Midtown


Transit

Earliest transit lines in the Midtown area were horse car operations on Olive Street and Washington Avenue. The Missouri Railroad Company ran out Olive Street to Grand by 1864, and in 1925 1867, the Lindell Railway Company line followed Washington west to Theresa, thence to Lucas, Grand and Delmar to Vandeventer, looping back to Grand near Finney Avenue.

The first line to operate on Grand was the Citizens Railway Company with a line running out Franklin and Easton Avenues to Grand and thence northward to the Fairgrounds in 1864. Three years later, the Grand Avenue Railway Company built a line on Grand from the old water tower south to Meramec and Virginia. In 1892, this Grand Avenue line was electrified. Electric car operations on Grand were ended in 1960 when the old Grand Avenue viaduct was demolished and buses were substituted for the street cars.

A crosstown electric car line was constructed on Vandeventer Avenue from Natural Bridge Road to Manchester Avenue in 1892 and in 1893 the line on Sarah Street was built from Manchester northward to the Suburban tracks.

The St. Louis and Suburban Railway, which was absorbed into the city-wide United Railways system in 1907, was originally opened in October, 1878, as a narrow gauge steam railroad to Florissant, named the West End Narrow Gauge Railroad.

Its St. Louis terminus was on Grand Avenue north of olive Street, where its depot was reached by a long wooden ramp. The rolling stock consisted of a small locomotive and several small coaches with reversible red plus seats. The line, which was founded by Erastus Wells and James Page, followed a circuitous sixteen mile route through Wellston, Jennings, Normandy, Carsonville and Kinloch. It made four round trips daily to serve the country estates of the landed gentry in north St. Louis County.

After a re-organization in 1884, the line's terminus was relocated at Vandeventer and Enright Avenues to meet the western end of the cable line from downtown. After going bankrupt, in 1889, the combined cable and steam line was purchased by local interests and renamed as the St. Louis and Suburban. By 1892, the line had been completely converted to electric trolley power from downtown to Florissant.

In 1899, most of the various independent car lines in the city were merged into the area-wide system of the United Railways Company, predecessor of the old St. Louis Public Service Company. Beginning in the mid-1930's, all of the street car routes were supplanted by buses, the last being the Hodiamont line, which followed the old Suburban tracks, in 1966.


Image-Traffic at Grand and Delmar in 1925.
Image-Rush Hour at Chouteau and Vandeventer in 1925.