The Street Railway Companies of Columbus, Ohio 1863-1892
Various sources were used to compile this list of horsecar era street railway companies. It is quite possible they weren't all actually built and some may have been holding companies. Not all the publications agreed on specific dates. The dates used here are what seemed the most possible. The dates listed are dates the company stayed in business, the ending date being the date they merged with another company. In the case of only a single year listed that is the year it appeared in a period publication. It seems there was money to be made obtaining a franchise from the City of Columbus, building the line and then merging with or selling out to the dominant streetcar company. Some of these attempts were successful and others died trying. As for the health of the various companies often they had periods when they were not prosperous and the condition of their infrastructure deteriorated causing many complaints from their long suffering customers. The first two companies listed were the dominant companies that eventually absorbed all the other smaller upstart streetcar companies. They were actually the same company under a different name and different ownership. Ownership and company structure was constantly changing during both the horsecar and electric streetcar eras. 1863 was the year the first horsecar line was actually built and started carrying passengers. 1892 was the year the last horsecar line was converted to electricity. Also 1892 is the year one company, the Columbus Street Railway Co., emerged as the lone streetcar company bringing back that original 1863 name.
The Dominant Companies
Columbus Street Railway Co. 1863-1879. This is the original Columbus streetcar company that would grow by extending its 1.5 mile start and merging with other companies. On December 31, 1879 it merged with the Friend Street Railroad Company and the East Park Place Railroad Company becoming the Columbus Consolidated Street Railway Company. The offices were on the west side of N. High Street at the end of the Street Railway, later on the west side of North High Street north of Goodale Ave, and later yet on the east side of South High Street north of Beck Street.
June 10, 1863
High Street from North Public Lane (Naghten Street) south to Mound Street starts horsecar service.
High Street extension from North Public Lane north to University (Poplar Street) and from Mound Street south to Stewart's Grove (Stewart Ave) is added.
Neil Ave line built from High & Goodale Streets west on Goodale Street to Neil Ave then north on Neil Ave to the Agricultural College (Ohio State University).
High Street tunnel - The tunnel under the Union Depot tracks was completed. The Company was permitted to build tracks through the tunnel. They must share them with any other street railway company that needs this access.
The Columbus Street Railway Co. name disappeared in 1879 and reemerged in 1892.
Columbus Consolidated Street Railway Co. 1880-1892. This is the successor to the Columbus Street Railway Company. It continued to add lines such as the Neil Ave Line and Mount Vernon Ave line as well as merge with or purchased the independent lines described below. In 1892 at the start of the all-electric streetcar era another reorganization took place. The company was once again named the Columbus Street Railway Company. The offices were at 12 N. High Street.
Acquired the North High Street Railroad and Chariot Co. and dropped the Chariot service.
Acquired the State & Oak Street Railroad Co. Built an extension from State & Seventh Streets north to Oak Street then east on Oak Street to the State Fair Grounds (Franklin Park)
1883 (or 1876)
Mt. Vernon Ave line built from Long and 8th Streets (Cleveland Ave) north to Mt. Vernon then east on Mt. Vernon Ave to 17th Street.
Acquired the South High Street Railroad and Chariot Co.
Chittenden Ave line to the new State Fairgrounds. This line was built as an electric line, the first for Columbus.
South High Street extension of tracks from Stewart Ave to Innis Ave
Schiller Street (later Whittier Street) line built from South High Street to Brick Street.
The Small Upstart Companies
The next list of companies are of the ones eventually taken over by the dominant company: Columbus Railroad Co. 1864. This company merged with the Columbus Street Railway Company in 1864. It is unclear if it actually had any track or cars, it may have been just a paper company with some franchise rights. Friend Street Railway Co. 1868-1879. The second line of street railway in Columbus. The name Friend Street was changed to Main Street sometime in the 1880s. This is the company that built the early version of the Main Street line. The offices were on the north side of Friend St., west of Ohio Ave. On December 30, 1879 it became a part of the Columbus Consolidated Street Railway Company.
July 16, 1869
Friend Street (later Main Street) line built from High Street to East Public Lane (Parsons Ave)
Friend Street extension from East Public Lane to State Fair Grounds (Franklin Park)
East Park Place Street Railroad Co. 1870-1879. The third line of street railways in Columbus. Builder of the Long Street line with its office at the corner of Long and 15th Streets. On December 30, 1879 it became a part of the Columbus Consolidated Street Railway Company. The offices were at the corner of Long and 15th Streets.
Long Street line built from High Street to Albert Street (Garfield Ave)
Long Street extension from Albert Street to Winner Ave
Long Street extension from Winner Ave to the State Fair Grounds (Franklin Park)
High Street extension from Long and High streets south to Broad Street then east on Broad Street for 150 feet.
North Columbus (Street) Railway Co. - 1875-1876. Authorized to build a line on High Street from Naghten Street to a point two miles north (near Arcadia Ave). (Note that information about this Company is limited and confusing. It may have been named the North High Street Railroad.) Its office was at the southwest corner Swan & Third.
North High Street line builtfrom about Poplar Street to the north corporation line (about Fifth Ave)
North High Street extension from Fifth Ave to Arcadia Ave. Company is also permitted to use the Union Depot tunnel.
North Columbus Street Railroad and Chariot Co. (also listed as the North High Street Railroad and Chariot Co.) 1876-1885. Purchased the North Columbus Street Railway and added a fleet of chariots on High Street operating from Union Depot south. It was sold to the Columbus Consolidated Street Railway Company who discontinued the chariots and shipped them to Philadelphia, Pa. State and Oak Street Railroad Co. 1872-1882. The fourth line of street railway in Columbus. Builder of the Oak Street line. When the Columbus Consolidated Street Railway Company purchased the line it had to completely rebuild the track and re-gauge it to 5' 2". The offices were at 5 E. State St.
State Street line built from High Street east to Seventh Street (Grant Ave)
Glenwood & Green Lawn Railway Co. 1872-1892. Built the West Broad Street line from High Street to the asylums. It also had a line from Broad Street to the Green Lawn Cemetery. This line was built to a 3' 6" gauge. It was changed to 5' 2" gauge in 1891 when it was electrified. It became part of the new Columbus Street Railway Co. in 1892. It had a car house and stable at Broad St. and Green Lawn Ave, which later included a small powerhouse. The offices were at 4 W. Broad St.
Sept. 25, 1875
West Broad Street line built from High Street West on Broad Street to the Central asylum for the Insane with a branch from Broad Street and Glenwood Ave south on Glenwood to Mound Street West on Mound Street south on the Harrisburg Pike to the Green Lawn Cemetery. (It is not clear if this was built in stages or all at once.)
Other Streetcar Companies Other names that are mentioned in publications but are not well explained (they may have been "paper" lines, planned but never built). The dates are the dates they appeared in a period publications. Columbus Railroad Co. 1864. Merged with the Columbus Street Railway Co. in 1864. This may have been a paper only line with a franchise from the city. North Columbus Railroad Co. 1865. Authorized to construct a railway from the northern terminus of the High Street line to North Columbus (around present day Arcada Ave). There was only one mention of this company in any documentation; suspect it was not built under this name. Fairwood Street Railroad - 1875 (office north side of Friend, west of Ohio Av) North High Street Railroad Company - 1880 (office 279 N. High Street)