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Trolley Cars

The DeKalb-Sycamore Electric Traction Company began began offering trolley rides between the two towns on December 13, 1902. There were originally two cars (more were added later) which began service at 6:30 a.m. and ended at midnight. Cars departed every half hour, on the hour from DeKalb and on the half hour from Sycamore.

The route ran from the Normal School (what is now Altgeld Hall at Northern Illinois University) to Normal Road to Lincoln Highway, then East to Fourth Street, North to Oak, East to Tenth, North to Pleasant, East to Thirteenth, to Sycamore Road, to State Street, Sycamore and ended at the DeKalb County Courthouse.

The trolley cars were 25 feet long, green in color with "DeKalb-Sycamore Electric Co." painted on their sides. The interior of the cars had natural wood finish and seating similar to that of a passenger railroad car. The cars were lit by electric lights and divided into smoking and non-smoking sections. They utilized air brakes and operated by means of poles at each end of the car connected to an electrical line hanging overhead. Most of the time the cars ran smoothly, but occasionally one would derail, especially during the winter months when snow would drift over the tracks.

One could purchase a one-way trip for 10 cents or purchase a 50-ride ticket. There was also a special shuttle service for students of the Normal School coordinated to the typical beginning and ending times of the school day.

The DeKalb-Sycamore Electric Traction Company ended service on April 17, 1924. Some cited the increasing popularity of automobiles and paved roads as the cause of the electric car's decline.

There was also a trolley service between DeKalb and Aurora for a short time. Between 1910 and 1916 three cars owned by the Chicago Aurora and DeKalb Railway offered transit between the two cities.

Images of Trolley Cars.

"Rail Service Between DeKalb-Sycamore!!" DeKalb Daily Chronicle. Tuesday April 23" 1968.
"Crossing is Settled." Sycamore True Republican. Wednesday December 17" 1902.
"Arrival of Trolley Line Symbol of Progress Here." DeKalb News Service. December 12" 1973.

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