The Hodiamont Streetcar Wellston

Hodiamont Streetcar -
Vanished, gone, the end of the line.

We miss you and all that you were to us.
Wellston, St. Louis County, MO

This is a tribute to our favorite streetcar line. Not only our favorite line, but known all over the United States. The streetcar obituary made the New York Times and Chicago Tribune!  (see below)

I am not going to present a history of the line here. All you have to do is visit your library for a copy of: "Streets & Streetcars of St. Louis: A Sentimental Journey"  by Andrew D Young, Ray Gehl, Mark D Goldfeder - 2002 or "One Hundred Years of Streetcars in St. Louis." by Berl Katz - 1959.   For the most current review with great photos, I prefer the Andrew Young  book.

I just would like to remind the older generation or how good it was to grow up in an suburban area that had a terrific nearly pollution free, mass transit system.  Before General Motors and the oil companies paid the cities to remove the tracks and replace the streetcars high carbon producing foul smelling buses.

We did not need horses, wagons, stables, automobiles or garages with all of their accompanying expenses and waste.   We had an excellent mass transit system that worked and it was inexpensive.  You could ride anywhere for a dime, less, if you had a student pass. That was "Cool", long before we knew the word "Cool".

My first set of "wheels" was a bicycle. freedom to fly on a magic carpet, travel with friends and discover the wonders of the two our three miles from our home.

The other set of "wheels" was not an automobile, It was the Streetcar.  There were many different choices from our Wellston Terminal, all of them took us to places of wonder.  My own favorite was the route #15,  Hodiamont car.

During our pre-teen years, the family would get on the Hodiamont and travel to the downtown department stores to see the Christmas window displays. Electric trains roaring around on the track and disappearing into a tunnel, only to appear again emerging from another tunnel. North Pole elves that moved, and laughed.  Of course, we saw all the toys and dolls in the world displayed and mentioned what we would like from Santa Claus.

Families rode the Hodiamont downtown and stand on the sidewalks or sit on the curbs just to watch the "Veiled Prophet" parade.

As we early as the sixth and seventh grades, we were considered old enough to travel safely on the public service system, and with our classmates we would travel to Forest Park and visit the Art Museum or look at the Lucky Lindbergh items on display at the Jefferson Memorial. Both places required several visits, as there was too much to absorb in one visit.. They were free!  Paid for an maintained with tax dollars or donations, but free!  Not some "private corporation" charging admission for these places.  The Zoo was free, our only expense was the two dimes, one to go and one to come home. We drank water from drinking fountains that was free.  We did not carry water bottles containing purchased tap water

The lasting friendships and the trips we made are not forgotten, we review them at every class reunion, in letters and in the miracle of this age,  email. (Thanks again, Vint Cerf and Bill Gates).

On some special occasions when the movie you "had to see", was at one of the big downtown theatres, you might go on dates as a group to see the show, usually as couples paired within the group.  We behaved very well, I remember, always above the level that would cause the most timid of us any  embarrassment. The girls were "ladies", and the "boys" were "gentlemen".  Maybe we were putting on an act as in a play, but I feel, that is just the way it was.

Now, my favorite memory of the #15 Hodiamont streetcar when I was on "the date", as in one boy with one girl on their first date together!  Easter 1946!  That story is here:

It's gone, but not forgotten, the memories still are with us.    

We miss you and all that you were to us.

Click photo for larger view
1964 Photograph
The New York Times
Jan 30, 1966

Click photo for larger view
The Chicago Tribune
May 22, 1966

Click photo for larger view

Click photo for larger view
1966 Photograph


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