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Summer 1993 | Volume 9 |  Issue 1

The Interurbans

I enjoyed reading the article on interurban trolleys in the Spring 1993 issue (“The Wrong Track,” by George W. Hilton). One of those trolley lines ran from Dayton to Springfield, Ohio, and passed the Huffman Prairie, a cow pasture used by the Wright Brothers in 1904 and 1905 to conduct their flying experiments to make their airplane a practical and useful machine. They knew that Kitty Hawk was only the beginning. One reason they selected this site was that they could get to it by trolley, since there was a station near where they lived, about eight miles out of Dayton.

They were at first careful not to have the aircraft flying when the trolley came by, but they soon found that almost no one was interested in what they were doing anyway. They were making history, unnoticed, along the interurban tracks.

R. G. Elmendorf
Bairdford, Pa.

The Interurbans

“The Wrong Track” shows one of many applications of technology to have had finite commercial lifetimes. As such, all technology is doomed from the start, including slide rules, the telegraph, and phonograph records, for instance, and those all served a useful purpose too.

Raymond M. Brach
Associate Professor of Aerospace
and Mechanical Engineering
University of Notre Dame
Notre Dame, Ind.

The Interurbans

The demise of the interurbans may have been inevitable, as the author repeatedly emphasizes, but was it all so simple as the story makes it appear? Why is there no mention of the consortium formed by General Motors, Firestone Tire & Rubber, and Standard Oil to buy up the interurban lines and dismantle them? Surely any complete study of these marvelous trains should deal with this sad chapter in their short history.

We hope you enjoyed this essay.

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