Sunday, February 20, 2000

Old stagecoach line alive

Road now Ohio Scenic Byway

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        WAYNESVILLE — An old stagecoach line-turned-U.S. highway has become an Ohio Scenic Byway.

        The designation, for a nearly 12-mile stretch of U.S. 42 from just south of Waynesville north to the village of Spring Valley in Greene County, was announced by the Ohio Department of Transportation last week.

        Waynesville had sought byway status to attract visitors and draw attention to its history, said officials in this northeastern Warren County village.

        “Anything that brings tourism is good,” Councilwoman Sandy Stemple said. “We don't want to lose all the historic sites we've got. That's what Waynes ville is all about.”

        “It will be a help to the shopkeepers in town,” added Bill Stubbs, part-owner of the Little Red Shed, a Waynesville antiques store.

        This section of U.S. 42 first became a travel route in the 1820s. That's when John Satterthwaite and Col. Billy Werden built the Accommodation Line for stagecoaches traveling from Springfield to Cincinnati, according to Ed Andres, a Waynesville resident who wrote a booklet about the line.

        It was a dirt road with log bridges spanning streams along the way, he said.

        “It was just an amazing feat that they built the thing,” Mr. Andres said.

        Stagecoach riders would stop for the night in Waynesville — the midway point — and also take refreshment breaks about every four miles during the day, he said. “They did a lot more drinking than we do now.”

        The Accommodation Line was probably put out of business when the railroad came through in the middle of the century, Mr. Andres said.

        Motorists traveling along U.S. 42 probably won't see remnants of the old line, but it's nonetheless a pretty drive, he said.

        “If you aren't running through about 90 miles an hour, you can see a lot of stuff.”


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