Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Yorklyn Gets a Trolley

The Kennet Trolley. Photo, Hagley Museum & Library, 
Thomas C. Marshall Photograph Collection.

For the most part, we take the ease of transportation for granted. For many decades our state has had a great network of roads allowing for quick and easy transportation anywhere. If you don’t drive, simply use an app on your smartphone to summon someone who will pick you up, often within minutes, and take you anywhere. In the early 1900s Yorklyn was pretty isolated and things were not so easy. Getting somewhere required advance planning and was a slow, often arduous process. When members of the Marshall Family or other Yorklyn residents needed to travel to nearby Kennett Square or into Wilmington it required preparing a horse with a carriage and making the slow journey by coach on dirt roads or purchasing a train ticket on the B&O Railroad and being at the mercy of train schedules.
The May 8, 1903 Morning News describes the new trolley. 

Things started to change in May of 1903 when the West Chester, Kennet, and Wilmington Electric Railway opened from Kennett Square to Yorklyn. The Morning News dated May 8, 1903 explains the excitement which took place in Yorklyn the previous afternoon. The trolley eventually connected with the People's Railway at Brandywine Springs allowing people to make their way to Wilmington.

Israel Marshall, who built the Auburn Heights Mansion, sold the trolley company rights to build through his property for $5 with an agreement that members of the family could ride free of charge. The trolley closed in 1923 but you can visit the Marshall Estate and still travel on part of the route on the “Trolley Trail” at Auburn Valley State Park, Delaware's newest state park.

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