Brian Doucet

Urban Geographer

From the 1890s through the 1920s American cities were built around the trolley. Every city and town had an electric streetcar system. While many small towns abandoned their trolleys in the 1920s or 1930s,  most cities retained their networks through World War II. After the way, big cities such as New York, Chicago and Baltimore completely abandoned trolleys in favour of buses. In other cities such as Philadelphia, networks were dramatically reduced. It was at this time that trolley enthusiasts began taking photos of these vehicles. By doing so, they caputured the changing nature of American cities. This photo series depicts American cities between the 1940s and early 1970s, a time when public transport and cities gave way to automobiles and the suburbs.

America in the age of the trolley