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HoP: The First Railway #7


THE FIRST RAILWAY


In 1830 the Blairs thought that it would be profitable to construct a railroad into the Piedmont district. In that year they built a private road through the Blair Ranch to the Piedmont Springs Hotel; the road was owned exclusively by the Blair family. In 1888, there being a great demand for transportation facilities, the citizens called a meeting to discuss the proposal for constructing a cable railway. Cable cars had been operated with success in the hilly City across the Bay, and as we know there are still many in existence.

 

The project was approved and in 1890 the Piedmont cable line was completed. The cars were operated on a cable 3,600 feet long. On the opening day, more than twenty thousand people from throughout the Bay region came to see the new line in operation and to view the beautiful panorama of land and water which still lures and will continue to lure home seekers to the Piedmont region. In 1893 the cable line was replaced by an electric line and the so-called "Bob-tailed Car Line" was a thing of the past. The electric line did much toward enhancing the population of the city.

 

Many pleasure-seekers were attracted to Piedmont in the days of the cable railway by Piedmont Springs and Blair Park, where balloon ascensions took place every Sunday. The Parachute drop of the aviators was a never-failing drawing card. Another interesting feature was the band concert, while many a romance had its culmination after a hike to Inspiration Point, or during a stroll through the shaded lanes of Blair Park. A favorite amusement was to take the gravity car from the point, at which it left the cable, for a thrilling ride down Highland Avenue and through Blair Ranch to the cable at Oakland Avenue. Piedmont boys had a large swimming hole in the old quarry at the corner of Dracena and Blair Avenues.

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