The Idea



Travel between Pittsburgh and the northern communities of Butler and New Castle proved difficult in the late 1800's and early 1900's. Though roads existed, they were unlike the roads we take for granted today. Potholes and mud hampered transportation by horse and wagon. Most people had never seen a car, much less owned one themselves.

Russel H. Boggs was a Pittsburgh entrepreneur and Evans City native who owned a department store in the big city. He often spent much of his time traveling from Pittsburgh to Evans City buying farm products from and selling store goods to rural families.

Mr. Boggs and his business partner at the store, Henry Buhl, took advantage of their friendly relations with their northern neighbors to secure a right-of-way for the Harmony Line trolley system. Giving each landowner a dollar and a promise to establish a trolley stop on his property, Mr. Boggs and company began to oversee construction of the line at the Pittsburgh end in the fall of 1905.

By May 1908, the trolley line extended from Pittsburgh to Evans City, and from Evans City to Butler, Ellwood City, and New Castle. Operations officially began following a "trial run" from the Harmony car barn to Ellwood City on Sunday, July 2, 1908. The entrepreneurs were elated that their trolley travel times were better than those of the Baltimore and Ohio passenger trains.


Trolley at Evans 
City

One of the early cars leaving for Pittsburgh from Evans City, circa 1908.



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