Copyright © 2007 Henrietta W. Hay
The Cherrylyn Horse Car
June 15, 2007
Las week a friend here told me about a most unusual but wonderful
wedding. The guests were told to wear western clothes and the wedding took place outdoors. The bride and groom were on horseback. The wedding was quite dignified until the new husband and wife were allowed to kiss. They were willing, but the hoses weren't entirely convinced. Of course all went well and my friend said it was a beautiful wedding. I do not know the bride and groom, but I do send them my best wishes.
Horses are among the most versatile of creatures. My first introduction to one was when I was about ten. I had a pinto pony. And I did love her. But I wanted a bicycle. My friend Jimmy had a bike, but wanted a pony. I had very strict instructions not to let Jimmy on that pony, but one day we couldn't resist swapping. As soon as he got on, off they went, the pony at full speed for the barn. I followed as fast as the bike would take me, chasing him down south Broadway, but he got to the barn first. The door was high enough for horses, but not for riders. He was peeled off like an orange. I prefer to forget my dad's reaction. But Jimmy was not seriously hurt.
And that brings me to the most famous horse in the history of Englewood, my home town -- the one who pulled and rode on the Cherrylyn horse car.
I was a few years too young to see it in action but I grew up hearing lots of stories about it.
Surface transportation in cities developed slowly. Before buses there was the streetcar. And before the streetcar there was the horsecar. The horses that pulled the car were not selected for speed, but for stamina, and travelers had a very leisurely ride. By 1894 horse-car tracks in Denver ran along south Broadway to Hampden in Englewood and there they stopped. But there were a lot of houses being built in the Cherrylyn area, which was a mile south of the end of the line and uphill all the way.
Some ingenious soul had a bright idea and built a very special horse-car.
It could seat 12 passengers and a horse. Well no, the horse had to stand up. They built a special platform for it on the end of the car.
Meanwhile they had laid a mile of track and had the Cherrylyn Rapid Transit System. The hose pulled the car up the hill, climbed aboard and rode back down to wait the next trip.
Unlike the San Francisco Cable Car, this one did not have to be turned around. They just had to move the horse. The fare was a nickel. The car ran until 1910 when electric street cars replaced it. I'm not sure what happened to the horse but he sure earned a happy retirement in a grassy pasture. I hope he got it.