The Trolley and Railroads

Shinglehouse, Potter Co., PA

Submitted by PHGS Member Mike Henderson


"History of Potter County, Pennsylvania," by Victor L. Beebe, 1934, page 227

The trolley line from Shinglehouse to Bolivar and Olean had been opened in 1902. An attempt was made in 1904 to build a trolley line from Olean to Coudersport. The boro council of Coudersport granted a franchise, but difficulties in Port Allegany and elsewhere defeated this enterprise. Subsequent events have proved that, even if this project had been carried out, it would long ago have followed the Shinglehouse and Bolivar trolley lines to the realm of the past. The Shinglehouse trolley line is the only electric railroad that ever actually entered Potter County.

The business of the N. Y. & P. railroad decreased in volume with the decline of the lumber industry, and finally ceased to pay operating expenses, but service was maintained, with two passenger trains each day, down to the close of this period, though the resources of the road did not admit of keeping it in very good shape. An amusing incident occurred at Shinglehouse in June, 1905, when the Olean and Shinglehouse trolley line attempted to put in a crossing over the tracks of the N. Y. & P. on Academy Street. The officials of the railroad sent an engine to stand on the site of the proposed crossing and hold the ground. But the people of Shinglehouse were favorable to the trolley company, and a number of men appeared on the scene, with teams and equipment. A hose was turned on the engine, drenching the engineer and fireman, and then was effectively used to extinguish the fires in the locomotive. Teams were then hitched on, and the engine hauled off the disputed ground. Stones and lumps of coal flew, but no one was seriously injured. Before any new move could be made by the railroad company, the rails had been cut and the crossing put in. An injunction was served on the trolley company, which caused a few days delay, but the victory was theirs. The crossing was not used for several years preceding the abandonment of the trolley line. The N. Y. & P. railroad lost their founder and chief promoter,
Joseph B. Rumsey of Oswayo, near the close of this period. He died in 1915.

Fight over Trolley Crossing
Trouble ensued when the Shinglehouse trolley company attempted to put in a crossing over the N. Y. & P. at Shinglehouse in 1905.
Photo: Oswayo Valley Mail

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