"Arrival at the Park"
Photo taken from the 1901 Souvenir booklet published by Youngstown
Park and Falls Street Railway. Entitled "Idora and Mill Creek
Park." This carload of passengers is unloading at Idora Park.
1892 the electric street railways brought to Niles the most important
transportation improvement sinc ehte arrival of the first train
in 1856; in December of that year the first single interurban car
made a trial rn 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.
Mason Street is in the foreground. PO1.1429
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 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 outside of the Niles Car building with the name above the building.
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.
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 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 Avenue. PO1.1430
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.
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.
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.
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 were larger cars
that carried more passengers and did not stop between stations.
Mr. C. E. Rose, secretary and treasurer of Niles Car
& Manufacturing Co. at his desk in the company office about
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. 1434
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. P2.8
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.. This ornate interurban car, with beveled glass
windowsreaching 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 wicker chairs.
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
Mill Street, now State Street by the Police-Fire Complex,
looking west with the streetcar running. PO1.1450
Furnace Street, now State Street, in downtown Niles
with the streetcars running.PO1.1451
Main Street looking south about 1920 with the streetcar
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