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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Trolley Merger

The first electric trolleys used in the upper Ohio Valley were built in 1889. The power came directly from the East Liverpool Electric Light and Power Company owned by C.A. Smith. He also created a new streetcar company, the East Liverpool Electric Street Railway Company. One line ran from Wellsville to Liverpool and by 1897 a second branch, the East Liverpool and Rock Springs street railway, ran from East Liverpool to Chester, W. Va. At first, the park, the trolley, and the electric company were separate entities, but in 1905 they merged and became one, The East Liverpool Traction and Light Company.

The Richland Shield and Banner reported on September 7, 1905, “A merger of local street railway and electric lighting interests of this portion of the Ohio valley is in process of formation. The properties to be taken over are the East Liverpool railway, now operating in this city (Wellsville) and East Liverpool, and its two branches, the East Liverpool and Rock Springs street railway, running from East Liverpool to Chester, W. Va.; the electric lighting plants and power houses of the United Power company in East Liverpool and Chester and Rock Springs park, a large and valuable pleasure resort at Chester. Several million dollars are involved.”

Originally the trolley line to Rock Springs Park ended on Carolina Avenue in Chester at the spot where Route 30 and the Jennings Randolph Bridge cross today. Passengers would disembark and climb five flights of stairs to the Pavilion and Restaurant (as shown above). After the merger, this line was extended and a trolley loop and lower park main entrance where added.

Because there was a lot of competition, the trolley companies throughout the United States built amusement parks at the end of their lines to bring more business. For many area residents, the only way to get to the park was to use the company’s trolleys. A round-trip was 50 cents for adults and 35 cents for children, or less on certain “Bargain Days.”

During the warm weather months, many trolley companies operated open trolleys, which were very popular with the riding public. The open cars became known as "Breezers" to the people who rode them. They were open on all four sides, to provide a cooling breeze on a warm summer day. It was the trolley company’s way of providing "air conditioned" service.

1 comment:

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