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Shawmut's demise came in late 1940s

August 3, 2012

Photo from the St. Marys Historical Society collection Pictured is Pittsburg, Shawmut, & Northern Railroad steam locomotive #72 at the St. Marys Junction, probably May 22, 1948. This was the last engine operating on the south end of the road. Bruce Triplett and photographer Robert Richardson used the last of the steam to run the engine up and down the tracks for the last time.

Editor's note: This is the final part in a series of articles based on a presentation given by area historian and photographer Ray Beimel regarding the history of the Pittsburg, Shawmut, & Northern Railroad.
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According to local historian Ray Beimel, the demise of the Pittsburg, Shawmut, and Northern Railroad came about after the physician in the company towns of Force and Byrnedale "drew attention to the terrible conditions of bad water and sewage in the streets."
Beimel explained that all of the homes in Force were built by T.J. Valentine, a former mayor of St. Marys, for $105 apiece.
"They were company towns and the Shawmut Mining Company, which came with the railroad, was responsible for the upkeep and so on," Beimel said. "Well they did not take care of it."
Once the federal court became aware of the living conditions in those communities, they also realized that the Shawmut had been bankrupt for 42 years and "hadn't filed any documents with [them] like they're legally required to do since sometime around World War I."
"The judge said, 'That's it, fun time is over. Sell it.' And that was the end of the Shawmut," Beimel said.

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