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Issue Date: October 2010 Issue


Landmark moments from our past.
Erick Trickey

An old Cleveland disappears and a new one surges forward as an electric streetcar heads east along Euclid Avenue. In the background, horse-drawn carriages are barely visible below the white awnings.

"Plodding horses with their tinkling bells were disappearing from streetcar lines as electricity replaced them," William Ganson Rose wrote of the 1890s in Cleveland: The Making of a City. Two companies operated two dozen lines and 214 miles of electric track by 1897.

A downtown we can recognize was also taking shape. Note the tall windows of The Arcade, built in 1890; the Soldiers and Sailors Monument, from 1894, marking Public Square; and signs for Halle's, founded in 1891. The white-hatted gentleman stepping toward the trolley may be headed as far as Cleveland Heights (the sign above the driver's window reads "Euclid Heights"); a track scaling Cedar Hill opened that year.

Electric streetcars ran on Euclid Avenue from 1889 until 1952, two years before they disappeared from Cleveland entirely. The RTA's E-Line trolley buses pay homage to them on Euclid today.

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