I hold papers which show that in 1891 Mr.
Dexter Converse, President of D.E. Converse Company, Glendale, S.C.
along with his associates formed the Spartanburg Bell Electric
Railway and Transportation Co. Their intent was to provide electric
railway service from Forest City N.C. to Clifton, Glendale, Pacolet
Mills and on to Glen Springs, S.C. which was at that time a resort town
being famous for it’s mineral water. Controversy and conflict stopped
While some records show trolley service (commonly called
street car) began to Glendale in 1903-4, I hold a record which states
that the Spartanburg Railway, Gas and Electric Company which was
founded in 1900 started electric street car service over a 15
mile stretch between Saxon, Glendale and Clifton in 1906. You
take your pick of the date. Destined to be the
areas chief mode of travel for it’s residents and transportation of
and products to and from the mills, it was especially popular during
fair week as all the family could ride to within a block of the fair
State public utility records show that from 1912-27 the
company’s name was listed as S.C. Light, Power and Railway service.
Duke Power was listed as owner-operator after 1928 until the day the
trolley stopped running. Mail and newspapers were brought
to Glendale daily. A person could have a prescription or other items
sent from Spartanburg by the Trolley when needed. The supplier would
hand the addressed item to the conductor and the recipient would meet
the Trolley to receive it.
With a terminal located at the “Band-Stand” on the Square in
Spartanburg, passengers got off to trade uptown or could change
and continue on to other locations in the greater Spartanburg area.
were provided in the basement of the Band-Stand. Bands and shows
on the top of the open air bandstand. Some people would go to
just to see and hear their favorite band or comedian. The Blue Bird Ice
Cream store was just across the street as a special topping for one’s
The Trolleys were run by electricity provided by a long
electrode protruding from each end at the top of the car and gliding
along the power line above. The car did not turn around. A conductor’s
seat was at each end as well as a door for getting on-off the car. When
the car reached the end of the line, the conductor would go outside and
by a long rope, pull the
electrode down at one end and raising the one at the other end to make
with the electric power reversing it’s direction.
When the Trolley passed through Glendale, there were places
where boys would hide behind bushes then run out and pull the electrode
off the wire which stopped the car. The conductor would have to get out
and align the electrode with the power line again. Though it must have
been aggravating, they seem to have taken it in their stride knowing
that boys would be boys.
Regular passenger trolleys were too light and didn’t have
enough power to push box cars of coal, cotton and other supplies to the
mill. A special large electric car called “The Big Six” was used for
this purpose. The trolley and “Big-Six” served the community and
surrounding areas well during their life time of some thirty years
having stopped running in 1935.
While there were no doubt others, Glendale men whom I have record
serving as conductors on the Trolleys were, Elbert Knox, Andrew
McKinney, Bryan Fowler, Elbert Black and Elbert Pierce. In the picture
shown below, Elbert Pierce with Dan Crawley, his supervisor, is seen at
the end of the last run of
the Trolley in Spartanburg County which was the route to Glendale and
Clifton’s in 1935. Buses took the place of the Trolleys with Elbert
Elbert Black, Bryan Fowler and Buster Reaves, all of Glendale becoming