The Thirty-Year War: A History of Detroit's Streetcars, 1892-1922

The Thirty-Year War: A History of Detroit's Streetcars, 1892-1922

by Neil J. Lehto


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The Thirty-Year War: A History of Detroit's Streetcars, 1892-1922 by Neil J. Lehto

Streetcars played an especially important role in society around the turn of the twentieth century in Detroit, in part because of the downtown hub-and-spoke design of its main streets. During this period the streetcar was the main mode of transportation for the average citizen, as horse-drawn carriages and automobiles were not found outside of the upper class. Control over streetcar franchises was highly coveted—this control was simultaneous with having power over how and where people were transported throughout the city, making it an incredible political tool. The Thirty-Year War was a battle waged between 1892 and 1922 by the City of Detroit against the politically powerful and deeply entrenched corporations that owned streetcar franchises for control of the city’s streetway system. This compelling history shows how and why the owners of monopoly franchises of great public utilities such as bridges, street railways, electricity, natural gas, and cable television will protect and defend their privilege against public ownership or control, and is an example of how one city successfully fought back.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781611862300
Publisher: Michigan State University Press
Publication date: 02/01/2017
Edition description: 1
Pages: 338
Sales rank: 1,283,014
Product dimensions: 7.30(w) x 10.00(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Neil J. Lehto is an attorney in southeastern Michigan who specializes in representing Michigan cities, townships, and villages in various cable television, public utility, municipal franchise, and telecommunications tower matters.

Table of Contents

Introduction ix

Chapter 1 Before the Thirty-Year War 1

Chapter 2 The Hendrie Streetcar Era 25

Chapter 3 Beginning of the Thirty-Year War 39

Chapter 4 The Progressive Era 49

Chapter 5 From the Streets to the Hallways 73

Chapter 6 The Lawyers Battle 95

Chapter 7 Competitive Fight Really Begins 139

Chapter 8 Three-Cent Fares or Municipal Ownership 155

Chapter 9 Every Mayor Had a Three-Cent Fare Plan 183

Chapter 10 On Driving a Hard Bargain 225

Chapter 11 Nobody Stood Up 237

Chapter 12 The Detroit Streetcar Parade 251

Notes 255

Bibliography 311

Index 319

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