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And the West is History: Street Car Downtown – Ca. 1900

In 1892, the Durango Railway and Realty Co. was formed to operate an electrified “street and suburban railway in the city of Durango.” The power company charged the streetcar company a daily rate based on each day’s receipts. For example, in 1894, if the streetcar company had receipts of $16 to $17 it was charged $9, more than half of what it took in. Eventually, the company operated a route between Durango and Animas City, but it was never very profitable. Ultimately, it petitioned the State Utility Commission for permission to cease operation in 1920. This photo of the west side of the 900 block of Main Avenue shows First National Bank on the left and at the far end of the block, the La Plata County Bank. In between the banks were bars, billiard halls and gambling establishments. Thus this stretch of Main was referred to as the “saloon block.” Most women of the time refused to be seen walking between the two corner banks, and would cross to the east side of the street. – Ed Horvat for Animas Museum, edhorvat@animasmuseum (Catalog Number: 80.01.2 from the La Plata County Historical Society Photo Collections)