Mahoning Valley Electric Railway Company

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Mail: PO Box 368 Niles, Ohio 44446


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"Arrival at the Park"
"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. PO1.1563

In 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 1, 1932.



Photo of one building of the Niles Car & Manufacturing Co. taken from atop the water tower in the early 1900's.

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

The 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 distance.

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 outside of the Niles Car building with the name above the building. PO1.1580

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 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 any traffic caused clouds of dust.

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

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-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.

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

All streetcars were not passenger cars. Some were used to haul freight

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

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.

At the car barns, the 'Limited' cars were 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.

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.

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.

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.

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 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 Car Co.

This shows the inside look of the Northern Car made by the Niles Car Co.
PO1.1577

Mill Street, now State Street by the Police-Fire Complex, looking west with the streetcar running.

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.

Furnace Street, now State Street, in downtown Niles with the streetcars running.PO1.1451

Main St. looking south about 1920 with the streetcar running.

Main Street looking south about 1920 with the streetcar running. PO1.1452

Six interurban cars shipped to Brandon Municipal in Manitoba, Canada. Delivered in 1914, they were in use until the end of service in 1931.

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.

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.


Chicago Aurora & Elgin Car # 308. Built by the Niles Car & Manufacturing Co. in 1906. PO1.1435

   

 

 
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