The Columbus Street Railroad Company, incorporated June 10, 1854 was authorized by Columbus city ordnance to build a street railway on High Street, Broad Street, Harrisburg Pike to past Green Lawn Cemetery, Town Street from High Street to East Public Lane thence to Friend Street, thence on the National Road, and "Elsewhere in Columbus as deemed expedient". Nothing came of these plans
An ordinance was passed authorizing the building of a street railway on High Street, State Avenue, Town and Fourth Streets. The Columbus Street Railroad Company actually built a double track street railway on High Street from Union Depot to Mound Street (The Court House) a distance of 1.2 miles. The first horsecar ran on June 10, 1863. The fare was limited to seven cents or five tickets for twenty-five cents. Columbus had a population of 18,000.
The new line built north across the Union Depot tracks and extended as far as University Street (Poplar Street). It extended south on High Street to Stewart's Grove. The stables and car house were located nouth of Union Station on High Street between Goodale Avenue and University Street. After much community discussion it was decided that the cars could be run on Sunday.
Two open cars were placed in service.
With the end of the war, traffic dropped off. That along with a $5,700 assessment for improvements to High Street nearly sunk the little line. To keep the company in business the heavy double track was taken up and along with the two-horsecars sold. Light rail single track was laid and one horse horsecars were purchased. Conductors were replaced with a fare box allowing the line to survive the hard times. Within three years of these changes the line was again making a profit.
The North Columbus Railroad Company was incorporated on November 25, 1865. This company had authority to construct from the northern terminus of the High Street line to North Columbus (the area around fifth Avenue). It is not clear if this company actually constructed any track.
The Friend Street Railroad Company was incorporated with authority to build from High Street to the County Fair Grounds (Franklin Park). First built to East Public Lane (Parsons Avenue) eventually it did reach the Fair Grounds.
The East Park Place Street Railroad Company was incorporated with authority to build on Long Street from High Street to the County Fair Grounds. While there were variations in the route in various authorizations eventually the route would start at Broad and High streets thence north to Long Street, east to Mulberry Street (now Parkwood Avenue) south to Broad Street ending at the County Fair Grounds (now Franklin Park).
In 1876 the East Park Place Street Railroad Company built an additional route on Cleveland Avenue north from Long Street to Mt. Vernon Avenue thence east on Mt. Vernon to Twelfth Street. There was also a short branch on Washington Avenue from Mt. Vernon Avenue to Buckingham Street to serve the U.S. Barracks (later named Fort Hayes).
The State and Oak Street Railroad Company was incorporated. By July track was laid from High Street to Seventh Street. The line was always in poor condition. It would take until 1882 for the line to be purchased by the Columbus Consolidated Street Railway Company rebuilt and re-gauged to provide a viable service from Rose Avenue to High Street and north on High Street to Union Depot.
The Glenwood & Green Lawn Railroad Company was incorporated April 23, 1872. It ran on West Broad Street from High Street to the western city boundary where the "asylums" were located. There was also a line on Glenwood Avenue from West Broad Street to Mound Street thence East to the Green Lawn Cemetery. This line was three and a-half foot gauge. (Most other horsecar lines in Columbus were five feet, two-inch gauge at this time. The North Columbus Railroad Company was four feet, eight and a-half inch gauge.)
The Columbus Street Railway Company's charter was threatened because of alleged neglect in not running the cars to the southern terminal and in the poor condition of the track. In addition the track north of Union depot was described as "an unmitigated nuisance" .... "slow, irregular and dirty". To remedy the situation on South High Street the space between the rails was paved to bring some improvement to the situation.
At the same time the CSR Co. was authorized to build a line on Goodale Street from North High Street to Neil Avenue and thence on Neil avenue to the north end of the college.
Subway tunnels were constructed under the Union depot tracks crossing High Street. The ramps to the tunnels were about 175 feet and the tunnel about 325 feet in length. Ten railroad tracks crossed over the top of the tunnels. It was report that the tracks were occupied up to seven hours per day necessitating the need to build the two tunnels.
The tunnels were always unpleasant, dank and smelly from the horse droppings.
The North High Street Railroad (predecessor of the North Columbus Railroad Company?) was authorized to extend its tracks on High Street from the old corporation line at Fifth Avenue north to the new corporation line at Arcadia Avenue. It also was allowed to share the tunnel tracks with the Columbus Street Railway Company.
The Friend Street and East Park Place Companies were consolidated with an improvement in service.
On December 22, 1879, the Columbus Street Railway Company, the East Park Place Railroad Company and the Friend Street Railroad Company are combined becoming the Columbus Consolidated Railway. When the horsecar lines complete electrification in 1892 the Columbus Street Railway Company name will reappear.
Double track from South of the High Street Tunnel to Mound Street was also authorized, on condition that the company should keep in repair all that portion of the street or streets lying between lines drawn one foot outside of and beyond the extreme outer rails, the company charges but one fare of five cents in one car over its lines, a transfer from the North High street and the State and Oak Street companies to be granted for a single fare of five cents.
The Columbus Consolidated Street Railway Company purchased the North Columbus Street Railway and Chariot Line. The North Columbus Street Railway and Chariot Line ran horsecars from Arcada Avenue to Union Depot where the customer could change to a chariot or to a CSR Co. horsecar. The two lines had been sharing the High Street subway. The CSR Co. immediately eliminated the chariot route from Union Depot to downtown Columbus and was able to extend their route north from University Street to Arcadia Avenue.
The Columbus Consolidated Street Railway Company purchased land at the State Fair Grounds (Franklin Park) to build a stable and car house. This eventually became the Rose Avenue shops (later renamed the Kelton Avenue shops)
After October 1885 cars would only stop at the crossings of streets and alleys.
June 27, 1887 permission given to build the Chittenden Avenue line from High Street to the State Fair Grounds. This was the first electric line using an experimental electrical system.
The company obtained permission to extend its track from Stewart Avenue to the south corporation line.
It was authorized to double track Goodale Street and Neil Avenue.
Authority was given to construct a line on Schiller Street, from High to Bruck Street.
Authority was given to construct double track on High Street from Chittenden Avenue north to Hudson Street.
Summary of Columbus street railways on eve of electrification taken from the 1891 Street Railway Journal:
Columbus Consolidated Street RR Co. - 30 miles of which 3.25 are electric, 5' 2" gauge, 45 & 52 lb girder rail. 124 cars, 4 motor cars, 540 horses, 80 mules, T H System, President A.D. Rogers, V. President H.T. Chittenden, Sec & Treas. E.K. Stewart, Supt. J.H. Atcherson, Capital $1,000,000 (hard to read, may be wrong), office 12 N. High Street.
Glenwood & Greenlawn Street RR Co. - Electric, 4.5 miles, 3' 6" gauge, 46 & 52 lb rail, 8 cars, Edison System. President A.D. Rodgers, V. President B.S. Brown, Sec. & Treas. R.R. Rickly, Supt. Jonas Willcox. Office 9 S. High Street.
Note: The figures of mileage are for length of single track, counting one mile of double track as two of single and counting switches as additional length.
The Chittenden Avenue stables and car house were destroyed by fire. Lost in the fire were 25 horsecars. All the horses were saved.
The Glenwood & Green Lawn Railroad Company is changed to five feet, two-inch gauge and electrified in 1891. It became part of the new Columbus Street Railway Co. in 1892.
The Oak Street line is electrified ending the horsecar era.
 It was reported that some conductors learned that they could purchase tickets at five-cents and when given seven cents by a customer, replace it with their own five-cent ticket putting the seven cents in their pocket. With wages set at $1.25 per day this was welcome added income for the conductor.
 The Columbus Street Railway Company objected to sharing High Street with the East Park Place Railroad Company. The East Park Place officials took the typical 19th century solution of laying their track late at night and before the CSR Co. officials could arrange for a blocking injunction.
 The streetcar company was responsible for paving the street between the tracks and to one foot past the outside of the track.
 There are several publications that the author was able to access for information, unfortunately, they don't always agree on precise dates. This event was listed as 1880 in one publication and 1885 in a publication of 1892.