The Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago and St. Louis Railway Company, also known as the “Big Four,” was formed on June 30, 1889 by the consolidation of the Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati and Indianapolis Railway, the Cincinnati, Indianapolis, St. Louis and Chicago Railway and the Indianapolis and St. Louis Railway Co.
The 1899 advertisement below suggests that the Big Four was the best line for traveling to Sandusky and the Islands. After arriving in Sandusky on the train, passengers could then connect with a steamer to go on to Cedar Point, the Lake Erie Islands or Detroit.
The Big Four eventually became part of the New York Central Railroad. Later the New York Central merged with Pennsylvania Lines to become the Penn Central Railroad. By 1976 Penn Central merged with other eastern railroads to become Conrail.
Above are pictured four workers on the “Big Four” Railway. Railroads have been an important part of the history of the Sandusky area, beginning with the Mad River and Lake Erie Railroad, which was the first railroad to be built and operated in Ohio. Ground was broken for the Mad River and Lake Erie Railroad on September 17, 1835.