Within two decades of General Sherman's march through town the Columbia Street Railway Company was formed in 1882. The first trolley cars were hand-crafted from the ground up featuring hand-milled oak woodwork and solid brass hardware and were pulled by horses.
Ten years later, in 1892 the Columbia Electric Street Railway, Light and Power Company was formed and within a year electric streetcars were rolling in Columbia. These electric streetcars were the main source of revenue for the company and soon the houses along the streetcar routes had power delivered to them.
These trolleys helped the suburbs grow. The trolley line owned a casino at Hyatt Park in North Columbia where vaudeville acts performed weekly. Located nearby was a zoo and a bowling alley.
Riding the "beltline", which looped around a section of town, became a popular pastime. The Shandon Pavilion, which was close to today's Five Points area was a favorite destination of riders. The Pavilion sponsored concerts and dances for Columbians and nearby rural neighbors.
The street railways were the catalyst for expanding Columbia's new neighborhoods like Colonial Heights and Eau Claire.
The trolley became the symbol of an era, and Columbia was growing like never before.
**Update** Feb. 2010 I found this cool link to a video about Columbia's street cars
Terry Edwards www.FeaturedColumbiaHomes.com
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