Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Streetcar Smoothness

On our recent visit to New Orleans, we had a mighty fine place to stay at the Hubbard Mansion, 3535 St. Charles Avenue. We enjoyed our rides on the St. Charles streetcar to the JazzFest, and savored the sound from our room of the streetcar passing by every five minutes. Here’s a Ben Hayes story about a Columbus streetcar: “On that Fourth of July, Ray Grant ran the interurban in from Grove City. Just as on any other day, proud to – because his father, Adam, had built the line. ‘Adam Grant’s Little Streetcar’ – people called it that. Ray Grant thought he would prove something. He had Charley White, the barber, shave him on the way into Columbus. Ray Grant stood at the controls, operating the car. White sat on a high stool, lathering and shaving Ray. So the Fourth was celebrated. Ray said, ‘We had the smoothest roadbed in Ohio – better than a Toonerville.’” Another story about a smooth operator: ”Ed Ruder was the conductor on a Columbus, Delaware, and Marion electric streetcar in 1925 when they stopped to pick up presidential candidate Frank Willis at Franklin Street in Delaware. Ed noticed that Willis had two different shoes on. When Ed mentioned this to Mr. Willis, he then asked Ed to bring him another pair of shoes on a return trip. Willis was waiting at the appointed spot to pick up the shoes.” Many people rode the CD & M streetcar in 1923 to President Warren G. Harding’s funeral. After the funeral, Ed Ruder was given the nickname “Sardine” for packing one hundred forty-three people into one streetcar. Conductor Ruder was still collecting fares in Prospect and by the time the car reached Delaware, he was out of change. “No doubt some people got all the way to Columbus without paying their fare,” he commented. Christine Hayes

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