Arlington


Railroads and Transit

The Terminal Railroad began to acquire right-of-way for its northwestern belt line in 1892, with the laying of track completed at about the turn of the century. In addition to the above mentioned industries, this railroad line has been responsible for industrial development along its entire route from the Hall Street area to the western City limits.

Wellstons' shopping district and, to a lesser extent the entire Arlington Area, owe their development to public transit. Earliest transit service on St. Charles Road was a horse car line operated by the Citizen's Railway Company in the late 1870's. It was an extension of the line which ran on Franklin Avenue from the downtown district to Grand and Easton. A prime attraction for riders on the St. Charles Road line were two picnic grounds, Rinkels' and Offenstein's Groves. The former was located near Goodfellow Avenue and the latter one at Hamilton. During the 1880's, the horse car line's eastern terminus was at Kingshighway, where it met a new extension of the cable car line.

About the mid-nineties the line was electrified and was known as the "White Line" branch of the Citizen's Railway, because its cars and trolley line posts were painted white. This line, along with most of the others in St. Louis, was consolidated into a City wide system in 1899, known as the United Railways Company. As mentioned previously, the Hodiamont car line began as the West End Narrow Gauge Railway. This line was sold in 1884 to an Indianapolis syndicate and a few years later was reorganized as the St. Louis and Suburban Railroad. In 1891 it was electrified, standard gauge track was installed and a new amusement park was opened on the company's line. Known as Suburban Garden, it was located on the Hodiamont line at Lotus Avenue, north of Wellston.

It was a common transit business practice to operate summer gardens as a traffic generator for the car lines, as was also done at Creve Coeur Lake and Meramec Highlands. In addition to picnic grounds and amusement thrill rides, Suburban Garden also presented dancing and light opera performances. Although the Suburban Railroad Company was absorbed by the United Railways in 1907, the garden continued to operate until the early twenties, when it fell victim to competition from the automobile, radio, and the Municipal Opera. Also running through Wellston were the Suburban's Kirkwood Ferguson line, the United Railways's Wellston and City Limits lines and the Missouri Electric line to St. Charles. Another line started by the Suburban Company to serve the Arlington area was the Union Avenue car line, which ran south to Forest Park. Streetcar service to the area was also provided by lines on Spalding and Natural Bridge Avenues and by the Cass line on St. Louis Avenue.

Most of these lines were motorized with buses in the 1950's, although bus service was begun on Kingshighway by the People's Motorbus Company in 1923.