Shrewsbury’s trolleys faded out as the automobile age took hold

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Shrewsbury’s trolleys faded out as the automobile age took hold
A trolley stopped for passengers to board in Shrewsbury Center in 1928.

SHREWSBURY – From the time the first trolley passed through Shrewsbury Center in the early 1900s, the trolley line was a primary means of transportation to and from Worcester and beyond.

An undated newspaper article describes when the trolley trips started―people were lighting off fireworks, one older gentleman was waving his arms and “hollering,” and another tried to give a “war whoop” but his voice gave out! A small group of ladies were invited to ride on the trip.

The photograph, taken in 1928, shows a large number of people boarding the trolley in the center of Shrewsbury, right at the intersection of Main and Grafton Streets. It is interesting to note the way the passengers were dressed―the ladies in dresses, the men in suits, some wearing straw hats, others with fedoras―for a day of shopping, dining or work in Worcester.

The men in the foreground, according to the note on the photo’s reverse side, are installing a natural gas pipeline. The two buildings in the rear of the view are still there―the one on the left houses the Shrewsbury Country Shoppe, the one to the right is a hair salon with apartments on the upper floors. With the opening of Route 9 in 1930 and more families owning automobiles, the trolleys quickly faded away, going the way of the horse and buggy.

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