Tuesday, April 3, 2012


Last weekend I headed South to Columbus, Ohio where I visited with Big Mike and generally had a great time.  The only thing that bothers me about my otherwise excellent visit is the same thing that bothers me every time I make the drive from Sylvania to Columbus along U.S. 23, and in fact continues to plague me with the same sort of nagging you generally associate with your least favorite ear worm.

What is this thing?

Unknown Structure
Just South of the intersection of U.S. 23 and County Highway 195 (Linn-Hipsher Road) a railroad track goes under 23.  Straddling that railroad track is a structure whose function or purpose I've never been able to discern.  The thing has been there for years, and although I've pulled off the highway twice in search of a road leading to it, it seems that no such road exists.  Why build something this large without a road leading to it?

The photo above was taken from County Highway 195 where the railroad tracks cross it.  The overpass is U.S. 23.  Here's another photo taken from the other side of U.S. 23.

Unknown Structure

The highway crosses the railroad a few miles North North-East of Marion, Ohio, in the general vicinity of the Marion Municipal Airport.

What I'd like to do is find a way over to it and explore the place a little, taking a few photos of the inside and outside that are good enough to publish.  Naturally anything this interesting is likely officially off-limits to someone like me, and possibly protected by a secret government agency equipped with secret electronic eavesdropping devices, black helicopters and automatic weapons.  That's been enough to deter me so far.

If this place were closer to Toledo I'd likely have taken a day and explored it, but it isn't and I haven't.  Instead I'm being slowly driven around the bend by the racket inside my own head - what could this thing be?

So if anyone knows or even has an educated guess, please post it or send me some email and help save my sanity.

I think it's time for a drink.


I posted this question on a local BBS (Toledo Talk) and received an answer - not the kind that you guys are thinking of.  You can read the post yourself as you like - ToledoTalk: What's This Thing? - but the long and short of it is that this is a coaling bunker, as provided by ToledoTalk user Brainswell: It's a coaling bunker. At one time there was a structure underneath the tracks that allowed the cars to dump their coal. A lift mechanism would take the coal into the over-track structure to fill other cars.

Here are a couple links validating the answer: Railroad Structures and a photo here. Who knew?


Unknown said...

Old grain elevator?

Older School said...

Some kind of watch tower?

Unknown said...

My husband suggested a water tower?

Mad Jack said...

My initial thought was a grain elevator, but that didn't make sense to me. It's a coaling bunker - I posted the information at the bottom of the original post.

Unknown said...

Cool. I wondered about coal, then thought, "Nah." Figures!