Another great book written by Peter J. Fetterer, this publication is a chronicle of the growth and expansion of the streetcar and interurban lines from the city of Sheboygan west as far as Elkhart and Crystal Lakes.
The Story Begins
The year is 1885. The place is Sheboygan, on the shores of Lake Michigan halfway between Milwaukee and Green Bay in east-central Wisconsin. It is the largest city in Sheboygan County, with a population of 15,000 residents.
Its neighbors to the west include Riverside (now Kohler), Sheboygan Falls, Plymouth, Crystal Lake and Elkhart Lake. Railroad lines and stagecoaches connect these communities, but service is slow and infrequent, and highways are mostly inadequate. The time is ripe for an improved, people-friendly transportation system that serves the entire area.
This is the story of that system … the story of the streetcars in Sheboygan and the interurbans that ran west out of the city.
It is also a story of power lines and power-hungry politicians. A story of risks and rewards … where the risks were always greater than the rewards. A story of successes and failures…where failures were frequent, and successes were fleeting.
But mostly it is a story of a few entrepreneurs and a host of ordinary men and women, many of whom worked for ten, sometimes twelve, hours a day in all kinds of weather to bring the trolley lines to Sheboygan County and keep them running there day and night. It is a story of the drivers of horse-drawn streetcars working from open platforms in rain and snow, heat and cold. Grading crews punching iron rails through moraine-strewn hills and across valleys on their way from Sheboygan to the resorts at Crystal and Elkhart lakes. Novice electricians stringing high-voltage power lines. Maintenance-of-way gangs shoveling snow and chipping ice out of rail flanges to keep the lines open all winter long.
This is a companion book to Riding the Electrics, The Story of the Milwaukee Northern by Peter J. Fetterer.