting rooms was so significant, that separate depot arrival entrances were created at the Lima Depot, each defined by a covered one-story porch, as well as separate exits to the platform deck. Even the ticket room had separate openings to the waiting rooms or corridor.
The former ladies' waiting room, as mentioned before, is rectangular and smaller than the gentlemen's waiting room. Also, its architecture is simpler. The approximately 12' high ceiling is flat, covered with smooth plaster as are the surrounding walls, above the approximately 5' vertical beaded wainscot. The floor is covered with a 3" diagonal wood flooring pattern and separated by an elaborate baseboard approximately 10" high. The elaborate reeded window and door surrounds are defined at the corners with a bull's eye wood block, typically used during the Queen Anne/Eastlake period. The surround of the door frames ends at the baseboard with a scroll block atop a simple block base trim and quarter-round shoe mold. These features are typical to both waiting rooms.
The historic ladies' waiting room became the new baggage room around 1942, when the old railroad depot was serving the largest passenger population ever, which included the transportation of troops for the war effort. As in the former men's waiting room, the fireplace and mantel were removed and compatible wainscoting installed. A new door opening replaced the former ticket window to access the newly enlarged corridor leading to the baggage office (formerly the ticket office) with a door surround matching the existing ones. The two large sliding doors from the original baggage room were installed in the newly designated baggage room running on interior tracks. The one installed facing the tracks, replacing the original entrance door, has four framed panels of beaded wood rotated at a 45-degree angle, creating a diamond pattern, and the opening surround is compatible with the existing one. The other baggage room sliding double door, installed on a former window opening on the west, consists also of 4 framed panels of beaded wood rotated at a 45-degree angle, but creating an X pattern. There is no door surround on this last opening. The original entrance from N. Central Avenue was filled in and finished with plaster and wainscoting, when the porch was removed. Today there are two different types of baseboards. The old floor laid in an orthogonal fashion with 5" to 6" boards, was covered with a 3" diagonal wood flooring pattern.
The former gentlemen's waiting room, mentioned previously, is square and larger than the ladies' waiting room. The grand scale of the gentlemen's waiting room is indicative by the importance attached to this historic station, constructed at a significant time in Lima's history of oil exploration and passenger rail transportation expansion. It is also the space with the most elaborate architecture. Its 20' high plastered ceiling is the most prominent interior architectural feature of the whole depot. The ceiling is defined by a cove with central panels separated by a wide and narrow rib system, creating a coffered effect. The decorative ribs seem to have a band of leaves, fans, with scrolls supporting the ribs at the cove, as well as rosettes at the intersections from which the globe gas/electric light pendants hung. The plastered wall is separated from the ceiling with an ornamental projecting molding. The design of the Lima passenger station was influenced perhaps by the Pennsylvania's Railroad favorite train depot signature architect, Frank Furness, who in his B & O depot at Chester, Pa..designed in 1886, used the same ceiling design in both waiting rooms. There is a 5' wainscoting surrounding the walls, like in the former ladies' waiting room. The door and window surrounds are of the same type in both waiting rooms, as well as the baseboard. The floor system is covered with sheet vinyl flooring. Some sections of the baseboard system are new 4" rubber base.
Both waiting rooms had large ornamental fireplaces of "inside pressed brick and vaulted, or built to a point overhead, somewhat like those in the old Polk Street station in Chicago, but not so large" (Fullerton). The gentlemen's waiting room being the largest, had also the largest fireplace which had a painting of the Great Seal of the State of Ohio centered above its mantel. The Pennsylvania passenger depot at Pottsville, Pa. had similar features "In each waiting room there is a large ornamental open fireplace" (Berg). The 1892 guidelines recommend: "Large fireplaces of quaint and artistic design in the waiting room add not only to the general artistic effect and finish of the interior, but afford a good chance to warm the rooms and brighten them up in damp weather. They also give opportunity to secure good ventilation". In 1942, the large fireplace and mantel were removed coinciding with the installation of the new heating system. The fireplace area was plastered and wainscotted to match the existing wall treatment.
The main waiting room, formerly the gentlemen's waiting room maintained its original use. When new use changes were made c.1942, gender segregation had already disappeared. The new changes had to reconfigure openings with standard-size doors, and former transoms were filled with plywood. The new openings lead to the historic baggage room and the reconfigured toilet rooms facing the waiting room and the hallway area, as well as the ticket window opening. The original door surrounds were reused for the relocated doors, but part of their exterior trim was removed making them narrower, as observed at the projecting bulls-eye corner block. The original baseboards were also reused. The original plank wooden floor was covered with wood parquet floor.
In 1975, the second significant change occurred. A new lower suspended ceiling and light system was created covering the original ribbed coved paneled one. It concealed the ductwork of a new forced-air mechanical system. A dry wall system was created for the new partitions under the suspended ceiling. Part of the original wainscot was covered with dark brown contemporary synthetic paneling. New double-glass aluminum entrance doors of bronze color were installed, but the original surround was maintained and adjusted to the new height. Sheet vinyl flooring was installed over the parquet. The two windows facing east were replaced by new standard-height steel doors with standard trim. The original window surrounds were displaced. The transoms of these original openings were infilled with plywood.
The original interior furnishing was characterized by rows of wood seats. In 1917, the survey found 128 linear feet of seats in both waiting rooms.
Another important feature in relation to the proper functioning of gender separated waiting rooms, was the location of the toilet rooms. The 1892 guidelines for local passenger depots published by Berg, enforces this strict separation by stating: "Where the ladies waiting room is not completely closed off from the gentlemen's waiting room or ....corridor, it is desirable, where feasible, to place the door from the ladies' waiting room to the toilet-room on a side of the room hidden from view from the corridor or the other waiting room". In regards to gentlemen's toilet room, Berg mentions "The toilet room for gentlemen should never have a direct entrance from the general waiting room. There is no objection, however to having the toilet-room for gentlemen lead.....from a separate waiting room for gentlemen.... In fact, the general rule should prevail, that the toilet room for gentlemen should be accessible from the outside of the building". The Lima passenger depot location of the toilet rooms was between both waiting rooms along the corridor. Considering the design guidelines mentioned, the ladies' toilet room might have been accessible from the ladies' waiting room and the gentlemen's from the corridor.
Today the toilet rooms' flat ceiling and part of the walls are plastered, an approximately 5' wainscoting surrounds the rest of the walls and there is an approximately 9" baseboard. New partitions of gypsum board divide the different toilet room functions. The floor is covered with composition material.
The toilet room for the women seems to have been exclusively accessible from the ladies' waiting room and the men's might have been accessible from the hallway. The bathroom fixtures installed were three enamel iron pedestal lavatories, two porcelain high tank water closets, and one urinal stall 3'6" x2'x3' lined with 1" slate. The depot had also one enamel iron pedestal drinking fountain.
The original toilet room space was reconfigured c.1942. The access to the ladies' toilet room experienced a significant change, with a new entrance door through the main waiting room. The long corridor created towards the ladies' toilet space was the result of this change. Old plumbing fixtures were replaced by new ones. The original floors were covered with composition material.
The former ticket office and telegraph rooms were very important elements of the depot. They have the smallest amount of space, the simplest interior space, but the most defined exterior feature, the tower. The windows facing the platform on the first floor allowed the train agent to pass orders to train crews without having to leave his desk. The telegraph office was the communications center of the passenger depot. The 1892 guidelines for the ticket-telegraph office state: "The ticket office, if used also as a telegraph office, should be situated at the front of the building facing the track, with a bay-window projection, so that the movement of trains on the track can be readily seen from the interior of the office. There should be, if feasible, separated ticket windows for each waiting-room and the windows should be far enough apart to allow space for a ticket case and shelf between them, without requiring the ticket-seller to move far in passing from window to window. .....unless special windows are provided for ladies, the latter will be seriously inconvenienced when large crowds are in the depot." (Berg).
The ticket office and the telegraph room do not have wainscoting. The approximately 9'-9" ceilings and the walls are smooth plastered. The door surrounds and window surrounds are similar to the waiting rooms, but narrower. The 1/1 double-hung bay windows have a wood knee panel with reeded trim on the lower area. The baseboards have the same height as in the rest of the depot. The ticket office dimensions are approximately 15' x 18'. The ticket room floor has wide wood floor planks. The telegraph room on the second floor is approximately 15' x 16' and opens to a partially finished room to the south with a small access window next to the door with the typical surround. The unfinished room has built-in small cabinets with Eastlake hardware.
The original ticket office, which opened to both waiting rooms, platform and hallway/corridor space, was changed in 1942, when the baggage room was moved to the ladies' waiting room and the ticket office to the old baggage room to the east. The small ticket office became the baggage room office, smaller in size, approximately 10' x 15', separated from the enlarged corridor by new slatted wood partitions, 10' from the track side window, with a centered standard solid door. The staircase was reconfigured, and enclosed with floor-to-ceiling beaded board matching the wainscot and a 5-panel door (2 large vertical, 1 horizontal, 2 small vertical) with historic surround leading to the basement. The walls of the corridor have the original wainscot pattern, new compatible infill and the 10" original baseboard. A diagonal wood floor was laid in the corridor area, but it remained orthogonal with wide wood planks in the ticket room.