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Monday, August 5, 2013

Flatbush Avenue Trolley Line History

Source: Watson, Edward B. & Linder, B. "Flatbush Avenue Trolley Line-History & Track Map', In New York Division Bulletin, Electric Railroaders' Association. Vol. 19, No. 6,  December, 1976, Pp 2-7.

  The Flatbush Avenue Trolley, the busiest line in Brooklyn had long history from July 1, 1860 as a horsecar from Fulton Ferry to Vernon Avenue (Tilden Avenue) which is the site of the historic King's Theatre that was built after 1919.  The site of the theatre was used as the Vernon Avenue Carbarn until 1919.  Then, the horsecar was not running in the City of New York but in the Town of Flatbush that was settled by the Dutch.  The line was extended eventually southward to several branches.  The line was electrified in 1893 and died on March 4, 1951.

Notice in the middle map the branches and freight sidings.
This photo comes from Brooklyn  You are facing west on Church Avenue looking towards the Dutch Reformed Church at Flatbush and Church Avenues prior to 1951.  To the right of the dairy truck is the former Garfield's Restaurant, a Flatbush icon.  In the distance, is the RKO theatre across the street from the church.  Notice the 90 degree crossing at Flatbush Avenue; no turn outs.
A Flatbush Avenue car at the King's theater.  This was an early site of a Flatbush Avenue Line depot and a place where "Avenue C" trolleys were stored in later years.  Avenue "C" became Cortelyou Road and was the site of the first trolleybus experiments in Brooklyn around 1930.
Source:  Brooklyn pix.
 An early photo of the Church Avenue - Flatbush Avenue intersection around 1914 facing south on Flatbush Avenue.  Notice the turnouts.  The turnouts were removed by 1926.  The white  pointed building on the left is Erasmus High School.  This is a historic high school with one of the original buildings located in the courtyard of the shown building.
Another photo from Brooklyn Pix.  This time we are looking south from a few blocks north of Church Avenue on Flatbush Avenue with the Reform Church on the right.  Flatbush Avenue in the vicinity of Church Avenue is an important retail street in Brooklyn.
Although not near the above pictures, a summer only line called Flatbush - Brighton operated from 1899 to 1903 using the right of way of the Brighton Line that ran mainly on grade south of Malbone Street (Empire Blvd) to Brighton Beach.  This line ended in 1906 and there are track diagrams about this in the above maps.  For a period of time, some Flatbush Avenue cars ran over the Brooklyn Bridge to Park Row.  This service ended in 1937 with the north terminal being Boro Hall or Fulton Ferry.

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