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The Electric Trolley

Horse drawn omnibuses were introduced in Washington in 1860, with horse-drawn cars on tracks following closely in 1862.  In 1888, the first horse-car line was extended into Tenleytown (then spelled Tenallytown).

The first electric streetcars arrived in Washington in 1888. In April 1890, the Georgetown and Tenallytown Railway Company completed the new electric line from 32nd and M Streets in Georgetown up High Street (as Wisconsin Avenue in Georgetown was called ) through the village of Tenallytown and on to the District line. 

The first car barn and powerhouse were located on the east side of High Street opposite the intersection of Tunlaw Road (now Calvert Street).  The tracks orginally were built on the east side of the road, not the center, from Georgetown to Tenallytown, and crossed over to the west side near the intersection of River Road.  A board sidewalk was built on the east side of Wisconsin so close to the tracks that pedestrians had to turn sideways when the trolley passed.

The installtion of the electric trolley line closed the distance between village and city.  Tenallytown residents enjoyed travelling to the city for work, school, shopping, and pleasure without the need for horse and cart.

Many Tenallytown residents worked as motormen and conductors on the trollies.


Lower Wisconsin Avenue car barn (near where Calvert Street now runs)


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