An odd feature of town life in Idaho a century ago was that in some areas people had gone directly from travel on horseback to the use of mass transit. Boise got its first electric streetcars in 1891, years before gasoline-powered vehicles were practical for the average person. The streetcars were used not only for commuting to work but also for shopping and hauling freight. On weekends the cars provided an easy way to enjoy outdoor play at recreation areas like White City Park, home of the Natatorium swimming pool, on Warm Springs Avenue. Tracks were extended to Caldwell by way of Eagle, Star and Middleton in 1907. A loop was formed by building track back from Caldwell through Nampa in 1912. Meridian was added to the loop later. By 1915, tracks stretched as far west as Lake Lowell and the ferry at Marsing. Riders could enjoy several parks on the route.
Twin Falls opened an electric streetcar line in 1914 that ran to Shoshone Falls. Unlike the streetcars in Boise Valley that drew power from overhead lines, the cars in Twin Falls ran on battery power. The battery-operated cars lacked pep and the service to Shoshone Falls was not a financial success. But streetcars delivered workers and outdoors enthusiasts to their desired destinations in Boise Valley until 1927, when automobiles took over transportation in the area.

Comments are closed.