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Denver in Denver County, Colorado — The American Mountains (Southwest)
 

The Birth of Denver Mass Transit

 
 
The Birth of Denver Mass Transit Marker image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, June 9, 2019
1. The Birth of Denver Mass Transit Marker
Inscription.  The evolution of mass transit in Denver began in 1871 and by the mid-1880s the system (eventually called the Denver City Railway) boasted 45 coaches and a sixteen-mile network of rails. In 1886, the Denver Tramway Company inaugurated the nation's first electric streetcar system, the second in the world. The streetcar dramatically changed the way Denver evolved-extending its reach because of the greater distance commuters could travel. By 1890, 150 miles of track crisscrossed the city with connections to Golden, Littleton, and Boulder. Many of these original tracks still lie beneath our streets.

The trolley tracks on Broadway served as a transition between the trolley lines operating in downtown Denver and points east and south. Trolleys remained the primary form of public transportation through the 1940s, but by 1950, automobiles had taken over and streetcars stopped running. Bus use also declined, and the Denver Tramway Company came close to terminating service altogether.

The state of Colorado intervened in 1971 by creating the publicly financed Regional Transportation District (RTD). In the 1990s RTD launched a light
Marker is next to the Brown Palace Hotel, just next to woman on right. image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, June 9, 2019
2. Marker is next to the Brown Palace Hotel, just next to woman on right.
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rail system that has grown dramatically ever since. Denver public transit and the electric trolley have made a triumphant return.

"Perhaps we shall again witness steel wheels moving swiftly along a network of rails serving our city. If this ever occurs, it will be ample proof that the big yellow cars were really not so antiquated."
William C. Jones, F. Hol Wagner, Jr. and Gene C. McKeever

Photo captions:
Middle & bottom: Mile-High Trolleys: A Nostalgic Look at Denver in the Era of the Streetcars, 1965
Top Right: Looking toward Broadway along 17th Street from Tremont. The UMB Bank Plaza now stands on the site of the Savoy Hotel.
Photos courtesy Denver Public Library
Western History Collection

 
Erected by the Colorado Historical Society & the Colorado DOT.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Railroads & Streetcars. A significant historical year for this entry is 1871.
 
Location. 39° 44.623′ N, 104° 59.251′ W. Marker is in Denver, Colorado, in Denver County. Marker is at the intersection of Broadway and 17th Street, on the right when traveling south on Broadway. Broadway is one-way running south. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 321 17th Street, Denver CO 80202, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Menu for the Brown Palace (here, next to this marker);
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Gridlock (a few steps from this marker); “I’m Either a Lawyer or I’m Not. Don’t Drag Being a Woman Into It.” (within shouting distance of this marker); Those Illustrious Browns (within shouting distance of this marker); Help! (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Human Rights Hero (about 300 feet away); Top of the World (about 600 feet away); Wall Street of the Rockies (about 600 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Denver.
 
Also see . . .  Wikipedia article on the history of mass transit in Denver. (Submitted on June 20, 2019, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.)
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 20, 2019. It was originally submitted on June 20, 2019, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. This page has been viewed 127 times since then and 15 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on June 20, 2019, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.
 
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Jul. 27, 2021