This stunning postcard was produced by the Great Western Postcard & Novelty Co., of Denver Colorado around 1905. It shows a horse streetcar of the tramway in Cherrelyn, part of Englewood, a suburb to the south of Denver, Colorado. It was a popular subject for tourist picture postcards due to its unusual operation.
The Cherrelyn streetcar ran between Englewood and Littleton. Tracks were reported to have been laid in 1883 and the line ran until 1910, although regular service may have ceased two years earlier. The route ran from Hampden Avenue up a steep hill on Broadway to Quincy Avenue. The horse would pull the tram in the uphill direction. The horse then boarded the rear platform of the tram, as in our postcard, and rode back down the hill using gravity. The driver in the views is believed to be one John Bogue. The standard fare was 5 cents. The horse tramway was superseded in 1910 by electric cars.
At the time of its building, the Cherrelyn line was the only gravity worked tramway in the US, but later there were others. For instance, in southern California the Ontario & San Antonio Heights Railroad Co., operated a tramcar (photo right) pulled by two mules who then rode downhill on a small trailer.
Many urban myths abound that horses and mules from gravity tramways, when later sold to farmers, would happily pull ploughs and cultivators in an uphill direction, but then refused to pull them back again and expected be free ride downhill!
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