[1][7] In 1897, it began construction on a line, known locally as the Dinky Line, that began at the end of the Brightwood spur at 4th and Butternut Streets NW, traveled south on 4th Street NW to Aspen Street NW and then east on Aspen Street NW and Laurel Street NW into Maryland. Falls Barn, near Georgetown University, was demolished between 1948 and 1958. [1], The first electric streetcar to operate in Anacostia was the Capital Railway. Finally, two of the Barcelona cars are privately owned and stored in Madrid, Spain, and Ejea de los Caballeros, Spain, and another two are in the Museu del Transport in Castellar de n'Hug, Spain (Photo of one).[62]. [6][7] A third line ran down 14th Street NW from Boundary Street NW (now Florida Avenue) to the Treasury Building. An early streetcar passes the Treasury. [29] In 1898, the Brightwood was ordered to switch to underground electric power on pain of having its charter revoked. [54] However, 10 months into the project, DDOT and Metro temporarily mothballed the streetcar line. Tracks can still be seen in the floors in some locations of the Bureau.[89]. On August 2, 1894, Congress ordered the Metropolitan to switch to underground electrical power. Jan 15, 2021 It ran from the Treasury Building along H Street NW/NE to the city boundary at 15th Street NE. [13] On August 28, 1937, the first PCC streetcars began running on 14th Street NW. See: Layton, Lyndsey. [86] It has now been set aside as an arts space and is under the management of the Dupont Underground.[88]. The City and Suburban and the Georgetown and Tennallytown operated as subsidiaries of Washington Railway until October 31, 1926, when it purchased the remainder of their stock. Capital Traction abandoned this service in 1931. After three years, streetcars forced the chariots out of business. One branch ran to Kenilworth, and the other, built in 1900, connected at Seat Pleasant with the terminus of the steam-powered Chesapeake Beach Railway. Vanderwerken's success attracted competitors, who added new lines, but by 1854, all omnibuses had come under the control of two companies, "The Union Line" and "The Citizen's Line." Part of the right-of-way on the Georgetown campus was removed in the spring of 2007 to create a turning lane off of Canal Road NW. [7] The streetcars traveled from the Arsenal and crossed the Navy Yard Bridge to Uniontown (now Historic Anacostia) to Nichols Avenue SE (now Martin Luther King Avenue) and V Street SE where a car barn and stables were maintained by the company. [1], Chartered by Congress on May 24, 1870[7] and beginning operations the same year,[2] the Columbia Railway was the city's third horse car operator. As improvements, such as balloon tires, were made, buses became more popular. The history of streetcars in Washington, D.C. has been approached before, but never in narrative format, and never by a gifted writer. The first three streetcars, numbered 101 through 103, were ordered in 2005 and built in the Czech Republic in 2007[25] by Inekon Trams, for the Anacostia line, but because of delays in the start of construction of the line in Washington, they were stored in the Czech Republic until December 2009. [6][60], On August 26, 2010, DDOT officials ordered construction of the Anacostia Line shut down after city officials refused to extend the construction contract or give a new contract to another firm. The first United car was delivered to DC Streetcar in January 2014[30] and the third and last in June 2014. After the March 2, 1889, law passed, the Washington and Georgetown began installing an underground cable system. Rider’s Guide. The Anacostia and Potomac River Car Barn at Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue SE and V Street SE is gone. Service ended soon after it began. The Tenleytown Car Barn (a.k.a. Taplin, Mike (February 2014). [1] [18], Financing for the plan proved problematic. [11] In 1888 the Anacostia and Potomac River expanded from the Navy Yard to Congressional Cemetery, and past Garfield Park to the Center Market (now the National Archives) in downtown. "How Many Streetcars Will H Street Get? [10], The Anacostia and Potomac River Railroad was chartered on May 5, 1870. Much of the track in D.C. was removed and sold for scrap. Taxicabs were put into service in Paris in 1899, in New York in 1907 and in Washington in 1908. [55], The remaining system, including lines to the Navy Yard, the Colorado Avenue terminal, and the Bureau of Engraving (Routes 50, 54) and to the Calvert Street Loop, Barney Circle, and Union Station (Routes 90, 92) was shut down in January 1962. ", Emerling, Gary and Ward, Jon. "New Residences, Stores To Transform H Street. Image by Fototak on Flickr, used with permission.. [43] (A map of the system in 1948), In 1946 in a decision by the United States Supreme Court in North American Co. v. Securities and Exchange Commission,[52] the Supreme Court upheld the Public Utility Holding Company Act of 1935 and forced North American, because it also owned the Potomac Electric Power Co., to sell its shares of Capital Transit. In the year following the successful demonstration of the Richmond streetcar, four electric streetcar companies were incorporated in Washington, D.C. Tracks are still visible on the 3200, 3300, and 3400 blocks of O St NW and P St NW. History of Streetcars in Washington, D.C. Streetcars were a common mode of transportation in the District from 1862 until 1962. Almost as soon as they were instituted, companies began looking for alternatives. In October 2010, the D.C. government unveiled its long-awaited, $1.5 billion development proposal for the city's southwest waterfront district. [1] The company had difficulty competing and in 1924 declared bankruptcy. The tracks on Florida Avenue also exist under pavement (as shown by the eternal seam above the conduit). [48] In early March 2015, DDOT suggested that the project may be scrapped entirely, if an outside review being conducted by the American Public Transportation Association found "fatal flaws",[49] but the findings, released on March 16, found no "fatal flaws" in the project. Later that year, it bought the Columbia and Maryland Railway, which ran from Mount Rainier to Laurel. [9], The third electric streetcar company to incorporate, the Georgetown and Tenleytown Railway, was chartered on August 22, 1888. [9] On December 17, 2012, DC Streetcar officials said only 20 percent of the H Street line remained to be completed, and that they anticipated streetcars to be rolling in October 2013. Service Alerts. 1) February 8, 1808 Washington Bridge Co. authorized by an Act of Congress to construct the "Long Bridge" as a toll crossing. It would link with the H Street/Benning Road Line at Union Station via a pedestrian bridge which would require passengers to alight at Union Station and board an unconnected line. (Opens in a new window. There are more than fifty historic districts in Washington, including the monumental civic complexes of the National Mall and Federal Triangle. Boundary Street was becoming such a misnomer that in 1890 it was renamed Florida Avenue. By 1919, the paper company was using a different power house and this one was purchased by the Capitol Traction Company, to use as a store room. During the same period, transit trips dropped by 40,000 trips per day and automobile ownership doubled. The right-of-way of the Glen Echo line is mostly extant from the Georgetown Car Barn all the way to the Dalecarlia Reservoir filtration plant in DC and from the District line to Cabin John in Maryland. During this time, streetcars competed with numerous horse-drawn chariot companies. 0.02 miles. Other remnants include the Potomac Electric Power Company, the electric portion of Washington Traction and Electric Company, which remains the D.C. area's primary electrical power company; some streetcar-related manhole covers that remain in use around town; and four tall lampposts for Capital Traction's overhead wires on the Connecticut Avenue Bridge over Klingle Valley in Cleveland Park. Wants Streetcars to Roll By Mid-2013.'. [36] The Great Falls and Old Dominion Railroad was chartered January 24, 1900, and authorized to enter the District on January 29, 1903. The Washington, Alexandria, and Mount Vernon Electric Railway began operating between Alexandria and Mount Vernon in 1892. ", Gowen, Annie. [1] Construction began by March 22, 1908. Since you're interested in the history of Washington, D.C., here are some ideas to get you started: Grand Avenues: The Story of Pierre Charles L'Enfant, the French Visionary Who Designed Washington, D.C. Horses needed to be housed and fed, created large amounts of waste, had difficulty climbing hills and were difficult to dispose of. [7] The line was built during the Panic of 1896 despite 18 months of opposition from the Anacostia and Potomac River. Early on the morning of Sunday, January 28, 1962, preceded by cars 1101 and 1053, car 766 entered the Navy Yard Car Barn for the last time, and Washington's streetcars became history. "D.C. It opened lines from the Capitol to the War Department along H Street NW. [5][9][4], The system's H Street/Benning Road Line began public service on February 27, 2016. DC Streetcar extensions are ‘a high priority’ for budget Toll lanes over Potomac, DC Streetcar changes, road widenings: Big projects inch forward Officials look at new ways to power DC streetcars [24] With a decision on the fare structure still months off, Council Member Marion Barry threatened to cancel all funding for all planned DC Streetcar lines. The last streetcar on the Anacostia-Congress Heights line ran on July 16, 1935. It was incorporated on March 3, 1875, and began operation later that year. Washington Railway continued as a holding company, owning 50% of Capital Transit and 100% of Potomac Electric Power Company (PEPCO), but Capital Traction was dissolved. DC Streetcar runs free, daily trips along the H Street NE Corridor and Benning Road from Union Station to Oklahoma Avenue. [7] The compressed air motors were a failure, and in 1899 the cars were equipped with the standard underground power system. The area consists of a coherent group of row houses constructed overwhelmingly by speculative builders and real estate developers along streets established by the L'Enfant Plan. Some car barns, or car houses as they were later known, survived in part or in whole. [1] [32] In April 2009, DDOT announced that the Anacostia streetcar line would not be complete until at least 2012. [17] By 1900, the tracks had extended to Rockville. The loop tracks of the former Capitol Transit connection, behind the closed restaurant on Calvert Street NW, immediately east of the Duke Ellington Bridge, are extant under asphalt. It expanded to full operations from the Navy Yard to Georgetown on October 2, 1862. Find need-to-know information about traveling the DC Streetcar corridor, including guidelines for safety and courtesy. The Metropolitan Street Railway Car Barn (a.k.a. The DC Streetcar is a surface streetcar network in Washington, D.C. As of 2017[update], it consists of only one line: a 2.2-mile segment running in mixed traffic along H Street and Benning Road in the city's Northeast quadrant. [17], Initially, the line was planned to run along the abandoned CSX railway tracks (known as the Shepherd Industrial Spur) from the Minnesota Avenue Metro station to the Anacostia Metro station, then cross the 11th Street Bridges before connecting with the Navy Yard–Ballpark and Waterfront Metro stations. D.C. Council Member David Catania specifically requested that DDOT study adding streetcars in the Anacostia neighborhood. You may have heard D.C. referred to as the “City of Magnificent Distances”? DDOT also said it needed to take delivery of a sixth streetcar, likely in June, before any testing could begin. [7] The compressed-air motors were a failure and in 1899 the company switched to the standard underground electric power conduit. [62], In October 2010, D.C. officials unveiled tentative plans to build a streetcar line up Georgia Avenue. "D.C. streetcar makes its first voyages on H Street. ", Wilgoren, Debbi. [30], Not every company became a part of Washington Railway immediately. A streetcar would touch this electric wire with a long pole mounted on its roof. In 1873 it purchased the Boundary and Silver Spring Railway (chartered on January 19, 1872) and used its charter to build north on what is now Georgia Avenue. DC Streetcar History Beginning in the 1880s, the District of Columbia had a robust streetcar network with more than 200 miles of track, 16 route lines, and multiple companies providing service. [65] DDOT officials confirmed in August 2011 that linking to the H Street Line was still the option. ", Neibauer, Michael. Testing of the system would take several weeks, and then the system would need to be certified for operation by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), which would take another 60 to 80 days. Transit 1101 and 1540, Capital Transit 509, 522, 766 and 1430, and Washington Railway 650, Booker T. Washington Public Charter School, Washington and Georgetown Railroad Car House, Learn how and when to remove this template message, Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, Connecticut Avenue Bridge over Klingle Valley, "Beginning of Street Railways in the National Capital", "Shaw on the Move Part II: Milestones in Shaw Transportation", "Historic Survey of Shaw East Washington, D.C.", "Washington Heights National Register of Historical Places Application", "H Street: A Neighborhood's Story Part II", "Anacostia Corridor Demonstration Project - Environmental Assessment", "Timeless Machines:Trolleys could make a homecoming to Richmond as the city eyes mass transit options", "Eckington & Soldiers' Home R CO v. McDevitt, 191 U.S. 103 (1903)", "Historical Overview Of Mount Rainier, Maryland", "The District's Frontier in 1884: Tradesmen Join Visionary to Shape Washington's First True Suburb", https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/local/1983/10/11/hero-of-1812-remembered/7f7a0a00-0106-43e7-ae07-c1625ccc9c75/, "Terminal of New Electric Road Booms Building in the Northeast", "Anacostia and Potomac River electric streetcar", "Remarks at the Arlington Historical Society Banquet", "History of the Long Railroad Bridge Crossing Across the Potomac River", "Washington City to Mount Vernon: Stations And Distances", "At the End of the Line, An Opportunity Lost", "Historic American Buildings Survey:Columbia Railway Company Car Barns", "Village in the City: Mount Pleasant Heritage Trail Brochure", "NCTM: Washington, D.C. Street Car Scenes", "DC Transit Company PCC Streetcar (1945)", "Organizations Preserving North American Railway Cars", "District of Columbia Inventory of Historic Sites", "Developer Buys 'Blue Castle' in Southeast", "Madison Marquette, National Community Church close the Blue Castle deal", "Jemal Captures 3 High Profile Tenants in D.C.", "The Tenleytown Historical Society of Washington, D.C.", "Historical American Building Survey: Capital Traction Company Powerhouse", "D.C.'s first 'flex building' built in 19th century", Historic Preservation review board application for historic landmark or historic district designation for the Brightwood Street Railroad Company Car Barn, "Foulger-Pratt to turn Georgia Ave. car lot into new mixed-use project", Historical Society Scrutinizing Plans for High-Rise on Former Car Lot in Brightwood, "Wal-Mart plans to open 4 stores in the District", "Photos: Demolition of Brightwood Car Barn begins", "What It's Like To Be A Walmart Architect", "Dupont Circle Advisory Neighborhood Commission Special Meeting", http://www.thewashcycle.com/2016/06/from-the-archives-get-out-of-your-wigwams-and-support-the-watermain-bike-path.html, "Palisades Trolley Trail Feasibility Study", Last Streetcars Run Today on 3 Major Lines: Changeover Cuts City Mileage To Half of the Total in 1956, "The Historic Car Barn, 3600 M Street, NW, Washington, DC", "Hoorah for WRECo. [20] In 1897 it experimented with the "Brown System", which used magnets in boxes to relay power instead of overhead or underground lines, and with double trolley lines over the Navy Yard Bridge. On August 23, 1894, it was given permission to enter the District of Columbia using a boat or barge. Months later, the franchise was sold to O. Roy Chalk, a New York financier who owned controlling interest in Trans Caribbean Airways, for $13.5 million (equivalent to $127 million in 2019). The city's first motorized streetcars began service in 1888 and generated growth in areas of the District beyond the City of Washington's original boundaries. The board of directors of the Downtown BID proposed a self-imposed $258 million tax on hotels and commercial property within the district to fund BID projects, which included the streetcar design proposal. DDOT opened bids for the now-$45 million contract to construct the Anacostia Line's tracks and infrastructure in August 2008. Streetcars in Washington, D.C. transported people across the city and region from 1862 until 1962. On March 1, 1895, Congress authorized the Rock Creek to purchase the Washington and Georgetown on September 21, producing the Capital Traction Company. A car barn was built in Mount Pleasant around 1892. [15] In 1890 it was extended across the Maryland line to Bethesda. In 1860, these two merged under the control of Vanderwerken and continued to operate until they were run out of business by the next new technology: streetcars. Barry argued that the rider subsidy was too high and that the $800 million planned for construction of the remaining lines could be better used for road maintenance and school construction.[24]. The first streetcars in Washington, D.C., were drawn by horses and carried people short distances on flat terrain; but the introduction of cleaner and faster electric streetcars, capable of climbing steeper inclines, opened up the hilly suburbs north of the old city and in Anacostia. In Washington, D.C., the last streetcar ran in 1962. After a more than a 50-year hiatus, the DC Streetcar, one of the city’s first modes of public transportation made its triumphant return in 2016, transporting riders through the revitalized H Street NE corridor. It was built along 7th Street NW from N Street NW to the Potomac River and expanded to the Arsenal (now Fort McNair) in 1875. [10] Noting its diminished ambitions, it became the Washington Interurban Railway on October 12, 1912,[1] and changed the Railway to Railroad in 1919. For information on DC's new streetcar line, see, Capitol, North O Street and South Washington, Horse-drawn chariots and the Herdic Phaeton Company, Washington and Great Falls - Maryland and Washington, Conversion of horse cars to mechanical and electrical power. [1] By 1903 it ran from the Capitol along Pennsylvania Avenue SE to Barney Circle, and by 1908, it went across the bridge to Randle Highlands (now known as Twining) as far as 27th St SE. [12], The District of Columbia subsequently decided to build the initial components of the DC Streetcar system on its own. [68] This proposal included a DC Streetcar line down the middle of the entire length of Maine Avenue. DC Streetcar 2007-built Inekon car 101 on H Street, from a passing bus (2017).jpg 4,070 × 2,848; 1.91 MB DC Streetcar car 203 arriving at H Street Line's Union Station terminus (2017).jpg 4,241 × 2,804; 1.88 MB "DC's Streetcar Project Halted For Now. Transit Board to oversee the DC Circulator bus system as well as the DC Streetcar system. The District of Columbia began laying track in 2009, for two lines[6][7] whose locations in Anacostia and Benning were chosen to revitalize blighted commercial corridors. "Streetcars Set to Run Again in the District. A 1940s souvenir from the underground club. [13] In January 2002, District of Columbia officials began studying the economic feasibility and costs of constructing a 33-mile (53.1 km) long system of streetcars throughout the city. In 2002, the city’s public-transit authority runs an expansive bus service and a subway system. This is the story of rail-bound public transportation in the nation’s capital, told on a time line that begins with the Civil War and ends (for now) during the Kennedy administration. Cemeteries, parks and parkways make up the remainder. Shifts Light-Rail Plan From Waterfront to Streets in SE. The Washington and Georgetown Railroad Company was the first streetcar company to operate in Washington, D.C. [18], Two more Washington D.C. streetcar companies operating in Maryland were incorporated by acts of Congress in the summer of 1892. [49] In 1935, it closed several lines and replaced them with bus service. It became clear that the underground electrical system was superior, so it quickly abandoned cable cars and switched to electrical power on July 22, 1899. Back to top Short History of DC Street Cars STREET CARS IN THE NATION'S CAPITAL, a concise illustratetd history from omnibus to 1962, by Wesley Pauslon & Ken Rucker, 1995. ", District of Columbia Department of Transportation, American Public Transportation Association, National Infrastructure Investments — Consolidated Appropriations Act, Downtown D.C. Business Improvement District, "D.C. Picks Firm to Run First Streetcar Line", "Details Emerge for D.C. Streetcars, Set to Begin in 2012", "Anacostia Streetcar Track Installation Begins", Halsey III, Ashley. The full $35 million plan to depress streets as trenches for exclusive streetcar use never materialized, but in 1942 an underground loop terminal was built at 14th and C Streets SW under the Bureau of Engraving and [51] on December 14, 1949, the Connecticut Avenue subway tunnel under Dupont Circle, running from N Street to R Street, was opened. [65] The K Street Line would extend from Union Station to K Street NE, then run west to 26th Street NW. And local historian John DeFerrari’s new book, Capital Streetcars: Early Mass Transit in Washington, D.C., takes us on a joyride through that century. That makes it a good time to look back at the history of Washington's once-grand system of electric streetcars. [10], Between 1862 and 1962, streetcars in Washington, D.C., were a common mode of transportation, but the system was dismantled in the early 1960s as part of a switch to bus service. Washington and Georgetown 212 is also preserved by the Smithsonian, but stored in the Smithsonian's facility in Suitland, Maryland. Virginia trolleys operating in Washington, D.C. CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (. [53] For $2.2 million they bought a company with $7 million in cash. [30], During this time the streetcar companies continued to expand both trackage and service. [14][15] The project received Metro's backing. So that spring, when employees asked for a raise, there was no money available and the company refused to increase pay. [87], The C Street NW/NE tunnel beneath the Upper Senate Park remained in use as a one-way service road adjacent to the Capitol, but since 9/11 it has been closed to the public. But the holding company had borrowed too heavily and paid too much for the subsidiaries and quickly landed in financial trouble. You can read the actual line at the National Archives. [7], The Baltimore and Washington Transit Company was incorporated prior to 1894, with authorization to run from the District of Columbia, across Maryland to the Pennsylvania border. [16] DDOT studied the feasibility of both a citywide system and one or more "starter" lines. the Seventh Street-Wharves Barn) and the adjacent shops on 4th Street SW were torn down in 1962 to make room for the Riverside Condominiums. By the mid-1890s, there were numerous streetcar companies operating in the District. The taximeter, invented in 1891, combined with the combustion engine, created a new form of public transportation. [58] [23], On August 22, 2011, DDOT announced the first streetcars would roll on the H Street line in the summer of 2013. Perhaps the sole remaining visible trackage is the tracks and conduit in the center of the cobblestone of the 3200 through 3400 blocks of P Street NW and O Street NW in Georgetown.[63]. The Pennsylvania Avenue NW trackwork between the Capitol and the Treasury Building was removed during the street's mid-1980s redevelopment. In 1888, the first electric-powered streetcar was put in service and overhead wires were installed around the city. [41], Further consolidation came in the form of the North American Company, a transit and public utility holding company. The DC section includes an abutment near an entrance to Georgetown University, a trestle over Foundry Branch in Glover Archibald Park, the median of Sherier Place NW from Cathedral Avenue NW to Manning Place NW and a strip of land along most of the right-or-way. [9], By 1888, it had built additional lines down 4th Street NW/SW to P Street SW, and on East Capitol Street to 9th Street. [1], The Anacostia and Potomac River switched from horses to electricity in April 1900. [1] It also led to Congress passing the "Anti-Merger Act", prohibiting mergers without Congress' approval and establishing the Public Utilities Commission. [54] He then attended Virginia State College. Those cars ran for decades all over the world. This article is about the streetcars that existed in Washington prior to 1962. [56] The last scheduled run, filled with enthusiasts and drunken college students, left 14th and Colorado at 2:17 am and arrived at Navy Yard ten minutes late at 3:05 am. Public transportation began in Washington, D.C., almost as soon as the city was founded. [59] Track to the Anacostia station finally began to be laid in September 2009, with a completion date in the fall of 2012. [41], On December 29, 1954, Capital Transit lost one of its last freight customers when the East Washington Railway took over the delivery of coal from the B&O to the PEPCO power plant at Benning. It was a financial failure though and on August 13, 1915, the company ceased operations. Previously this had been done using Capital Transit's steeple-cab electric locomotives operating over a remnant of the Benning car line. [1] In 1912, it was incorporated into the new Washington and Old Dominion Railway and became the Great Falls Division of that company. On March 14, 1914, it changed its name to the Washington and Maryland Railway. [21], In December 2009, D.C. Councilmember Jim Graham proposed establishing a D.C. The last old DC Transit streetcar still in service, in Sarajevo. [1], The East Washington Heights Traction Railroad was incorporated on June 18, 1898. [8] And like the city today, Congress tried to meddle. [38] The former Washington, Arlington & Falls Church Railroad reemerged as the Arlington and Fairfax Railway[38] and continued to serve the city on the Washington-Virginia route until January 17, 1932, when the Mt. In 1933, a second consolidation brought all streetcars under one company, Capital Transit. On October 18, 1888, the day after the Eckington and Soldier's Home began operation, Congress authorized the Brightwood Railway to electrify the Metropolitan's streetcar line on Seventh Street Extended NW or Brightwood Avenue NW (now known as Georgia Avenue NW) and to extend it to the District boundary at Silver Spring.

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