Keeping the Pace: The White Line Street Cars

The White Line
The White Line

Up until the end of World War II, street cars were the life blood of transportation in most cities in the United States. Some cities such as New Orleans and San Francisco still have a few street cars running in the downtown and a few residential areas.

Mark W. Woods founded the White Line for the purpose of serving the many residential areas created for homes by Woods Bros Realty.

The line started as did all street car lines by a loop in the 10th and P Streets area and then ran south down 17th Street to South Street, then east to Sheridan Blvd. Both of these streets were paved with bricks at that time with the tracks in the middle of the street. The White Line then ended where Sheridan intersects Calvert Street.

I am told that The White Line was not allowed to extend into College View as the Mayor purportedly owned the street car line running down Normal Blvd to 48th St and then into College View.

The price to ride the streetcar was 10 cents. When it reached the bridge over the Rock Island Railroad tracks, passengers could continue to the end of the line at Calvert St for 1 cent.

During World War II both the White Line and the Randolph St. Line were compelled to continue their operations due to the lack of gasoline and rubber tires used by the military. After V-J Day all of the streetcar lines were merged into the Lincoln Traction Co. and the rails were torn up.

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This article is the first in our “Keeping the Pace” series–stories from F. Pace Woods II, Woods Bros Realty Chairman Emeritus. Stay tuned for more stories from Woods Bros’ history.

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