In this image from around 1910, we can see most likely the conductor and operator/driver of one of the trolleys that once operated in the city. Unfortunately, neither man is identified. The St. Albans Street Railway operated from 1904-1912, and then it became the St. Albans and Swanton Tractor Company under which it operated until 1921.
Imagine a time when you could hop on a trolley and go to meet a steamboat at the bay, ride all the way into the park in Swanton, or go to a local baseball game. The ride to the bay must’ve been quite an adventure as the trolley had to cross over more than 20 sets of railroad tracks and was a rather steep grade on its way west.
The location of this photograph at first offered a challenge, but with a bit of detective work we were able to find that the trolley is sitting close to the corner of South Main Street and Lake Street. The very distinctive window sills of the building at the right are those of the American House building, then a hotel. And the building at the left is the Morton Block. You can just see the lettering for Morton’s Clothing Store running vertically down the corner of the building, and just over the top of the car is a sign for Hogan & Hogan, who were lawyers who once had their offices on Farrar Street, then moved to the Morton block.
Almost nothing exists of the trolley system today other than a few rare artifacts you can see at the museum. But you can still see the main trolley barn and repair shop, which today is the St. Albans Messenger building. The Messenger, for most of its history was located on Kingman Street, but later moved its operation into the former trolley barn.
Do you have photographs or artifacts from the time of the Street Railway? If you do, or can identify either of the men in this photograph, call the St. Albans Museum at 527-7933 or contact them at stamuseum.org.