Within the first year after the Land Run
leaders were looking towards a system
of street railways. It was not until May 26,
1905, however that a street railway
system came into operation in the city.
June 8, 1889, the Council of East Guthrie
granted a franchise by ordinance, to J.H.
Hamilton of the Hamilton-Rankin Company
to operate an electric railway system in
the city. Financial difficulties stopped
the project before it could get started.
Nothing further was done on obtaining a
street railway until June 30, 1903 when
John W. Shartel and A.H. Classen, of
Oklahoma City, and a consortium,
negotiated a franchise with the city
for a proposed line of six miles of track.
Several delays were encountered, but
eventually the line was built and opened
with the 1905 celebration.
The streetcars met with enthusiastic
support from the public, providing
economical and convenient transportation
within the city of Guthrie. Usage declined
however with the coming of the
automobiles and by 1929, the service
was no longer operating.
The trolley system lay dormant until a
new vision by Guthrie citizens brought
it back to life.
Guthrie experienced a restful period
when the need for public transportation
was at a minimum and though several
taxi companies came and went the
thought of a trolley was not in the
minds of the citizens.
In 1988, however a serious, pro-active
revitalization was to take place that would
stimulate commerce, tourism, and the
downtown businesses that had suffered the
lack-luster successes that befall many small
towns. The trigger for this revitalization was
the realization that Guthrie contained a
wealth of spectacular nineteenth and early
twentieth century architecture.
A hand-full of preservation minded
citizens took it upon themselves to
try to recover the grand facades and
exterior beauty of Oklahoma's First
Capital. The successful effort to
restore these buildings resulted in
a huge revitalization of the city and the
creation of the Tourism Industry that is
the single most economically valuable
asset of Guthrie today. In addition, the
downtown area became a viable
neighborhood for residents who chose
to make their homes in the towers and
multi-level buildings, thus taking the
restorations well above the street level.
Another natural step in this process
was to restore public transportation
for the city and at that point, The Logan
County Historical Society re-instituted
the long abandoned trolley system, and
began to do business beginning in
November of 1988. The First Capital
Trolley Co. began with only two trolleys
and today boasts 59 vehicles of varied
sizes and purposes and employs 55
The charming green trolleys can be
seen all over the Guthrie Historic
District and the First Capital Trolley
buses and vans provide a valuable
and convenient public service that
most towns the size of Guthrie only
dream of achieving.
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