“Streetcar service arrived in Philadelphia in the 1850s, shortly after the consolidation of the city. After the Civil War, the horse-drawn omnibus gave way to a comprehensive network of streetcar lines with some routes measuring nineteen miles in length. By 1915, the electrification of the streetcar increased the number of routes in Philadelphia to a total of eighty-six. During the trolley’s heyday, the city provided a vast test track for such companies as J.G. Brill, Kimball and Gorton Car Manufacturers, and the Budd Wheel Company. The Wharton Railroad Switch Company revolutionized the manufacture of switches and tracks. Of the lines that once operated in Philadelphia, five are still running today. Philadelphia Trolleys contains a variety of rare images, including a postcard of the Point Breeze Amusement Park, photographs of motormen’s uniform badges and buttons, architectural drawings, early stock certificates, and a photograph of the Toonerville Trolley used in the silent movies produced by Lubin Studios in the 1920s.”
Local authors Allen Meyers and Joel Spivak worked with local trolley historians to gather a fascinating collection of photographs and memorabilia for Philadelphia Trolleys. Meyers is the author of four books in Arcadia Publishing’s Images of America series and is an active local historian. As the chairperson of the Philadelphia Trolley Coalition, Spivak designed and built Monument to the Trolley, a public installation commemorating the centennial of the first electric streetcar to operate in Philadelphia.