The origins NO&CRR date back to the early 1830s.
Origins of the NO&CRR
I spoke to the Friends of the Cabildo Tour Guides at their monthly meeting this past Monday. They had me in to discuss the origins of the NO&CRR (New Orleans & Carrollton Railroad), which evolved into the St. Charles Avenue streetcar line. I’ll be presenting the talk via blog posts here. We’re starting at the beginning.
If you didn’t know how to get ahold of me online, here you go. @nolahistoryguy on all social media, and there’s my email. Please keep in mind, I may not see your question as the high priority you do!
The image you see is of Canal and Rampart, 1915ish. I use it on my business cards.
Tour Guide Talking Points
These are important to the guide-on-the-street. While the FOC guides are very smart people, it’s important for me to give them a quick gist of the subject they can use for answering questions.
- NO&CRR was founded in 1833 and the railroad began operations in 1835
- The railroad route (and later streetcar line) was named “Carrollton,” not St. Charles.
- It’s the oldest continuously operating streetcar line in the United States. While NYC and Philly had streetcar operations before New Orleans, St. Charles still runs.
- Connected Downtown to the City of Carrollton
- First streetcar line to electrify
- The company operated the single-truck Ford, Bacon & Davis electric cars
- Upgraded to double-truck arch roof cars in 1915
- Belt service from 1900-1950
- Current route dates to 1951
- Only streetcar line in New Orleans from 1964 to 2004
- Current line is approximately 13.2 miles in length
We’ll get into the details of these points in this series.
Building railroads was a new thing in the 1830s. Businessmen in New Orleans recognized this. A group planning a navigation canal from Faubourg Marigny to Milneburg at the lake opted for a railroad line (the Pontchartrain RR) instead. Others looked at the City of Carrollton as an opportunity.