More Information About The Glendale Trolley 

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 the project.

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 supplies and products to and from the mills, it was especially popular during county fair week as all the family could ride to within a block of the fair gate.

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 “Trolleys” and continue on to other locations in the greater Spartanburg area. Restrooms were provided in the basement of the Band-Stand.  Bands and shows performed on the top of the open air bandstand. Some people would go to Spartanburg 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 trip.

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 contact 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 the Clifton’s in 1935. Buses took the place of the Trolleys with Elbert Pierce, Elbert Black, Bryan Fowler and Buster Reaves, all of Glendale becoming bus drivers.


The above story about the trolley was furnished by Mr. Clarence Crocker, a life long Glendale resident.   

Note from Web Master Mary Teaster - I feel that I have a personal connection to the trolley. The trolley tracks connecting Glendale with Clifton ran right through my front yard and across our driveway. The track roadbed is very visible right to this day. In addition, my grandfather, Andrew Jackson (Pop) McKinney drove the trolley car for a time and is mentioned in this story.

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This web site has been started as a public service to share the story of Glendale. The web master and person to contact about putting information on the web site is Mary McKinney Teaster.  Contact her at: or by telephone at (843) 873-8117. See more information about Mary and her Glendale connection at Mary McKinney Teaster.