Interurban Railway in Edmond

 

Men and
Mules prepared the roadbed for the Interurban line down the center of
Broadway.

Edmond Historical Collections

The Oklahoma Railway Company operated interurban line to Edmond beginning in 1911. The service was eagerly anticipated by Edmond residents. At a time when few people owned cars, (the first car in Edmond was purchased in 1905), and most walked or depended the horse for their transportation, the idea of riding in a “modern” trolley car had wide appeal. Their interurban service eventually ran to El Reno, Guthrie, Norman, Oklahoma City and the town of Edmond. Early skeptics thought the Interurban tracks would be the “ruination of the beautiful Boulevard,” but the majority in favor of mobility and convenient transportation prevailed. In addition to passengers, some freight was carried by the interurban lines, exchanging their freight cars with the Fort Smith and Western Railroad at the Guthrie location.


Anton Classen, a notable Edmond pioneer and businessman was instrumental in bringing the Oklahoma Railway Company into Edmond.

The first Bunting-covered Interurban Railway Cars arrived in
Edmond from Oklahoma City on May 29, 1911. The occasion was celebrated
with a throng of Edmond citizens, speeches by Anton Classen, John
Shartel and John Mitch.

The Interurban line offered a great convenience
to Edmond citizens and Normal School students, thankful for special
rates designed to help their commute. In Edmond, the trolley ran down Broadway to the college on an hourly schedule. The trolleys with their familiar clang ran every hour starting at seven in the morning and running until eleven at night. Riders who boarded the trolley at the Central State Normal School could expect an hour long journey to Oklahoma City. By 1916, times were improved and the Interurban line
extended all the way to Guthrie.

As World War II approached, the company began to abandon its rail operations for bus services. The Interurban and its familiar bell
clang ceased to operate on November 9, 1946.

Edmond Historical Collections

 

Fun Facts about the Interurban

  • The Interurban trolley was tethered to a
    track on the ground and an electric power line overhead.
  • David Payne, the then aging Boomer from Oklahoma City was quoted as saying “Well by thunder! They’ve sure got them cars toted by lightnin,” as he watched the 1911 departure of Interurban cars from Oklahoma City.
  • The early
    trolley cars were heated with coal stoves and often had leaded glass
    windows.
  • A one-way fare from Edmond to Oklahoma City in 1911 cost
    passengers 25 cents.

A U.S. Quarter from 1911

 

 

We are often asked these two questions:

Q: Was the “Interurban Restaurant” named for the Edmond Interurban Rail?

A: The Interurban Restaurant was started in 1976 in Norman, Oklahoma. The Restaurant took its name because the original owners opened the first location in the Norman, Oklahoma Interurban Station.

Q: Is the Interurban Restaurant located in the old Edmond Interurban Station?

A: No, the original Interurban Station is located at 6 North Broadway, this brick building is the original location of the Interurban station where people waited for the Trolleys to arrive from Oklahoma City and Guthrie from 1911-1946.

 

 

Edmond Historical Society Collections

Bender, Kim K. “Oklahoma City’s
First Mass Transit System: Who Brought the Streetcars for People to
Ride?” The Chronicles of Oklahoma, Vol. LXXII, No. 2, Summer 1994:
138-159.

 Jenkins, Rena, “Trolley was Vital Edmond Link,” Edmond Evening Sun, Section A, Page 7, Friday, April 15, 1994.

Nelson, Mary Jo, “Clang! Clang! Clang! Went the Trolley,” Daily Oklahoman, April 20, 1975.