Cover

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Title Page, Copyright Page, Dedication

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pp. i-vi

Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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Foreword

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pp. ix-x

Today, many of us are familiar with the dot-com boom of the 1990s followed by the economic collapse of 2007–2008. A century before, in the 1890s and the first decade of the twentieth century, another industry burst into American life, the electric railway interurbans. Expansion of this industry was first affected by the financial impact of 1907’s panic, and the building of paved roads sealed the interurbans’ doom. Essentially the industry was born, matured, and died within a human life span....

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Preface

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pp. xi-xii

For decades the rags-to-riches saga of electric interurbans in the United States has attracted popular interest. Yet, unlike their durable steam railroad counterparts, this transportation form has received only modest publishing attention, likely because it emerged and largely disappeared so rapidly. Those who have written about intercity traction have been primarily amateur historians or “ juice” enthusiasts,...

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xiii-1

No scholar creates a book alone, and in the course of my work on the social history of America’s electric interurbans, I have incurred multiple debts. There are obvious and not-so-obvious acknowledgments to be made.
Those individuals who have assisted me include (in alphabetical order): Sally Bates, Gary Dillon, the late Art Dubin, the late Donald Duke, Tom Fetters, Nick Fry, Dick George, the late Louis Goodwin, Linda Graybeal, John Gruber, Herb Harwood, Tom Hoback, Don Hofsommer, Barb...

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1 Enthusiasm

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pp. 2-55

Just as the steam locomotive lacked a single inventor, the same holds true for the electric interurban. The roles played in perfecting the iron horse by such Englishmen as William Hedley, George Stephenson, and William Symington had their American counterparts in Horatio Allen, Mathias Baldwin, and Peter Cooper. A combination of Americans and Europeans also blazed the way for the electric interurban to become commercially viable toward the end of the nineteenth century. The creative works of Thomas Davenport, Robert Davidson, Ernst Werner von Siemens, Leo...

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2 Interurbans in Daily Life

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pp. 56-125

It would be farmers who became avid supporters of interurbans. When lines were available, these people of the soil relied on this transport form until the maturing Automobile Age and “Good Roads” crusade pulled them away. Agrarians considered the interurban to be a practical way to enhance their incomes and quality of life, mitigating the drudgery and long hours of farm work and ending their rural “imprisonment.” When it came to the passenger business, interurban companies depended heavily...

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3 Saying Goodbye

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pp. 126-151

No major American enterprise has risen and fallen so rapidly as did the electric interurban. Although the business was relatively stable through the era of World War I, a noticeable decline set in by the early 1920s and became strikingly apparent later that decade. Toward the end of the 1930s the industry was in shambles. Mileage stood at 15,470 in 1918, dropped to 12,308 in 1928, and plunged to 4,613 by 1938. Although a few electric roads operated into the post–World War II period, mostly as freight carriers...

Notes

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pp. 152-163

Index

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pp. 164-177