WWC Part 2: I love you, trolley

December 5, 2006

Courtesy of Odd Mix, the words are Change and Persist.

This is a story about change; something that I, for one, do not take to very easily. It’s ok. I acknowledge that I am the one with gnashing teeth being drug feet first into change. Particularly if it is not my idea. Then I generally have to sit in it for awhile and maybe pout a bit before recognizing that it may be a good thing after all. Although some changes eventually lead us right back to where we started. That is what this story is about.

Meet The Green Dragon, Streetcar 186, a McKinney Avenue Trolley in Dallas, Texas. She was built in 1913 and served for 43 years before retiring in 1956 when the streetcar system was abandoned. Mass transit had given way to our love for the car. Stripped of running gear and electrical wiring, the Green Dragon was sold to a North Dallas farmer for use as a hay barn. She could store 175 bales.

She received a facelift in order to be used for display in 1979 and was restored to full running order in 1989. After 33 years in retirement, she was back. What a change. Seats were salvaged from other Dallas streetcars while the running gear and electrical equipment came from a car in Melbourne, Australia.

186 actually carried students on the SMU line on McKinney Avenue. They affectionately called her “The Green Dragon” which remains her nickname after restoration. Willi and I certainly did appreciate the opportunity for a ride, getting on and off several times along the way to the West Village.

It was interesting to find out that The Green Dragon is actually operated from both ends. When the operator reached the end of the line, he removed the controllers to the left of the seat and placed them in the same location on the opposite end of the trolley.

The trolley pole reached from the roof of the car to an overhead electric wire. At the end of the line, the trolley pole is switched, in effect “changing ends”, instead of physically turning the car around. Pretty interesting stuff, for me anyway.

If you’re ever in Dallas near McKinney Avenue, park your car and take a ride on The Green Dragon. The change will do you good.


13 Responses to “WWC Part 2: I love you, trolley”

  1. mjd Says:

    I wish that I was in Dallas right now; the temperature must be warmer than the 20 degrees that we are experiencing in Indiana. The trolley is a fine example of how Dallas takes cares of visitors. Big D what a city.

  2. swampwitch Says:

    I LOVE DALLAS! …and the next time I’m in Big D, I am going to do this !

  3. Anonymous Says:

    Next time we visit Birddogs sister we will have to go check this out! The boys would probably get a kick out it. . .I’ve never riden a streetcar – that would be so cool!

  4. Cazzie!!! Says:

    How gorgeous, similar to the old trams (as we call them here in Melbourne) we had here, and you can see them at a Tramways Museum now. Nice to see that lovely old one running πŸ™‚

  5. susan Says:

    This is SO facinating! I think it’s great that they restored it and didn’t just trash it. If I ever make it to Dallas…

  6. daddy d Says:

    That trolley is so cool. I really like it. There was one in my younger days that was not so lucky as #186. It was turned into a food dinner. It had a feeling that regular places do not have. Also. the nick name Big D is so just right.

  7. mjd Says:

    Hmmm, GA, you say that you do not take to change very easily. I seen so many changes in your life in the short time that we have known each other. Just in the past year, you have changed jobs, become a webmaster, and started and interesting and fun blog. Additionally, you have become a mother-in-law…pretty good for a girl who doesn’t like change.

  8. OddMix Says:

    When I said “Nice Photos”, I meant it! I particularly liked the landscape with the dusting of snow! Very pretty. Today I enjoyed the shot inside the trolley with the gorgeous wood tones.

    I sincerely hope that neither my work nor my words ever makes anyone feel “limited”. Even the simplest shot tells a story – and that is what WWC is about, really… saying things with images.

    Thank you for playing

  9. Tink Says:

    That is awesome! I love interactive history lessons. Especially if it’s been just long enough for us to become jaded with our own way of life. Thank you for sharing.

  10. gawilli Says:

    Mjd! It was 20 degrees Saturday night in Dallas. BRRRRR. You are right, there have been some big life changes for Willi and me this year, but going gently is not my forte. I don’t bail, and I may smile all the while, but the uncertainty of change is a tough one.

    Swampwitch and Shauna – We hit some good eateries while there, too. Watch for the next post.

    Cazzie – parts from a trolley from Melbourne were used to restore this one. I thought of you when I learned that. Pretty cool.

  11. graymama Says:

    Reading your posts always make me smile πŸ™‚ This one is no exception.

    I have never been to Dallas, but I am ready to ride the Green Dragon!

  12. gawilli Says:

    Susan – agreed, it is always good to see something retain its value in another day and age.

    Daddy D, somehow I think a diner would be better than a storage facility for bales of hay. At least there would still be some life in it.

    Oddmix, glad you like the pictures. I really do enjoy taking them. It’s interesting how carrying a camera at the ready has made me look at things so differently. I’m happy to be playing.

    Tink – This story just begged to be told. The photo of the trolley in use as a “barn” was posted along with a short history inside above the seat where we sat. The operator was lovely to talk to. We got on at the end of the line, so it was very interesting to see him take the controls apart and move to the other end. It really was something. There was even a bell and whistle that he used depending on whether he was announcing a stop or warning cars he was bound their way.

    Graymama – sweet as always. You would enjoy the Green Dragon…and so would hubby and Buddy!

  13. Ch3ll3 Says:

    Wow! What a great story. Thanks for sharing this (and your little confession about being dragged toward change…) πŸ™‚

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: