Before the Beltway; Streetcar Lines in Northern Virginia

Photographs from the Ames Williams Collection


The earliest electric railway, or streetcar line, in Northern Virginia dates from about 1892. The streetcar lines failed to compete with the automobile and, plagued with management and financial problems, ceased operations by the the early 1940s. The Ames Williams Collection includes 265 numbered photographic images organized in five books. This exhibition was drawn from the first book and displays the rolling stock of the several streetcar companies. Gift, 1979.

Recommended reading: Old Dominion Trolley Too; A History of the Mount Vernon Line, by John E. Merriken. Dallas, TX, LeRoy O. King, Jr., 1987.