Plainfield Public Library
Introduction Birth 1891-1950 Beyond Highlights

Turn-of-the-century innovations transformed the quiet hamlet. Each mode of transportation went through stages of refinement, but as changes in the 19th century took decades changes in the 20th century happened daily.  Electricity made many things possible. Mule drawn trolleys were changed to streetcars using electricity.

..A City On The Move

The first trolley (electric streetcar) came to town on August 10, 1892 replacing most of the mule drawn vehicles. A front page Plainfield Evening News article describes a large crowd of people lining up along Front Street to witness its maiden voyage. "The car is handsome, but small, and is finished in Royal Blue." There were two newspapers in town that battled heatedly about whether the trolleys were desirable or dangerous. The Constitutionalist ran an article "Triumphant at Last” on August 18, 1892 saying "Swift and safe transportation is at last an assured reality. The cars are noiseless and luxurious."

The Plainfield Evening News of August 11, 1892 on the other hand said: "The rather novel sight of trolley cars caused considerable commotion in the horse world this morning. Several excitable steeds tried walking on their hind legs, while others endeavored to occupy the sidewalks. The drivers of the fire engine horses ran them up and down alongside the cars to accustom them to them…. The safety of the people should be considered. The trolley is not a safe means of travel."



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