Relive the Streetcar Era Along Route 1

Photo of the 82 streetcar in Riverdale Park in the 1950s courtesy of http://bit.ly/U4br4E

Long before there was Streetcar 82 Brewing Co, the 82 Streetcar Line used to take commuters and shoppers to and from Washington, D.C., at 5th & G, near what is now the Verizon Center, to towns along Route 1 including Eckington, Woodridge, Mt. Rainier, Hyattsville, and College Park.

Tracks from Washington, D.C. were first laid to Mount Rainier in 1897,  then reached Hyattsville and Riverdale Park by 1899, and went onto College Park by 1900.

A nice summary of part of this historical development can be found in the “Hyattsville Historic District Style Guide,” created by architecture students at the University of Maryland:

During the 1890s, private companies began building streetcar lines to carry streetcars out from the city to the railroad suburbs of Prince George’s County. The City and Suburban Railways laid tracks from Washington, D.C., to as far as Mount Rainier (two miles south of Hyattsville) by 1897. In 1899, the tracks finally reached Hyattsville.

Now there was a convenient method for the middle class to commute from Washington to Hyattsville. The streetcars brought a wide range of Washingtonians to the small city, from the working class to the upper-middle class, with the majority being middle class. Riders from Hyattsville could buy their tickets at Well’s Drugstore, located near the streetcar stop at Rhode Island Avenue and Crittenden Street, and ride the streetcar, which ran fairly parallel to the B&O rail tracks, into D.C. in a matter of minutes.

The guide breaks Hyattsville’s development into two major phases: the streetcar era from 1899 to 1929 and the automobile era from 1930 to today. But the streetcars actually ran through towns along Route 1 until 1958, when they were replaced by regional buses.

The conversion of the rail line from an abandoned trolley bed to a trail began in the late 1990s and has become what is known today as the Rhode Island Avenue Trolley Trail.

You can hop on the 82 Streetcar Line with this video by Greater Greater Washington which takes you from 5th & G in D.C. all way up to College Park.

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2 Responses to Relive the Streetcar Era Along Route 1

  1. Route 82 was also known as the “Maryland Line” for many years. Washington Railway & Electric Company 650, one of the many cars operated on this line, is preserved at National Capital Trolley Museum and awaits a major restoration. http://www.dctrolley.org/WRECo650.html

  2. Pingback: The Hyattsville Wire: Relive the Streetcar Era Along Route 1 | Alison Beckwith Consulting

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