Saturday, July 22, 2006

The Asheville Trolley Tombstone

There is a tombstone on the South side of Haywood Road. The odd thing about this grave is that it’s not in a cemetery; rather, it stands between one of the most heavily trafficked streets in Asheville and an ATM.

This is the last resting place of the Asheville Trolley System. RIP: 1889 – 1934. It was put up to commemorate the old utility that had been such an important part of so many peoples lives.

Tombstone for the trolleyAs if it isn't ironic enough that a monument to public transit would be placed next to a drive-thru ATM; behind the tombstone there is a small puddle of oil left behind from someones leaking car. It’s almost as if an automobile had just finished urinating on it’s predecessors grave.

Despite living in West Asheville for four years, I had never noticed this landmark. Like most residents in my community, I’ve zipped by it for years without giving this grey slab a second thought. However, when you take public transit, you have a bit more time to notice and appreciate public works and monuments.

The tombstone inspired me to go to the library and look up the old trolley routes.

Since the names and locations of many roads have changed since the trolley system was closed in September of 1934, I’ve over-laid the old routes on top of modern up-to-date maps. In this way, you can better imagine where the trolleys used to run.

There was a lot of guesswork involved, and I wanted these maps to be as close to actually existing streets as possible. The primary resource I used was the book: Trolleys in the Land of the Sky by David Bailey, Joseph Canfield and Harold Cox.

I hope to have downtown and South Asheville done and posted here by this time tomorrow. ON EDIT: 07/21/2006 @ 21:00 EST - Okay the 3rd, and final map is now posted.


North Asheville old trolley routes

West Asheville old trolley route

For the explanation behind the Brainshrub Bus Project, click here.

To see all posts for the Brainshrub Bus Project, click here.

1 comment:

Lizzy said...

This makes me so sad! How awesome would it be if these lines still ran!!?? Maybe its just that I wish I were born in a different time period, but I look at the pictures of old Asheville with a teary eye. What a beautiful city it used to be!