Policy & Accountability

Charlottesville’s first trolley line opened on Main Street downtown on June 14, 1887. Electric streetcars replaced the original mule-drawn trolleys beginning in 1893, and the tracks were steadily extended into the growing suburbs of Belmont, Fry’s Spring, and Preston Heights. By 1912 the electric streetcar line reached the UVA Corner and the Rotunda, despite opposition on the part of students, who had argued that the five-cent rides were not a modern convenience but a “tourist gimmick” that would bring unwelcome locals into the University neighborhood. In 1914, shortly after Rugby Road was paved for the first time, the streetcar went all the way up to what is now Beta Bridge. That made it much easier to get out to UVA football and baseball games at Lambeth Field, which had opened in 1902 and unveiled its new concrete bleachers and colonnade in 1913. This 1930 photo shows popular streetcar conductor Bayard Maupin near the C&O Station downtown. Charlottesville’s streetcars were replaced by buses in 1935. (photo courtesy of the Special Collections Library at the University of Virginia).