In the November 1906 Electric Railway Review (an industry trade magazine), the following is reported:
“Observation Car for Toledo.– The Toledo Railway & Light Company has recently built an observation car which will be put on a regular schedule next summer for the accommodation of sight-seers. The new car, which is named “Toledo,” is 47 feet long, and besides the passenger compartments contains a kitchen and a lavatory. The interior is finished in light mahogany and is handsomely furnished. The windows are 4 feet wide, with a narrow framework so as to interfere with the view as little as possible. During the winter, the car will be used by the officials for inspection trips. The car was built in the company’s shops under the supervision of Mr. C.A. Brown master mechanic, according to designs furnished by General Manager L.E. Beilstein.”
The car was used in Toledo as specified above. One notable occasion was in 1908, when it transported dignitaries from Toledo to Detroit for the World Series. In the series, the Detroit Tigers took on the Chicago Cubs. This game was notably the last time the Cubs were national champs until their win over the Cleveland Indians in 2016. The photos here show the luxurious appointment inside the car and its as-built outside appearance.
More research is required to find out more about the history of this car, but it is considered likely that the ownership of the car subsequently passed to the Lake Shore Electric Railway an interurban line that connected Cleveland and Toledo with their lines serving Lorain, Elyria, Vermillion, Huron, Sandusky, Norwalk, Bellevue, Fremont. Sometime in the ’20s, the Lakeshore moved the line through Huron (near Sandusky/Cedar Point) away from the shore of the lake after track was washed out. On the now dead end, a lake-side camp was established using retired streetcars as cabins. It was here that Toledo was retired and served as a rather plush cabin until 1964, when the value of the land was recognized by developers.
At this time, Mr. Gerald Brookins purchased all of the retired streetcars and moved them to his Trolleyville USA mobile home development near Olmstead Falls, Ohio. At Trolleyville, the body of Toledo was restored inside and out as the exhibit you see today. During these years, Mr. Brookins acquired running gear and equipment needed to restore the car to operation, but the work was never completed. After the passing of Mr. Brookins, the property was sold and the collection passed to the hands of the non-profit Lakeshore Electric Railway Museum. More than 30 electric cars were moved to storage on Cleveland RTA tracks, with smaller equipment placed on display in a lakefront building near the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame. Plans were formulated for a museum complex, but the downturn of 2008 moved funding hopes beyond reach. In 2009, the decision was made to dissolve the collection and PTM was very lucky to successfully obtain “Toledo.”
The car was moved to PTM at the end of 2009 and placed on display. The long term goal is to complete restoration and make the car capable of operating on the demonstration railway. Pittsburgh and lines in Pennsylvania had similar touring/parlor cars which long ago met their demise and the opportunity was seized to obtain Toledo to represent this unique equipment type for the collection.
|Car Number||Toledo||Car Builder||Toledo Street Railway Company|
|Year Built||1906||Type||DTDE Street Railway Private Car|
|Year Acquired||2009||Status||On display TTM/TDB|
2. Not everyone is lucky enough to operate a trolley, but there is a special program that visitors can sign up for to get behind the controllers. What program is that?
Hint: This program typically lasts 60 minutes and has a special link on the main webpage