Twin Cities by Trolley

Twin Cities by Trolley: The Streetcar Era in Minneapolis and St. Paul

John W. Diers
Aaron Isaacs
Copyright Date: 2007
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 368
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5749/j.ctttv6bn
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  • Book Info
    Twin Cities by Trolley
    Book Description:

    Twin Cities by Trolley offers a rolling snapshot of Minneapolis and St. Paul from the 1880s to the 1950s, when the streetcar system shaped the entire area. More than 400 photographs and 70 maps let the reader follow the tracks from Stillwater to Lake Minnetonka, through Uptown to downtown Minneapolis. The illustrations show nearly every Twin Cities neighborhood as it once was.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-5410-9
    Subjects: Transportation Studies

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-v)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vi-vii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Glossary of Streetcar Terms
    (pp. xi-1)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 3-11)

    Twin Cities by Trolleyis the story of the streetcar and the Twin City Rapid Transit Company (TCRT) and how they shaped the Twin Cities and touched the lives of three generations of Twin Citians. It is a detailed account of a 523-mile transportation system that was built and operated without public subsidy, a system that stretched from Lake Minnetonka to the St. Croix River and carried more than 200 million passengers a year. It is about nostalgia, but it is also about the electric motor and the internal combustion engine, two competing nineteenth-century inventions that went on to battle...

  6. 1 From Horsepower to Electric Power: The Early Years
    (pp. 13-37)

    On Christmas Eve, 1889, groups of people huddled at street corners and in doorways all along 3rd Street in Minneapolis. 4:00 p.m. and the long shadows of winter banished the sun far to the south. At 3rd and 2nd Avenue South, flakes of windblown snow dusted the Lake Superior sandstone and New Hampshire granite of Louis Guaranty Loan Building, Minneapolis’s skyscraper and the tallest building Chicago. But this group was not there homage to Menage’s pile of stone, which watched rise for almost a year. They shivered and waited for something less monumental but no less important for the future...

  7. 2 More Tracks to More Places Growing the System
    (pp. 39-73)

    The Aberdeen Hotel sat at the corner of Virginia Street and Dayton Avenue in St. Paul. The finest hotel in the city, it catered lavishly to the comings and goings of St. Paul’s wealthiest citizens and visitors. On the evening June 9, 1893, it hosted a banquet honoring James J. Hill, who had just completed his Great Northern Railway all the way to Puget Sound. Among the invited guests alighting from their carriages were Marshall Field, George Pullman, and Minnesota’s first governor, Alexander Ramsey. It is not known whether Thomas Lowry was invited. Hill did not like speculators, and he...

  8. 3 Trolleys to the Country Lake Minnetonka and Stillwater
    (pp. 75-97)

    Nineteenth-century streetcar moguls could feel secure in their monopolies and were content to let the nickels simply roll into fare box and on to their bottom lines. But also knew that the streetcar was more than transportation and that with enormous investments in track, power systems, and rolling it was good business to encourage traffic weekends and holidays when equipment and operating personnel were idle. Selling the trolley ride as a recreational experience brought in revenues with little additional expense. came to be called “streetcarring” was promoted and became popular, whether it involved a ride around town, a trip to...

  9. 4 From Profit to Penury The Trolley Vanishes
    (pp. 99-133)

    Thomas Lowry died on February 4, 1909, just twenty-three days short of his sixtysixth birthday. In poor health for a number of years, he eventually succumbed to the tuberculosis he had once fought off as a young man. Lowry was entombed in the family mausoleum at Lakewood Cemetery in south Minneapolis. His passing was noted in theNew York Evening Postof February 13, 1909:

    In a day when mere connection with a public utilities company is so often viewed as an a priori ground for suspicion, and when the management of street railways, in particular, has been the object...

  10. 5 Made in Minnesota The “Tom Lowrys”
    (pp. 135-153)

    If the rapid growth and decline of the electric railway industry exemplify the pace of technological change in the twentieth century, the rise and fall of the number of suppliers the industry are indicative of the pace in the industry itself. In 1900, there least fifteen major companies building and interurbans. Names like J. G. Brill American Car Company, McGuire-Manufacturing Company, St. Louis Company, Niles Car Company, Jewett Car and Pullman competed for orders hundreds of street railway properties. Those manufacturers in turn sustained dozens independent companies making motors, and trucks, control equipment, seats, wheels, valves, and a long list...

  11. 6 Service, Courtesy, Safety Working for the Company
    (pp. 155-175)

    The Twin City Rapid Transit Company in the 1920s was typical of street railway companies in the early twentieth century. a hierarchical, vertically integrated, and directed organization with well-defined authority and responsibility for each department and every employee. What we would describe as “corporate culture” did not exist in those days. One simply worked company, and those who did not work up expectations, or who made the same mistake got fired.

    This structure was patterned after the and was adopted after the Civil War by hundreds of Union and Confederate officers went on to build and operate railroads and large...

  12. 7 Trolleys in Your Neighborhood Everywhere by Streetcar
    (pp. 177-184)

    Thomas Lowry understood the connection transportation and development. vision and the street railway system it meant that Minneapolis and St. Paul did to be a hodgepodge of factories piled shops and homes. Land use could be and zoned, with residential neighborhoods organized near open spaces such as lakes, and industry and manufacturing transportation (the river or railroad Twin Cities and Lowry’s streetcar grew up together. Wherever the streetcars people, neighborhoods, and businesses followed.

    A streetcar line took the name of the street a particular local feature or landmark, its end destination. The name was a the neighborhoods it served, an...

  13. Intercity Lines
    (pp. 184-212)

    In the 1940s and 1950s, three lines—the Como–Harriet–Hopkins, the Selby Lake, and the St. Paul–Minneapolis—provided a one-seat ride between Minneapolis and St. Paul. Two, the E. 25th St. line in Minneapolis and the Randolph line in St. Paul, met at the Ford plant just across the Mississippi River in St. Paul. Connecting passengers changed cars. From 1909 until 1936, a fourth line provided intercity service. Ft. Snelling cars ran from Minneapolis to St. Paul as the Snelling–Minnehaha (1909 21), 7th St.–Minnehaha Plymouth (1921—32), and Minnehaha–7th St.–Hope St. (1932–36) lines....

  14. Minneapolis Lines
    (pp. 213-259)

    Bryn Mawr began in 1880 as a horsecar line from 12th Street and Hen nepin Avenue via Hawthorne Avenue to Lyndale Avenue North. The line entered the Bryn Mawr neighborhood on a long viaduct, crossing over the Lyndale Yards of the Great Northern Railway. Bryn Mawr was strikingly rural in appearance as late as the 1920s, but it gradually filled in and became a small residential enclave. Never a great traffic generator, the line was roughly half single track. Only one car could go through at a time, which limited the frequency of service to every fifteen minutes at most....

  15. St. Paul Lines
    (pp. 260-291)

    West 7th Street, also called Fort Road, made straight line from downtown to Ft. Snelling, paralleling the Mississippi. Along the way, it served Anker Hospital, Schmidt Brewery, and the Randolph Street shops of Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis & Omaha Railroad. Several other lines operated over portions of west 7th Street, including Randolph–Hazel,St. Clair–Payne, Dale–Phalen, and Grand–Mississippi. TCRT opened this line in 1891 as the Randolph Extension on Randolph Avenue from West 7th Street to the Mississippi River Road only to abandon it and remove the tracks in 1900. The area did not develop as rapidly as...

  16. Epilogue: Conspiracy Theories
    (pp. 293-297)

    There is a popular urban myth that General Motors executives, and others from the oil and rubber industries, conspired in a filled room to snuff out the streetcar; they intentionally bought up street railway through a subsidiary company, National City Lines, with the object of junking them favor of buses. It is so delicious and complex a of corporate skullduggery that Hollywood massaged it into a movie,Who Framed Roger Rabbit?Twin Cities’ lore, in a variation of the conspiracy, holds that Charles Green, Ossanna, Isadore Blumenfeld (aka Kid Cann), Tommy Banks, and others were responsible for TCRT’s postwar debacle...

  17. Appendix A TWIN CITY RAPID TRANSIT RIDERSHIP TOTALS
    (pp. 298-299)
  18. Appendix B LAKE MINNETONKA OPERATIONS
    (pp. 300-300)
  19. Appendix C STILLWATER RAIL OPERATIONS
    (pp. 301-301)
  20. Appendix D TWIN CITY RAPID TRANSIT COMPANY SUBSIDIARIES
    (pp. 302-303)
  21. Appendix E STAND–ALONE BUS ROUTES
    (pp. 304-305)
  22. Appendix F BUS CONVERSION DATES
    (pp. 306-306)
  23. Appendix G ROSTER OF PASSENGER CARS BUILT AT 31ST STREET AND SNELLING SHOPS, 1898–1927
    (pp. 307-312)
  24. Appendix H TWIN CITY RAPID TRANSIT WORK EQUIPMENT
    (pp. 313-313)
  25. Appendix I TWIN CITY RAPID TRANSIT SHOPS AND CARHOUSES, 1872–1954
    (pp. 314-321)
  26. Appendix J MAPS OF THE TRACK SYSTEMS OF THE MINNEAPOLIS STREET RAILWAY COMPANY AND THE ST. PAUL CITY RAILWAY COMPANY
    (pp. 322-323)
  27. Appendix K MAPS OF THE TWIN CITY RAPID TRANSIT COMPANY BUS LINES
    (pp. 324-326)
  28. Appendix L TWIN CITY RAPID TRANSIT PRESENT PLAN OF ORGANIZATION, JANUARY 1950
    (pp. 327-328)
  29. Bibliographic Resources
    (pp. 329-334)
  30. Index
    (pp. 335-348)
  31. Back Matter
    (pp. 349-349)