Wednesday, May 19, 2021


 Post by Doris McCraw

writing as Angela Raines

Are you someone like me who gets excited when you find a special place when you're history hunting? Have you walked into that unexpected museum to find a treasure trove of unique history? That is exactly what happened to me when I walked through the doors of the Pikes Peak Trolley Museum and Restoration Shop located at 2333 Steele Dr. in Colorado Springs, CO. 

One of the trolleys (The Birney #135) 
in the process of being restored.

This small, but powerful, museum, is located in the roundhouse of the Rock Island Railroad which was one of the many railroads to serve Colorado Springs in the late 1800s and early 1900s. The museum itself tells the story of the trolley system that served Colorado Springs from its beginnings in the 1880s through the early 1930s.

Notice on the side of The Birney

While there I was welcomed by volunteers who love to share their knowledge and passion for trolleys and for some, railroads. Any question I had was answered in-depth and when possible, with visual representation. I was even given a lovely view of "The Polar Express", a miniature moving train system based on the beloved book of the same name.

Not only do you get to see photos and paraphernalia of those by-gone days, but you can also watch work being done to restore these amazing vehicles. Each trolley comes with its own history and if you speak with the volunteer who has been researching that particular one, you are lucky. It was while touring one of these I learned that not only Colorado Springs and Denver had trolley systems, but Aspen and Leadville did also. It is something I will be researching as I continue to write stories that take place in my adopted state.

Replica of a ticket office at the Museum

These sometimes forgotten transportation systems were so much a part of the growth of the towns and cities in the west. I know I will be writing more about this wonderful piece of history. 

In the meanwhile, think about how you might have ridden trolleys if you'd been alive back then. How would you have felt moving along in an open trolley as it took you through town, or to the sites that made the town famous? Oh, the possibilities.

What ticket buyers may have seen as they purchased their tickets.

All photos were taken by the author with the kind permission of the museum.

If you want to know more about the museum here is a link:

Doris Gardner-McCraw -
Author, Speaker, Historian-specializing in
Colorado and Women's History
Author of the "Agate Gulch" novellas and "Kiowa Wells" novels.
Angela Raines - author: Telling Stories Where Love & History Meet

(c) Doris McCraw All Rights Reserved. 


  1. I've never ridden on one but would love to, especially on the hills of San Francisco. Although not the same thing, I still vaguely remember riding the train with my mom and grandmother back in the 50s for the first time and the wonder of it...until I got motion sickness. I cannot ride backward. I imagine CS no longer has trolleys running but they were a wonderful invention. I'm sure before long you'll post a blog about the creators of the trolley in your Colorado cities. Great pictures, Doris.

    1. I've motion sickness also, but they take you on a short trip if you requst it.

      The trolleys are just so fascinating. Glad you stopped by and thanks for sharing your memory. Doris