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Mrs. Byers Recalls Ride on City’s First Electric Line

Published in a Columbus newspaper, September, 1938 

     It was just 49 years ago this September [Sept. 1889] when a rickety, queer-looking, groaning vehicle – Columbus’s first electric car – jiggled its way out West Broad Street with an electrician at the controls, piloting its first test run.  At a downtown corner it stopped and the electrician George Baker leaned his head out of the front window.

     “Hey – Mrs. Byers – you’re going out my way,” he yelled.  “I’ll take you out – if you aren’t afraid.”

     Young Mrs. Byers laughed nervously and climbed aboard the car, her market basket in her hand.

First to Ride

     “Let ‘er go,” she declared, “I – I don’t think I’m afraid.”

     At Glenwood Avenue the streetcar stopped and Mrs. Byers alighted.

     “There you are,” spoke Motorman Baker, “I guess you can say you’re the first lady to ride on Columbus’ first permanent electric car.”

     In 1888 an electric car line, known as the “Short Line,” ran between the fair grounds and downtown Columbus* (it was Centennial year, and a big exhibition was on display), but this service was only temporary.

     The first electric trolley line, known as the Glenwood and Greenlawn Railroad Co., had its beginning in September of the next year [1889].  It was during the test trips of the first trolley that Mrs. Byers had her ride.

     Today Mrs. Byers lives at 384 Berkeley Road, and on Nov. 22 she celebrated her eighty-first birthday by attending a big birthday party at her son’s home at Warren.

     In spite of her advanced age Mrs. Byers does her own housework, and refuses to give up her upstairs home and move downstairs with her daughter, Mrs. Frank Albright, 386 Berkeley Road.

     Born in Massachusetts Mrs. Byers moved to Columbus right after her marriage in Springfield 57 years ago.  She has lived in this city since that time.  Mr.  Byers died 11 years ago.  She has one daughter, Mrs. Albright and a son, C.H. Byers of Warren.

     Mrs. Byers finds pleasure in riding automobiles, and doesn’t mind a little speeding now and then.  But no airplanes!  She had nerve enough, Mrs. Byers declares to ride in the first electric trolley in Columbus, but not enough for an airplane ride.


* Actually the "Short Line" only ran from Chittenden and North High Streets to the fair grounds.