While Bob and I were in San Francisco a number of years ago, we had the opportunity to ride the cable cars there. Cable cars, or trolley cars are pretty much a novelty in most places, but they used to be pretty commonplace. There are still many cities that operate a modern day version of the cable car, which is reality is more like a inter-city train than a cable car. But, the traditional cable car, street car, or trolley car were really very different from their modern day cousins, and the ride on the older version was really a lot of fun. Many cities had cable car systems that few people even remember. New York for example, has a huge subway system, but this came to be after the trolley system became problematic. Now, the old trolley system is just a faint memory, and in reality, one that is not very well known.
In fact, problematic was maybe an understatement when it comes to reality concerning the cable car system. Once the automobile became a common item in the American household, there were a number of incidences involving the automobile and the trolley or cable car. I’m sure you can guess who won that battle. The trolley or cable car was bigger, and it was after all, limited as to where it could operate, while the automobile was free to go where it chose…pretty much anyway. Nevertheless, there were collisions between the two forms of transportation…as well as traffic jams at times. Eventually, with automobiles becoming so commonplace, the trolley or cable car began to go by the wayside…Finally ending up as the novelty it is today.
When my daughter, Corrie Petersen and I were in Minneapolis in August of 2005, we had the opportunity to take a city tour on an old trolley car. Of course this one was of the variety that had come out when the automobile came out. It needed no cable, but was rather a trolley car bus, I suppose. The seats and the windows were definitely authentic trolley car though. The tour was a lot of fun…probably mostly because it was a novelty trip. Bob and I had an additional opportunities in Alaska, on a tour of Anchorage. I really like the trolley car tours.
The other day I was looking at some old pictures of Montana history, and I came across something about Forsyth that I didn’t know about before. The little town of Forsyth, population about 1400 people in 1914, with one maim street is a place that you can easily walk across in just a few minutes. Nevertheless, the little town of Forsyth, Montana had a cable car in 1914, so people could ride the length of that main street…probably eight to twelve blocks. I was amazed to learn of that little tidbit of Forsyth history, which was the place where many of Bob’s family members lived, and where many still live today.