CHARLESTON STREETCARS & BUSES

Charleston Streetcars

You may recognize this building.  If you dont, the answer is at the bottom of this page.  This was the Street Car Barn on Virginia Street West.  This photo was taken in 1920.




HERE IS SOME OF THE ROLLING STOCK OF THE STREET CAR COMPANY.


Charleston Interurban

This was the first:  The Charleston Traction Companywas started in 1888 with two horse drawn cars. Later they were replaced with electric cars as seen in the photo.

Charleston Streetcars

Notice the Dodge Brothers building in the background.  Thay were located at Virginia & Truslow Streets



Charleston Streetcars

Most of the rest of these photos were taken in front of the Streetcar Barn




Charleston Streetcars



Charleston Streetcars



Charleston Streetcars

Some cars have  CIRRCo on them, which stands for "Charleston Interurban Railroad Company"



Charleston Streetcars



Charleston Streetcars

Notice the "Cow-catcher" on the front.



Ticket





Streetcar


Trolley

The Patrick and Stockton Street Trolley parked on Virginia Street



Charleston Streetcars


Charleston Streetcars

Maintenance Vehicle



Charleston Streetcars

street cars



Charleston Streetcars

This is the Power Station on the West Side of the Elk River. This later would become the "Boys Club"

Charleston Streetcars

Same building from the opposite side, now being used by the city in this 70s photo.
The sign on the right side of the buildings says "Boys Athletic Club".  I remember it very well.




At a receiver’s sale in 1935, the property passed into the hands of the Charleston Transit Company, which converted the entire operation to buses on June 29, 1939.







You used Tokens to ride the bus back then.  I still have two of mine.

Charleston Streetcars

The Street Car Barn would later become the Bus Barn for the Charleston Transit Co.

They moved to Stockton Street in 1950.



Of course, there were a few fender benders,,,,

Charleston Transit Bus

You're looking at Virginia Street just off Morris.  Mountain State Hospital is to the right of the bus. The year is 1937 and it seems that a one Miss Margaret Kearse,  daughter of T.L Kearse,  owner of the Kearse Theater was driving south on Morris St,  when she hit a city bus traveling East on Virginia.  The bus then struck a parked car, sending it into a power pole. The bus continued on and struck 2 more poles and finally hit the new car you see in the photo, owned by the Ruby Motor Company.  Seventeen fire alarm boxes were knocked out of service along with the trolly wires.



City Busses

Charleston Bus drivers



Charleston Bus History



  That same year, McMillion Motors moved into the barn for 1 year

McMillion Motors

This sign was uncovered in 2015 during Goodwill's remodeling




Charleston Streetcars
Here is the Streetcar Barn today.  Goodwill Industries on Virginia Street

You will see Streetcars in action all though this website in various years.  Look for them.



Streetcar History

The city of Charleston in Kanawha County (West Virginia) had a trolley operation from 1888 to 1939. The network consisted of city lines in Charleston and overland lines through North Charleston to Dunbar, South Charleston to St. Albans and Marmet to Cabin Creek Junction. Charleston Street Railway .

In 1888, the Charleston Street Railway Co. opened the first horse-drawn trolley that ran as a ring around the city center, along Kanawha Street (now Kanawha Boulevard), Brooks Street, Dryden Street (now Smith Street), and Capitol Street. A second line was opened shortly afterwards from Capitol Street and Virginia Street, Central Avenue and 4th Avenue to Patrick Street in West Charleston. It was eventually extended from Capitol Street to the east by Washington Street to the then city limits on Bradford Street. This was the complete trolley network. Charleston Traction Company .

In 1898, W. Hazard acquired the railway and re-established it as the Charleston Traction Co. In the following years, the new owner electrified the routes. Kanawha Valley Traction Company .

In 1902, the owner changed again and the company was now called Kanawha Valley Traction Co. In 1903, the railway company took out the rails from Kanawha Street and led the ring line instead by Quarrier Street. Also on Virginia Street, tracks were laid between Capitol Street and Brooks Street. Eastward, the railway was extended on both Virginia Street and Washington Street through a resettled residential area to and on Duffy Street (now the Capitol Complex), creating a new ring line. A link through Ruffner Avenue between Washington and Virginia Street was also opened during this time. In addition, a stretch was built from Dryden Street over the Elk River, on Bigley Avenue, Charleston Street (now Washington Street) and Tennessee Avenue to Virginia Street. At the corner of Virginia Street and Tennessee Avenue was the new depot of the railway.

In 1907, Edgewood Park, a recreational center with a zoo and amusement facilities operated by the trolley company, was built in the north of the city on a hill. A new trolley route from Charleston Street / Tennessee Avenue connected this park to Charleston Street and Edgewood Drive to the city. In the same year, the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad, whose railway ran south of the Kanawha River, a connecting track to the north of the river route of the Kanawha and Michigan Railway planned, together with the trolley operation, the Kanawha Bridge and Terminal Co. was founded. It built a single track railway bridge over the river, whose track would also be used by the trolleys. The steel river bridge was connected at both ends by ramps in the form of an elongated wooden trestle, at the respective end of the trolley line branches off the railway track. A new link to the north end of the bridge construction originated from Central Avenue through Russell Street and Seventh Street.

The new line to South Charleston was opened in 1908. Within the city, there were now three ring lines, which were driven only in the specified direction: Inner Ring: Capitol Street - Quarrier Street - Brooks Street - Smith Street - Capitol Street Central Ring: Capitol Street - Virginia Street - Ruffner Avenue - Washington Street - Capitol Street Outer Ring: Capitol Street - Washington Street - Duffy Avenue - Virginia Street - Capitol Street In addition, trains from Capitol Street on Virginia Street and Tennessee Avenue to Edgewood Park, on Drydon Street, Tennessee Avenue and Central Avenue to West Charleston (Patrick Street) and on the Virginia Street and the Kanawha Bridge to South Charleston. Charleston Interurban Railroad.

In 1910, the Charleston Interurban Railroad Co. was founded with the aim to build overland routes. It leased the Kanawha Valley Traction Company and now ran operations on the trolley. First, in 1912, the route was extended to South Charleston via Spring Hill and Jefferson along MacCorkle Avenue to St. Albans.

Also in 1912 was another amusement park, Luna Park in West Charleston began operation, was built on Central Avenue off of Park Avenue to the level of Grant Street, a branch line. The company then built another stretch on Summers Street, where the terminal was just off Virginia Street, by State Street (now Lee Street), Truslow Street (now built over), Lovell Street (now Washington Street), Charleston Street , Pennsylvania Avenue, Roane Street, Charleston Street (now Washington Street), Stockton Street and 7th Avenue through North Charleston to Dunbar.

In 1915, the Kanawha City Bridge went into operation as the second river bridge with a trolley track. The route on eastern Washington Street was extended from the previous terminal on Duffy Avenue through Washington Street and over the bridge, which was located at the northern extension of 34th Street, to Kanawha City. There, the route led through Central Avenue (now MacCorkle Avenue) and further along its extension through Marmet, Chesapeake and Chelyan to Cabin Creek Junction. It was partially completed by 1916. In the 1920s, the route was laid down by Pennsylvania Avenue and Roane Street and the trains to Dunbar now drove directly through the Charleston Street on the track, on which previously drove only the line to Edgewood Park (now Cato Park). The central departure point of all lines was then at Virginia Avenue, corner of Alderson Street (now Laidley Street). Even today, all city bus lines depart Charleston on Laidley Street.

First bus traffic … The Midland Trail Transit Co., which was partly owned by the Charleston Interurban Railroad, began in 1925 with the regular bus service in Charleston. The first line led to Hillsdale from Virginia Street via Summers Street, Truslow, Lovell, Charleston Street, Bigley Avenue, Cora Street, Crescent Road, Westmoreland Drive, O'Dell Avenue, Garland Avenue and back to Bigley Avenue to Charleston. In the same year, the second line from Capitol Street on Lee Street, Broad Street, Smith Street, Morris Street, Piedmont Road to Wertz Avenue, and a third line from Capitol Street on the South Side Bridge to South Hills was opened. The latter line led in South Hills on the Bridge Avenue (now Bridge Road), Myrtle Avenue, Oakmont Road, Walnut Road, Bridge Avenue, Oakwood Drive (now Oakwood Road), South Avenue (now MacCorkle Avenue) and Ferry Street. When the State Capitol was relocated from Capitol Street east to Washington Street in 1932, the bus company routed its line to Piedmont Road on the way back to Charleston through Wertz Avenue, Washington Street, California Avenue, McClung Street, Jackson Street, Ruffner Avenue, Lewis Street, Morris Street and Capitol Street to connect the two government complexes. Charleston Transit Company.

The Charleston Interurban Railroad went bankrupt in 1933 and was re-erected in 1935 as Charleston Transit Co. It also took over the bus operation. The company was now anxious to get rid of the unprofitable rail traffic and laid to June 29, 1939 all routes still. Buses took over the traffic and in the same year, intercity bus lines to Montgomery, St. Albans and Nitro went into operation, in the following years, the entire county was opened by bus lines. In 1971, the Kanawha Valley Regional Transportation Authority (KRT) took over the operation, which still operates numerous bus lines in Kanawha County. Today remains of the former trolley operation only the Kanawha Bridge, which is also decommissioned for rail traffic, as well as the building of the former depot, which is now used by an industrial plant. The buses were kept here until May 1950, until the new, still used today bus depot at 4th Avenue / Stockton Street was opened



Vintage photos By Daniel Davidson & Dick Johnson.

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