First came the railroad, and then came the town. It all started in 1850 when a route was needed between Shelby and Galion, a distance of 13 miles, by the Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati railroad, or the “Bee Line” as it was known then. The Crestline area, however, wasn’t the first choice by railroad officials for the line – Bucyrus was. However, the leading officials of Bucyrus were interested in a wagon road from Sandusky to Columbus.
The next choice was Mansfield, but the citizens there had recently financed a road to Newark and were not interested in funding a railroad. The next choice was Leesville, but the residents there were afraid the railroad would take business from many of the citizens there who made livings hauling stone for the Leesville Stone Quarry. This left the railroad with no choice but to run the line through open country.
Since there was no town between Shelby and Galion, it was decided that a station should be placed halfway for passenger convenience. The station was constructed where the line crossed the Leesville road.
This station soon developed into a town, with a general store, post office, and a few homes. Early settlers in the village believed that the town was the watershed of the state, where streams to the north emptied into Lake Erie and those to the south emptied into the Ohio River, thus the name Crest Line. The town was not on the watershed line, but the name stuck and eventually became one word.
Crestline was visited by a journalist named J.A. Crever. Crever said that he “found many large and small houses where a few months ago it was all woods and cultivated fields.” At the time, Crestline had two stores, five groceries, two steam sawmills, several boot and shoe shops, numerous mechanic shops, and a tavern. Crever reported that building timber was seen strewn on every land.
Crestline, originally a railroad community, now thrives from the various businesses and industries located there. Crestline, however, is still considered a railroad community. The two crossing railroads that caused the beginning of the village still remain active there. Crestline really is “the hub of Ohio”.