The horse-drawn streetcar enters its heyday
The board of directors took action at two meetings a week apart as reported in the Citizen of September 12, 1900:
P. B. Zeigler was elected president of the board of directors. This move is in effect a reorganization and will be followed by some improvements. Three new cars have been ordered... It is expected that some extensions of the track will be made ...
What is not said is that Charles Hoff was relieved of his duties as Manager. In addition to assuming the Presidency, Mr. Zeigler became the Manager, and the offices of the company were moved to his business. The order for three cars must have been canceled later as there is no evidence of any of them arriving.
Two days later the Citizen reported:
"The streetcar company is getting down to business. After a long lethargic existence the company has awakened to the fact that Tucson needs good street car service. Yesterday a force of men - that is one Mexican and three supervising "kids" - was put on Congress street to dig the dirt off the rails. Today the cars are running on schedule time. They leave the school house on the hour and the university on the half hour. Hereafter they will be run on time. Tickets containing twenty-five rides will be sold at reduced rates. By buying these tickets a savings of two cents will be made on the children's fare on the regular rate of five cents and one cent on the adults."
Car #5 turning the corner from Congress onto Stone Avenue
The changes resullted in an immediate turnaround in the revenue picture. The last two months of the year yielded the highest revenue of any month all year. In 1901 revenues were more than double those of 1900, up 200.69%.
Four months later the Citizen reported that Mr. Zeigler was responsible for a new streetcar:
"The latest piece of rolling stock of the Metropolitan Transit system was put in service today. It is a light blue, open car, with seats running across from running board to running board. The work on the car was done almost entirely by Mr. Zeigler and his son Andrew with the assistance of Ronstad's (sic) force. While the car is not a Pullman in appearance, it is stauncher and truer than those other affairs wherein the floors shifted uneasily at every curve. It didn't even make pretense of jumping at Congress street, where the old cars had to be navigated with so much care. The management of the company is entitled to credit for the measures it has taken to insure the safety of the traveling public, even though that public is unappreciative in its patronage and its gibes."
Sanborn Fire Map of the car barn, 1904 [20K]
The March 1901 and March 1904 (bottom) Sanborn Fire Maps of the car barn show the changes made during the horsecar era. In 1901 the only thing on the property other than the 8' high adobe wall was the horse car stable, and a foundation for an as yet unfinished adobe building. Presumably the additional storage room and outhouse shown at the rear of the property on the 1904 map were added during late 1902.
An unfortunate fatal accident involving the street car track occurred on April 8, 1901. It took the life of prominent Tucson businessman, Benjamin D. Fairbanks, proprietor of the Fashion. He and his wife were driving through the city when their horse became frightened and ran away. It was reported that the buggy got caught in the groove of the streetcar track at Stone and Congress, and overturned spilling both occupants onto the street. Mr. Fairbanks died later that evening. The street car company was severely criticized for the condition of its tracks.
Tucson's summer thunderstorms have always wrecked occasional havoc about the city. One particularly strong storm swept through town on Saturday, August 10, 1901. Many residences and businesses were damaged including the street car barn. The Arizona Daily Star reported that "The streetcar barn roof went flying on Saturday. The horses moved then as they never moved before."
The significant increase in riders had been engendered by some relatively simple improvements in the service and the introduction of a single new streetcar. That combined with the fact that ridership was sustained over the entire year of 1901 and into early 1902, no doubt encouraged the board of directors to think of investing a significant amount of money in route extensions.
First sign of what was to come was the removal of the unused rails on Pennington street, reported by the Star on February 19. Apparently they were stored for use on planned extensions.
On March 6, 1902, the Tucson Street Railway received title to the car barn property on the northeast corner of Stone Avenue and 5th St. They purchased the property for back property taxes. Apparently, this clear title spurred the directors into spending $1634.41 on the barn later that year.
View of the car barn, dated 1903
The next sign of change came with a board meeting on April 5, 1902. The next day the Star reported the decision to increase the capital stock from $25,000 to $50,000 and to raise the limit of indebtedness from $5,000 to $50,000. The newspaper apparently had an error in the last figure, as the Amendment to the Articles of Incorporation listed the limit of indebtedness at $33,000.
A week later P. B. Zeigler resigned as Manager and Mr. Hoff was back in. It is assumed that the directors, anticipating the upcoming construction program, felt it would be better to go with the man who had successfully completed the initial construction.
The condition of the streets was a continuing concern of the citizens. The Citizen of January 30, 1901 proclaimed:
"Congress street is a disgrace to the city. It resembles more a hog wallow than the principal thoroughfare of a thrifty city. The people feel the necessity of paving whenever it rains, and particularly Congress street. Something should be done."
Inside of the carbarn, 1915
The media reflected the feelings of the public that existing streets should be better maintained by regularly calling for street grading, sprinkling and oiling. In addition, the opening of new streets was frequently promoted.
The biggest concern of all was "the Wedge". The newspapers and the public had agitated for over five years before the first block finally came down in May 1902. When the removal of the old buildings was complete on the 6th of the month, the whole town broke out into celebration. At least 1000 people gathered at the west end to see the last adobe wall fall at 9:13 p.m.
Two days later when all the rubble was hauled away, the holes filled in and the street graded, another celebration broke out with music, bonfires, speeches and fireworks. And of course the newspapers had already begun to call for the removal of the next block.
The directors of the Tucson Street Railway met again on the 30th of May to "create a bonded indebtedness of twenty thousand dollars...for the purpose of raising money". The money was to be used to pay off the previous bonds in the amount of $5000 and to extend the lines and acquire additional equipment.
Improvements weren't long in coming. The Star of June 10 reported: "John Beck and his forces unloaded passenger No. 56 from a flat car yesterday. The coach is from Los Angeles, an open car, and was placed on the track... "
In fact, the Citizen of July 22 contains an interview with Charles Hoff which states that: "Two new cars were recently purchased from the Los Angeles Electric Railway Company... One of these has arrived, after a long delay occasioned by trouble had with the iron works which had the contract for altering the cars. The other car will be along shortly." It is assumed that the alteration referred to was the changing of the gauge from the narrow gauge of the Los Angeles company to the standard gauge used in Tucson.
The Hoff interview goes on to say that: "As soon as we get these cars running, ...the old cars will be repaired and repainted." He then promised better service and new lines. The first extension was said to be to Union Park (at Park Avenue and 22nd Street), where horse and later auto racing was held.
There is no evidence that the horsecar ever made it to Union Park. In fact a notice for the March 1, 1903 races announces that cars will leave Stone and Congress every ten minutes after 1:30 and there will be "a free bus" from the cars to the track.
The first new line to be constructed in August and September of 1902 did head in the direction of Union Park. It was built on South Stone and East 17th Street.
The Star of August 15 reported that two blocks of track had been laid using 16 pound rail. It is assumed this was the rail formerly on Pennington Street. The track connection was made at Stone and Congress on the 18th according to the Citizen. Two days later a few of the directors made the first trip over the new line to the cathedral. The rails had been laid to McCormick Street and it was expected 17th Street would be reached by Saturday.
The "wedge," a line of narrow blocks "wedged" between Congress Street on the south and Maiden Lane on the north
On September 2, 1902, the city council adopted Ordinance No. 160 amending the original downtown line of the Tucson Street Railway. The Pennington portion was eliminated, and the East Congress line to the depot was rerouted via Congress and Fifth Avenue. This routing took advantage of the extension of Congress Street through the block between Sixth and Fifth Avenues.
Apparently there was some delay in completion and operation of the new line, perhaps caused by both a lack of rail and cars. The Citizen of September 13 reported that a new car had been placed on the Stone Avenue line running to the "present terminus at Sixteenth street." It is assumed that this was one of the two used cars from Los Angeles.
Effective Monday, September 15, 1902, two cars were put on the University line creating a 30 minute headway. The notice also indicated that "Twenty-five ride students' tickets will be sold for 75 cents; twenty-five ride commutation tickets will be sold to the general public for $1.00 each; and tickets may be bought at Underwood & Franklin, or may be ordered through the drivers."
Car #6, driven by Anson Orzo Haskins
The terminus on South Stone probably remained at 16th Street while all the track on 17th Street was constructed. The Citizen of the 29th states that "The company expects to make the connection at Seventeenth street and Ston (sic) avenue in a few days." Thus it can be assumed that the line was completed shortly after October 1.
In the meantime, by the 26th of September "A gang of men were taking up the Congress street track...west of Sixth avenue." It is not known exactly why. Perhaps they were replacing the two block section over to Stone with heavier rail. It is clear they were not beginning the extension east along the new alignment granted in the amended franchise as that work was done in April of 1903. In any case, while work was in progress, no service was provided to the depot.
Car #5, near First Avenue
Work on the new line down Toole and 4th Avenue was being done at the same time as mentioned in the October 4 Citizen which said that "Ties and rails are being laid on the southeast branch of the system today." It appears the work of installing a connection at 4th Avenue and 17th Street disrupted street car traffic on 17th Street for some time, as the December 18 Citizen reported:
"At the council meeting last night the strete (sic) commissioner called attention to the fact that the street car company has not run a car down Congress strete (sic) to the depot for sixty days. They have failed to do the same on Seventeenth street. Their charter states particularly that failure to operate on any street for a period of thirty days would result in the forfeiture of these streets. It would appear as though the street car company had overlooked something."
By that time the job must have been nearly complete as there is no evidence anyone ever did anything about the comments.
There is no record of exactly when the East Congress-South 4th Avenue line was finished and placed in service. Some of the expenditures for the two lines completed in 1902 as recorded in the company journals were: surveying $75.00, track and iron $1745.01, and ties and culverts $985.60.
The Tucson Post of July 25, 1903 quoted a street railway industry source with the following figures on the Tucson Street Railway for 1902:
Length of the line...................5.10 miles
Weight of rails........................6 pounds
Number of cars................................. 4
# of passengers, 1902.............. 49,710
Capital stock issued............... $21,800
Funded debt @ 7% interest... $11,500
Maximum speed.......... 7 miles an hour
No accidents were reported during 1902. Based on company revenue records, ridership was up 151.75% in 1902 over 1901.
More new street cars were predicted starting in the September 29th, 1902 Citizen:
"The old pueblo street car company will again startle the unsuspecting public within a few days by the addition of two new cars to the service. The rolling stock on that line will soon become so numerous that the city council will begin to enact some new legislation. When the addition is made, four cars will actually be making trips on the line. This will probably necessitate the employment of a dispatcher, as the people are becoming farful (sic) of accidents. Two cars actually came within four minutes of meeting each other on the Stone avenue junction just on time last Saturday evening."
Despite the facetious nature of the article, the reality of new street cars was confirmed in the Star of October 17, 1902. The article states that "The company is building a new car for the Fourth Avenue line and will shortly begin the construction of another. By the first of January Mr. Hoff says he will have four cars in constant operation." It is believed the new cars referred to were #8 and #9.
The next report on them comes in the November 10 Citizen which says:
"The Tucson Street Railway company is preparing to spring a surprise on the public in the shape of a brand new car. The car is a home product, being made entirely in Tucson. People will, without a doubt, be surprised at our local ability."
The new car, #8, was completed and went into service on January 8, 1903. The morning paper wrote: "The new car from Ronstadt's' (sic) shop was on the track yesterday, making occasional trips to the University. The appearance of uniformed conductors was also a novelty (o)f the day. The old line is getting there." The evening paper had previously mentioned the appearance of the conductors and drivers in their "...pretty gray uniforms and caps."
Regarding the new car it said: "The street car company produced a new street car yesterday. . .and Manager Hoff declared that it was entirely a home product. The wheels, trucks and iron were cast by Gardener, Worthem & Goss. The wood work was executed at Ronstadt's carriage works. Other material was purchased here in the city. . . Tucson is not exactly in the car manufacturing business but she can do a few things in a pinch.
At about the same time, the Tucson Street Railway made two other changes. The Citizen of January 24 informed the public that:
"The Street car company has put up a bulletin board for the benefit of its patrons. . . under the big time clock on the corner of Stone Avenue and Congress Street. It shows the schedule for cars arriving at and leaving that point. The company has also fitted up the cars with new patent pantoasole curtains for the protection of passengers from the sun and storms. The line is steadily improving."
March 1 was the day the horses got away. The next evening the incident was reported thus:
"A team of horses belonging to the Tucson Street Railway ran away last evening, leaving the car and driver at the university. When the driver was asked where the horses had gone, he stated they were in quest of feed. When the drivers admit that horses need feed, they must need it."
In late January it was rumored that the car line would be extended east of the University. The Star of March 7 gave more information indicating that the line would go as far as the Gould Cottages. It also mentioned plans to create a park of 30 to 50 acres at the end of the line.
The evening paper of March 28 stated that work had been underway on the line for three weeks:
"The rails are already laid along the county road to the Eastern boundary of the university and yesterday afternoon the first car went up as far as Professor Blake's residence and the same conveyed Manager Hoff and Mr. and Mr. Charles Blenman as the first passengers. This was very applicable as Mr. Blenman has worked hard for the extension. . . "
F. Ronstadt Company's new building on the southwest corner of Sixth Avenue and Broadway, January, 1902
By April 1, according to the Star, the track was laid as far as the Women's dorm, also called North Hall. Work apparently halted at that point for a few weeks.
There is a map of the County Road in the Special Collections at the University of Arizona. It lead to Martinez Ranch, which was on the Rillito River beyond Fort Lowell. It is shown beginning at Third Street and the city limits (First Avenue). Using the names of the streets as they exist today, it followed University Blvd., Park Avenue, 2nd Street, Campbell Avenue, then east on Speedway.
The foundry of Gardiner, Worthen & Goss
On the 21st of March the Tucson Street Railway purchased 17 acres of land northeast of today's Speedway and Warren Avenue. Charles Hoff personally purchased another 134.8 acres directly north of the TSR parcel. It was common for street railways of the day to develop parks at the rural end of one of their lines as a means of promoting ridership. About a month later the Citizen of April 17 described the company's plans for the park:
"The park... will be cleared, fenced and made beautiful and attractive during the coming summer. Dancing pavilions will be placed in the park and during the summer evenings music will be furnished, so that some amusement will be in store for Tucson's young people."
Work on the line apparently resumed on the 17th, as the same article stated that: "A large gang of men were put on the University extension today and the line will be extended to the Tucson Street Railway Park." The work was still continuing on the 26th according to the Star, but must have been completed very shortly thereafter. The extension went east to Pine Street (today's Warren Avenue) and thence north to the park. However, no reference has been found of any improvements being made to the park, or any events being held there during the summer of 1903.
While the University line extension was under way, other work was also taking place. The March 23rd Citizen indicated that:
"The work of replacing the light rails on the city street car line with heavy rails, is progressing rapidly. The rails will be laid from the University to Seventeenth street and the light ones will be used on the extensions."
The company's 1903 Annual Report indicates that the heavy rail was 25 pound, while the light rail was 18 pound, although all the news accounts say 16 pound. It seems inconceivable the TSR would have actually replaced the rail on Stone south to 17th which had just been installed a few months earlier. But it is repeated in the April 17 Citizen: "... they are replacing the light rails on South Stone avenue with heavy ones with the intention of making the road electric at an early date."
In addition to the above sections, heavier rail was also laid on the new Congress - Fifth Avenue alignment. The April 2 Star reported that "East Congress street beyond Sixth avenue is being graded". This was the first step preceding the laying of track which occurred the following week, reported by the Star on the 10th:
"C. F. Hoff, superintendent of the Tucson Street railway and Surveyor Contzen were busily engaged yesterday in surveying and laying a new track up East Congress street to the depot. Some thirty Mexican laborers were employed in this work."
This work must have been completed by the 17th when the Citizen reported: "The work of the Tucson Street Railway is being pushed to completion as rapidly as possible. The Congress street loop is completed...". Cost figures for certain elements of the work done during the first four months of 1903 can be obtained from the company records: surveying $36.00, track and iron $5083.80, and ties and culverts $805.30.
Of course the business of carrying passengers continued through the construction. An amusing incident is related as happening March 29.
"The car which contained several people was pulled off the track through the negligence of the driver. He was entertaining the passengers and the team reaching the end of a curve by the University, instead of turning, went ahead and pulled the car after them. The passengers were somewhat frightened, but no one was hurt. The car was placed on the track in a short time."
The first of the three cars built by Ronstadt, car #8, c. 1906
With the bulk of the track work finished, headways to the university were improved the week of April 19, 1903. Apparently the system was operated as one line on a 15 minute headway. Over the portion south of downtown, each successive car went a different direction around the loop. However, this raises a couple of questions.
First, this system of operation would have required cars to pass in downtown just before diverging onto the loop. There must have been a passing siding installed somewhere on Stone. It also would have required a switch half way to the end of the university line. Such a switch was installed "at the Indian school" in July of 1904. But what did they do prior to that time?
Second, what happened to the portion of track on 17th Street east of 4th Avenue once the line began to be operated as a loop? Perhaps it was operated only occasionally, enough to keep the franchise in effect, or perhaps it ran on race days at Union Park with the free "bus" connection cited earlier.
Car #9 on Park Avenue with the University fence and buildings in the background
The last completely new line of the Tucson Street Railway was constructed in July and August of 1903. The Citizen of July 22nd noted: "Rails are being laid on West Congress street, as an extension from Stone avenue to Meyers street, thence to Seventeenth."
The story behind that simple statement was revealed by Tucson's weekly paper the Tucson Post in an article on July 25 headlined "Street Railway Builds New Line.
" The Tucson Street Railway is actively engaged in constructing a new line. . . The council threatened to revoke the franchise if the line was not completed and in operation within six months. Not wishing to lose their franchise the company at once commenced the construction of the new line. Manager Hoff predicts that it will be completed and in operation within ten days. The company has sufficient steel on hand to build it. Sixteen pound rails are being laid. Some objections have been made to the construction of the line particularly on Congress street between Church and Meyer on account of the narrowness of the street, but when the lower wedge is removed there can be no trouble from this source. The people in the southwestern part of the city wish for car service and this line will meet their needs."
The line was completed on August 5th or 6th.
Car #10 on Second Street
The concern over the narrowness of Congress is reflected in the comment published in the Citizen on the 7th, apparently the first day of service:
"Jack Boleyn drove down Congress street this morning and as he passed the waiting car of the Tucson street railway line he was heard to say that if he was on his leviathan truck he would certainly run over that car. As it was he barely got through between the car and sidewalk."
Costs for materials for line extensions between May and August of 1903 are listed in the company records as follows: track and iron $808.25, and ties and culverts $897.83.
Trouble with unruly kids has always been a problem. The August 17th Citizen reported that "A number of small boys annoyed passengers and drivers on the street cars yesterday by climbing on the cars and shouting for the drivers to stop. The police have been notified and the practice will be cut short."
Another new street car entered service on November 4, 1903 according to information in the journals of the Tucson Street Railway. It had been promised at the time #8 was being build a year earlier. The reason for the delay in completing #9 is not known.
The surviving journals of the Tucson Street Railway record the following expenditures during the last four months of 1903 for items relating to the line extensions: surveying $50.00, track and iron $1215.46, and ties and culverts $1028.00. However, the newspapers contain no accounts of construction during that period. It is assumed that these amounts were for expenses incurred previously, but not paid until this time period.
The result of new lines, new streetcars, and a 15-minute headway was amazing. The number of riders was up 280% over the previous year. Since 1900, patronage had risen an unbelievable 850%! According to the annual report, the total number of passengers carried in 1903 was 135,256.
The new year brought the final new streetcar of the horsecar era and the first inside waiting room for transit patrons. The company records show that car #10 was placed into service on January 17, 1904.
The January 21, 1904 Tucson Citizen reported that
"... the Tucson Street Railway company has secured a lease...of the office to be vacated by the Western Union Telegraph Co. The... office in the Hill building, formerly the Radulovich block, will be divided into two... The rear is to be for the offices of the street railway company and Mose Drachman, resident agent and broker, and the front... a waiting room."
On March 3rd the same paper announced that "The Tucson Street Railway company's new offices and waiting room are open to the public at 16 North Stone avenue."
The first known crime affecting the streetcar line was reported in the February 8, 1904 Citizen:
"A street car bound south on Meyers street was held up in the Barrio Libre district Sunday night by three Mexicans, one of whom had ridden a block telling the driver to stop at a given point. The driver did so, when two men came out of a house to the car. The driver left and called up manager Hoff, who came down with an officer. They found the car standing on the track. Mr. Hoff and the officer investigated saloons but could not find the Mexicans. Nothing was taken from the cash register. The man who had ridden one block on the car had previously done so, paid his fare and then disappeared. This trip was made through the same block and was evidently made to size up the situation."
The February 3rd, 1904, Citizen reported that membership in the new Tucson Country Club was increasing. The next day the paper announced plans for the club house, which was expected to be ready for use that summer. The location given was "near the end of the street railroad line about a mile beyond the University."
Streetcar track runs down the middle of a widened Congress Street, c. 1904
What was not stated in the paper was that the land involved was a portion of that previously purchased by the Tucson Street Railway for a park. It appears the company had given up the idea of developing their own park. Perhaps the money spent on the unplanned Meyer Street line had used the resources set aside for that purpose. In any case, the east 300 feet of the park land (6 of the 17 acres) was sold to the Tucson Country Club on February 10 for $5,000.
Part of the agreement may have been to extend the car line to the Country Club, a distance of about 600 feet east on Speedway. This work was done in July as the club house was being built. The company took advantage of having a track crew at work to also install a passing siding on Third street near the Indian school, according to the Citizen of July 30. The links were finished and opened to use in March 1905.
Driver poses for the camera on the platform of car #9, on Third Street near Euclid
Unlike Phoenix, which suffered two disastrous car barn fires in 1910 and 1947, Tucson has never had a transit maintenance facility fire. However, a scare occurred on March 20, 1904, and was reported in the Citizen.
"There was a steady stream of people who passed northward along Stone avenue last evening after dusk. This was accounted for from the fact that the fire alarm bell slowly struck five times, district No. 5, followed by rapid strokes. The department responded, crossed to the street railway barn and there the boys learned that a lamp had been knocked over but did no harm."
The big news in the Spring of 1904 was the removal of the second block of "the wedge". Work was underway by April 6 when the Citizen suggested "that the city officials keep down the dust while work progresses along the line." As luck would have it, they tried a little too hard, the paper on the 11th reporting that "One of the city sprinkling carts fell into the old Delta cellar lower wedge, this afternoon. A dozen men managed to extricate the cart in a short time." On Saturday night the 16th, the city again celebrated. However, the accounts of it seem to be a bit more subdued the second time around.
The Citizen of the same day announced the change of name for Carrillo Gardens. "Emanuel Drachman, the owner, and Alex Rossi will open the new park May 1 with music and dancing." The Elysian Grove immediately became "the place to go". Huge crowds thronged the place. Sunday night, June 19, the Citizen reported 2,000 people enjoying the entertainment.
After the next successful weekend, a large ad appeared announcing the programme for that week. At the bottom it noted that "Union Stable Carryalls will leave the People's Store corner every 10 minutes for the Grove. Fare 5c." The Citizen contrasted the service provided by the carryalls and the street cars:
"The motive power of the Tucson Street railway has opposition, which goes the M. P. (mule power) one better for the same fare. The opposition runs to the gate at the grove, while the M. P. unloads passengers at Simpson and Meyers. The future (?) electric service of the Tucson Street railway promised three months ago seems to be slow in coming, hence the opposition. There will be more, if signs do not fail."
The competition from the carryalls and the support of the Grove management led Charles Hoff to take action. The Citizen of July 11 stated:
"Without the formality of asking the Council for a franchise, Manager Charles T. (sic) Hoff, of the Tucson City Railroad company put a force of men on Simpson street to lay a spur from Meyers street to the Elysian Grove gate. When the Mayor heard of the proceeding, he forthwith sent Marshal Hopley to the scene to stop operations. When the Mayor was last seen he was roasting a member of the street committee for having given Hoff power to act, 'not even a written permit being granted,' said the Mayor."
The final Tucson horsecar, #10
The next day's paper contained a long article headlined: "Hoff Was Sidetracked: Mayor vs. Street Committee".
"Strained relations between Mayor Schumacher and the street Committee... have existed for some time, and the incident of yesterday. . . only made matters worse between the Mayor and the committee. It seems that the Elysian Grove management, E. Drachman and Alex Rossi, wanted the street railway company to put in a branch of two blocks length, from the Meyer street line to the Grove. The Grove management was willing to meet the expense of $200, if the street railway could not, it being understood that the company should refund that amount to Drachman & Rossi in due course of time. With this understanding, Drachman and Manager Hoff of the railway company, called on City Attorney J. B. Wright, and asked. . . what course they should pursue. . . Mr. Wright replied that. . . they should go to the Street Committee and secure a permit. . . This was two weeks ago. The Street Committee gave the permit, and yesterday Manager Hoff's three street graders, with wagons, were at work digging out the center of Simpson street for laying the ties and rails. . . "
The article goes on describe in great detail the meeting between Hoff, Drachman and the mayor, and the special meeting of the city council called that evening and continued the next afternoon. It also points out that the original franchise provided that all switches and turnouts be located under the direction of the Street Committee. The end result was the submission of a formal request by the company to the city council, which was approved that afternoon. The work no doubt resumed immediately with the track being ready to carry the crowds to the Grove the following weekend.
The public responded dramatically. There were five weekends in July 1904; on the last three the streetcars took people directly to the Grove. The result was one of the highest ridership figures of any month on record, with about 14,000 people carried. But the novelty quickly wore off - August riders were only half those of July.
In fact, July was the turning point, based on available records. Patronage thereafter began to decline, even though the totals for the years 1903 and 1904 showed no significant difference.