Appleton Electric Trolley

In the 1892 publication Appleton Wis., Illustrated it states:

[Appleton] was the first city in the West to operate an electric street railway, and now has a model line, with richly upholstered vestibule cars and equipped with the very latest system of electric motors. The line is operated by the Appleton Edison Electric Co., which also furnishes the arc and incandescent electric lights."

From Thomas Henry Ryan's History of Outagamie County, Part 6:

"The first car arrived August 12; it was an open car built by the Pullman company and its motor was under the front platform. As soon as it arrived a large crowd gathered to see it at the station; two others arrived August 25."

The street car line began on August 16, 1886. The Street Railway Company (Judge J. E. Harriman, president) was in charge of the enterprise and route ran from State and Second St. (now Prospect Ave.) in the Old Third Ward to Riverside Cemetery. It was later expanded to reach farther west on Second street. The last trip was in April 6, 1930. A video of the final trip shows the view down State Street, turning the corner at Second. A glimpse of Hearthstone and the vacant land at the foot of State St. can be seen.

An historical marker on S. Olde Oneida St. has this inscription:

"On August 16, 1886 the Appleton Electric Street Railway Company began operation of the world's first commercially successful electric street railway. The cars were driven by Van Depoele direct current motors which received power from a hydroelectric generator through two trolley wires. In 1930, the expanded electric street railway system serving the cities of Appleton, Neenah, Menasha and Kaukauna was retired when bus service was begun to better serve the transportation needs of these communities."

The route of the Appleton Electric Street Railway system in 1889.

Portions of: Foote, C. M. 1849-1899. (Charles M.); Brown, Walter S. Plat Book of Outagamie County, Wisconsin, (1889). Used with permission of the Appleton Public Library. Ryan, Thomas Henry. History of Outagamie County, Wisconsin: Being a General Survey ... Including a History of the Cities, Towns and Villages ... Chicago: Goodspeed Historical Association, [1911?].