Larry Lowenthal & William Greenberg Jr 136 pages softcover
THRIVING prosperous communities in Morris and Union Counties, New Jersey, presented an attractive target during the trolley mania that swept America early in the 20th Century. Backed by prominent individuals in the area, the Morris County Traction Co. was formed to serve this population. Its first trolley car rumbled through Dover on a glorious day in 1904, but after that it took more than ten years to complete the system. Eventually, the company operated about 50 miles of lines, extending from Lake Hopatcong and Boonton through Dover, Morristown, Summit and other communities to Union and Maplewood, with connections to Elizabeth and Newark. The mature MCT was typical of the entire electric railway industry: it strove to provide good, dependable service, but soon found itself engaged in an endless battle to survive against a multitude of threats. Although its cars transported over seven million passengers a year-workers, shoppers, school children and postmen-it was finally worn down by industry-wide problems and the proliferation of automobiles and gave up the struggle in 1928. The failure of the MCT provides a vivid example of how events of the 1920s wiped out an enormous investment in electric railways and shaped the transportation system and the human landscape we see today.