[RailTransportation] TRANSPORTATION: STREETCARS : HISTORY: Trolleys Bought Mass Transit Here 125 Years Ago

 

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TRANSPORTATION: STREETCARS :

HISTORY:

Trolleys Bought Mass Transit Here 125 Years Ago

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Trolleys Bought Mass Transit Here 125 Years Ago

Jack Klasey

October 15, 2016

Daily Journal

http://www.daily-journal.com/news/local/trolleys-bought-mass-transit-
here-years-ago/article_c42100e7-2bfa-5d9d-afe0-a185a250e094.html

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A shorter URL for the above link:

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http://tinyurl.com/hjtqxwx

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“At 6:35 p.m., Mr. McBeth turned the handle a trifle, the car instantly started  and before the passengers realized it, the car was rolling steadily and smoothly up East Avenue while the crowd which lined the walk cheered. … Up the hill the car glided without any lessening of speed, and when Knecht’s Corner was reached, everybody knew that the system was a success.”

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As described by a Kankakee Gazette reporter, mass transit had come to Kankakee on July 18, 1891, in the form of the electric trolley car. The car that made the initial trip up the East Avenue tracks, then turned onto Court Street, was 16 feet in length and could seat 20 passengers. The exterior was painted orange and yellow, with gold striping, and emblazoned on each side with “Kankakee Electric Street Railway” in large silver letters.

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Regular trolley service began two days later, linking the city’s two railroad depots (Illinois Central and Big Four) and the Riverview Hotel near what is now Cobb Park. The system quickly expanded to provide service to the county fairgrounds, Kankakee Browns baseball field and Mound Grove Cemetery on the northern edge of the city; the Kankakee Driving Park race track on east Court Street, and the Eastern Illinois State Hospital (now Shapiro Developmental Center) south of the river. In 1894, tracks were extended eastward to serve Electric Park, an amusement park and picnic grounds in what is now Beckman Park.

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A second trolley company, the North Kankakee Street Railway, laid tracks in 1892 from the Kankakee City limits through the new industrial community of North Kankakee (now Bradley), and into Bourbonnais, terminating at St. Viator College (today, Olivet Nazarene University).

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The separate trolley systems were purchased by a New York company in 1894 and physically connected into a single operation. The electric wire used to connect the two systems was salvaged from the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair.

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Similar to today’s mass transit systems, the trolleys carried shoppers to stores, workers to their jobs and families to theaters, parks and other recreational destinations. But the cars also were used for other purposes. In 1901, a group of Kankakee women “took over” the system, decorated the cars and collected the fares to raise funds for the YMCA.

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It also was possible to reserve one of the cars for a private event, such as the 1904 party held by 18-year-old Lomira Perry and her sisters for about 60 of their friends. “We rode back and forth from Schuyler Avenue in downtown Kankakee to St. Viator’s College in Bourbonnais,” she recalled. “We decorated the car and had music and refreshments.  It was such fun!”

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The complete article may be read at the URL above.

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Kankakee AND (streetcar OR streetcars OR trolley OR trolleys OR tram OR trams) FROM Google Books

http://tinyurl.com/j9w5lfm

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Kankakee AND (streetcar OR streetcars OR trolley OR trolleys OR tram OR
trams) FROM Google Images

http://tinyurl.com/jbar4tn

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WEBBIB1617

http://tinyurl.com/gtdzaq3

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Sincerely,
David Dillard
Temple University
(215) 204 – 4584
jwne@temple.edu
http://workface.com/e/daviddillard

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[RailTransportation] TRANSPORTATION: STREETCARS : HISTORY: Trolleys Bought Mass Transit Here 125 Years Ago

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