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Street Car Communities | Street Cars Go To The Movies | Rock Creek Electric Railway


Street Car Communities Large panels around the room illustrate the development of the various communities in the region where street cars were in operation. In the late 19th and early 20th century, there were many street car lines in the region. At that time, the building, driving, and maintaining street cars and right of way ranked 5th in the country for industry size. Company ownership was in private hands and often included an electric generation facility to provide power for the street cars.
Eventually, as consumer devices were developed for use by the public, the street car company became the provider of electricity for homes and businesses in the surrounding communities. This situation stayed this way until 1935 when the Public Utility Holding Company Act forced financial separation of street car companies from their electric companies. In addition to the Depression, this breakup of the holding companies and the rise of the automobile as preferred means of personal transportation eventually led to the failure of many street car companies in the U.S. without income from the sale of electrical power to subsidize street car operations.
However, street cars had already greatly influenced local development and growth of the suburbs along the street car lines. For the Museum, the development of Chevy Chase is a good teaching example of a "street car community".
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Street Cars Go To The MoviesThe Museum should have a searchlight punching holes into the night-time sky. Without that, however, we'll just make a little announcement here:
Now Showing at NCTM
"Street Cars Go To The Movies"

Harold Lloyd, the amazing star of silent film, is now appearing in full-length and several short feature films where street cars compete for a cut of the action. This new exhibit is sure to be a fan favorite!

The exhibit not only identifies how street cars were a film staple, but also how street cars were important transportation to bring so many people to the movie palaces of the age.
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As you reach the far end of the Main Exhibit Hall, you will reach the expanded model of the Rock Creek Electric Railway. When you see it in the Visitor Center, ask how many figures you can find. How many different kinds of animals? Do you know where the Zoo is? And where is the fountain in the middle?
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Copyright © National Capital Trolley Museum
April 16, 2011