Street & Trolley System
Little Rock, Pulaski
2006 Trolley System
The Street Railway as a factor in the
Progress and Development of the City
It has made Suburban Residence possible, added enormously to Estate
values, and promoted the Health, Happiness, and General Well Being of
Most people who pay a nickel for a ride on a street car do not, perhaps
fully realize what a progressive street car system really means to a
city, to what extent it is responsible for the development of a city nor
what an important factor it is in making values both for the profit of
individuals as well as the community. The average person is so
accustomed to the convenience of the street car that he accepts it as a
matter of course without a thought of it as one of the most potent
influences in city building, progress and wealth - and to this may be
About 40 years ago the first street car made its appearance on the
streets of Little Rock. It wasn't much of a car, compared with modern
standards, but it was a beginning of a system of transportation without
which the city could not have achieved its present standing among
cities. The car itself was a small affair and the motive power a single
mule per car. The driver was also a conductor. It was not uncommon for
the car to get off the track and frequently the load was too much for
the mule power, especially in negotiating steep hills. In such cases the
male passengers were called upon to assist in putting the car back on
the track or push while the mule pulled up the hill. The service could
scarcely be called "rapid transit" but it was at least more rapid and
less tiresome than walking to and from town and so, poor as such service
would be considered today, the one mule car became one of the early
factors in developing Little Rock. The car ran on Main street and Rock
street. The East side was then the residence district for the more
wealthy citizens and with the advent of the street car, values of
residence property convenient to the car line at once advanced. Unless
there are transportation facilities to take business men from the
business district to their homes there would be no suburban development.
In every city the routes traversed by street cars are marked by rapid
building up of residence property.
Rapid Development of Suburbs
Take for example Pulaski Heights. When the street railway was built to
Forest Park in 1914, there were just three residences beyond the School
for the Deaf. Property al along out there was acre property. But just as
soon as the street cars began to run, hundreds of acres were subdivided
into building lots and today many thousands of people have elegant homes
along practically the whole line, some six miles from the business
district. But for the street railway that whole district would still be
an acre property.
But that is only one example. When work began on the South Main Line 23d
street was not paved nor even graded. As late as 1914, practically all
the property south of 23d street, was in fields where men went squirrel
hunting. Today that section is all closely built up and contains some of
the most imposing residences in the city. And it built up so rapidly
that it became necessary to extend the line from 23d and Ringo south to
28th street, thence to Arch and on Arch to 23d, thus forming a loop and
serving a territory altogether in acre property only a few years ago.
Fifteen years ago, the Highland line ran only to Highland Park and all
was woods beyond the park. The park itself has long since disappeared
and its former location is forgotten by many. The whole territory for a
mile or more beyond is thickly settled and as a result not only was the
line extended but a branch built known as the South Highland, extending
to the penitentiary.
Nine Lines in Operation
And so development has gone on until there are now nine lines, namely,
South Main, Fifteenth, Pulaski Heights, East Ninth, West Ninth, East
Fourteenth, Highland, South Highland and Biddle, and they are equipped
with modern cars, electrically heated in cold weather and with
commodious open cars on some lines in summer. And with the street car
line has gone the electric lighting wires to all parts of the city
giving at once the conveniences of rapid transportation and lighting,
making suburban property attractive to home seekers and advertising the
city abroad to prospective settlers. Seventeen years ago there was one
merchant who had an electric sign. Today Main street is a blaze of light
and not only Main street but parallel and cross streets in the business
district and, incidentally, far away from the business center. In
addition to the electric signs are the brilliant electrolier standing
lights used in front of stores in the business district and in front of
theaters and churches in the residence parts of the city. This
combination of lighting, in addition to the city street lighting, has
given Little Rock the reputation of being one of the best lighted cities
of its size in the United States.
How Values are Made.
Swift in Gulliver's Travels says: "And he gave it as his opinion, that
whoever could make two ears of corn, or two blades of grass, to grow
upon a spot where only one grew before, would deserve better of mankind,
and do more essential service to his country than in the whole race of
politicians put together."
Apply this truth to the street railway and, considered rightly, the
results of its service to the material, mental, moral, religious and
health interests of the city, and in part, to the whole state, far
transcend what the average citizen imagines. Attention has been called
of the vast increase in values of property due wholly to transportation
facilities. The thousands of acres of real estate throughout Pulaski
Heights and the west end alone, which have become thickly populated
residence property, have not alone made individual owners rich but added
millions in taxes to the general coffers of city, county, and state.
Thus such development has been shared in my the whole population.
Without transportation suburban property would not have been developed
nor would the development have been so rapid but for the added
convenience of electric lighting which accompanied it.
Then the company has added to the material prosperity of the city by
furnishing power for manufacturing purposes. It has added to the health
of the people by enabling them to seek the pure air and breathing spaces
of suburban homes away from the atmosphere of business and by furnishing
the people with amusement parks. It carries people to the theater, the
ball park, school to church - in short there is no element of progress
which the street railway company has not helped to develop. It has given
liberally to every public enterprise and its officials have given as
freely of their time and labor to plans for the furtherance of the
prosperity, health, and general welfare.
People get more for their money.
It is not contended that the street railway is a philanthropic
enterprise entered into alone for the public good. But it is true that
from the beginning the company, with every improvement, has given the
people more and more for their money from the time when for five cents a
limited ride on a one mule car was given, until now when, by a system of
transfers, one may ride in modern, rapidly running cars, from the
extreme limits of one line to the extreme limits of any other line,
still for one five cent fare. These are things to remember when one is
inclined to criticize and undervalue the service rendered. It must be
added, too, that the charter provision requiring the company to pave
between its tracks and for two feet on each side has led to many miles
of paving, which would not have otherwise been done. And barring the
unavoidable pressure put upon the equipment by the locating of Camp Pike
and Picron here, the service has been uniformly excellent, far better
than in many cities much larger.
The Little Rock Railway & Electric Company has been established under
that name since 1903, being a consolidation of the Edison Electric Light
and Power Company and the Little Rock Traction & Electric Company. Its
officers are: D.H. Cantrell, President; A. Brizzolara, vice-president
and treasurer; Charles J. Grififth, general manager; W.J. Tharp,
secretary and auditor; R. Eick, purchasing agent; A.R. Koonce,
superintendent railway department; R.B. Grimmett, assistant to Mr.
Koonce; P.T. Phillips, superintendent, electric department; R.J. Brown,
commercial manager; Elmer Schoeggen, assistant attorney; Charles T.
Roland, claim agent; W.H. Curtis, master mechanic; A.P. Singer,
engineer; L.F. Griffith, assistant superintendent, meter and line
department, and T.A. Wright, publicity manager.