South Carolina Railroads - Street Railways - Spartanburg

The following seven (7) known "Street Railways" were operational in the city of Spartanburg from 1891 to 1936, when the last line ceased operations. As also shown below, one (1) railway was chartered but never materialized.

Click Here for an online version of Mr. Thomas Fetters' write-up about Street Railways in the city of Spartanburg.

Spartanburg City Street Railway

Year Chartered

Year Operational

Year Ended

Length of Line

1889

1891

Not Known

Not Known

The Street Railway Review of January 1891 reported that a dummy line is to be built in Spartanburg and that work will commence in a week or two.

According to Thomas Fetters in 1978: "The earliest transportation was provided by a "solemn looking mule" which trod from the Daniel Morgan Monument at Main Street and Church east on Main six blocks to South Pine Street hauling the lone horsecar of the operation. No record survives of a formal corporate structure, nor of when the operation first commenced."

Spartanburg, Clifton & Glendale Railroad

Year Chartered

Year Operational

Year Ended

Length of Line

1890

1891

1901

2.5 miles

In 1891, the charter was amended to construct rails in the city of Spartanburg, among other changes. In 1901, this line was acquired by the Spartanburg Railway, Gas & Electric Company.

The Street Railway Journal of 1894 reported that this line was powered by steam and had 2-1/2 miles of track operational, with one (1) engine and three (3) cars. Officers included President A.H. Leftwich, Vice-President J.W. Fowler, Secretary-Treasurer W.D. Fowler, and General Manager & Superintendent W.E. Fowler.

Spartanburg Railway, Gas & Electric Company

Year Chartered

Year Operational

Year Ended

Length of Line

1901

1901

1912

18.5 miles

The Spartanburg Railway, Gas & Electric Company was chartered on February 13, 1901 by the South Carolina Secretary of State. This company built several lines, including Main Street from Ruskclaw Street on the east to Forest Street on the west; Church Street from Arkwright Mill on the south to the Spartanburg Hospital on the north; Magnolia Stree from Main Street to the Southern Railway Station running parallel to the Church Street line; and along St. John Street between Magnolia and Church, forming a loop in the central business area.

The American Street Railway Investments magazines of 1901 and 1902 reported that the Spartanburg Railway, Gas & Electric Company has constructed an electric railway from Spartanburg to Glendale, which was placed in operation about Nov. 1, 1900. The company had 12 miles of track (electric) and 6 Laclede motor cars in operation. Officers include - President & Treasurer F. D. McEwen, Secretary P. H. Gadsden, and Auditor F. C. Stedman. Offices at 41 Morgan Square, Spartanburg, SC. Last date of information - Feb. 1901.

The Street and Electric Railways Census of December 1902 reported that the the Spartanburg Railway, Gas & Electric Company owned and operated the Spartanburg, Clifton & Glendale Railroad with 16 miles of track and $400,000 in capital stock.

The American Street Railway Investments magazine of 1903 reported that the Spartanburg Railway, Gas & Electric Company had 17.5 miles of track (electric) and 9 Laclede motor cars. Officers include - President & Treasurer F. D. McEwen, Secretary P. H. Gadsden, and Auditor Percy Hodson. Date of information - March 1903.

The Street Railway Review of June 20, 1903 reported: "A cyclone visited Spartanburg County, South Carolina, and northern Georgia June 2d and caused damage to street railway property amounting to $40,000."

The American Street Railway Investments magazine of 1904 reported that the Spartanburg Railway, Gas & Electric Company had 17.5 miles of track (electric) and 10 Laclede motor cars. Officers include - President & Treasurer F. D. McEwen and Auditor Percy Hodson. Offices at 41 Morgan Square, Spartanburg, SC. Information as of July 1903.

The American Street Railway Investments magazines of 1905, 1906, and 1907 reported that the Spartanburg Railway, Gas & Electric Company had the same track and cars as reported in 1904. Officers include - President T. L. Park, Vice-President, Treasurer & General Manager F. D. McGowen, and Secretary F. H. Knox. Offices at same location. Information as of September 1904, January 1906, and May 1907.

The Street & Electric Railways Census of 1907 reported that the Spartanburg Railway, Gas & Electric Company had 16.00 miles of track and $400,000 in capital stock.

The Street Railway Journal of November 1907 reported that the Spartanburg Railway, Gas & Electric Company had 15 miles of track and 10 cars.

The American Street Railway Investments magazine of 1908 reported that the Spartanburg Railway, Gas & Electric Company had 15 miles of track and 10 Laclede motor cars. Officers include - President, Treasurer & General Manager F. D. McEowen of Spartanburg, Secretary F. H. Knox of Spartanburg, and Auditor W. T. Eastwood. Information as of May 1908.

In 1908, the company built a new line to the fairgrounds by branching from the North Church line to Howard Street and following Howard to the race track and fair facilities.

The American Street Railway Investments magazine of 1909 reported that the Spartanburg Railway, Gas & Electric Company had 15 miles of track and 30 Laclede motor cars. Officers include - President R. C. Crawford, Pittsburgh, PA; Vice-President, Secretary & General Manager F. H. Knox, Spartanburg, SC; and Auditor George C. Thompson, Spartanburg, SC. Date of information - April 1909.

The American Street Railway Investments magazine of 1910 reported: "Spartanburg Railway, Gas & Electric Co. —— Chartered in 1899. Franchises granted in 1899 for 40 years. This company constructed an electric railway from Spartanburg to Glendale and Clifton, which was placed in operation about Nov. 1, 1900. An extension of 12 miles may be built. Company furnishes electric current in Spartanburg, Woodruff, Glendale, Cedar Springs and Cowpens."

The same magazine also reported that this company had 16.5 miles of track (electric), 13 motor passenger cars, and 2 trail passenger cars; Laclede and Jewett cars. Information as of May 1910.

The Electric Traction Weekly magazine of January 23, 1910 reported: "The Spartanburg Railway, Gas & Electric Company, it is reported, will begin work on an extension of its line to Saxon Mills. F. H. Knox, of Spartanburg, is general manager."

The McGraw Electric Railway Manual of 1911 reported that the Spartanburg Railway, Gas & Electric Company operated 18.5 miles of track (electric) and 14 motor passenger cars and 2 trail passenger cars. Officers include - President R.C. Crawford of Pittsburgh, PA; Vice-President & General Manager F. H. Knox of Spartanburg, SC; and Secretary & Treasurer James C. Chaplin of Pittsburgh, PA.

The Electric Railway Journal of October 7, 1911 reported: "The strike of the employees of the Spartanburg Railway, Gas & Electric Company, Spartanburg, SC, which was declared on Sept. 20, 1911, was terminated on Sept. 26, 1911, by the men agreeing to return to work under the conditions fixed by the company. On Sept. 24, 1911, the strike assumed such serious proportions that Governor Blease ordered three companies of the State militia to hold themselves in readiness for service in Spartanburg to suppress disorder."

The Electric Railway Journal of October 21, 1911 reported: "The Greenville, Spartanburg & Anderson Railway, Anderson, has received a railway franchise from the City Council in Spartanburg."

Taken over by the South Carolina Light, Power & Railways Company in 1912. See below.

The Electric Railway Journal of February 8, 1913 reported: "Spartanburg Railway, Gas & Electric Company, Spartanburg, SC, has ordered from the American Car Company five 20-ft. 8-in. closed cars mounted on Brill 21-E trucks."

The Electric Railway Journal of October 18, 1913 reported: "Spartanburg Railway, Gas & Electric Company, Spartanburg, SC — A 25-mile extension from Spartanburg to Cross Anchor is being planned by this company."

Greenville & Spartanburg Railway Company

Year Chartered

Year Operational

Year Ended

Length of Line

1910

Never

Never

0 miles

On February 8, 1910, the Greenville & Spartanburg Railway Company was chartered by the South Carolina Secretary of State.

The Electric Traction Weekly magazine of February 26, 1910 reported: "The Spartanburg & Greenville Railway Company has received a charter from the secretary of state to operate an electric railway between the cities of Greenville and Spartanburg, 31 miles. The road will haul freight, passengers and mail. Capital $100,000. Chas. W. Ellis is president; H. H. Price, vice-president, and C. H.Yates, secretary and treasurer."

The Electric Traction Weekly magazine of April 23, 1910 reported: "The Greenville & Spartanburg Electric Railway Company has awarded the contract to construct an electric line between Greenville and Spartanburg to W. J. Oliver & Company, of Knoxville, Tenn., the contract price being $750,000."

There is no evidence that this railway was constructed.

South Carolina Light, Power & Railways Company

Year Chartered

Year Operational

Year Ended

Length of Line

1912

1912

1922

21 miles

According to Mr. Thomas Fetters in his book entitled "Palmetto Traction - Electric Railways of South Carolina" (1978), the South Carolina Light, Power & Railways Company, a subsidiary of Southern Power Company, was incorporated on June 12, 1919 to take over the former Spartanburg Railway, Gas & Electric Company. At this point in time, Spartanburg was the third largest city, with a population of about 20,000, after Charleston and Columbia.

The McGraw Electric Railway Manual of 1913 reported: "South Carolina Light, Power & Railways Co. — Incorporated in Massachusetts on June 21, 1912, to take over the property of The Spartanburg Railway, Gas & Electric Co., and the Electric Manufacturing & Power Co., and for the acquisition of other properties and the construction of other plants. Company does the entire electric light, gas, street railway and power business in Spartanburg, and the entire electric light and power business in Gaffney, Cowpens, Woodruff and Blacksburg. Owns about 20 miles of city and interurban street railway. Owns a hydro-electric power plant on the Broad River, at Gaston Shoals." Capital Stock $3,500,000. Officers include - President P. G. Gossler, New York, NY; Vice-President & General Manager F. H. Knox, Spartanburg, SC; and Secretary & Treasurer E. W. Bell, New York, NY."

The Electric Railway Journal of February 15, 1913 reported: "South Carolina Light, Power & Railways Company, Spartanburg, SC — This company announces that it will spend $50,000 for improvements to its lines in Spartanburg during the year. This will include extension of tracks as well as additions to equipment."

The Electric Railway Journal of August 30, 1913 reported: "Plans are being made by this company to build a new machine shop, carpenter shop and paint shop and to enlarge its carhouse in East Spartanburg. The machine shop will be 40 ft. x 80 ft. and of sheet-iron construction. The addition to the carhouse will have a capacity for twenty-five cars. A water tank of 15,000-gal. capacity has been erected at a height of 30 ft. on the grounds. The improvements are estimated to cost $50,000."

The McGraw Electric Railway Manual of 1914 reported that the South Carolina Light, Power & Railways Company does the entire electric light, gas, street railway and power business in Spartanburg, and the entire electric light and power business in Gaffney, Cowpens, Woodruff and Klacksburg. Owns 20 miles of city and interurban street railway and a hydro-electric plant on the Broad River, at Gaston Shoals. Officers include - President P. G. Gossler, New York, NY; Vice-President & General Manager F. H. Knox, Spartanburg, SC; and, Secretary & Treasurer E. W. Bell, New York, NY.

Poor's Manual of Public Utilities and Street Railways of 1915 reported that the South Carolina Light, Power & Railways Company operates about twenty-one (21) miles of city and interurhan street railway of standard gauge and fully equipped. Also owns three acres of land at East Spartanburg on which are located the car barns, paint shop, and work shop.

The Electric Railway Journal of October 30, 1915 reported: "South Carolina Light, Power & Railways Company, Spartanburg, SC — The subject of extensions into property to be selected by the city as a public park is now under consideration by officials of the South Carolina Light, Power & Railways Company. Four sites have been offered the city without price for use as a park with the understanding that the street car lines will be extended into the property so as to make it easily accessible to the entire public."

The Electric Railway Journal of August 19, 1916 reported: "South Carolina Light, Power & Railways Company, Spartanburg, SC — Recommendation that this company be required to extend its line of railway to Whitney Mills and reconstruct the line between Clifton No. 1 and Clifton No. 3 will be presented before a circuit judge for confirmation, under the report of S. T. Lanham, master in equity. The master says in his report: 'I recommend that an order be passed by the court requiring the defendants within sixty days to begin work upon the extension of its railway to the town of Whitney and Clifton mills No. 3, and to complete the same within four months from that date, such extension to conform to the general plan and policy of the system already completed and in operation so as to become an integral part thereof.' The action to require the company to construct the railway was begun by A. T. Thomas, a citizen, in behalf of himself, and all other citizens. After the case was docketed the circuit court judge ordered that the case be referred to S. T. Lanham, master in equity, to take testimony and arguments and report his findings of law and fact involved. The plaintiffs alleged in their complaint that the defendant company was violating its franchise, granted by the city, May 3, 1899, in its failure to make the extensions demanded in the action. The defendant company alleged that the franchise with the city did not obligate the company to make the extension."

The Electric Railway Journal of May 12, 1917 reported: "South Carolina Light, Power & Railways Company, Spartanburg, SC — This company will construct an extension to Whitney and will also reconstruct part of its Clifton line."

The Electric Railway Journal of September 1, 1917 reported: "South Carolina Light, Power & Railways Company, Spartanburg, SC, has purchased eight second-hand cars from the Wendell & MacDuffie Company for use in cantonment [Camp Wadsworth] service."

The Electric Railway Journal of October 20, 1917 reported that the South Carolina Light, Power & Railway Company purchased six double-truck cars.

The Electric Railway Journal of August 3, 1918 reported: "South Carolina Light, Power & Railways Company, Spartanburg, SC — An extension will be built by the South Carolina Light, Power & Railways Company to Whitney and Converse."

The Electric Railway Journal of December 20, 1919 reported: "The South Carolina Light, Power & Railways Company, Spartanburg, SC, has announced that it will raise the fares in that city from 5 cents to 6 cents. The increase will be made under the terms of an ordinance passed recently by the City Council authorizing the company to install a maximum fare of 7 cents. The people of Spartanburg at an election called by the City Council several months ago vote against authorizing the railway to increase its fare."

The Electric Railway Journal of September 18, 1920 reported: "George B. Tripp, vice-president and general manager of the South Carolina Light, Power & Railways Company, Spartanburg, SC, recently asked the Spartanburg City Council to allow the company to raise its fare from 7 cents to 10 cents. Mr. Tripp also asked that the company be relieved of street paving, which under the franchise it is obliged to do. The company seeks also to be excused from extending its lines to Whitney and Clifton Streets."

The Electric Railway Journal of April 2, 1921 reported: "Declaring that if he later considers it advisable to appoint a co-receiver to represent the city's interest he will do so, Judge H. H. Watkins, at Anderson, SC, on March 19 announced that he will leave the affairs of the South Carolina Light, Power & Railway Company, Spartanburg, SC, temporarily at least, in the hands of George B. Tripp, vice-president and general manager of the company, and J. B. Lee, a director of the corporation, who were appointed receivers on Feb. 17."

The Electric Railway Journal of July 23, 1921 reported: "The South Carolina State Railroad Commission recently granted permission to the South Carolina Light, Power & Railways Company, Spartanburg, SC, to increase its railway fares in the interurban territory. The old rate was 7 cents and it is now 10 cents in each of three zones, making an increase from 21 cents to 30 cents for approximately ten miles. The new order became effective July 3."

The Electric Railway Journal of August 6, 1921 reported: "Interest due on May 1 on the $3,979,000 of outstanding first mortgage 5's of 1937 and the quarterly interest due on June 1 on the outstanding $650,000 of 7 per cent notes of the South Carolina Light, Power & Railways Company, Spartanburg, SC, have been defaulted. The company passed into receivers' hands last February. It is believed that arrangements will be carried through that will obviate the need for foreclosure and sale of the property."

"The present plan is to have the people of Spartanburg vote on an increase in gas and electric light rates and the power consumers will be asked to enter into contracts for the rates as allowed by the court. An effort will also be made to obtain an increase in railway fares."

The Electric Railway Journal of January 7, 1922 reported that the South Carolina Light, Power & Railways Company went into receivership in 1921 with 21.00 miles of track.

The Electric Railway Journal of November 4, 1922 reported: "The South Carolina Gas & Electric Company, Spartanburg, SC, on Oct. 1 took over all the plants, property and business of the South Carolina Light, Power & Railways Company. The new company purchased the property and business at a foreclosure sale on July 31, which sale was consummated in the order issued by Judge Watkins of the United States District Court at Anderson on Sept. 30."

South Carolina Gas & Electric Company

Year Chartered

Year Operational

Year Ended

Length of Line

1922

1922

1925

20 miles

The Electric Railway Journal of November 4, 1922 reported: "The South Carolina Gas & Electric Company, Spartanburg, SC, on Oct. 1 took over all the plants, property and business of the South Carolina Light, Power & Railways Company. The new company purchased the property and business at a foreclosure sale on July 31, which sale was consummated in the order issued by Judge Watkins of the United States District Court at Anderson on Sept. 30."

"The members of the board of the new company are Isaac Andrews, Dr. Ellwood F. Bell, Ben Hill Brown, Baylis T. Earle and Henry M. Earle, Paul W. Fisher, F. B. Lasher, C. C. Hood, E. W. Moher, George B. Tripp, Spartanburg; and T. F. Wickman, New York. The new officers are as follows: George B. Tripp, president; Isaac Andrews, vice-president; F. B. Lasher, vice-president; Paul W. Fisher, secretary and treasurer; A. S. Jolly, assistant secretary and assistant treasurer."

"The new company plans to make extensive improvements to its various plants and properties. These will include increasing the capacity of the hydro-electric plant at Gaston Shoals on the Broad River, improvements and additions to the steam plant and gas plant in Spartanburg, the erection of an additional transmission line from Spartanburg to Gaffney, additions to the substation plans of the company located in Spartanburg and Gaffney, the erection of additional electric lines in the city and the adjacent territory, the addition of several miles of gas mains in various parts of the city which will take care of the requests of many householders who have been anxious for the gas service but which service heretofore could not be furnished, and various other improvements."

The Electric Railway Journal of December 23, 1922 reported: "The South Carolina Gas & Electric Company, Spartanburg, SC, has petitioned the City Council to operate buses in connection with its local railway system."

The Electric Railway Journal of January 6, 1923 reported: "The prolonged controversy between the city administration and the South Carolina Gas & Electric Company, Spartanburg, SC, reached a crisis on Dec. 31 when the company discontinued all car service without notice. The cars did not leave the carhouse at all that day. The company issued a statement in the form of an advertisement reciting its efforts to reach an agreement with the city and stating that 'it has become imperative to discontinue operating the railway, at least for a time.' Apparently the city officials were without any notice of the company's intentions. Following the discontinuance of the cars, Mayor John F. Floyd declined to make any statement."

"The South Carolina Gas & Electric Company is successor to the South Carolina Light, Power & Railway Company. The company owns the street railway system, the gas plant and supplies the city with light and power from Gaston Shoals, a 12,000-hp. plant on Broad River."

"After the foreclosure and reorganization of the property last August, the owners advanced a plan to substitute bus operation in districts where the railway lines were unprofitable, but the city never acted on the matter. This is the issue on which the two split."

The Electric Railway Journal of January 13, 1923 reported: "The South Carolina Gas & Electric Company, Spartanburg, SC, operator of the local railway, has been summoned to appear before the Supreme Court of the State of Columbia [sic] on Jan. 30 to show cause why passenger and freight service should not be restored and full operation of the railway in Spartanburg and interurban lines be resumed. T. P. Cothran, Greenville, a justice of the Supreme Court, issued the order. Petition for mandamus was filed with Justice Cothran by the city of Spartanburg. Railway service was suspended Dec. 30 and has not since been resumed. Suspension was brought about, it is said, because the earnings of the railway lines of the company, which was lately reorganized after being in the hands of a receiver, are not sufficient to meet the expenses of its car service. The company sought to replace railway service on some of the streets by operating buses. The city would not agree to this and the suspension of all traffic followed."

The Electric Railway Journal of January 27, 1923 reported: "The South Carolina Railroad Commission has taken over the railway lines of the South Carolina Gas & Electric Company at Spartanburg for operation. The city has been without railway service for several weeks. The commission plans to supervise operation of the railway system temporarily to learn whether the road should be kept in full operation. It will be recalled that the company sought permission from the city to discontinue certain non-paying lines and substitute service by bus, but the city did not react favorably to this proposal. The railway is indisposed to keep in regular operation lines that do not give prospect of being able to pay their own way."

The Electric Railway Journal of March 3, 1923 reported: ""The South Carolina Railroad Commission is still supervising the railway operations of the South Carolina Gas & Electric Company at Spartanburg. There has been a falling off in traffic amounting to 15 per cent in comparison with the same average period of 1922. This decrease is apparently caused by increased unrestricted jitney competiton and the very liberal use of the personally-owned automobile in daily operation."

"Some weeks ago the commission took over the railway lines after the city had been without service for several weeks. The difficulty in Spartanburg dates back to December of last year when the company discontinued car service, after failure to come to an agreement with the city on the matter of bus operation. The owners of the line had advanced a plan to substitute bus operation in districts where the railway lines were unprofitable, but the city refused to agree to this."

The Electric Railway Journal of March 17, 1923 reported: "Fares in Spartanburg were reduced on March 12 from 7 cents on some lines and 10 cents on others to 5 cents on all lines by the State Railroad Commission, which is operating the South Carolina Gas & Electric Company. The commission decided to cut the fare to a nickel as an experiment to see if the plan will work. The commissioners say that the arrangement, like the improved schedules established some weeks ago, is temporary."

Click Here to view / download a two-page article from the Electric Railway Journal of June 2, 1923 about the Spartanburg street railway system issues. The third page is from June 30th issue and describes that the system will no longer be operational after July 21, 1923.

The Electric Railway Journal of November 10, 1923 reported: "Another act in the drama of the controversy in Spartanburg was acted on Oct. 8, when the Supreme Court held a hearing in Columbia on the petition of the city to make the South Carolina Gas & Electric Company renew operation of its cars or forfeit its franchise."

"The argument for the city, which was presented by C. E. Daniel, stressed the original contract existing between the city of Spartanburg and the South Carolina Gas & Electric Company. It was his contention that the commission had no authority to order cars in the city abandoned."

"Henry M. Earle, general counsel for the local traction company, took the stand that the commission was guided by principles of common sense and justice, when it ordered abandoned the operation of an unprofitable railway. He said further that the city had been given better transportation than it ever had, and that if the franchise were forfeited, the city would have no street railway at all, because no individual or company would accept a franchise in view of the loss it imposes and of the attitude of the city administration toward this business proposition. He said that the fact was overlooked by the relators that Spartanburg had, for more than twenty years, the benefit of the services of a utility company built entirely at the expense of outside capital, and that the right of the investors to be protected against the alleged forfeiture had also received little consideration. Further, that the injury the public would receive through the crippling of the utility had also been overlooked."

"He referred to the unreasonableness of the city in demanding transportation which was now out of date. He said that the abandonment by the public of the mule cars in 1899 and of the electric cars in 1920 was the natural result of progress and development, and that an established utility should not be required to forfeit its right to exist as an alternative to incurring the loss consequent to such natural changes."

"In conclusion, he stated that the relators might, for reasons of their own, attempt to take advantage of the company's position brought about by the changed conditions, but that the commission had been created and organized for the purpose of protecting the rights of the State of South Carolina in its public utilities, and that it had seen fit to stop the confiscation and forfeiture and to protect alike the public utility company and the investors through considerations that were ignored by the City Commissioners. He said that the company had not declined to furnish service, that the public was not "irreparably" or otherwise "injured" and that adequate service was being and will be afforded under the direction of the commission, which had full authority and jurisdiction."

"It will be recalled that cars in the city of Spartanburg were ordered abandoned July 21, through an order from the South Carolina Railroad Commission. Following the actual stopping of the cars, the company maintained the regular schedule on the interurban lines from the city limits on the westem side of the city to Saxon mills and on the eastern limits to Clifton and Glendale Mill villages. The various steps in the controversy have been followed from time to time in these columns."

"In the meantime the company is operating buses in the city of Spartanburg proper, which are giving satisfaction to the patrons, and the company, at the same time, is continuing the electric railway service on the suburban line, which runs about 10 miles beyond the city limits. Since Oct. 8 no step has been taken by the court, and undoubtedly some time will elapse before a decision will be rendered."

"Following the hearing, the city on Oct. 20 filed an additional argument which quotes at length from the decision rendered by the court in connection with the New Jersey traction difficulty [?]."

The McGraw Electric Railway Directory of 1924 reported that the South Carolina Gas & Electric Company operated ten (10) miles of track, two (2) one-man motor passenger cars, and one (1) freight car in Spartanburg. Railway operations are discontinued, and the city of Spartanburg is now served by four (4) GMC buses. Officers include - President & General Manager George B. Tripp, 1st Vice-President Isaac Andrews, and 2nd Vice-President F. H. Lasher.

The Electric Railway Journal of March 15, 1924 reported: "Increased bus fares in the city of Spartanburg and an application to the commission for an increase in railway fares on the suburban lines are the outstanding developments in the continued controversy between the South Carolina Gas & Electric Company and the city of Spartanburg. Since the decision of the South Carolina Supreme Court ordering the company to resume its railway service, the company has decided to appeal to the United States Supreme Court. This action is now pending. As the attorneys have three months from the date of the order to file the appeal, the action will be consummated on or before April 14. Meanwhile the company is continuing the operation of four buses in the city proper and two street cars on the suburban lines."

The Electric Railway Journal of October 11, 1924 reported: "The South Carolina Gas & Electric Company, formerly the South Carolina Light, Power & Railways Company, was recently purchased by W. S. Barstow and associates of New York [the same company recently purchased the Columbia Railway, Gas & Electric Company in Columbia, SC]. R. L. Peternian, representing the new owners, appeared before the City Council of Spartanburg on Sept. 24, and stated his readiness to put on sixteen buses to augment some proposed restored railway lines. This action is expected to solve the problem of Spartanburg, a city of 25,000 population, where the street cars have been idle more than two years following a long legal fight between the city and the operating company, in which the city contended the company had not lived up to its franchise. Since the case has been in litigation the company has been attempting to handle the city traffic with four buses."

"The controversy in Spartanburg dates back to December, 1922, when the company abandoned railway operation on the ground that it was unprofitable. Later the South Carolina Railroad Commission authorized abandonment in the city, but this action was followed by a mandamus petition by the city demanding the restoration of service. The Supreme Court at Columbia ruled that the company must renew railway operations. The opinion upheld the contention of the city that the franchise of the company to operate cars was a contract, which the South Carolina Railroad Commission had no authority to abrogate. Prior to the decision of the Supreme Court the company with the help of its President George B. Tripp, worked out a plan for the operation of a bus system putting four buses in operation in the city proper with two car lines on the suburban lines. Meanwhile the company decided to appeal to the Federal Court."

"But now under a new management, the City Council is willing to meet the Barstow people half-way. At a Council meeting on Sept. 24, an agreement was reached whereby the Barstow management promised a fifteen-minute schedule to outlying mill towns, thus linking up a large mill population with the city and bringing many more thousands of dollars to the merchants in Spartanburg."

"The building of the Southern Railway shops in the northern suburbs of the city has already brought several hundred new citizens to Spartanburg, and when completed in January, 1925, it will bring 5,000 more people to add to the city's population. The shop site is one and one-half miles from the heart of the city, and to get the several hundred workmen there now to and from their work is quite a problem. When the five thousand come the problem will be multiplied, unless the Barstow interests solve it by adding still more buses after they have doubled the original sixteen."

The Electric Railway Journal of October 25, 1924 reported: "South Carolina Gas & Electric Company, Spartanburg, SC, has ordered nine new buses from the White Company."

The Electric Railway Journal of November 15, 1924 reported: "South Carolina Gas & Electric Company, Spartanburg, SC, has received the first of the four new buses recently ordered by it for operation in the city supplementary to the street car lines. The vehicle has a seating capacity of 22 persons. It is of Dodge-Graham make. Three more vehicles of the same size and type are expected soon."

The Electric Railway Journal of November 22, 1924 reported: "South Carolina Gas & Electric Company, Spartanburg, SC, is repairing street paving between its tracks on East Main Street and Morgan Square. Tracks are being reconditioned and new copper bonds to hold the rail sections are being put in place. This work is preparatory to resumption of railway operation by the new management."

The Electric Railway Journal of December 6, 1924 reported: "The Spartanburg Bus Company, a subsidiary of the South Carolina Gas & Electric Company, Spartanburg, SC, has been granted a charter. Officers of the company are, R. L. Peterman, general manager of the Barstow interests in South Carolina; vice-president, J. H. Axtoll, assistant general manager of the South Carolina Gas & Electric Company, and secretary and treasurer, A. S. Jolly, treasurer of the South Carolina Gas & Electric Company. The company is to be financed by the W. S. Barstow Management Association."

As described below, the W. S. Barstow Management Association created a new company, named the Broad River Power Company, which took over operations of the South Carolina Gas & Electric Company, including the defunct street railway system.

The Electric Railway Journal of December 27, 1924 reported: "The mandate of the Supreme Court of the United States, affirming the judgment of the Supreme Court of South Carolina in the case of the city of Spartanburg against the South Carolina Gas & Electric Company was filed in the office of the Supreme Court of South Carolina recently. This permanently ends one of the biggest cases that has ever been tried in Spartanburg. This was a proceeding in mandamus to compel resumption of street car service."

"The case was practically settled by consent. Some weeks ago R. L. Peterman, manager of the Barstow interests in South Carolina, new owners of the South Carolina Gas & Electric Company, appeared before City Council and voluntarily agreed to withdraw their appeal. The city agreed to this, and under this arrangement the appeal was abandoned and ordered dismissed by the court."

"The Barstow interests agreed to abandon the appeal of the South Carolina Gas & Electric Company from the South Carolina Supreme Court's decision on the ground that they did not care to be working under the disadvantage of a long-standing litigation."

"The new company has petitioned for a 10-cent fare between Morgan Square and the city limits. A 10-cent fare has been in effect for some time on the car lines between East Spartanburg and Clifton. A 7-cent fare was charged within the city limits by the South Gas & Electric Company under the old ownership and prior to the discontinuance of car service in the city. Ten cents was also charged outside the city limits. At present a 10-cent rate is in effect on the buses. The new owners for several months have been at work rehabilitating the old car system."

The Electric Railway Journal of April 18, 1925 reported: "The city of Spartanburg, SC, cannot proceed with its paving program until some decision is made as to whether the car tracks not in use in various sections of the city are to remain or be removed entirely. The board of directors of the Spartanburg Chamber of Commerce will recommend to the City Council that the Freeholders of the city at the general election on May 12 vote whether or not they prefer street car transportation or bus service. This brings up the question in Spartanburg which has remained unsolved now for about two years. At the present time buses are operating on all the main thoroughfares and one street car line is in operation on East Main and Pine Streets connecting with the Glendale and Clifton line. Recently the South Carolina Gas & Electric Company became a Barstow property. The franchise of the company provides for railway service."

The Electric Railway Journal of December 8, 1928 reported: "All the property of the South Carolina Gas & Electric Company will be sold at the Spartanburg County Court House on Dec. 10, under an order by Judge H. H. Watkins of the United States Court of the Western District of that state. The order also named an upset price of $4,200,000. Action which terminated in this order grew out of a suit brought last June and the federal judge upholds a report of the case made by Solicitor J. C. Blackwood, of the Seventh Judicial District, who was appointed special master."

The Electric Railway Journal of January 5, 1929 reported: "The South Carolina Gas & Electric Company, serving Spartanburg and many large textile and other manufacturing centers in the Piedmont section of South Carolina, was sold recently under foreclosure to the Southern Public Utilities Company, Inc., under the laws of the State of Maine for $4,200,000. It was conducted by a special master under authority of a decree of foreclosure and sale made by the United States District Court. The action seeking to foreclose the property was brought by the Merchants and Farmers Bank of Spartanburg as trustees under a mortgage made by the South Carolina Gas & Electric Company under date of Aug. 1, 1924."

Broad River Power Company

Year Chartered

Year Operational

Year Ended

Length of Line

1924

1925

1928

10 miles

A year after being created and chartered by the W.S. Barstow Company, the Broad River Power Company purchased the assets of the Columbia Railway, Gas & Electric Company in 1925. The Broad River Power Company also took over operations in Spartanburg, SC. The new owners dropped the appeal to the Supreme Court and attempted to make their peace with the City Council of Spartanburg.

In early 1925, the Clifton line was extended back into Spartanburg over Pine and East Main Streets to Morgan Square, and the company proposed to supplement this surviving streetcar line with a fleet of sixteen (16) new buses. The City Council agreed in April of 1925 and proposed an amended ordinance which woould allow bus service as long as it was adequate to the needs of the city.

On December 31, 1928, all assets pertaining to street railway operations in the city of Spartanburg were purchased by the Duke Power Company.

Duke Power Company

Year Chartered

Year Operational

Year Ended

Length of Line

1924

1928

1936

10 miles

According to Mr. Thomas Fetters in his book entitled "Palmetto Traction - Electric Railways of South Carolina" (1978), all assets of the Broad River Power Company were purchased at a foreclosure sale on December 31, 1928 by the Southern Public Utilities Company, later absorbed by the Duke Power Company. Based on other sources, Southern Public Utilities Company had been renamed to Duke Power Company on November 18, 1924.

The Clifton line was operated with a small single-truck city car. Soon after the abandonment of the other Spartanburg lines, the track of the Clifton line was in terrible shape. The city portion of the Clifton line wa abandoned for the second time by Duke Power on April 27, 1935. All other service was via buses. By the end of 1936, all streetcar service in Spartanburg was abandoned and discontinued.



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