Richmond, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
Electricity for Streetcars
In 1888, the Richmond Union Passenger Railway became the first streetcar line in the world to be successfully powered by electricity. Designed by Frank Julian Sprague, the Sprague streetcar system was installed in cities around the globe.
The main generating plant in 1888 was two blocks north of here, on 7th Street between Canal and Cary Streets. In 1890, Richmond Union Passenger Railway merged with another streetcar company and three electric companies to form Richmond Railway & Electric. In 1893, this company built a generating plant with two engines on Johnson’s Island and a year later built a ten-engine plant on Brown’s Island. The Brown’s and Johnson’s Island plants were replaced by the 12th Street Hyrdo plant in 1901.
Location. 37° 32.041′ N, 77° 26.471′ W. Marker is in Richmond, Virginia. Marker can be reached from the intersection of South 7th Street and Tredegar Street. Touch for map. This marker is on the Richmond Riverfront Canal Walk on Brown's Island. Marker is in this post office area: Richmond VA 23219, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker Albemarle Paper (here, next to this marker); Brown’s Island (here, next to this marker); a different marker also named Brown’s Island (a few steps from this marker); Manchester & Free Bridges (within shouting distance of this marker); R&P Railroad Piers (within shouting distance of this marker); Confederate Laboratory (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Canal Walk / Historic Canals (about 400 feet away); John Jasper (about 500 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Richmond.
More about this marker. On the lower left is a photograph of "Brown’s Island, circa 1890" (Photo by Cook, Courtesy of Valentine Museum)
On the lower right is a photograph of "Brown’s Island, circa 1905" with the caption, "Since 1890, improvements made included: an iron-truss bridge to 7th Street (foreground); the electric plant; the C&O Railway Viaduct; behind the Viaduct, the Brown’s Island dam; and to the far right, the headgate to the Haxall Canal." (Photo by Cook, Courtesy of Valentine Museum)
Also see . . .
1. Richmond Riverfront Canal Walk. Venture Richmond (Submitted on November 5, 2009, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.)
2. Brown’s Island. Events, Island history, and directions. (Submitted on November 5, 2009, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.)
3. A History of Richmond's Trolley. Church Hill People's News (Submitted on November 5, 2009, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.)
4. Father of the Trolley. Richmond Then and Now (Submitted on November 5, 2009, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.)
Categories. • Industry & Commerce • Railroads & Streetcars •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on November 5, 2009, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page has been viewed 723 times since then. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on November 5, 2009, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.