What's the Deal With: Bellingham's streetcars?
June 29, 2022 at 5:50 a.m.
Bellingham, WA, 1918: Dozens of streetcars trundle along the city’s roadways. A couple trolleys on North Street, a few along Eldridge Avenue and more on Garden Street and in Happy Valley transported thousands of locals around town.
In 1916, 42,084 passengers used trolleys for errands and travel, according to volume 52 of the Electric Railway Journal. In 1917, another 62,882 took to the trolleys and, in 1918, more than 73,650 passengers made use of the quick and cheap public transit system in Bellingham.
The arrival of cars on city streets, though, eventually led to the death of the streetcars around the country, and Bellingham’s system was not immune. The trolleys were officially retired in 1938, replaced by diesel buses that were “better adapted to sharing the streets with automobiles,” according to the Historical Marker Database.
Tracks remain visible around town and a marker on Cornwall Avenue between Holly and Magnolia Street commemorates the history of Bellingham’s trolley.
WTD runs on Wednesdays. Have a suggestion for a “What's the Deal With?” inquiry? Email us at email@example.com.