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June 02 , 2010

Streetcars of Florida's First Coast


In the late 1800s, a new method to power streetcars ushered Florida’s First Coast cities into the modern era. Earlier travelers moved around town on hay burners, but after the very first electric-powered trolley cruised up Jacksonville’s Main Street in 1893, railways cropped up throughout the region. When the new railroad terminal opened in 1919, it handled millions of passengers, becoming the hub of the streetcar system and the largest railroad station in the South. With almost sixty miles of track, the Jacksonville Traction Company was the largest streetcar system in Florida. Award-winning author and historian Robert W. Mann chronicles the story behind Florida’s bygone streetcar epoch and the dramatic history of city builders, financiers, organized labor, civil rights, fire, fever, nabobs and railway men.

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