Fairgrounds


Transit

Transit service was developed quite intensively at an early date in the eastern part of this area because of traffic generators such as the Fairgrounds and the baseball parks. During the late 1850s, horse drawn omnibuses were used to transport the crowds to the Fair and these were superseded by horse cars on rails about 1860.

Principal routes from the city center to the Fairgrounds were lines on Franklin Avenue or on Olive Street with a transfer to a branch line on North Grand Avenue. When the fairs were resumed after the Civil War, direct service to the grounds became available on the Citizens Railway and on the Union Depot Railroad line. On the Citizens line from Fourth Street and Franklin Avenue, it required 35 minutes to reach the southeast gate at the Fairgrounds. The fare was seven cents straight or five tickets for a quarter. Horse cars continued to be the mode of public transit to the Fairground area until the early 1890's when electric trolley cars were introduced. This development led to the construction of electric lines on both old and new routes. Among those built then were the Grand, Vandeventer, Sarah, Taylor, Natural Bridge, Cass, Lee and Bellefontaine lines, all of which served various parts of the area.

After the closing of the Fair in 1902, traffic generated by the ball parks and newly opened theaters helped the Grand and Vandeventer lines, while the others benefited from concurrent residential construction.

The street railway network was not extended beyond its mileage peak of 1910. Increased service to the Fairground area, as well as to other parts of the City, was provided by motorbus lines in the 1930s. Some of this service paralleled streetcar tracks as by the People's Motorbus Company's North Grand line and to some extent by their Walnut Park line on Florissant Avenue. A bus line operated by a subsidiary of the United Railways ran through the western part of this area on Bircher, Shreve and Natural Bridge Avenues. Present day service is solely by motorbus, as the area's streetcar lines were abandoned bv the 1950s.