It’s been a while since I have done a book review. Luckily, I managed to pick up a copy of Edward H. Miller’s The Hocking Valley Railway. Published relatively recently (crica-2007), the book provides a detailed and nearly comprehensive look at Ohio’s largest intrastate railroad.
The Hocking Valley Railway began its corporate history as the Mineral Railroad Company in 1864. Chartered to carry coal from the Hocking River Valley to the markets of Columbus, the railroad soon underwent a name change and became the Columbus and Hocking Valley Railroad. After a number of mergers, buyouts, and receiverships, the railroad became the Hocking Valley Railway in 1899. It is under this name the railroad was most well known. The Hocking Valley became a fallen flag after being purchased by the C&O in 1930.
Miller goes through detailed histories of each predecessor railroad, its lines, and its relationship to the Hocking Valley. He also includes short biographies of each railway president, something I have not seen too often in these kind of works. In-between the larger themes of the narrative (ownership, presidents, and corporate games), he finds time to work in significant but smaller events from the time period discussed like wrecks, expansions, and the occasional disaster.