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Songs and Stories
     September 26, 2019      #61-269 SsK

Trolleys brought mass transit here 125 years ago

Los carros trajeron el transporte público aquí hace 125 años

By Jack Klasey

"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."

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 ...

In this 1908 scene, the trolley car is towing an unpowered trailer unit, which provided extra passenger capacity. Similar to today's buses, trolley cars often carried advertising banners or signs. Kankakee County Museum Photo Archive
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Jack Klasey
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