Travelling by Trolley in Mississippi: Yazoo City

Today’s post is the 12th and final chapter in our series re-printing Frank Brooks’ “Travelling by Trolley in Mississippi: Stories about Streetcars,” originally published in 1983. View other posts in the series at the “Streetcars” tab. Thanks again to Mr. Brooks for allowing this digital re-print! If you’d like to read the full book and can’t find it in your local library, you can read the scanned document here on MissPres or download it for reading in your easy chair.

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YAZOO CITY. Smiling motormen on steps of trolley helping advertise a good show in the downtown theatre.

The Yazoo City Light, Water and Sewage Plant built and operated the second oldest municipal street railway in the United States! Yes, gentle reader, another southern city, Monroe, Louisiana, probably has the distinction of being No. 1 by at least two years. There were a total of six cars and one trailer which ran over 4.3 miles of track, the longest stretch of which was the run out Grand Avenue. Yazoo City’s trolleys made their way along several downtown streets, including Broadway, where they passed the handsome county courthouse. Oh, yes, that name was shortened to Municipal Street Railway in 1912.

The first cars started running in Yazoo City on January 2, 1909. The equipment included at least one open car which the passengers enjoyed during the warm summer months; a second open car was bought in this same year. The records show that the City Commissioners appointed as Manager T. E. Polockington, who had served as superintendent of construction during the building of the line.

Unfortunately, the life of this unique small-town system was a short one, and by 1918, the trolleys of the Yazoo City Public Service Commission disappeared from the city streets forever; sold to Helena, Arkansas for rebuilding and a new start in life.

THE END

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The Texas Division
ELECTRIC RAILROADERS’ ASSOCIATION
Milam Building
San Antonio, TX 78205

Other Division publications include —

“Short Circuit Bulletin” (SCB)–Issued the 10th of each month
“southern traction annals”–Issued irregularly with SCB

Address for Membership inquiries, as above.

DIVISION OFFICERS

Rod Varney
Chairman
San Antonio, Texas

John K. Kight
Secretary-Treasurer
San Antonio, Texas

LeRoy O. King, Jr.
Director
Dallas, Texas

Ed Gaida
Director
San Antonio, Texas

William Neill
Director–SCB
Editor
San Antonio, Texas

SPONSORS FOR THIS EDITION

James D. Brock
Dr. Richard L. Day
Robert C. Gerstley
John G. Graham
Edward W. Hall
Wally Higgins
LeRoy O. King
James C. McHugh
Norman Olsen
Robert J. Powers
Russell Powers
Robert O. Townley
Birdie and Rich Wagner
David J. Williams III

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Frank A. Brooks, Jr. has loved trains and streetcars for as long as he can remember. He and his wife Jo Anne are parents of 2 children and grandparents of 4. During his active ministry of 43 years in the Presbyterian Church he served in Kentucky, Mississippi, Virginia and Arkansas. In retirement, Dr. and Mrs. Brooks live in her hometown Corinth, MS.



Categories: Yazoo City

5 replies

  1. I worked on a survey here of buildings along part of the original trolley route, 9 blocks worth of neat commercial buildings from as early as the turn of the century, through the late 50s. We are now underway in upgrading to a streetcar- rail kind of thing that will go further into downtown and some other areas, a nice link. Only issue is that part of it goes through our university area and the city wants to tear down even more historic homes in our West University neighborhood to put in 8 story mini dorms. Ah, progress…Thanks for the great articles, I’m a little behind on my reading, but I save them all until I do. Wishing you a Merry Christmas and much happiness in the New Year, from Tucson!

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  2. I enjoyed the series on the trolley cars in Mississippi towns.

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  3. My grandfather, John R. Harris, was a trolley car driver during that period. Wish I had more info about his time there. Later, he owned a grocery store on Bell Road. Loved the pics. Thanks!

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  4. Thank you Mr. Brooks! What a great series!

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  5. The Yazoo City municipal streetcar system does not appear in the US Census Bureau compilations for 1902 and 1907 – it had not opened by then.

    The system length, per the above map, was 3.2 miles.

    Thereafter (1912, 1917), it was grouped together with “the rest” of Mississippi’s streetcar systems in the Census Bureau surveys. My “best guesses” for annual passenger traffic thereafter:

    1912, very roughly 400,000.
    1917, very roughly 800,000.

    The population of Yazoo City fell from about 6,500 at 1912 to about 5,700 at 1917 – and this was certainly a factor in the early closure – in 1918, ca. May.

    The trade press of the time did not miss the opportunity to point out that municipal operation itself was not sufficient to insure the financial success of a street railway system.

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