'OLD DUTCHMAN' TELLS STORY OF STREET RAILWAYS

Content Tools

(from the 'Passenger Transport')

A brief history of the street railways, as told by 'The Old Dutchman,' appeared some time ago in the 'Patriot-News' (Harrisburg, Pa.) It was written by Der Schwer Karl (The Heavy Fellow).

The story, as it appeared, with the original Pennsylvania Dutch in bold face and 'English' translations below, follows:

'De schtross riggelwege waare emol en wunnerbaar weea far reide. Ihre urschprung waare aw, schtrenglich Amerikaanisch.'

The Street Railways were once a wonderful way for to travel. Their origin too, was strictly American.

'Gebore imme freih achtzeh hunnerts, ihre brauch hott gschwind iwwerall de Welt gschpraet. Awwer nau sinn se uscht en gedechtnis.'

Born in the early 1800's, their use spread fast over the world. But now they are only a remembrance.

'De aerschtlich waare noch de alt poschdwagge gemoddelt, un bein daamp gfaahre. Schpoater, de tziegich tzu laangsam, un derno waare de drohteschtrick karriche aerschafft.'

The Werry first ones were patterned after the old stagecoach, and were driven by steam. Later on, the pullingpower was horses. But there were too slow, and subsequently the wirerope (cable) cars were invented.

'Endlich der lechtrich drallie, yuscht devor neintzeh hunnert, waar gewachst. Beim Aerscht Welt Griek, es waar meeglich far hunnertse meile vun schtadt tzu schtadt reide. Awwer se hen de lewwer lichte vun mannicher mensche ausgschittelt.'

Finally the electric trolley, chust before 1900, was developed. By World War I, it was possible for to travel hundreds of miles from city to city. But they shook the liver lights out of many a person.

'Im alders, dart waare reiderkaare, packekarre, un poschdekarre, un dale schtadlte hen leichtkaare ghatt. Oft-mols waare de kaare im paare tzammekenkt, awwer menschtdeel hen so eensicherweiss grange. Summers hen mer kiehl uffluftich dralliekaare ghatte, un im windertzeit, tzunerkaare bei en kohloffe kitzt waare.'

In the old days, there were passenger-cars, baggage-cars, and mail-cars; and some cities had funeral-cars. Ofttimes were the cars joined together in pairs, but most of the time they traveled singly. In the summertime we had cool, open-air trolley-cars, and in the winter-time, the closed-cars were by a coal-stove heated.

'Geschder hen mer de kinskinner bei autobus naus tzu Haershey genumme far eener sehne. Behiedes, mer waare tzu schpoat, sledschter hott fimf yaahre tzerick gschtoppt.'

Yesterday we took the grandchildren by bus out to Hershey for to see one. By thunder, we were too late, the last one stopped running five years ago.

On the way home Emmie said, 'it wonders me for why the City Councils don't set-up one or two trolleys in the city parks before they are all gone, so that the youngsters can see chust how we were whirled around in the old days.'

'Yah! Es wunnert mich nau aw.'

'Yes! It wonders me now too.'