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The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

WOODLAND AVE. AND WEST SIDE RAILWAY CO. - The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

The WOODLAND AVE. AND WEST SIDE RAILWAY CO. was the first streetcar line to allow passengers to travel between the east and west sides without requiring a transfer. The line, controlled by MARCUS A. HANNA† and his sons, was formed in February 1885 with the merger of the Woodland Ave. and West Side street railway companies. The Woodland Ave. St. Railway, organized in 1859 by Cleveland entrepreneur Henry S. Stephens, carried passengers via horsecars from Water (W. 9th) St. and Superior, around the south side of PUBLIC SQUARE to Ontario, south on Ontario to Woodland, and east on Woodland to E. 55th. It was extended to WOODLAND CEMETERY (E. 65th) in 1862, and later to the Cleveland & Pittsburgh Railroad crossing at E. 79th. The West Side Railroad Co., also founded by Stephens, was organized in Feb. 1863, the first Cleveland streetcar line to run west of the CUYAHOGA RIVER. It carried passengers from Superior and Vineyard St. to the FLATS, then across the river on the Center St. Bridge. The line climbed the Detroit St. hill, continuing on Detroit to W. 38th, south to Lorain, east on Lorain to W. 25th, completing the loop back to Detroit and then proceeded down into the valley. When it acquired the right to use the new SUPERIOR VIADUCT in 1880, the route through the flats was eliminated.

The merged lines became electrified in the early 1890s, and the Viaduct Power House was built in 1892. Located just north of the Superior Viaduct in the flats, the structure was converted to an entertainment center, "The Powerhouse," in the late 1980s. In May 1893 the line merged with the Cleveland City Cable Co. and took the name Cleveland City Railway. Known as the "Little Consolidated," it remained under the Hanna family's control until sold to the rival CLEVELAND ELECTRIC RAILWAY CO., or "Big Consolidated," in July 1903, creating a one-company monopoly of the Cleveland streetcar operation.

Christiansen, Harry. Trolley Trails through Greater Cleveland and Northern Ohio (1975)

Last Modified: 23 Jul 1997 01:07:40 PM

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