WESTerday Trivia Answer: The Streetcar/Electrified Trolley

Gulfport Streetcar, similar to those in Jackson. (Photo: Southern Traction Magazine and Mississippi Power Company)

So what form of transportation helped to fuel West Jackson’s population boom in the early 20th century? That would be (c.) the streetcar/electrified trolley. You know, something similar to cool train-looking thing that still runs through New Orleans.

Prior to 1899, Jackson’s citizens would travel by a mule-drawn rail car system that was installed and operated by the Jackson City Railroad Company. The Jackson City Railroad Company, founded by the owner of the Edwards House, charged patrons ten cents per ride from the Edwards House to the Capitol Building. Within the first five months of operation, the Jackson Railroad Company reported that 38,675 riders had used the service.

Perhaps in an effort to overcome the crawling speeds of mule-drawn cars (I’m sure the mules had a little funk too–and I ain’t talking about George Clinton & the Funkadelics either!), the city of Jackson entered into an agreement with S.T. Carnes and H.H. Corson to upgrade the city’s trolley system. The agreement expressed the city’s desire for trolleys “propelled by electricity or any other known or unknown power (except animal power)” that would not exceed 20 miles per hour.

Thus, electrified trolleys were implemented in 1899. These trolleys, similar in function to today’s light rail systems, fueled residential growth in West Jackson neighborhoods such as Poindexter Park and Duttoville, as well as other areas in the city such as Bailey Avenue, Belhaven Heights, Belhaven, and Fondren.

Thanks for reading and we’ll be back with more trivia next week! Cue the music!

P.S. Check out the blog post below from our friends at Preservation in Mississippi to view a citywide streetcar map from 1912.

Found: A Streetcar Map! Remember that post a while back about streetcars and how they came and went in Mississippi with hardly any physical reminders or even decent maps to show where they had been? Well, over the holidays, I picked up a publication that I’ve used as a reference but have never actually read straight through, “From Frontier Capital to Modern City: A history of Jackson, Mississippi’s built environment.” Actually I still haven’t read it all the way through … Read More

via Preservation in Mississippi

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