Location of the Mahoning
Valley Electric Railway.
Valley Electric Railway Company in Niles,
In 1892 the electric street railways brought
to Niles the most important transportation improvement sinc the
arrival of the first train in 1856; in December of that year the
first single interurban car made a trial run over the three mile
long line between Niles and Mineral Ridge. By June 1893 the interurban
line was opened between Niles and Warren. Streetcars were also
operating within the City of Niles. On January 11, 1895, the Mahoning
Valley Electric Railway Company was granted permission to use
Robbins Avenue for its track from Youngstown to Niles. Within
a few years consolidation into one firm resulted; and crowded
trolleys carried passengers between Niles and nearby cities.
The streetcars and interurban systems made it possible for Nilesites
to move out to the edge of town and families were able to go further
from home for relaxation and amusement. Just as the development
of trucks after World War 1 affected the railroad; at the same
time, the auto industry became affordable to the working classes.
It wasn’t long before the ‘Tin Lizzie’ and ‘Merry
Oldsmobile’ along with other makes were rattling along the
dusty roads taking families to otherwise inaccessible places-making
the streetcar obsolete and bring the passenger train to near extinction.
After several years of decreasing fares, the line between Niles
and Mineral Ridge was abandoned in 1927, followed by the shutdown
of the Warren to Youngstown run that came through Niles, on January
Photo of one building of the Niles
Car & Manufacturing Co. taken from atop the water tower in the
early 1900's. PO1.1429
of Niles & Car Manufacturing Building
development of the electric railway contributed much to the growth
of industry in this country and in the Mahoning valley. Its reliability
and availability made it possible for workers to commute to their
jobs from greater distances instead of having to live within walking
During the early twentieth century the Niles Car and Manufacturing
Company was founded in Niles. Beginning operation in January, 1902,
the company already had orders for a number of cars to be used in
Chicago. At this time the company already employed 250 men The cars
made in Niles were ordered from every state in the Union and could
be customized to order. They varied in size. Handsome wooden cars,
they were beautiful with their Gothic windows, some of them fitted
with leaded stained glass or beveled glass.
The outside of the Niles Car building
with the name above the building. PO1.1580
The company also produced cars for
hauling freight but were most noted for the luxurious passenger
cars which were in use from coast to coast. Eventually other forms
of transportation took their place and now you can only see them
in museums or other special places where they have been preserved.
The Niles Car barn bus belonged to
the Mahoning Valley Electric Railway Co. It was used to take the
"track-walkers" out to remote areas, where they would
walk along the tracks with a bucket of sand. They would sand the
tracks where necessary and make sure the switches were clean. The
man holding the bucket, was Jos. Marsico, a track walker
for the company. PO1. 1432
Water car- most roads were dirt and
this car was used to water down roadway along streetcar tracks to
fulfill safety regulations in effect in the 1890's and 1900's and
to keep down dust since during dry weather when any traffic caused
clouds of dust. PO1.1436
The street car era in Niles was from
1892 until 1932. Not only were the old 'trolley cars' manufactured
here, but also the Mahoning Valley Electric Railway Company was
in Niles. The car barns were located on the west side of Mosquito
Creek just above the dam. The entrance to the barns was off Robbins
Streetcar-1907. This photo of employees
of the Mahoning Valley Railway Co. was taken in Niles. This photo
was found about 1958 between the walls of a house being demolished
on Robbins Avenue. PO1. 1439
Streetcar wreck on Robbins Avenue
near McKinley Heights. While wrecks were uncommon, jumping the tracks
was not. Passengers were expected to help set it back on the tracks.
On occassion, mischievious boys were known to grease the tracks
going up the hill on Robbins Avenue. As a result, the tolley cars
would lose traction and even slide back down the hill, further delaying
scheduled stops. PO1. 1438
Freight car. All streetcars were not
passenger cars. Some were used to haul freight, as in this picture
— beer. It was freighted from New Castle, PA and the crew
was obliged to stop and padlock the car before proceeding through
a 'Dry' community. Needless to say, upon arrival in Niles, before
unloading the freight this crew found it necessary to sample the
load. PO1. 1437
Streetcar motormen from the Mahoning
Valley Electric Railway Company of Niles. In the back row, second
from the left is Roy Swegans and the third from the right
is John Curry. PO1.1431
At the car barns, the 'Limited' cars
larger cars that carried more passengers
and did not stop between stations. PO1.1433
Mr. C. E. Rose, secretary
and treasurer of Niles Car & Manufacturing Co. at his desk in
the company office about 1912. PO1.1109
Erie Street view of the Niles Car
& Manufacturing Co., makers of one of the finest lines of plush
electric cars of the area. This building was located on the block
bounded by Erie, South Cedar, Allison Ave. & Mason St. and operated
for 16 years before being converted to truck chassis. PO1.
Inside the Niles Car & Manufacturing
Co. about 1915 when the streetcars were being phased out and truck
chassis were being built. Note the Nashville, Chatanooga & St.
Louis interurban car in the background. PO1.1454
Inside the Niles Car & Manufacturing
Co. about the time that conversion to truck bodies began. PO1.1530
The interurban car, "The Northern"
at the Niles station streetcar barns.
The 'Northern', the most noted car
built by the Niles Car and MFG. Company, was built in 1901 for magnates
Everett and Moore of the Northern Ohio Traction
and Lighting Company. It was fifty-three feet long, eight feet six
inches wide, twelve feet high, and weighed 54,900 pounds. P2.8
ornate interurban car, with beveled glass windows reaching almost
to the floor, was usually kept at Silver Lake Junction which was
located north of Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio.
When facing the 'Northern', the motorman's
cab was on the lefthand side at the front; on the right and extending
back 20 feet was the deluxe observation parlor, furnished in cushioned
In the center right hand side of the
car was a private stateroom, bath, and kitchen with a hallway along
the left side of the car, which led to the dining room and rear
observation area. In 1924 an observation platform was added to the
rear, making the overall length fifty-five feet.
The 'Northern' was retired in 1932
and today is in dead storage in a car barn at the Connecticut Electric
Railway Museum, Warehouse Point, Connecticut, awaiting financial
backing for a major restoration job to again make this once-elegant
private car the 'King' of the Niles Car and MFG. Company's products.
This shows the inside look of the
Northern Car made by the Niles Car Company. P01.1577
Mill Street, now State Street by the
Police-Fire Complex, looking west with the streetcar tracks. PO1.1450
Furnace Street, now State Street,
downtown Niles with the streetcar tracks.
Main Street looking south about 1920
with the streetcar running. PO1.1577
Six interurban cars shipped to Brandon
Municipal in Manitoba, Canada. Delivered in 1914, they were in use
until the end of service in 1931. They were all built by the Niles
Car & Manufacturing Co., a business that flourished in Niles
at the turn of the last century. PO1.1449
Chicago Aurora & Elgin Car # 308.
Built by the Niles Car & Manufacturing Co. in 1906.
It weighed 75,000 pounds, was 53'1'" long, 8'7" wide and
13' high and carried 52 passengers. It is presently at the Museum
of Transportation & Communication at Noblesville, Indiana. PO1.1440
Chicago Aurora & Elgin Car # 308.
Built by the Niles Car & Manufacturing Co. in 1906. PO1.1435
View of Niles Waiting Station looking
through the Erie Railroad underpass. PO1.1805
Looking South on Main Street, Niles, Ohio
Looking North on Main Street, Niles, Ohio
Main Street and Park Avenue Intersection.
Main and Mill(State) Streets Intersection
Car Barn and Mosquito Creek Dam
Street Car Conductors at Car Barn.
Niles Car Company in background
Early Trolley car marked
as Main-East Market