Historic Resources & Photos

Welcome to the MSM website’s fledgling history section. This is definitely a work-in-progress and we anticipate adding more historic finds over time so keep checking back.

Interview

  • As part of the media coverage of the opening of the Green Line on June 14, 2014, MPR interviewed MSM member Bob Stevenson who operated streetcars on the Como-Harriet line in the early 1950s. To listen to the interview, click here

George Isaac’s Layout

  • This article from the June 1969 issue of Model Railroader magazine describes George’s layout along with 10 images. Click here.

PCC Car No. 325

  • Both MSM’s PCC No. 322 and PCC No. 325 were sold in 1953 to Newark, NJ. No. 325 operated in the Newark City Subway for 48 years before being retired and sold to the Rockhill Trolley Museum. To learn more about this streetcar, click here.

History

  • A brief history of transit in the Twin Cities from the horse drawn era to TCRT’s purchase by MTC in the 1970s – click here
  • Rapid Conversion Changes Twin City Transit Picture – This eight page article from the July 1954, Mass Transportation Magazine, describes in glowing terms the conversion of TCRT to an all bus system, a conversion that did, in fact, destroy one of the finest street railway systems in America.
    Warning – this is an 11 MB pdf file. Click here

Maps

  • 1946 map of Minneapolis streetcar lines (pdf) – click here
  • 1947 map of St. Paul streetcar lines (pdf) – click here
  • 1933 Color map of Twin City streetcar lines (pdf) – click here

From Streetcars to Light Rail

  • 1943 TCRT ridership data (pdf). Hiawatha’s record setting August ridership is still much lower than Selby-Lake and University Avenue lines once carried – click here
  • Investigation of existing streetcar tracks. A 2004 look at the feasibility of reusing the streetcar tracks under University Avenue for the Central Corridor light rail line. (It’s not a good idea) – click here

Other

  • Salt Lake City – Cost of building BRT with later conversion to LRT – 1998. Click here.

Historic Photos

Images from the collection of the Minnesota Streetcar Museum can be found in our contributions to the Minnesota Reflections digital library site.

The Minnesota Digital Library Coalition (MDLC) — professionals from libraries, archives, historical societies, and museums across Minnesota — is creating a digital collection of the state’s unique resources and special collections. The Minnesota Digital Library supports education, scholarship, and enrichment through Internet access to this collection. The MDLC provides a server and database environment and imaging support that is the technical foundation for current and future digitization activities.

Minnesota Reflections is the initial digitization effort of the MDLC. This digitization project, started in 2004, involves more than 150 participating historical societies, special archives, and libraries. The MDLC and participants digitized more than 135,000 unique photographs and images, collected the information on these images, and is creating a searchable database to help people access and use them.

Please read our policy on the Reproduction and Use of MSM Photographs and Images.

To order images from the Museum, note the “Local Identifier” number at the bottom of the text accompanying an image and visit the MSM Store to print an order form.

MSM has posted 2,546 images on Minnesota Reflections, including photos, equipment plans, advertisements and publicity brochures. To view a list of newly posted photos click here.

The complete Minnesota Reflections collection includes photos form other museums and contributors.

Search note: Using the basic search function at the top right of each page searches the entire collection. For example, searching for “Snelling” yields many images of Ft. Snelling. Using the “Advanced Search” function will allow you the select the exact collection you want to search.

Como-Harriet and Excelsior Streetcar Lines Multimedia

Video Clips

The Minnesota Streetcar Museum publishes occasional videos of our operations as well as historical operations on the museum’s official YouTube channel. Be sure to subscribe to the YouTube channel to receive automatic notifications when new content is posted.

  • Twin Cities Streetcars 101 – Minnesota Streetcar Museum historian Aaron Isaacs gives an introduction to the Twin Cities Rapid Transit company streetcar system which existed in Minneapolis and St. Paul Minnesota until June 1954.
  • Twin Cities Streetcar Types – Minnesota Streetcar Museum historian Aaron Isaacs gives a presentation on the history of the streetcar types operated in Minneapolis and St. Paul Minnesota by the Twin City Rapid Transit Company.
  • Twin City Lines Streetcar Facilities and Infrastructure – Minnesota Streetcar Museum historian Aaron Isaacs gives a presentation on the history of the facilities and infrastructure in Minneapolis and St. Paul Minnesota operated by the Twin City Rapid Transit Company.
  • Twin City Lines Streetcar Operations – Minnesota Streetcar Museum historian Aaron Isaacs gives a presentation on the day-to-day operation of streetcars in Minneapolis and St. Paul Minnesota by the Twin City Rapid Transit Company.
  • 2019 MSM Annual Meeting History Presentation – A history presentation by Minnesota Streetcar Museum Historian Aaron Isaacs at the March 23, 2019 Annual MSM Member Meeting. Topics included this year are Fargo-Moorhead streetcar film, St. Paul cable car operations (film from San Francisco), and the University of Minnesota Inter-Campus Streetcar Line.

The older video clips below can only be viewed using software supporting the Quicktime format.

PCC Car #322PCC Run By
PCC Car #322 passes by the Archery Range on its way to Lake Calhoun. (950KB)

#78 #78 Run By
Car #78 passes by the carbarn on its run to the end of the line in Excelsior. (921KB)

Berry Bridge Berry Bridge
Car 265 passes under William Berry Bridge in one of the Como-Harriet Streetcar Line’s most scenic sections. A toot of the whistle is standard operating procedure. (967KB)

Fast Track Fast Track
What if streetcars could go 200 miles an hour! Take a fast track tour of the Como-Harriet Streetcar Line’s one mile right-of-way. (1.05MB)

Station Stop Station Stop
Car 265 pulls into the siding and approaches the Linden Hills Station on the Como-Harriet Streetcar Line. (1.29MB) )

Leave StationLeave Station
All Aboard! Motorman Mike closes the doors, hits the foot gong, and applies power. Car 265 leaves the station with another load of passengers. (1.88MB)