The Milwaukee Electric Railway and Light Co. (TMER&L) History
This view from 1907 shows a streetcar and bicycles on Washington Avenue & 14th Street. The streets were paved with packed sand and dirt. Bicycles shared the road with horse-drawn wagons. The electric streetcar was the fast, high-tech way to travel around the city. The Milwaukee Electric Railway & Light Company (TMER&L) consolidated and expanded electricity and transit services to the growing cities of southeast Wisconsin. Bishop photo.
A conductor and motorman (driver) stand beside streetcar #29 at the end of the State & Wisconsin route in Racine. Around 1900 the line was extended to State & Albert Streets to serve workers at the new Horlick’s Malted Milk factory. Passengers waited inside the small wooden shelter behind the streetcar.
Musicians board the streetcar with their instruments at the Chicago & North Western Railway station on State Street in Racine in 1905. This location is now the Racine Transit Center.
An electric-powered sweeper clears the way for a streetcar headed east on State Street at the C&NW Racine train station in 1909. Streetcars were a reliable form of transportation in all kinds of weather. The sweepers were the most powerful form of street snow removal equipment available at that time, and they were used for keeping the main streets clear during the winter months.
A northbound streetcar passes under the arched trolley wire supports as it crosses Racine’s new Main Street drawbridge on May 3, 1928. The car ran up Main Street to High Street, then west to Douglas Avenue. The car returned through downtown, and ran on 14th Street to reach the Racine Junction railroad station on Junction Avenue & 17th Street. This route served neighborhood shopping districts, businesses, and residential areas.
In 1930 Joseph Knotek and another carman pose at the front of a streetcar parked in the carbarn located at the corner of Goold Street & Douglas Avenue. Racine’s fleet of streetcars were maintained and stored here overnight and between runs. Heavy repairs were done at the Cold Spring shops in Milwaukee.
Passengers transfer from the Wisconsin-Douglas streetcar to a connecting bus route at Monument Square on the last day of streetcar operation in Racine, September 30, 1940. At the Venetian theater, Fred Astaire and Eleanor Powell danced to the music of Cole Porter in the movie, Broadway Melody of 1940. Frank Butts photo.