First Horse Car Line

west side of Sandford Avenue


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From Charles McGrath:

Shortly after the Civil War, Dr. Vail and several of his friends raised $50,000.00 and constructed a a horse car line (a trolley car pulled by a horse) on South Orange Avenue. The Car ran from Boston Street (three blocks up from High Street) to Munn Avenue. Dr. Vail was superintendent of construction and conductor on its maiden trip from Newark. The fair at that time was six cents.

While the Orange Horse Car Railroad was a progressive adventure it turned out to be a financial failure because it was ahead of it's time. James Boylan ( source of the name for Boylan Street ) took over the line and also failed.

It wasn't until John Radel bought it in 1877 A.D. that it proved to be a great success. By then the crowds from the lower portions of Newark had discovered Scheutzen Park (Vailsburg Park) and used the line to visit it frequently. This line was also primarily responsible for the rapid growth and development of Vailsburg. It provided a means of transportation for those who wanted to work in Newark and live in the suburbs. The original horse car stables were still standing in the late 60's. They were opposite Brookwood Street in the rear of a gas station.