The quiet community of Gates Mills, nestled in the Chagrin River valley at the eastern edge of Cuyahoga County, was once a bustling center of activity on the C & E. The line chose this as the location for their car shops and power house. Little remains today, but the line's bridge across the river is still used by pedestrians and stands as a reminder of days gone by.
The first two photographs in this series are taken from the east bank of the river looking north. Like many areas of Geauga County, the hills surrounding Gates Mills had been clear-cut for farm use by the time the C & E was built. The second photograph shows that the forest has returned to much of the land, but the church can still be seen through the trees to the left of the bridge.
The third and fourth photographs were both taken from the west end of the bridge near the church. The dispatcher's office can be seen at the far end of the bridge. Close examination shows a spur at the end of the bridge leading off to the left which went to the line's shops and power house. Although not visible in the fourth photograph, remnants of the wires that once supported the overhead line are still present on the bridge structure.
The fifth photograph, like the first, shows a C & E car crossing the Chagrin River on the bridge. Photograph six shows a similar view of the bridge and was taken after railings and decking had been added to allow foot traffic. Although steel was scarce during World War II, the bridge was spared from demolition and salvage. As there were no sidewalks on the automobile bridge to the south at that time, it was the only safe way for school children to cross the river from the village on the west bank to the school on the east.
Photographs seven and eight both show the dispatcher's office which was located just east of River Road. The first of the two was taken in the early years of the line when cars ran through a long shed next to the office. In this scene, the line's car shops and power house are visible to the left. The latter of the two photographs was taken in 1910 after the shed had been torn down, leaving only the dispatcher's office standing next to the line.
The last photograph shows the same scene nearly 100 years later. The tracks and structures are only a memory, and the once busy shop complex has been replaced by a village hall constructed in part from bricks salvaged from the demolition of the line's power house.