Typewritten Transcripts from Oregonian and Street Railway Journal

In the 1950s[?], David L Stearns somehow went through The Morning Oregonian newspapers and transcribed articles having to do with the Metropolitan Railway Co.

These articles range from January 27, 1889 to May 20, 1892. The final page (23) has one quip from STREET RAILWAY JOURNAL for June 1892.

Page number from DLS typewritten pages, drawn in upper right corner.

There were 23 narrow-margined Typewritten pages of densely packed text.

Each scanned page is available for your examination by clicking on LOOK for that page. We would appreciate reports of any transcription errors.

(Parenthetical remarks are DLS commenting on something that stood out to him in the article, offering his interpretation, perspective, or clarification.)

[Bracketed remarks are by John E Miller.]

ibid - means same source and date citation as previous as previous citation.

ibid. loc. sit. - means on same page as previous citation

G(lisan) -- (lisan) was provided by DLS to refer to Glisan street where only G was used in the paper. DLS provided a number of modern street names for the reader. [JEM]

THIS NOTE by DLS appeared on PAGE 6: Usually in those days, the news was buried under so great an excess of verbiage: In this case, it should be recalled that Mr. Henry L. Pittock, publisher of the OREGONIAN, had been one of the original incorporators of this company. It appears possible he also was involved in the promotion of Fulton Park addition, as he was in Sellwood. Whether or not Harvey Scott, editor of the OREGONIAN, also was financially interested in these two companies is not of record found to date. In any event, the two were closely related to the Steel brothers in all their ventures, and this accounts for the excess of praise to the Metropolitan project at this time. ...)

A selected list of entries is on this page [LINK] -JEM



From the OREGONIAN, Sunday, January 27, 1889:
"Salem 1/26 - Articles of incorporation were filed today in the Secretary of State's office by the Metropolitan Railway Company, James Steel, H. L. Pittock, C. E. Smith, M. C. George and $. W. Walker, incorporators; object, to build a railroad from Portland to Oregon City on the west side of the Willamette river; principal office in Portland; capital stock, $200,000."

ibid., Tuesday, February 5, 1889:
"SECOND STREET RAILWAY - Some months singe a street railway track was laid on Second street from Washington to Alder. This, it is understood, was done in order to hold the franchise granted to Mr. G. B. Markle and others, forming the Traction Street Railway Company (sic; properly the Portland Traction company, first of three companies of that name.), to build a line along Second street to Sheridan, thence to South Front and along South Front to Porter, thence to Corbett and out Corbett to the city limits or thereabout The franchise requires that a mile of road be built by April 1st, so yesterday work was begun at Alder street, and by night the excavation for the ties had been completed as far as Morrison. The track is being laid on the east side of Second street, leaving room to lay a second track when desired."

ibid., Monday, March 11, 1889:
"At the last meeting of the common council a resolution extending Hood street to the city limits was adopted. The route surveyed for this extension makes the street end at a junction, with the old (Slavin) county road. a short distance above the present White House road (Macadam avenue), and it is the intention to have the electric motor line which is to run over the hills to Oregon City, come into Portland over Hood street to a depot somewhere in the vicinity of the public levee."

ibid., Thursday, April 11, 1889:
(An ad) "ELECTRIC MOTOR LINE - The projected electrical motor line, the narrow gauge railroad and the 100 foot public driveway to Portland will pass through the tract for sale by Campbell and Brush, No. 8 Stark Street."

ibid., Thursday, May 2, 1889:
"AN ELECTRIC ROAD - The Metropolitan Railway Company has had a force of engineers in the field running lines and locating its road for some weeks past. The company proposes to build and put in operation about four miles of road before the summer months are ended. This will give Fulton Park the benefit of three lines of railway, besides the White House and other roads . . . ."

ibid., loc. sit.:
"The ordinance extending the franchise of the Metropolitan Street Railway Company from Clay street down to Front and Yamhill was passed."

ibid., Thursday, May 30, 1889:
"THE ELECTRIC MOTOR ROAD" - "Work on the construction of the electric motor road from the foot of Yamhill street to Fulton Park is being pushed with great vigor and more progress has been made than the public are aware of. Out above the Italian gardens the right of way is cleared and considerable grading done and also above the Terwilliger place there is a long lane cut through the timber and a road bed graded for a considerable distance. At the end of Corbett street a force of men are clearing the right of way and a pile of lumber is on the ground for bridging the gulch. At other points on the line where bridges are needed lumber is piled ready for work and everything is


being done to push the work of construction ahead as fast as possible. The energy displayed shows that the company means business and there is no doubt about the road being completed on time. Before the public fairly realize it, Portland will have more electric, steam and cable roads than all the towns in the Northwest."

ibid., Saturday, June 1, 1889:
"Seattle 5/31 - The Northwestern Electric Supply and Construction Company has been,awarded a contract for the construction of seven and a half miles of electric' street railway.in Portland. Three and a.half miles are for the Willamette Bridge Railway Company and four miles for the Metropolitan Street Railway:Company." (NOTE - This company was northwest representative of the Sprague system of electric railway construction.)

"James Steel, of the latter company,,has been in Seattle during:the week, and has now returned to Portland, in company with S. E. Mitchell, president of the electric company. "The Portland.lines.will be of the Sprague electric railway system."

ibid., Wednesday, June 5, 1889:
"ELECTRIC MOTOR LINES - As inquiries are frequent in regard to the electric motor lines to be built here, it may be said for the satisfaction of all interested that contracts have been let to the Northwestern Electric Co., represented here by Mr. S. Z. Mitchell, to build two and a half miles of electric railway across the steel bridge to Fifth street (Grand avenue) and Albina, and also to build some four miles for the Metropolitan Railway Company from this city to Fulton Park.

"It must be understood that in building these roads the clearing and grading are done by the companies. They have contracted with the Sprague Electric Company for the dynamos, motors and electrical appliances for running the cars. Messrs, Shurtz and Tobin, who represent the Sprague Company, have stated that the company is mow supplying material for fifty-eight different lines in the United States aggregating 258 miles with 439 cars.

"The Northwestern Electric Company has the contract for building the road - that is, putting in the power house, putting up the wires and getting everything running.

"Work will begin on the line across the steel bridge in about ten days, and on the Metropolitan Company's line as soon as possible, so as to have it completed to Fulton Park by October."

(Two paragraphs on the W.B.Ry.Co. plans follow here.)

"The power-house for the Metropolitan Company's line will be near the middle of the line when it is completed to the cemeteries. The work of grading the line from the city limits to Fulton Park is being pushed, so that this part of the line may be in readiness for track-laying as soon as work can be commenced on the line inside the city from the south boundary down to the foot of Yamhill street."

ibid., Saturday, June 8, 1889:
"The work of raising the trestle over the gulch at the end of Corbett street on the electric motor line of the Metropolitan Railway Company -was begun yesterday. The trestles on the line are to be the most substantial in the state, the ties being of extra size and laid within half an inch of each other."

ibid., Thursday, June 20, 1889:
"CITY COUNCIL MEETING - . . . Ordinances amending the franchises and changing the routes of the Portland Traction Company and the Metropolitan Street Railway Company were introduced and read-twice."

"The changes of these two ordinances mean that the Traction Company's road will be laid on Second street to Grant street, down Grant to South Front and out South Front to Lane; and that the Electric street railway will be laid on Corbett street, instead of going out Hood street and crossing the second bridge thereon. These changes have been brought about by the Multnomah Driving Association, and will be a great convenience to the public as well as all person concerned."


ibid., Tuesday, June 25, 1889:
FULTON PARK ELECTRIC LINE (from a summary) "The Metropolitan Railway Company are pushing work vigorously on their electric motor line to Fulton Park. A large amount of work has been done in clearing and grading the right of way, and a part of the line has already been graded and the remainder will soon be ready for the plow and graders. There is some pretty heavy work on the line and a number of deep gullies to be crossed. Work is going ahead on the trestles which are being built in the most substantial manner, as it is intended to have the road first-class in every respect, and well fitted to carry the large travel which will pass over it, especially when it is completed to the cemeteries. The electric motors and other plant cannot be got here for two or three months, and by the time it arrives everything will be in readiness for it."

ibid., Sunday, June 30, 1889:
"The Metropolitan Street Railway Company yesterday ordered the steel rails for its electric road to Fulton Park. The machinery for its power station will be shipped from Erie, Pa., today. The road will be running in 90 days."

ibid., Friday, July 19, 1889:
"The Metropolitan Railway Company are just now busy pushing their road out to Fulton Park. Trestle number one, at the end of Corbett street, is already completed and much of the grading of the roadbed is finished. At Fulton Park a large force of men is at work getting the ground ready for the power house and machine station, the machinery for which is now en route from the East. The new road will be standard gauge, will be perfectly equipped, and will be strictly first class in every respect. Purchasers of property in Fulton Park are to be congratulated upon this promised early connection with the city and it is the opinion of those who have studied into the situation that rapid transit and cheap fares ought to quadruple values in that vicinity. All contracts on this line have been let with a view of having the entire road in operation by the first day of October next. That portion of the road, however, from Yamhill street out to the city limits will not be touched until the other end is finished, after which it will be pushed to a rapid completion and be ready to turn over, in a finished condition, at the time of the opening of the suburban section."

(It should be noted here that Fulton Park was platted and placed on the market by the Southwest Portland Real Estate Company, incorporators of which were James Steel, C. S. McDougall, George A. Steel and Joseph Simon.)

ibid., Tuesday, August 20, 1889:
"The grading for the Metropolitan Electric Motor line is completed, except for the last trestle (of four major trestles), and the machinery will arrive in ten days. The power house will be located in Fulton Park. It will be 100 x 36 feet. The cars will be run into the upper part on grade, and the machinery will be in the lower story (with) room for a duplicate plant. Work will be begun on the electrical construction this week and it will be pushed with all possible speed."

ibid., Friday, August 23, 1889:
"THE ELECTRIC LINE BEING BUILT - The Metropolitan Railway Company have brought suit against William and Agnes Reid in the state circuit court for right of way through Connecticut street (the present SW Brier Place, where the grade is still clear, just below Barbur Blvd). Mr. Reid and wife claim to have the exclusive right on Connecticut."

ibid., Sunday, August 25, 1889:
"PURCHASED THE FRANCHISE - The Metropolitan Railway Company who are building an electric motor line 'to Fulton Park, have purchased the franchise of the (Portland Traction Company), giving them the privilege to build, maintain and operate a line of railway along South Second street, Second, North Second streets from Caruthers to the railway depots at the north end. The


original intention of the Metropolitan company was to build in on Corbett street and to turn down and come in on Water and Front streets to the foot of Yamhill street.

"The purchase of the franchise to Second street from Messrs. DeLashmutt, Markle and others, will necessitate considerable change in the plans of the Metropolitan company. It will relieve them from building down Front street, for the present at least, and will render a change of route necessary by which they can reach Second street from Corbett. The building of an electric motor line along Second street will materially enhance the value of property on that street, and will do more toward removing the Chinese from the street than anything else.

"The company intend to put in a first-class road and to carry passengers from the depots to Fulton Park for 5 cents. The roadbed from the city limits to Fulton Park is practically completed, and the iron, motors, cars, etc., are on their way from the East. When work is begun on that part of the line within the city limits, it will be pushed with vigor and the company expect to have the greater part of the line done by the middle of October.

"The days of the horse car are passed, and when the electric motor line is completed through the length of the city, the other street car companies will be obliged to substitute for the slow, overworked horses, a motive power which will be up to the progress of the times, and rapid transit will take the place of slow transit."

ibid., Sunday, September 1, 1889:
(from an interview with George A. Steel) "'One thing is certain, the electric line of the Metropolitan and Fulton Park Railway is not only to be built, but it is a fixed fact that cars will be running on their line some time during October of the present year. (sic) As this will be the first electric road built out of this city the public is watching the work with a great deal of interest, and at its completion it will solve in a most satisfactory manner the problem of cheap and rapid communication between the heart of Portland and the outlying districts through which it will pass. The denizens along the new line are anxiously awaiting the time when the cars of the electric road will be running regularly.'" (Mr. Steel then continues to explain about his real estate development at Fulton Park, which the line was intended to stimulate.)

ibid., Thursday, September 5, 1889:
"An ordinance authorizing the Metropolitan Railway Co. to construct and operate a street railway on certain streets was introduced. This was intended to provide for a change of route for their line, allowing them to come down Corbett street to Gibbs, up that street to Front, and from Front up Grant to Second, so as to utilize the franchise they purchased on Second street from the Traction Railway Company (sic). The ordinance was read twice and referred to the street committee."

ibid., Friday, September 6, 1889:
"Rails for over two miles of the Fulton Park Electric Motor Line have arrived, also a carload of bolts and fishplates. The dynamos are on the way and will soon be here. Active operation will be begun on the Second street line before long."

ibid., Monday, September 9, 1889:
"Teams were at work yesterday stringing steel rails along Second street for the proposed electric motor line, an evidence that the company are in earnest about pushing forward the work of construction, and it is likely that much sooner than people imagine, they will be able to ride in the electric motor cars from G(lisan) street to Fulton Park."

(NOTE - The same paper carried the story of opening of the Hawthorne avenue motor line, steam, of the Mt. Tabor Street Railway Company, covered elsewhere in these notes. This was the beginning of the East Side Ry. Co., with which the Steel brothers later became affiliated.)


ibid., Monday, September 16, 1889:
Quoted from a general review of Portland's industries and progress, appearing in this edition) "The Sprague Electric Railway and Motor Company, through their agents, Shurtz and Tobin, have contracts with the Willamette Bridge Railway Company, the Metropolitan Railway company and the Multnomah Street Railway company. The company have more than sixty roads in the United States."

"These cars will climb our hills at a rate of speed that will make horse car traffic a bore."

ibid., Friday, September 20, 1889:
"SECOND STREET MOTOR LINE - Track is laid from G(lisan) to Ash street. The plank must be removed from next to the rails and replaced with stone block as required in the franchise. The present hazard is great. The track has been run too close to the curb on the curve where north Second meets Second street (at Ankeny) and the track must be moved, the (street) committee says."

ibid., Tuesday, September 24, 1889:
(quoting the annual report of the Board of Trade) "The Metropolitan Railway company is pushing work vigorously and part of the line is graded. The trestles are being built. They have bought the franchise of the Traction Railway company (sic) on Second street and the line is expected to be running from the north end depots to Fulton Park by the middle of October."

ibid., loc. sit.:
"The Fulton Park Motor Company is laying track on Second street, having purchased the franchise that street from the Portland Traction Company. The scene of operations, is between Taylor and Morrison streets.

ibid., Monday, October 7, 1889:
"The Multnomah Street Railway Company has put in a double crossing at the intersection of Washington and Second streets, taking out the single track crossing put in by the Metropolitan Street Railway company when they laid the track for their electric motor line."

ibid., Tuesday, October 8, 1889:
"Men were put to work yesterday laying the second track for the electric motor line on Second street. The narrow gauge line used by the horse cars was torn up. At quitting time last evening, track had been laid from Washington to Alder street.

"The ordinance granting a franchise to the Metropolitan company to lay a double track on G(lisan), Second, North Front, Gibbs and Corbett streets, and repealing all ordinances granting franchises to such company as well as to the Portland Traction Company, was reported back with amendments by the committee on streets and referred to the City Attorney, with instructions tc make such amendments thereto as may be necessary to prevent the placing of more than one double line of track upon Second street."

ibid., Wednesday, October 9, 1889:
"The Metropolitan are taking up the track laid by their predecessors, the Traction Company, between Washington and Alder and are putting in a switch or turnout. The Metropolitan company have their track laid from G(lisan) street to Grant, and from Fulton Park toward the city two miles, and are erecting the poles as fast as the track progresses. They will reach the city limits by the end of the week, and the track will be connected up by the end of next week. The power house at Fulton Park is up, the floor laid and part of the machinery in. No lack of vigor is displayed by the company."

ibid., Sunday, October 13, 1889:
THE NEW ELECTRIC ROAD - Weather Permitting Cars Will Be Running to Fulton Park By the 15th of November at the Latest - Work is being crowded forward


on the Metropolitan railway between Portland and Fulton Park as fast as men and money can push it. The line is now laid down Second street as far as G(lisan), and for the entire distance between the terminus in this city and Fulton Park the road is practically completed. The company yesterday shipped two carloads of machinery over the 'West Side' (to) their southern terminus. This shipment included the boilers, engines and dynamos for the new power station at Fulton Park. The new road will do more to enhance the value of property along Second street on which it runs and south of the city than all other agencies combined. The completion of this road will not only have the effort of bringing the outlaying (sic) districts to the south of the city within easy communicating distance of Portland proper, but it will also open up a channel of travel in that direction that will greatly rebound (sic) to the immediate benefit of property owners whose holdings lie along the line of this road. A ride over the new line will be one. of the most popular out of Portland and will present one of the grandest sketches of scenery in the world. There is perhaps ho property contiguous to this line upon which its completion will exert a greater influence than on Fulton Park. This road will terminate here, and as this tract contains some of the most eligible building sites in or around Portland, it will doubtless become in the course of a short time, one of the best residence portions of the city. The projectors of this enterprise are deserving of the greatest credit for the work they have done in building an expensive road that in completeness and equipment will be second to no other electric road on the continent, as it will be of the greatest benefit not alone to the City, but to the outlying districts as well, it is certainly worthy of the hearty support and encouragement of everyone at all interested in the continued prosperity of Portland. In this connection it may be well to state that the current of electricity that will be passed through the wires connecting with the cars of the line will not exceed 500 volts, one that does not begin to approach the intensity of the current of electricity necessary for an electric light circuit, so that the danger apprehended by many of the citizens from these wires by possible contact with the human body is reduced to the smallest possible degree. Even were a circuit formed by such connection it is exceedingly doubtful if the results would even approach fatality. The new line will be in successful operation by the 15th of the coming month unless some unforseen (sic) circumstance intervenes and it will be welcome news to the residents of this city to learn that the fare over this road will not exceed 5 cents."

(NOTE by DLS) - Usually in those days, the news was buried under so great an excess of verbiage: In this case, it should be recalled that Mr. Henry L. Pittock, publisher of the OREGONIAN, had been one of the original incorporators of this company. It appears possible he also was involved in the promotion of Fulton Park addition, as he was in Sellwood. Whether or not Harvey Scott, editor of the OREGONIAN, also was financially interested in these two companies is not of record found to date. In any event, the two were closely related to the Steel brothers in all their ventures, and this accounts for the excess of praise to the Metropolitan project at this time - in contrast to a later period when Pittock and Scott were more interested in keeping the Metro from building to Oregon City, in competition with their East Side Ry project.)

ibid., Monday, October 14, 1889:
Track for the Metropolitan is laid from Glisan, along Second to Grant and down Grant to First. "The track runs on the west side of Second and seems to have barely room to swing down Grant as it hugs the corner and runs down the north aide of Grant. In case another track is laid on Second, in turning down Grant it will have to cross the one already laid down and go down the south side of Grant, which will be a queer arrangement. However, as the turn is made at Front street the tracks will probably cries-cross again and each get back on its own side of the street." (NOTE - Our 1901 trackage map indicates there was only single track on Grant at this point.)

ibid., Tuesday, November 5, 1889:
"SECOND STREET MOTOR LINE - The track of the Second street electric motor line is laid away out Front street and down Gibbs toward Corbett, and the poles


for carrying the wires have been set away in to the Front street bridge. They present a very gay appearance, with about six feet of the base painted a deep green and the upper part, a cream color and the cross arms a vermillion red." (Keep this livery in mind for the cars, as well.)

IBID., Wednesday, November 20, 1889:
"Work goes on quietly but rapidly on the Electric motor line on Second street. The poles are set and painted all the way from Fulton Park down into the heart of the city and. are strung along the street clear down to the end of the line at G(lisan) street. A single track is laid the whole length of the line and the iron is going ahead for the second track. The machinery is being set up in the power house at Fulton Park, and two cars are standing on the track awaiting the animating touch of the electric current to put them in motion. Wires are strung along the poles away into the city, and cross wires to support the overhead wires are in position a good part of the way. It will not be long now until cars are running up and down Second street if nothing happens."

ibid., Thursday, November 28, 1889:
"Two electric motor cars for the Second street line are on flat cars at the terminal grounds (of the transcontinental lines, obviously). They are covered with rough boards to protect them from injury, but it can be seen that they are painted green around the bottom and a light color above, the same as are the poles set by the company. They appear to be very handsomely trimmed and finished."

ibid., Sunday, December 1, 1889:
"Two elegant vestibuled cars for the Metropolitan Company's Second street electric line arrived over the Union Pacific yesterday evening. The cars are twenty one feet in length and will seat about forty people. In appearance they are as attractive as any of the vestibuled: coaches on the regular railway lines. All told, the company will have eight cars, six of these are supplied with motors, while the other two have none."

ibid., Monday, December 2, 1889:
"It was not the most pleasant kind of a day for outside work yesterday, but there were a good many persons at work nevertheless, probably in view of the fact that there is likely to be worse weather during the month. A gang of men were at work stringing wire on the Metropolitan electric motor line. The copper overhead wire is strung in as far as the second bridge on South Front street, on which a huge coil was lying yesterday ready for business. The wires along the sides of the street are further advanced and everything is being pushed along with the intention of having the cars run by the 10th inst.[?] A number of men were also at work on Second street between Alder and Washington putting in a second track, which may be used as a turnout if the council comply [sic] with the request of the company to extend the time for completing the road.

"The franchise calls for the completion of both tracks by April 5. Many property owners have asked that the laying of the second track be put off till next Spring, as doing work in Winter makes such a mess of the streets. The company asked the council, for this reason, to extend the time for completing the track, but no action was taken on the matter at the last meeting. So the company has begun to work on the second track as, if is has to finish it by the time stated in its franchise, it has no time to lose. If the council at its next meeting should grant the extension asked for, the portion of the second track laid oh Second street will be used as a turnout; if not, the work will be carried on to completion as fast as possible.

ibid., Tuesday, December 3, 1889:
"The two handsome Pullman vestibule cars for the Metropolitan electric


motor line were on exhibition on the track at the corner of Second and Morrison and Second and Washington yesterday and were much admired. They are certainly much finer than anything of the kind seen here before. Last evening, a pair of horses was attached to each and they were drawn up to Second and Grant streets. Notwithstanding that nearly everybody in these days knows something about the power of electricity, the spectacle of one of these large heavy cars, loaded with passengers, moving up a stiff grade by the force of a current of the electric fluid conveyed by a single wire, pauses a feeling of admiration and wonder in all beholders."

ibid., Saturday, December 7, 1889:
"The copper wire which is to carry the electric current for running the cars on Second street, is strung the entire length of the line. Yesterday a tall structure on wheels, which might have been the skeleton of the celebrated Trojan horse, was being drawn along the track, while a man on the top of it examined the tension of the cross wires which support the overhead wire. These crosswires are attached to ratchets on the poles, and whenever one was found to be too slack a pole climber swarmed up with a wrench and tightened it. The power house is about ready for operation, and as the cars are on the track and the wires strung, things are coming to a focus, and the cars will be running sometime within ten days."

ibid., Friday, December 20, 1889:
" . . . . Metropolitan Street Railway Company are contemplating starting cars on Second street tomorrow. They have been finishing up things at the power house, Fulton Park, and getting in a hydraulic ram to furnish a supply of water for their engines. The cars will be running along Second Street in a few days anyhow."

ibid., Saturday, December 21, 1889:
"LOOK: OUT FOR THE CAR! - Another electric motor car will probably be coming into town from the south. It will be on the Second street line, and will make an experimental trip. The road will, it is expected, be open on Christmas day. Owing to the wheels of the cars on this line having flanges wider than usual, workmen were employed yesterday, in cutting deeper grooves in the wooden block along the track to allow them to pass."

ibid., Friday, December 27, 1889:
"The cars will begin to make regular trips on the line of the Metropolitan Railway Company on January 1."

ibid., Sunday, December 29, 1889:
"Large numbers of people stood looking at the new Second street electric cars yesterday, as they sailed up and down the street or stood resting on the lines. The trials proved satisfactory all around, and regular trips will begin on Wednesday."

ibid., Wednesday, January 1, 1890:

"LIGHTNING IN HARNESS "In response to invitations sent' out by the Metropolitan Railway Company, headed 'Lightning Harnessed', and stating that a trial trip would be made over the company's road from G(lisan) street to Fulton Park yesterday, the cars to start from G(lisan) street at 1:30 P.M., some 200 gentlemen were promptly on hand at First (sic) and Washington at the hour named, ready and anxious to ride.

"Through some misunderstanding the cars did not put in their appearance on time, and the crowd waited as patiently as possible until 2:15 o'clock, when the cars were seen coming down the street. In short order they were filled with the waiting guests and then ran down to G street, where some little delay occurred.

"At 20 minutes to 3 o'clock the cars started and speeded merrily, up the street, people coming to the windows and the sidewalk being lined with persons desirous of seeing how the electric cars worked.


"They ran along smoothly and steadily, reaching Morrison street in five minutes, no effort being made to hurry. The four cars climbed the steep grade from Mill street to Harrison without difficulty, moving along apparently with as much ease as on the level, although the plant is not calculated to run so many heavily loaded cars up the grade at the same time.

"Turning down Grant street, Front was soon reached, and the cars bowled across the high bridges to Gibbs street, down which they went to Corbett, and soon reached the city limits. Beyond this (the present S.W. Hamilton street) the road runs down a grade and through a deep cut into the timber, and then across a high trestle and through many more heavy cuts, and up a long grade, and finally out on the brow of the hill, along which it follows a little below the O&C line, to the power house in Futon Park. For the last mile or so there is a beautiful view of the gardens along the White House road, the town of Fulton, the Willamette river and country beyond, extending to the Cascades, with Mt. Hood looming grandly in the distance."

(It should be noted here that this was one of those delightful, sparkling days which often occur in Portland in January. But there was a dust of snow on the ground, and those gardens along the White House road must have been just a trifle hard to distinguish. I suspect the party was convivial! - DLS)

"There were slight delays on the trip inseparable from the starting of new and complicated machinery run by men new to the business, but the time made was very satisfactory and convinced all that the distance would be covered in astonishingly short time when everything was in complete trim.

"At the power house (precisely where the school playground stands today, on the southeast corner of the present SW First and Logan) [DLS remark is inaccurate here! --JM] all alighted and went through the building and examined the machinery.

"The power house is 120x36 feet. On the second floor is the car house in which were four handsome cars, two of them being open at the sides, a construction car and some cars for hauling dirt, to be used in widening the cuts.

"On the floor above this are three fine sleeping rooms lighted by electricity and warmed by steam as in the building throughout.

"In the basement is the boiler room containing two large boilers and the engine, and dynamos.

"Mr. R. Thomas, formerly of the Willamette iron works, has charge of the engine. It is a Ball engine of 150 horse power, and capable of running at 226 revolutions per minute. It is a beautiful piece of machinery, and was much admired for the steady and noiseless manner in which it runs.

"There are two Edison dynamos of seventy horse power each, and the wall near is covered with indicators, switches, and other electrical apparatus, which Mr. E. L. Fuller, the superintendent of the company, explained to those who comprehend them. The base of the dynamos when they are running becomes a very powerful magnet, and a large iron wrench when placed against one of them required a strong pull to get it away.

"The ground in the vicinity of the power house has been cleared and several handsome cottages built thereon, and more buildings are going up. There is fine view from the park and plenty of beautiful places for building, which, now that the motor line is completed, will speedily be utilized.

"At 4 o'clock the party started on their return much pleased with the trip. The excursionists were astonished at the amount of work done on the road, and spoke in very complimentary terms of the energy and enterprise of Messrs James and George Steel, who have given Portland her first electric road.

(NOTE that the Albina line of the Willamette Bridge Ry. Co., opened exactly two months previously, barely entered the city of Portland, as then composed and was built principally in East Portland and Albina.)

"There are many beautiful spots along the line and in Fulton park which will be utilized for picnics next summer. The road is to be extended to the cemetery and perhaps beyond, and while greatly enhancing the value of the property through which it passes will doubtless prove a profitable investment.


"There will be only two trains run to Fulton park today on account of the work being done on the line. They will leave G(lisan) street at 1 and 3 o'clock PM., respectively.

"For the present the fare to or from any point in the city limits (including any point on Corbett street as far north as Abernethy street) to Fulton Park, or intermediate points will be 5 cents. In other words, two fares will be collected from through passengers going or coming outside of the city limits, but in consideration of the Southwest Portland Real Estate Company having given material aid in the construction of the road, commutation tickets are issued to that company and by it sold to the residents and property holders at Fulton Park for 5 cents. These tickets are good from Fulton Park to C street and intermediate points and vice versa."

ibid., Wednesday, January 1, 1890 (from the YEAR END REVIEW SECTION):

"Electricity' as applied for motive power for street cars, is a comparatively new application of the most wonderful of nature's forces. A year ago the people of-Portland had only a vague idea of electric railroads, and today they see them in practical and successful operation. Portland's first road was the line from the western approach to the OR&N Co's steel bridge to Albina, and has been in successful operation for the past two months. The next road was the Metropolitan railway, which.started at the Northern Pacific passenger depot and extends to the flourishing suburb of Fulton Park. The other two lines under construction are the_ line to Woodstock and the Multnomah Street Railway Company's Washington street line, both of which are to be completed within the next sixty days.

"The power to run these roads is generated by steam, the engine used being high-speed automatic, belted direct to the dynamo, and electrical current id carried from the dynamos to the motors by the medium of the overhead wires. This current is at a pressure of 500 volts, which is not dangerous to human life, as is evidenced by its daily use on over 200 roads in the country. Each car is equipped with two 15 horse power motors, one suspended from and geared to each axle, and are entirely independent of the car body.

(Sprague's 'bicycle mounting')

Should a motor become disabled it can be 'cut out' and then the car operated with one motor.

(NOTE - It appears probable this data was obtained from the Fulton Park line, but all lines operated similarly;)

"The cars are controlled by switches on each platform; operated with handles by the driver. A turn of the switch one way will start the car ahead, but should an accident be imminent due to an obstruction on the track, by another turn of the switch the machinery is reversed and the car brought to a standstill. The importance of this cannot be overestimated, especially in crowded thoroughfares.

"Cars operated by electricity are run at a cost of from one-third to one-half less than with horses, the ratio varying with the number of cars run, and give the public quicker, better and cleaner service. . . . .

"The overhead wire system in use here is the best known to electrical science at the present day, the various storage battery and conduit systems having not yet reached a point where they are reliable and economical. . . . .

"Overhead wires and poles are considered unsightly by many, but they are far more pleasing to the eye than a tired and jaded horse toiling up a hill.

"The-electric cars climb a ten per cent grade with perfect ease, and herein is one secrete of their great success, while on a level road they can run any speed up to twenty five miles an hour, the speed varying with the gearing. With cars in use here 12 turns of the motor shaft, or armature, causes the Oar wheel to turn once.

"Watches are not affected in the least by the motors and there is perfect security from receiving any shock while riding in the car as all parts are thoroughly and effectively insulated.


"The Metropolitan Railway Company was incorporated under the laws of Oregon, in January, 1889, with a capital stock of $400,000, controlled and operated b: G. A. Steel, president and manager; John H. Burgard, secretary; James Steel, treasurer; and Alfred F, Sears, sr., engineer and superintendent.

"The first intention of the proprietors of the line was to build from the


intersection of Jefferson and Water streets, or narrow gauge depot, in a southward direction, ultimately reaching Oregon City. The wiser plan, however, was adopted of making the depots at the north end of the city the Portland terminus, and the franchise of the Portland Traction Company was purchased for this purpose. This gave the company a line from G(lisan) street along North Second, South Second, Grant, South Front, Gibbs and Corbett streets to the southern limits of the city, thence on to Fulton Park. At the latter place the company's car station and power house is located, where all the power is generated. The building is most ample for all necessary purposes, costing alone about $10,000. In the lower portion, or basement of the building is placed all the machinery, whilst the upper portion, on grade with the road, is used for office, etc., there being three tracks on the floor, with capacity for 15 cars. Under each track pits are arranged, so that motors can most easily be cleaned after the day's run. Above the floor are three commodious and convenient rooms for employees, and a water tank of 5000 gallons is also placed here, where, in conjunction with a large well in the basement, an ample supply of water can be retained for emergencies.

"The company commence operations with six motor cars for passengers, and one for construction purposes, each of which is fitted and propelled by two 15 horse power Motors. The cars have sufficient power for their own propulsion as well as trailing additional ones, which it is their intention to add as business demands."

"The company expect to extend their line to Riverside (sic) and other cemeteries contiguous thereto, early in the spring, and as soon as practicable to extend the road to Oregon City. The road is now completed to Fulton Park, a distance.of 4.15 miles from G(lisan) street - and is built in a most thorough manner - standard gauge.

"Taking it all together, this is one of the most valuable street and suburban roads in the whole Northwest. It not only passes through the most desirable part of the city, but the suburban line cannot be excelled in the world for scenic effect, and must be exceedingly popular for residents and tourists."

ibid., Thursday, January 2, 1890:
"DRIVEN BY LIGHTNING. - The electric cars were running on Second street yesterday and were extensively patronized. There has been no schedule arranged as yet, and the cars ran almost any way. They buzzed along at a great rate up hill and down, and on the level as long as they were kept a proper distance apart. People never seemed to tire of watching them run and wondering how a little wire could carry power enough to drive such heavy cars. When three cars attempted to climb the steep grade up to Harrison street all close together the wire demurred and one of the cars had to wait a while. In a day or two when everything has been figured down to a system, the cars will run without a hitch and make time that will astonish the natives."

ibid., Sunday, January 5, 1890:
"Passengers wishing to go to Fulton Park today will be transferred from Second street cars to a car on Corbett street, in front of the Orphan's Home from which point trips will be made half hourly."

ibid., Thursday, January 9, 1890:
"THE LIGHTNING BEATS HORSES - People are beginning to get somewhat accustomed to the electric motor cars on second street, and find out that it won't do to stand talking half a block away if they expect to ride on them. Some cannot grasp the idea that there is any difference between harnessed lightning and a jaded horse, and step off the electric cars in motion as carelessly as they did off a horse car. They find it won't do and don't try it a second time, for they don't like to be sent whizzing into a snow pile.

"The road started up under the most unfavorable circumstances possible as to weather, and the regular trips and fast time made have astonished the


natives. Messrs. James and George Steel who have had to carry the whole burden of the road, are more than pleased with the success that has crowned their effort

"'It was rather discouraging work for a time,' said one of them to a friend. 'We thought at first we could get in as far as Columbia street for about $50,000, but when the road was finished down to G(lisan) street we were out between $160,000 and $175,000.'

"This is considerable money to venture in a scheme in which no one else would take any stock. However, it is all right now, and no expense has been spared in the matter of rolling stock, as the cars are of the best, handsome and roomy; and to see one of them, with forty or fifty passengers, going up the steepest grade on the line faster than horses can drag a car on the level is something which makes people stop and wonder. To see these large cars gliding up and down the street in the evening, brilliantly lighted by electricity, makes one think this is an age of progress indeed."

ibid., Saturday, January 11, 1890:
"STOPPED FOR WANT OF WATER - Travel was suspended on the Second street electric motor line yesterday, and there was much wonderment over the matter and all kinds of dreadful electrical phenomena were imagined to be the cause. '0h! I tell you,' said one, 'this electricity won't do to tie to. The horse cars are slower, but they get there all the same.' Another predicted that the motors had burned up, and the probability was that something terrible had happened. After a while the cars came humming along all right, and it was found that the trouble was caused by a scarcity of water, which necessitated the stoppage of the engine at the power house. This scarcity of water seems almost incredible in Oregon, but it is probably to be attributed to the freeze-up. The company put in a hydraulic ram to furnish water for the boilers in the power house, and as they were in a hurry at the time they did not dig deep enough or wide enough to secure a sufficient supply during a freeze-up. As soon as the rain begins, they will have more water than they want." (How true, how TRUE!)

ibid., Sunday January 12, 1890:
"Owing to an insufficient supply of water, caused by freezing weather; the Second street electric car line was compelled to stop running their cars yesterday. The company are now putting in a steam pump, which will furnish an abundant supply for all purposes at their power house. Pending the putting of the pump in place, no cars will be run over the road today."

ibid., Monday, January 20, 1890:
"The Chinese residents on Second street are complaining of the electric road. They do not like the looks of the sparks which fly from the track and the overhead wire occasionally, and say that the electricity makes them sick. They should remember that if they get la grippe (recently epidemic all over the country) from an electric road, they would be much worse off if they had a cable road along the Street."

(You figure it out; I don't get it either! DLS) OOPS! SURE I DO!

ibid., Thursday, January 30, 1890:
"Washington street near Second, where the bituminous rock pavement was broken up in removing a switch of the Metropolitan Street railway and putting in a second track, is in very rough condition. The company will, it is supposed, put everything to rights as soon as the weather permits."

ibid., loc. sit.:
STILL NO SECOND STREET CARS - The electric cars are not yet running on Second street and it will be a day or two, perhaps longer before they will be seen spinning up and down that thoroughfare. The taking of the cars out to the power house at Fulton Park, was a great mistake and misfortune for the company. During Saturday night the banks of a cut caved on the track, and, before this could be cleared away, the storm came on and other landslides followed. The cars were brought past one obstruction, and ties and rails were sent out to build a temporary track over the worst obstruction, but, before they reached their destination, the road was blocked by another slide. The extraordinary rains and the frost coming out of the ground brought down masses of dirt from the walls of [? - JEM]


ibid., Monday, February 3, 1890:
"The electric cars ware running along as usual yesterday. Only three cars were running, but the service was frequent and speedy."

ibid., Saturday, February 8, 1890:
'FOR A CENTRAL STATION - The Metropolitan Street Railway Company has leased e south annex of the Mechanics' pavilion for a central station*, and large doors have been put into the Second street end and a track laid the whole length of the annex. This will be a convenience to the company and the public (*-NOTE - This refers to a power station and carbarn, facility only.)

ibid., Tuesday, February 11, 1890:
"STREET RAILWAY NOTES - The Metropolitan Street Railway Company expect to have the obstructions on their line removed and the cars running to Fulton park in two weeks."

ibid., Sunday, February 16, 1890:
"The electric cars on Second street are now running with promptness and regularity and making excellent time. Since the new station was established at the Pavilion it has proved a great convenience to the company, and the cars have been enabled to run on schedule time and annoying waits on switches are avoided. The cars are largely patronized by persons who wish to take a pleasant trip to the sightly section at the south city limits. The road from the city limits to Fulton Park which was obstructed by landslides will be open in two weeks and will be operated regularly thereafter. This will be a favorite ride when the weather gets warm for those who wish to stroll in the country and gather the flowers of spring."

ibid., Monday, February 17, 1890:
"The electric motor is run with such speed along the lower end of Second street that the trolley frequently slips the 'track', and the rod strikes against the wires which connect the poles along the street to steady the electric wires, with sufficient force to break them. This is especially true at the switch between Stark and Oak streets. After the wire is broken one end falls to the sidewalk, but as there is no current in it it does nothing worse than scare pedestrians who happen to be passing. If the motors were to go at a little slower rate of speed these accidents would not occur. At any rate, there is no need scaring people out of a whole year's growth. The wires which fall to the ground are not loaded, but everybody does not know that."

ibid., Wednesday, February 19, 1890:
"THE HORSE WANTED THE WHOLE STREET - About 6:30 yesterday evening, as electric car no. 13 was going up Second street it was brought to a sudden standstill between Morrison and Yamhill by a runaway horse that wanted the whole street. The horse hitched to a laundry delivery wagon, was driven by Claud Pater, of the La Grande laundry, On Third and Mill streets. Usually the horse is as docile as en aged mule, and if any fault ever was found, it was in that it lacked the one essential of speed. Last evening, however, Mr. Pater had no fault to find with the horse on this score. Whether it was under the 'fluence' of the electric current or whether it expected to get a shock, Mr. Pater does not know,',but he does know that through some mysterious agency the horse was impelled forward at the rate of a lightning express. He was unable to check it and as he approached the electric car he was still powerless to get it off the track.

"Just before the horse reached the car it left the track. The car and wagon then came together with considerable force. One of the shafts and the singletree were broken and then the horse began to kick off the dashboard in regulation Mexican broncho style.

"Mr. Pater was thrown out and sustained several painful bruises on one leg. The horse escaped uninjured and several panes of glass were shattered in the front of the electric car.

"Had the car not been at a standstill when the horse dashed into it, the collision would have resulted far more disastrous. The wagon was removed from


the track and then the car proceeded on its way while old Mr. Pater gathered himself together and set out for his home."

ibid., Saturday, February 22, 1890:
"It is expected that the work of clearing out the cuts on the (Metropolitan) Company's electric motor line will be completed by Wednesday and that the cars will then run out to Fulton Park. This will be a very joyful thing for the company as well as for those who reside at the park and those who want to."

ibid., Saturday, March 1, 1890:
"The line of the Metropolitan Railway Company has been cleared and the-electric cars will run out to Fulton Park from 9 AM to 6 PM on Sunday. A great many have anxiously been waiting for an opportunity to ride out to that beautiful suburb."

ibid., Sunday, March 2, 1890:
"Metropolitan cars will run again if the weather is good."

ibid., Monday, March 17, 1890:
"Yesterday afternoon as the 2 o'clock motor car was coming in from Fulton Park, it jumped the track just this side of the curve, at the head of Front street. Luckily no one was seriously injured. One lady was thrown from the car and fell on her face, which was bruised by striking the aide of the car as she fell. A young man had his wrist sprained, and several others were badly shaken up and frightened. The conductor in charge of that car should be careful in passing through the cuts on his route, as there is danger of caving banks or other obstructions."

ibid., Sunday, March 23, 1890:
"The Albina electric line and the Second street electric line have made arrangements to transfer their Passengers at the steel bridge taking effect Monday morning, March 24. This entitles passengers going to Albina to take the Second street electric line anywhere in the city and receive a transfer across the steel bridge. Transfers will not be issued on Sundays."

ibid., Monday, March 24, 1890:
"ALBINA NEWS - For some time past the company of the Albina electric car line has been negotiating with the Second-street electric company to transfer passengers either way, at the Portland end of the steel bridge. This arrangement has now been consummated and will go into effect today. This was a much-needed accommodation and will give great satisfaction to the working class and the public in general."

ibid., Saturday, March 29, 1890:
"The work of putting down a second track on Second street has been begun down on North Front street, and the work will be pushed as fast as possible to the south city limits. The rails are strung along the line. It is expected that the double track will 1)e finished by May 1, and as six more cars have been ordered, the company will then be able to give much more efficient service that at present as with the present number of turnouts it is not practicable to run any more cars than are now in use."

ibid., Sunday, March 30, 1890:
"The work of ballasting a portion of the Second-street motor line is progressing at a lively rate, and the roadbed bids fair soon to be in first class condition from G(lisan) street to Fulton Park. During the week four trips are -made clear through to the end of the road. Trips are not made oftener for the reason that it would interfere with the work of ballasting, and then the weather has been so disagreeable for several weeks past. Today, weather permitting, trips will be made at an interval of every fifteen or twenty minutes through to Fulton Park from Third avenue. (SW Hamilton street)".


ibid., Wednesday, April 9, 1890:
"The Metropolitan Street Railway Company have completed the laying of their second track from G(lisan) street up to Oak, and by connecting with the switch a short distance above will have the track completed to way above Yamhill. Before anyone thinks of it, they will have a double track to the city limits and will then be able to run cars more frequently."

ibid., Thursday, April 10, 1890:
"The Metropolitan Street Railway Company expect to have their second tract completed to the city limits by May 1 or at the latest by May 10. They have six very elegant open cars now being shipped by the Pullman company, and the motors for these are already here."

ibid., Sunday, April 27, 1890:
"TAKE THE ELECTRIC CAR" (This is a combined ad for real estate and for the Metropolitan, run in the form of a news story. Similar articles appear frequently for this and other realty-traction combinations.)

bid., Tuesday, April 29, 1890:
"2000 PEOPLE WENT OUT!" (A similar ad.)

ibid., Saturday, May 3, 1890:
"LIVE AND LET LIVE - Several inquiries have been made of late as to when the Second street electric carline would be extended from Fulton Park to Oregon City. A reporter asked president George H. Steel, of the Metropolitan company yesterday about it. He said, 'When we will build or in fact whether we will build at all or not depends entirely upon people who own property along the line. When we built out to Fulton Park everybody along the line was anxious for the road and made all manner of promises, and now the road is built there are damage suits to twice the amount. If the people up there want to help in the project there is no reason why work should not go forward speedily. But we do not want to increase tenfold the value of a man's land and then have, to pay him more damages than the property is worth."

ibid., Wednesday, May 7, 1890:
"President George A. Steel, of the Second-street electric road, has heard from the six new cars. They are now on their way from the Pullman car works, and will be here in two weeks, by which time the intention is to have the double track ready for use. The double track will be put in use tomorrow as far south as Harrison street, the rails being charged for that purpose tonight. Four of the new cars will have removable glass platforms, and the other two without them."

ibid., Thursday, May 22, 1890:
"The Metropolitan Street Railway Company yesterday received the six open cars which they have been expecting for some time. They are very handsome cars and will form a welcome addition to the accommodations the company have been affording the public. The double track and wire of the company will soon be completed to the city limits, and then the cars will be put in service and the time 'between drinks' will not be so long thereafter on that road."

IBID., Thursday, May 22, 1890:
"The new engine and dynamo for the Fulton Park power house of the Second street electric line are on the ground and will be put in place at once. Concrete foundations five feet in depth have been prepared for their reception. The new 200 horse power boiler was taken out several days ago, so that now everything is ready to be set up. The company expects to have the plant in operation within a few days, The double track is also nearly completed and soon twelve cars will be put on the road. Then runs to the park will be made every fifteen minutes."


ibid., Sunday, June 1, 1890:
"GO OUT TO FULTON PARK - The company has now received their elegant new cars direct from the Pullman shops, and there will be no difficulty today in handling tne immense crowds. . . . " (The rest is real estate promotion.)

ibid., loc. sit.:
"The double track on the Second-street electric motor line to Fulton Park is nearly completed, and in a few more days cars will be running on the new schedule. This will obviate the inconvenience and annoyance of making transfers, and the public will be able to enjoy the travel on this line with more comfort. The new engine and dynamo are already in the power house, and in a short time they, too, will be in operation. The large water tank is completed, and work on the artesian well [!] will be commenced at once. There has been some delay in puching (sic) the work on the new track owing to the fact that the linemen were somewhat behindhand (sic)."

ibid., Friday, June 6, 1890:
"The double track on the Metropolitan electric line was finished to Fulton Park (sic) yesterday, and, beginning today, there will be no more long delays at the switches, and the big cars will make seven minute trips. President Steel says that in a week or so, when the, additional motive power is in working order, the cars will make five minute trips."

ibid., Wednesday, June 11, 1890:
(Briefed only) The Washington street line was paralyzed for a time when the wire of the Second street line came in contact with the Multnomah company wire and blew out a fuse. There follows an editorial moan against the "fusable plug.

ibid., Thursday, June 19, 1890:
"CITY COUNCIL MEETING — It has been some time since a street railway franchise was asked for, but this matter has not been forgotten. An ordinance was introduced granting the Metropolitan Railway Company permission to construct and operate a railway on F(landers) street from North Second to North Sixth, and northerly (the article says "westerly") on North Sixth to I(rving). The ordinance was read twice. There is an evident desire on the part of all street railway companies to get a track on Sixth street or some part of it."

(This, of course, is in preparation for handling traffic to and from the union railway station in that area, then in the planning stage. Work of constructing the station was begun Wednesday, August 20, 1890 - two months later)

ibid., Sunday, June 22, 1890:
(not quoted in full) A trolley Wire somewhere along the Metro line dropped down and landed on the rail just after a car had passed. It sort of anticipated the "glorious Fourth" by a couple of weeks!

ibid., Thursday, July 3, 1890:
"The cars of the Second street line have been decorated for the Fourth, in anticipation of heavy holiday travel.

ibid., Friday, July 11, 1890:
"There are many kinds of motive power for running street cars, as horses, steam and electric, but there is one power which beats them all, and which never fails. It is gravity, and it was put in force on the Second-street line yesterday when the power was shut off for a short time. One of the cars stopped near the top of the grade beyond Jefferson street, and several of the passengers assisting it was pushed to the top of the hill and came sailing down, regardless of the electric fluid, clear to Morrison street. The crew of the car, which stopped while going up the hill, watched the proceeding with envious eyes, but gravity will not push a car up a hill."

ibid., Friday, July 14, 1890:
"A new and heavy crossing has been put in at the intersection of the Second-street and Washington-street electric motor lines. The motor cars are so much heavier than the old horse cars that the old crossing was not substantial enough. (Later, there's a protest. because the pavement has not been replaced here.)


ibid., Monday, July 21, 1890:
"There is an account of a conductor and passenger knocked off Second-street car no. 19 by a wagon tongue, as they passed a blacksmith shop along Second, where clearances were limited. It appears the company had made representations to the smithy about keeping his equipment in the clear, but no attention had been paid to these protests. No one was seriously hurt, from the account - BUT it is obvious that car 19 must have been one of the new Pullman open cars, as the two men were standing on the running board. (Briefed, not quoted.)

ibid., Sunday, July 27, 1890:
"an electric car of the Second street line, southbound, ran into a First street (horse) car yesterday forenoon, at the intersection of First and Grant streets, throwing the latter car off the track and damaging it to the extent of $200. There were several persons in the car at the time, who fortunately escaped injury, though a lady was badly shocked, and had to be assisted to her home. The motorman of the electric car, Galvin by name, states that he was to blame for the collision, as he was at the time conversing with a passenger, and neglected to ring the bell."

ibid., Monday, August 11, 1890:
(Briefed, not quoted in full) There is an account of the tragic death of a conductor on the Metropolitan line yesterday. He reached out to fasten the curtain (which suggests this was another open car) while crossing a high trestle. A line pole struck him and knocked him off the car. He fell about seventy five feet, landing on his head, and was killed instantly. (It should be noted in this connection that, originally, these line poles were set quite close to the track, leaving little clearance between car and pole. Similar accidents have been reported on other lines, including that at Cripple Creek, Colorado.)

ibid., Sunday, August 24, 1890:
"PATENT CARS - President George. A. Steel, of the Metropolitan Street Railway Company, has ordered four patent cars from California for the road. The cars are so arranged that they can be changed from closed to open cars or vice versa in a few minutes. The windows are so arranged as to slide down, into cavities in back of the seats, and the seats are then reversed to as to face outward, making an open car. These cars are intended for the climate of this coast, which in many days of winter is suitable for open cars, and when rain or cold weather comes, the cars can be changed to close(d) ones in a jiffey (sic) (NOTE -This refers to "Low's Adjustable Cars", manufactured by the Stockton Combined Harvester & Agricultural Works, Stockton, California. One car of this type had been built previously, a demonstration model for a San Francisco Cable line - probably Geary street. This Metro order was the first actually placed and delivered for cars of this type.)

ibid., Sunday, August 31, 1890:
"HE MADE A ROUND TRIP" This is an account of a round trip ride made by an Oregonian reporter over the Second street system. There is little of it worth repeating here, since he seems to have been interested only in his fellow passengers. However, he refers to a change of cars in each direction, which indicates cars still did not operate through from downtown to Fulton Park, and that the transfer point still was at Abernethy street.

ibid., Monday, September 1, 1890:
"The Metropolitan Street Railway Company (Second street line) will today commence work on taking down the banks on the Fulton Park division, and in consequence cars from Second avenue (SW Bancroft street) out will run only every hour, instead of every half hour, as they have been running heretofore. It is necessary to take down the steep banks along the track before wet weather in order to prevent landslides that may impede travel altogether. This is a wise move on the part of the company, and the precaution to avoid a suspension of travel, in the event that heavy rains set in, is of importance to the people


living along the line and at Fulton Park. Work on the double track will in all probability be commenced in the early spring, and next summer this road will be, one of the best equipped in the city."

ibid., Thursday, September 4, 1890:
(from a special report of W. S. Chapman, Superintendent of Streets, to the Portland City Council): "METROPOLITAN RAILWAY COMPANY "maintains a broad gauge double track electric street railway on North Second, Second and South Second streets from G(lisan) to Grant street; on Grant street from South Second street to South Front street; on South Front street from Grant street Grover street; on Grover street from South Front street to Corbett street, and on Corbett street from Grover street to the south city limits. These tracks consist of T rails, and the cars run at a maximum speed of fifteen miles per hour, though ordinarily the rate of speed is about ten miles an hour. This company has been very dilatory, about replacing pavements in good condition, after changing or relaying their tracks, but at the present time their roadbed is in fairly good condition. This company operates five and three quarters miles of track within the city."

ibid., Saturday, October 4, 1890:
(briefed, not quoted in full) A conductor on the Second-street line got his toes caught in the gears while the car was in motion. Nothing like goin' outa your way to be awkward, is there!

ibid., Wednesday, December 24, 1890:
"The combination cars (Low's Adjustable cars) being put on the Second-street railway are giving great satisfaction. They are the first electric cars of the kind put in use and are peculiarly, adapted to this climate, as they can be changed from open cars to closed cars in two minutes. The windows slide down into the backs of the seats and the back turns over, taking the seat with it, and leaving an open car with an aisle between the seats for the conductor. The cars have a double step along the sides, which is very convenient for ladies and children."

ibid., Saturday, December 27, 1890:
"One of the new combination cars of the Second-street line was laid up yesterday." (It ran over a short length of pipe, which was thrown up and ran through an armature.)

ibid., Thursday, January 1, 1891:
(from the special "progress section")
"TO WILD EXTENSIONS THIS YEAR "No line started under more unfavorable auspices than the Second street electric system, built by the Metropolitan street. railway company (sic; no caps). It opened for business January 1, 1890, and shortly after the storms and floods blocked the line and compelled it to shut down for a while. When the fine weather came the company had made many improvements, double tracking the line in the city and purchasing new cars, since which time it has been run successfully.

"The line, from G(lisan) street to Fulton Park, is four miles long (NOTE that in another place in this article on street railways, the line is described as seven miles in length.), and cost $300,000. In all there are seven miles of single track. The rolling stock comprises over twenty cars. During the past month there have been added a number of combination open-and-closed cars, which may be opened and closed as the weather suits. "In the spring the system will be extended southward from Fulton Park so that it will pass through all the cemeteries on the west side of the river. This extension will be one and one half miles long."

ibid., Wednesday, January 14, 1891:
(briefed, not quoted in full) A Second street car and a wood wagon collided on the Corbett street bridge. The wagon was driving on the left-hand track. The car stopped, and the wagon driver pulled across to pass it without noticing that a second car was approaching behind him. The wagon was collapsed in a heap and the front of the car was stove in, but no one was hurt.


ibid., Thursday, January 22, 1891:
(briefed from an account of the city council meeting) A complaint was read into the record, from patrons of the Metropolitan Street Railway"Company, to the effect that the company was providing open cars, on runs as late as 11 P.M., without regard for the health and comfort of its passengers.

ibid., Saturday, January 24, 1891:
(NOTE HOW THE ATTITUDE OF THE OREGONIAN TOWARD THIS COMPANY IS CHANGING!) The Oregonian states it has received many complaints concerning removal of one plank from the track of the Metropolitan company on Corbett street just north of the present Bancroft. Evidently, this plank was given by the company to some unknown, who promptly hauled it away. The street is said to be more like a private right of way, since no other vehicle can use it.

ibid., Saturday, January 31, 1891:
The Metropolitan Street Railway Company have at last got rid of the open cars which have been so uncomfortable in cold or stormy weather, with the exception of one, and a combination car to take the place of that is now about ready to go out of the shop. Unless in case of accident there will, therefore, be no open cars used in bad weather. The patrons of the road will be much gratified by this arrangement."

ibid., Friday, March 20, 1891:
"A party of surveyors are (sic) at work locating a southerly extension of the Metropolitan Railway Company's electric motor line from Fulton Park out through Palatine Hill addition and Kilpatrick Bros. & Collins' tract to the cemeteries, with Oswego and Oregon City in prospect. . . . See Oregonian, Friday, March 6, 1891, for Metro cars used to open first section of East Side Ry into Brooklyn.

ibid., Saturday, March 21, 1891:
"The connection of Mr. Charles N. Stewart with the Metropolitan Street Railway Company, as superintendent has been severed, and the duties of the office will be attended to for the present by Mr. George A. Steel. The company will at once begin the work of extending its line from Fulton Park to the cemeteries. In fact, lumber is now being delivered for the trestle just south of the power house. This is to be rather an extensive affair, being 900 feet long, 90 feet high at the center, and 24 feet in width, with sidewalks. The road will pass the Jewish (Beth Israel) and Masonic (Greenwood) cemeteries and run to River View cemetery. There are thousands of people who will visit the cemeteries after this line is built, who cannot get out there now, and when people go out there in numbers frequently the cemeteries will all be improved and made more ornamental.."

ibid., loc. sit.:
"The cars on the Second street line were at a standstill for about half an hour last evening, owing to some trifling accident to the machinery at the power house. The conductors and motor men rather enjoyed their brief respite from duty, and after turning on the lamps to give notice of the return of electric current, disposed themselves to read the papers. One of the passengers said it put him in mind of his idea of going to sea when he was a boy, and lived where the vessels were left aground when the tide was out. He wanted to go to sea because, he thought he would have plenty of time to play the fiddle when the tide was out."

ibid., Sunday, March 22, 1891:
The Oregonian accuses the Metropolitan company of violating its franchise with a ten cent fare. The article contains many semi-legal arguments on some technicalities, such as whether the company has a right to charge the extra nickel on leaving the city limits, or whether the franchise binds it to a five cent fare over the entire system. And so on, for a wordy session!

ibid., Monday, April 13, 1891:
"Work on the trestles just beyond the south city limits at. Fulton Park (sic) for the extension of the motor line to the cemeteries, is progressing rapidly


The first about 400 feet long, is completed; and the second, which is about 1000 feet, is well under way. It is only about half a mile from the power house to Riverview (sic) cemetery in a direct line, but by the way the road must go to reach all the cemeteries, it will be about one and one half miles."

ibid., Monday, April 13, 1891:
"All the motor lines reaching out into the suburbs were crowded yesterday, and nearly every one of the excursionists on returning had a bouquet of wake robin (a popular name for trillium), wild currant and Oregon grape blossoms."

ibid., Monday, May 11, 1891:
More (briefed, not quoted) on the 5-cent fare question for the Metro! This seems to be strictly a legal question. Owners of lots in Fulton Park are carried through at a five-cent fare, as Part of the purchase transaction. However, the company operates under five separate franchises, which were consolidated into that of the Metro, and the company wishes them superseded by a single franchise. They express themselves as afraid that a precedent might be established whereby the city also could require the same frequency of service over the entire route, and that would prove very unprofitable over the still undeveloped sections.

ibid., Wednesday, May 20, 1891:
A Second street car was taken from the barn at Second and Market during the night. The first scheduled car next morning found the runaway standing on the line at Stark street.

ibid., Monday, May 25, 1891:
"The trestle (s) and grading of the extension of the Metropolitan Street Railway Company's line from Fulton Park to the cemeteries is about completed and the work of laying the rails will be begun today. By next Saturday it is expected that passengers can be carried to the cemeteries. The line ends at the Western boundary of Riverview (sic) cemetery."

ibid., Friday, May 29, 1891:
(briefed, not quoted in full) A Second street car hit a cable car broadside and knocked it off the track, altho no one was hurt and no great damage was done. (This must have occurred at 2nd and Alder, the only place where the two lines crossed.) It appears they are operating on a complicated system for determining right of way at such crossings, determined by first occupancy of the crossing. The cable gripman saw the trolley coming but, as he had progressed too far, decided to run for it, hoping the trolley would be stopped. The motorman seems to have made no effort to stop, since he had right of way at the crossing. In other words, the Metro had the right of way at the Alder street crossing, but had to yield it at Washington and Morrison. The OREGONIAN comments that the problem seems to be coming to a head, since it is getting out of hand.

ibid., Saturday, May 30, 1891 - Memorial Day:
"The-track of the Metropolitan Street Railway Company has been extended out to the Hebrew Cemetery and the cars will be running out there today for the accommodation of persons wishing to visit the cemeteries. They will land passengers within a stone's throw of the Masonic cemetery and only a short distance from the western boundary of Riverview (sic), and persons going out this way will be saved the long walk up the hill in the cemetery."

ibid., Monday, June 1, 1891:
"The Second-street electric line is now extended to a point about three blocks this side of the Masonic cemetery. Cars have been running out as far as this since Saturday, making trips every fifteen minutes. A large force of men are at work building the road out to Riverview (sic) cemetery, and. in three or four days the line will be completed. Cars will be run to the cemetery on the same time as they now run to Fulton Park."

ibid., Thursday, July 2, 1891:
"Cars on the Second street line will begin running until midnight, the same as on other lines. It will require three more cars." Etc.


ibid., Tuesday, July 14, 1891:
The Metropolitan Street Railway Company has decided to make the fare on its road from this city to the cemeteries ten cents. It was at first intended to charge fifteen cents as the company could not see its way clear to build and operate the road from Fulton Park to the Cemeteries for nothing, but finally decided to carry passengers clear through to the cemeteries for ten cents. The fare to Second avenue (Bancroft) sill be five cents, and from there or any point beyond to the cemeteries, five cents more. This is a cheap rate for a long and very pleasant ride."

ibid., Friday, July 24, 1891:
"The completion of the Second street electric line into the cemeteries, with only a five cent fare from. Second avenue (Bancroft street), makes this the longest electric line in the state, being about six miles from G(lisan) street. The Metropolitan Railway Company deserve a great deal of credit for the enterprise shown in building and equipping such a fine road, which is certainly a credit to the city. . . ."

ibid., Wednesday, August 5, 1891:
"A Second street car was going up toward Madison when there was a flash of lightning and smoke began to roll out of one of the motors. It isn't considered unusual for the armature to burn up, but there was speculation as to whether the lightning was responsible, or it was just coincidence. They put the fire out and went on their way."

ibid., Thursday, August 27, 1891:
"AN OUTRAGE - Some contemptible scoundrel yesterday disabled the motors of the funeral car of the Second-street line by placing stones inside the casing around the commutator, thus causing a delay in starting the funeral of (Capt.) Ward S. Stevens. It is supposed that someone entered the Station and did this rascally trick while the employees were at luncheon. As soon as the crushed stones were removed the-car proceeded all right. The officials of the company are deeply grieved and annoyed by this outrage, and have offered a reward of $250 for the arrest and conviction of the perpetrator." (NOTE: In the account of the funeral itself, it states that the car was pushed to the cemetery by another car.) (NOTE: This is the first mention of a funeral car in Portland.)

IBID., Saturday, October 17, 1891:
"A Second street car was coming down a grade to a trestle just south of Second street (obviously this means "Second avenue", the present Bancroft, since only the private right of way south of the then city boundary fits the rest of the story) when it jumped the track and went over the bank. (It was car no. 20, described as an open car, yet the passengers were cut by broken glass.) The car apparently was going too fast and began to oscillate until it got out of control."

From STREET RAILWAY-JOURNAL, February, 1892, p. 114 (an ad.): METROPOLITAN RAILWAY COMPANY Portland, Ore., Dec. 12th, 1891

"John G. Dorrance, Esq., "Guarantee & Accident Lloyds, New York City

"Dear Sir: Please allow me to return our most sincere thanks for the prompt and satisfactory manner you have settled all reasonable demands for injuries received by passengers that were on car no. 20 at the time of the deplorable accident on our road on the 16th of October.

"We commend your company to the favorable consideration of all desiring insurance of the kind you furnish: If you need any reference in this part of the country, you may use our name with pleasure. "Yours, very truly, G. A. Steel, President."

from the OREGONIAN, Thursday, November 12, 1891:
"The bridge on South Front, between Sheridan and Williams (SW Arthur) has been condemned. The Second street cars do not cross, so passengers have to get out and walk across. There is some argument over who broke the stringer. The


company claims it was done by an overloaded dray, while the city accused the company of running its cars too fast."

ibid., Thursday, November 19, 1891:
"CITY COUNCIL - Street railways took up a little time . . . . The proposition to give the Metropolitan system F and North Sixteenth (NOTE: Sixth is meant here.) was filed."

ibid., Thursday, December 17, 1891:
"CITY COUNCIL - An ordinance was introduced outlawing the use of open street cars between November 15 and April 15. It was read twice, and an attempt was made to Suspend the rules and shove it through at this session, but it failed, being referred to the committee."

ibid., Friday, February 5, 1892:
"COUNCIL MEETING - STREET RAILROADS" A wordy ordinance, stating that open cars will not be permitted to be operated on any "cold, windy or stormy day between November 15 and April 15," except for dummies or trailers. Another ordinance passed requires gates on all cars using double tracks.

ibid., Tuesday, February 23, 1892:
A Metro car hit a drunk. Neither was badly damaged.

ibid., Monday, April 11, 1892:
"Heretofore the Second street Railway Company has furnished power from its powerhouse at Fulton Park to run the electric cars across the Madison street bridge, and on this account has sometimes not had so much power for its own cars as was desirable. Now the new powerhouse for the Madison street line, near Inmah and Poulson's (sic) sawmill, has been completed, and power is furnished from there for running the cars on Second street from Glisan up to Grant street. This is a gteat relief to the powerhouse at Fulton Park, and will enable the company to put more cars on the line between Second avenue (still Bancroft Street!) and the cemeteries, and also to make better time on the whole line."


From STREET RAILWAY JOURNAL, May, 1893, pp. 301-302: " . . . One funeral car complete (s) the equipment. The funeral car is arranged with a space in front, in which the coffin is placed, and with seats for forty People. The car is trimmed with black curtains and tassels, and is painted in sober colors. This car is frequently chartered for funerals, and makes a convenient means for reaching the cemetery which is about six miles distant from the city." (Note the date; this is part of an "editorial correspondence" written by C. B. Fairchild, editor of STREET RAILWAY JOURNAL during his six weeks in the Northwest, mostly in Portland, during the early part of 1893. This was after the Metro had become part of the Portland Consolidated Street Railway Company system. DLS) In other words, there was only one funeral car in use on the line as late as the early part of 1893. Mills states it was built by Columbia Car & Tool Works, but we have found no local confirmation of this statement as of this writing. DLS

From OREGON HISTORICAL QUARTERLY, XLIV, No. 1, March, 1943, p. 83: (Randall V. Mills: Early Electric Interurbans in Oregon) "Even (the original equipment) paled into insignificance before the two (?) Special 'funeral cars' delivered the Metropolitan ... by the Columbia Car Works. Thirty-four feet long, these cars carried funeral parties to the cemeteries south of the city. Space was provided for the casket, and the whole car was tastefully decorated in subdued tones and rich drapes." (He refers to Arthur G. Robbins, "Street Railway Work in Portland, Ore." in ELECTRICAL ENGINEER, XII (April 29, 1891), 504.)


from The OREGONIAN, Sunday, May 15, 1892:
"LINES CONSOLIDATED"- (George W. Brown is here reported to have sold his interest in the Mt. Tabor St. Ry. Co., known as the 'East Side Railway' to 'the Second Street line of the Steels, which is owned by the Washington street line' of George B. Markle, which already owns the Portland and Vancouver line" . . . etc.

ibid., Thursday, May 19, 1892:
"LINES CONSOLIDATE - The Oregonian received the following special from Denver, Colo., at 1 o'clock this morning: "'Five street-car companies of Portland have consolidated here through the Rollins Investment Company, of this city. The deal includes the City and Sunurban (sic), Metropolitan, Multnomah Railway, Portland and Fairview, and Waverly and Woodstock. The entire system is to be converted for electric power. Ed Rollins is getting out $1,500,000 6-per-cent bonds, half of which will be at once marketed for the changes needed under the deal."

(The article then goes on to point out that the Multnomah Street Railway Company the Washington Street, Thirteenth, Sixteenth, Twenty-third and Thurman street lines; also that it now owns the Metropolitan Street Railway Company, The Portland and Vancouver Railway, and the East Side Railway Company.)

ibid., Friday, May 20, 1892:
"THE STREET-RAILWAY 'COMBINE'" (The article begins by noting that the story from Denver was incorrect in several particulars. The City & Suburban is the largest and wealthiest street railway corporation in the Northwest, and never has contemplated consolidating with any other company. It is headed and owned by local bankers who would not need the help of Rollins.)

"The Multnomah Street Railway Company and the Metropolitan Street Railway Company have been consolidated, or pooled, and the Portland and Vancouver line was purchased a short time since by the Columbia Railway Company (sic), to be put in the same pool. This company is probably negotiating a sale of bonds to raise money for changing the Portland and Vancouver line to an electric line, and need to make needed improvements on the Second-street line.

"The lines of the Mount Tabor Street Railway Company were purchased a few days since by Messrs. Steel, of the Multnomah Company, but this system has not been consolidated with the other lines owned by the Columbia Company."

From STREET RAILWAY JOURNAL, June, 1892, p. 380: "The Columbia Consolidated Railway Co., lately organized here, with a capital stock of $1,000,000, and which lately purchased the Portland & Vancouver railway, have now purchased the lines of the Multnomah Railway Co. and the Metropolitan Railway Co. The company have also secured franchises for an electric railway in Vancouver. All these systems, which embrace some thirty-five miles of track, will be combined under one management July 1. The incorporators of the company are George B. Markle, James Steel, R. L. Durham, D. F. Sherman and W. McNeill. The Portland & Vancouver railroad probably will be electrically equipped this year, now that it has passed into new hands."

HEREAFTER, SEE COLUMBIA CONSOLIDATED RAILWAY COMPANY for history of the Metropolitan lines. The Columbia Company was the immediate predecessor of the Portland Consolidated Street Railway Co., and notes concerning it are filed under that heading in the 56½" gauge section of these albums. [Best Look at the source page. - JEM]

[We judge this smudged fraction not to be ¼ which would make it a weird Narrow Gauge. The fraction ½ would be Standard Gauge (4 ft 8 + 1⁄2 in = 56½"). See Wikipedia: Standard Gauge and Track Gauges in US -- JEM]

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