Historic Charleston Foundation Trolley Lecture

 Events, History and Preservation  Comments Off on Historic Charleston Foundation Trolley Lecture
Jan 212015

The Rise and Fall of Charleston’s Trolleys, 1859-1938
Guest Speaker: historian Nicholas Butler, Ph.D.

King Street Trolley - Charleston, SCOn February the 23rd, the Historic Charleston Foundation will present a talk on the history of Charleston’s trolleys at the Charleston Museum.

For 77 years after the Civil War, the streets of urban Charleston were lined with iron track for a fleet of streetcars or trolleys. The initial horse-drawn system was electrified in 1897, but the cars and tracks were scrapped in 1938 in favor of “modern” diesel buses. Might this pre-automobile relic offer a solution to transportation woes? Join historian Nic Butler for a look back at the motives behind the creation and the demolition of Charleston’s first mass transit system.

A native of the Palmetto State, Dr. Butler attended the University of South Carolina before completing a Ph.D. at Indiana University. He has worked as archivist of the South Carolina Historical Society, as an adjunct faculty member at the College of Charleston, and as a historical consultant for the City of Charleston. Since 2005 he has been archivist, and now historian, for the Charleston County Public Library.

Free Admission!

Monday, February 23, 6 p.m.
The Charleston Museum Auditorium
360 Meeting Street
Charleston 29401

Two Additional Dates …

Wednesday, March 11, 6pm – 7pm
Charleston County Public Library – Main Library
68 Calhoun Street
Charleston, SC 29401

Saturday, March 14, 1pm – 2pm
Charleston County Public Library – Main Library
68 Calhoun Street
Charleston, SC 29401


New Group Forms to Promote Trolley Transit

 News, Public Transportation  Comments Off on New Group Forms to Promote Trolley Transit
Dec 262014

Trolley Chs 1900'sAn advocacy group, Best Friends of Lowcountry Transit, announced its founding on Dec. 17, 2014, in part to pursue rail transit options. The group is an offshoot of another group, Hungryneck Straphangers, which has existed for five years.

Both groups plan to work to persuade Charleston Area Regional Transportation Authority (CARTA), the regional public transit authority, to consider the idea.

While Charleston used to have streetcar service in the first part of the last century, service in ended in February 1938 and was replaced by buses.

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Charleston Trolley Cars Going to Charlotte

 History and Preservation  Comments Off on Charleston Trolley Cars Going to Charlotte
Mar 182013

According to the Charleston Post & Courier, two landmark but neglected Charleston trolley cars that had been attacked by vandals and the elements are getting a new life in Charlotte. The owners of the cars, former Magnolia Development, have given the pair to a group in the Queen City which plans to restore them for possible active use or historical display.

Decaying Charleston TrolleysWhile it is unfortunate that nothing could be done to keep and restore the cars here in Charleston, at least they are going to be saved. For a city that prides itself so much on history and historic preservation, it really shames me how little we do in some areas.

Read the full article at The Post & Courier.

Dec 302012

A fantastic postcard with and image of a trolley rolling along Rutledge Avenue towards the north end. I am always on the lookout for images of trolleys and early rail movement in Charleston, and I cam across this one for the first time a couple of days ago. I love both the trolley itself and the general atmosphere of the neighborhood along Rutledge. If you have images you would like to share, please let me know!

Trolley On Rutledge Avenue North

Dec 092011

Charleston TrolleysAn interesting article in the Charleston Post and Courier today on the doomed Magnolia development that is (was?) situated between the Ashley River and I-26 in the neck area of Charleston.  What I worry about most is that the two trolleys on the property, which we have talked about here before, will be swept away like just so much worthless or hazardous trash on the property.

The two streetcars on the Magnolia property are classic pieces of Charleston history and need to be saved, preserved and restored. It would be far about a crying shame to let these rolling (or once rolling) landmarks fade away from us forever. Just as the old trolley barn on Meeting Street needs to be saved, so do these trolleys. We need to form a plan to save all of these landmarks in a single project, preserve our heritage, and create some jobs.

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