Railway City Central
Just the facts
Main strip: Palmer Memorial Walkway along the Whistlestop Trail
Neighbourhood Giants: CASO Station & Elgin County Railway Museum
Best photo spot: CASO Station offers countless angles for photographers to explore. Sunset shoots can be particularly stunning.
Architecture: Stately Italianate details of the CASO Station are balanced by the industrial complexity of the Elgin County Railway Museum, (formerly the Michigan Central Railroad shops). Residences built gradually to serve as homes for employees of a variety of railway companies.
Where to mingle with locals: Joe Thornton Community Centre
This is where the identity of St. Thomas as ‘The Railway City’ was truly forged. The CASO Station was built between 1871 & 1873, one of the most impressive railway buildings in the country, helping to define the area even before St. Thomas became an official city in 1881. The Michigan Central Railroad shops were constructed in 1913, providing a design counterpoint to the CASO Station and bringing industry into the heart of the community. Four hundred employees worked in the shops at the height of operations.
Now, the neighbourhood feels on the cusp of transformation, as the legacy of the area is gradually changed to suit current and future needs. For clues into what the future might hold, check out the stunning boxcar murals by artists Mediah, Laura Woermke, Grayden Laing, Jaclyn White, SBUONE, Ben Vandevooren and Chris Golding.
The Joe Thornton Community Centre provides a fun spot for families to gather and for hockey players to converge, and was named for the greatest player that St. Thomas has ever produced, who is now among the top fifteen points leaders in National Hockey League history. Listen to the crack of the bat at the lovely New York Central Ball Park along Wellington Street. The Railway City Skatepark is a hot-spot for teenagers and visiting skaters.
Historically this area was known as Millersburg and split into two wards – St. David’s North & St. David’s South. Millersburg became part of St. Thomas in 1871.
There was once a beautiful park area named 'Michigan Central Park' -- and later called 'New York Central Park' -- that was developed following World War One by horticulturalist F.B. Bennett and the Horticultural Society of St. Thomas, extending from Ross Street east and on the north side of the CASO Station.
The original location of the YWCA was where the old Capitol Theatre was located near City Hall, but the facility that most would remember best stood at the corner of Ross and Talbot, established originally in 1914 as a temporary home for railway employees on lay-over. The YWCA building was demolished in 1999.
The New York Central Ball Park originally had a Grandstand, which was located at the east end of Barnes Street.