The year is 1953. You are on the street corner in Washington D.C. You are waiting and waiting and waiting until… it comes. The streetcar has arrived. You get aboard, pay the fare, and you walk back to your seat. The street car rolls down the tracks picking up and discharging passengers along the way. You arrive at your destination. You get up from your seat, and you exit the streetcar. You step onto the sidewalk, and you watch the streetcar as it rolls away out of sight. Those were the days of the streetcar on the streets of the Nation’s Capital.
Today, Washington D.C. is a city of many streets with many cars on them, but the streetcars are long gone. Very few people who grew up in Washington today have had the opportunity to experience the streetcars in the city. For those who were born after the era of streetcars, there is a place where you can go to get a glimpse of what a ride on the streetcar was like.
Take a drive out to Colesville, Maryland. There, you will find the National Trolley Museum, the home to some of the streetcars that once rolled along the streets of D.C., plus streetcars from Philadelphia, New York City, Canada and Europe. The museum features exhibits on how streetcars helped grow local communities, an exhibit on streetcar operation and features the exhibit ‘Street Cars Go to the Movies’, plus you can see a model of the Rock Creek Electric Trolley. Of course, why would you want to see exhibits about streetcars when you can see streetcars? You make your way into Streetcar Hall where you see some of the old streetcars that were rescued from being scrap metal, and they are kept in this hall for everyone to see.
It is great to see a museum that is dedicated to preserving streetcars in the National Capital Region, but would it be great if you could ride one of those streetcars?
Take a step outside. The streetcar awaits you. Step on board, and take a ride. You roll out out from the terminal passing the barn and heading into the forest. You arrive at the end of the line where you loop around and head back to the terminal.
The National Capital Trolley Museum is located at 1313 Bonifant Road in Colesville, Maryland. It is open all year round, but days and hours vary by the time of year. You can go to www.dctrolley.org to get information on hours and admission, read about the history of the museum and to see their collection of streetcars. It is a great place to see history unfold without having to use a time machine.