Last updated: November 7, 2021
Audio Description, Benches/Seating, Historical/Interpretive Information/Exhibits, Parking - Auto, Parking - Bus/RV, Restroom, Restroom - Accessible, Toilet - Vault/Composting, Wheelchair Accessible
Botzum Station is a popular starting point for Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad’s shuttle service for bicyclists, runners, and hikers. The station is along the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail just north of Botzum Trailhead, a large parking lot.
Botzum Station is the southern-most station within Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Head north on the Towpath to explore the park. The Beaver Marsh, a large wetland for viewing wildlife, is 2.5 miles from the station. The towpath and train also continue south into Akron as part of the Ohio & Erie Canalway. Two miles south is the commercial district of Merriman Valley with restaurants and services. In 2.5 miles, the trail intersects with Sand Run and Cascade Valley metroparks. The train ends at Akron Northside Station, 6.5 miles to the south, with uphill grades, some steep, along the way.
Botzum Station gets its name from a former nearby hamlet named after the most prosperous family in the area. It was one of three small crossroads communities in what is now the southern section of Cuyahoga Valley National Park.
Crossroads communities were once very common in the United States. They grew up at transportation nodes and served as places that provided goods and services to people in outlying areas. They typically had a cluster of homes and farm buildings, a school, church, post office, and at least one commercial enterprise such as a store, tavern, or blacksmith shop. The communities of Botzum, Ira, and Everett emerged during the canal era in the 1800s, becoming shipping and supply points. That service continued with the arrival of the Valley Railway, the forerunner of Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad. Each community had a train depot. Today, nothing remains of Botzum and Ira. Everett is 3.5 miles to the north.
While not a historic building, the design of Botzum Station evokes the community’s historic depot. Exhibit panels inside tell the history of the train, its impact on the valley, and its communities. An exhibit panel also features images from the former village found to the north, Botzum.
Today, the station serves recreational visitors. Its historic forerunner would have been a hub of small-town life. Businesses, often dependent on train transportation, developed near depots. Telegraph service and mail delivery passed through them. Travelers to and from the community also congregated there. In many ways, the depot functioned as a gateway to the larger world.