Monday, October 29, 2007

Streetcar Protest - 1874 Style

Boston Daily Globe March 24 1874

The Jamaica Plain Street Cars - A Woman's Protest.

To the Editors of The Globe:

Sir: Why will those who are in the habit of riding in the Jamaica Plain horse-cars allow themselves to be so jolted and shaken around without making the slightest complaint? I believe that patience is a virtue, but, beyond certain limits, it ceases to be such. If any of my fellow-passengers are so amiable that they prefer to sacrifice themselves for the good of the road, I have nothing to say in their behalf; but, believing that the majority of those who ride are not so inclined, I desire to venture a word. I was witness, a few days ago, of the dangerous effects produced upon a lady passenger by the horrible conditions of the road, and I know of other cases where permanent injury has followed, and where death itself was believed to have been hastened, if not largely caused, by it.

If the highway and the tracks are in such a condition that the drivers cannot possibly get along without "jumping" the track, and being off and on for long distances, have not the city authorities power to look into the matter, and have the street put in order? If it is not the fault of the track, why should such careless drivers be employed? Hoping that the aid of your valuable columns may be given to bring about a much-needed reform, I sign myself, unhappily,

A Sufferer

P.S. - If any officer or director or the road has any doubts about its condition, and will send his wife to ride over it, I will agree to accept her verdict.


It's in little stories like this that you learn the little things about life in the past. The horse-drawn streetcars would jump the tracks - I wouldn't have though of that. I've read that the area between the two tracks was paved with cobble-stones, so when the wheels came out of the tracks, the wheels on one side would be in dirt, and the other side on cobbles. Kind of defeats the whole purpose, no? I imagine the spine would take a good going-over under those conditions.

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