The Van Ditthavong Gallery in Dallas, Texas

They certainly don’t sneak up on you. There’s the metal fare box to your right but you don’t have to put anything in it today. Take time to look around. The stretch is called Uptown. But close your eyes for a moment and you’re instantly taken back to an older time. You pass the car barn, Lemmon Avenue, Robert E. Lee Park, Carlisle, Cedar Springs Road, McKinney, Munger, the Woodall Rodgers Freeway, and Greenwood Cemetery on this trolley route. It also includes Griggs Park for a total of 1,000 feet. Motorman Charles Chambers changes poles on “Rosie” during a stop at the north end of the McKinney Avenue trolley line.

The Van Ditthavong Gallery in Dallas, TX will be exhibiting its own photographic tribute to the trolley in “Streetcars: Motormen – Dallas” through April 30th at 830 Exposition Avenue, Suite 103.

Then there is the San Francisco trolley story. It begins when the historic streetcar service was voted on by the people of Alameda and Contra Costa counties and San Francisco approved the $792 million bond issue for BART construction November 1962. Also in 1979 a proposal for a historic line was officially adopted as part of Muni’s annually updated plan for improved service. The Cable Car System Rehab Program began in Sept. 1982 shutting the system down until June 1984. Construction for the Market Street Transit Thoroughfare Project took place in four separate phases from 1988 to 1995. Planning for the historic streetcar service to Fisherman’s Wharf received greatly increased attention after the Oct. 1989 earthquake and the subsequent tearing down of the Embarcadero Freeway.

American cities in the 19th century were walking cities – most residents worked and shopped close to where they lived. In Washington streetcars turned outlying areas into new neighborhoods. On Jan. 17, 1871 San Franciscan Andrew Smith Hallidie patented the first cable car ultimately sparing many horses the excruciating work of moving people over that city’s steep roadways. The first important improvement over the omnibus was the streetcar. The first streetcar ran along Bowery Street in New York and began service in the year 1832. The second American city to have streetcars was New Orleans, LA in 1835. Frank Sprague installed a complete system of electric streetcars in Richmond, VA in 1888. After the year many cities turned to these types of streetcars.

“I miss Mardi Gras, poboys, and the St. Charles Street Car,” said Patrice Bryant. “Streetcar Stories” was a 1997 movie produced by the University of California Extension Center for Media and Independent Learning in association with the New Orleans Streetcar Museum. “A streetcar system in downtown L.A. could become an attraction in itself for hotel and convention visitors to the city offering a fun and easy way to see the heart of our city,” said writer Ken Bernstein who lives in Los Angeles, CA. “A network of streetcars predated the city’s freeways.”

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