1968 BRHS History Booklet - Chapter Eight
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Chapter Eight

Trolleys aid travel

The railway, interurban, and electric streetcar provided faster means of transportation to the horse and buggy town of Broad Ripple at the close of the 1800's.

In 1883, the Indianapolis, Delphi, and Chicago Railroad tracks were laid through Broad Ripple. The line was first completed to the Howlands Station at 34th Street and Martindale; by 1887, it was extended to the Union Station downtown. At that time the line became the Chicago, Indianapolis, and Louisville Railroad and later became the Monon Line, which discontinued passenger service in October, 1967.

A train with four passenger cars ran through Broad Ripple to Chicago daily and three times on Sunday. Parlor cars and coaches were used during the day, while comfortably furnished Pullman compartments, sleeping compartments having beds which can also be changed into daytime seats, were used at night. The cars were heated by steam and were lighted by Pintch gas lamps, which used a carbide flame.

In 1894, electrified streetcars were introduced to Broad Ripple. These first streetcars to Broad Ripple Village were hailed amid cheers, and the event was honored with three days of celebration. The line was organized by Dr. R. C. Light and Mr. William Bosson as the Indianapolis and Broad Ripple Transit Company. The streetcars ran from 34th Street to 36th Street via Salem, then, down 36th Street to Pennsylvania Street and across 49th Street to Broad Ripple Avenue via College Avenue.

In 1897, the name of the company was changed to the Broad Ripple Traction Company. This line became the nucleus of the Union Traction Company which was to become the largest interurban system in the world, having over four hundred miles of track.

In 1904, the famed Liberty Bell, on an exhibition of the United States, passed through Broad Ripple, involving in its procession the use of six streetcars from the Broad Ripple System. By 1907, the Union Traction streetcars offered twenty minute service from downtown Indianapolis to Broad Ripple Park, where the turn-around loop was located.

In the early 1900's, a fire at Broad Ripple Park destroyed many of the older cars of the streetcar system. As a result, in 1909, new cars were purchased to replace the ruined ones. The fare was ten cents; in 1924, however, the cost was lowered to seven cents or four tokens for a quarter.

A waiting station was built at the corner of Guilford and Broad Ripple avenues. When the street car was late, the station owners would stay until late at night to serve refreshments until all the travelers were gone. The station restaurant was known as "The Greasy Spoon."

The interurban, an electrified trolley running through Broad Ripple, was brought to the area around 1904. It ran on the same tracks that were used by the streetcar. A power feeder generator was located in the building which now houses the American Legion Post on College Avenue, just north of the canal.

Electric rail service saw its last days in Broad Ripple in 1953, when it was replaced by bus service. Streetcar - click to see larger image
This is one of the early electrified streetcars used in Broad Ripple. These streetcars, first introduced to the area in 1894, provided the town with a fast new mode of transportation. They traveled from downtown Indianapolis to Broad Ripple Park, where a turn-around loop was located. Two of the early streetcar conductors were Delmar Hughes, left, and Sam Sharp, right.

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Cover and Forward
1878 Surveyor's Record of Broad Ripple
Chapter One - Coil Starts Settlement
Chapter Two - Ripple Linked To City
Chapter Three - Canal Creates Rivalry
Chapter Four - Villages Start Schools
Chapter Five - Religious Life Grows
Chapter Six - Social Life Develops
Chapter Seven - Canal Villages Thrive
Chapter Eight - Trolleys Aid Travel (current page)
Chapter Nine - Farmer Shakes Jail
Chapter Ten - Floods Ravage Town<br> Chapter Eleven - Park Attracts Visitors
Chapter Twelve - BRHS Joins City
Chapter Twelve - Errata
Chapter Thirteen - City Annexes Village

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