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Streetcars of Charlotte

Read an essay about Charlotte's streetcars...



First Ward Streetcar


This shiny First Ward streetcar was no doubt spruced up for this picture. The motorman and conductor look spruced up too.



Passing the Club

1911 postcard showing a trolley on the streets of Charlotte. The Manufacturer's Club was established by D. A. Tompkins . Rich Yankees would get off the train at the Southern Railway station and ride the streetcar to the club building where Tompkins would wine and dine them.


Trolleys in the Twenties

Streetcar heading down 100 block of East Trade St. in the mid 1920s. Notice the man on the bicycle.


North Charlotte Trolley

It was customary for the motorman and the conductor to have their picture taken at the end of the line. This is a North Charlotte convertible car, meaning that it could be opened up in hot weather.

Tryon St. Traffic


Don't think that Charlotte's traffic problem is new. This early twentieth century photograph shows the 100 block of North Tryon St. That is the Independence Building in the background. North Carolina's first steel-framed skyscraper, the building was imploded in 1981.



Mule Power!

Charlotte's streetcars once were powered by mules and horses!



Dilworth Trolley


This picture appeared in the 1938 City Directory. It shows a Charlotte Streetcar moving up Dilworth Road from E. Morehead St. That's the Addison Apartments in the background and the skyscrapers of Uptown Charlotte beyond. Trolley service ended just a few months later.



Streetcar #85


In 1927, the Southern Public Utilities Company, now Duke Power, announced that shiny, new Streetcar No. 85 was ready to go into service. For the next ten years, No. 85, built in the trolley barn on South Blvd., rumbled up and down the streets of Myers Park and Dilworth.

The 47-year history of electric streetcars in Charlotte started to end on November 15, 1937. That's when Duke Power and the City applied to the North Carolina Utilities Commission to replace the trolleys with motor buses. City Council member J. S. Nance argued that this would be "one of the most progressive moves that Charlotte has made in quite a long time."

Streetcar No. 85 was the last streetcar to operate on the streets of Charlotte. On March 14, 1938, it made a "goodbye" trip from Presbyterian Hospital to the Square, where it stopped for a brief ceremony, and then headed for the Dilworth trolley barn and retirement. The trolley has been recently restored and is now once again shuttling passengers around uptown Charlotte.


Streetcar # 1

Trolley Number One as it appeared in 1989 when it arrived in Charlotte. That's Dan Morrill waving out the window.