NW Life | local | Oregon Historical Photo Of The Week

Oregon Historical Photo: Streetcars on Portland's Steel Bridge, 1915

OPB | July 21, 2014 midnight

Contributed By:

Part of Series:

Electric-powered streetcars travel along the top deck of the Steel Bridge spanning the Willamette River, 1915. A network of tracks and overhead wires reached across Portland and beyond, providing cheap, convenient public transportation.

Electric-powered streetcars travel along the top deck of the Steel Bridge spanning the Willamette River, 1915. A network of tracks and overhead wires reached across Portland and beyond, providing cheap, convenient public transportation.

The Oregon Historical Society. Negative #6329

Every week, Oregon Experience shares a photo highlighting the state’s diverse, exciting history. All photos are courtesy of The Oregon Historical Society.

Before the automobile, Portland was one of the nation’s foremost “streetcar cities.” Its public transportation system was cheap, convenient and very popular. A web of overhead wires delivered electricity to fleets of trolleys carrying passengers along nearly 200 miles of track.

Private developers ran the interconnected streetcars as well as the city’s electric system. For decades the rattling cars with their clanging bells were Portland’s chief mode of transportation. But they couldn’t compete with the soaring popularity of cars and publicly funded paved roads.

In 2001, Portland introduced North America’s first modern streetcar. Although the city’s heritage trolleys are no longer in service, its 21st-century urban public-transit system continues to serve as a national model.

To learn more about how electric trolleys shaped Portland, watch the Oregon Experience documentary “Streetcar City.”

older
« Oregon Historical Photo: Klamath Falls

newer
Oregon Historical Photo: Salmon Wheel Boat on the Columbia River, 1883 »

Comments

blog comments powered by Disqus
Thanks to our Sponsors:
become a sponsor
Thanks to our Sponsors
become a sponsor