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Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

EAST CLEVELAND RAILWAY CO.

EAST CLEVELAND RAILWAY CO.

The EAST CLEVELAND RAILWAY CO. was established on 6 August 1860, when company president Harry Stevens broke ground at Euclid and Willson (E. 55th St.) avenues. By 3 Sept. 3.39 miles of single track had been laid from Willson through Prospect to Bank (W. 6th) St., and horsecars began carrying passengers on the iron-strapped wooden rails. Fare was 5 cents. Later that year, the company's franchise was extended on Euclid from Willson to Case (E. 40th St.), then to Prospect and west to Sterling (E. 30th St.). In 1868 the company received extension for lines running on Brownell (E. 14th St.) and Prospect to Garden and on Garden to Willson. Rights were later extended to the Cleveland & Pittsburgh Railroad tracks and to the city limits on Quincy. On 30 Sept. 1875 the railway company held a trial operation of a steam-powered locomotive on its Euclid line between Willson and Doan. Although its was successful, horsecar operators influenced city council to pass legislation banning steam from the city streets. On 24 June 1884 the East Cleveland Railway Co. operated the first electric railway for public use in America for 1 mile along its Garden St. Line. In the 1880s ECRY continued to receive line extensions including from Water (W. 9th), Bank (W. 6th) and Lake streets as far east as the city limits and also north of Euclid along Hough and Wade Park to the city limits. By the late 1880s, the large number of competing railway lines and the expense of electrification made operating conditions impractical and inefficient, and on 15 May 1893 the city council authorized the consolidation of the East Cleveland, Broadway & Newburgh, Brooklyn, and South Side traction companies into the CLEVELAND ELECTRIC RAILWAY CO.