Saturday, October 23, 2010

Interurban Car in Caldwell, Idaho

I have never been able to resist an Idaho Interurban car and picked up this rather scarce postcard image taken in Caldwell, ID. Behind the back of the car you get a peek of the Caldwell Banking & Trust Company and Steunenberg block. To the immediate right is the Saratoga Hotel, anchoring the focal point of the town at that time...the intersection at 7th and Main Streets.

You have seen this image in history books or websites about the area, and I have a reproduction (ugg!) but finally found the real deal. Bidding was a bit lively for this one so my insincere apology to anyone out there that I sniped in the last few seconds. I have other interurban images from Caldwell and Boise and most of them can be seen elsewhere on the blog or sprinkled about in the links below. Click on the above image to get a nice enlarged view.

Caldwell, Idaho Street View Early 1900's Click under this photograph where it says "original" and then click it again to enlarge even more. Is that the governor hanging out the door waving?

Caldwell-Boise Interurban under construction. There are some great links included here to informative outside websites about the Treasure Valley Interurban often known as "the loop."

Boise Valley Electric Railroads

Interurban Cars Running Through Main Street of Caldwell

Photo and narrative below from University Of Idaho Library Special Collections and ArchivesBoise & Interurban Railway car, 1907
Early-day Boise's transportation problems were to be solved by extending a branch line to Nampa to meet the transcontinental main line in 1887 after a five-year delay. By 1891, electric trolleys were seen as necessary and added to the mix. By 1902, both Nampa and Caldwell attempted to displace Boise as the region's economic center.
To capitalize on this effort, businessman Walter E. Pierce of Boise incorporated the Boise and Interurban Railway to connect the commuters of the three towns. In this souvenir promotional publication (1907) he proclaimed, "Under the general plan of the company every point offering paying business or capable of being developed to the profitable stage will be reached and the Boise and payette Valleys will be made tributary to Boise, as the very heart of the city can be reached in a short time, which will permit [the] business man and employees living anywhere along the line to perform their daily duties in the city."
The tracks of the interurban railways throughout the country and particularly in the West were ripped up and the cars shipped overseas as riders flocked to the freedom of automobile and bus manufacturers conspired to destroy the rail links. In the late 1990's, light interurban rail service is returning to the Boise Valley in the hopes of forestalling the paving of more real estate in the fast growing region.
Purchase of Boise & Interurban Railway Co. Ltd.: Souvenir ed., showing scenery along the route of the Boise and Interurban Railway, Boise and Caldwell (1907) was made possible by funds provide by the John Calhoun Smith Memorial Fund.
Caption: Boise & Interurban Railway car, colored lithograph pasted to the cover. Boise & Interurban Railway Co. Ltd.: Souvenir ed., showing scenery along the route of the Boise and Interurban Railway, Boise and Caldwell. (1907). Day-Northwest Collection, Special Collections and Archives, University of Idaho Library.

No comments: