December 15, 1949 was the day of the demise of Richmond’s last streetcar, No. 408, which was burned to salvage metal for scrap, primarily for the brass.
Richmond had the first successful electrically powered trolley system in the United States. Designed by electric power pioneer, Frank J. Sprague, the trolley system opened its first line in January, 1888. Richmond’s hills, long a transportation obstacle, were considered an ideal proving ground. The new technology soon replaced horsecars and accelerated Richmond’s expansion. To generate traffic and fuel sales of property, amusement parks were created at the end of the lines at Lakeside Park, Westhampton Park (now University of Richmond), and Forest Hill Park. The Richmond area’s streetcar suburbs included Highland Park, Barton Heights, Ginter Park, Woodland Heights, and Highland Springs. Rails of interurban streetcar services formed a suburban network from Richmond extending north to Ashland and south to Chester, Colonial Heights, Petersburg and Hopewell. Another interurban route ran east along the Nine Mile Road and terminated at the National Cemetery at Seven Pines at the end of the Nine Mile Road, where many Union Civil War dead were interred. Electrically powered trolleybuses, also using the Sprague technology, later operated in local service in nearby Petersburg for several years. Also at this time, many of Richmond’s inner city neighborhoods began to grow rapidly, such as the Fan District, and Church Hill.” – Wikipedia. (2017, March).