It was 1909 - 100 years ago - when the first car of the Washington, Baltimore and Annapolis Electirc Railway rolled onto the streets of Annapolis.   Eighty-one years and several paving projects later the tracks were once again visible along the old cars' route.   I lived downtown at that time and took the opportunity to snap a few pictures, including one of the bizarre curve from King George Street onto College Avenue.

The map, below, shows the route of the tracks in downtown Annapolis.  The green lines indicate where tracks were uncovered in the summer of 2000; the tan lines show where the tracks, long since removed, ran along Main and Randall Streets .

route map
The cars entered the city at the intersection of Calvert and West Streets (pictured below in an early 1900s postcard view), then continued inbound on West Street, counter-clockwise around Church Circle, down Main Street, along Randall Street, up King George Street, down College Avenue, back onto Church Circle and back down West Street to Calvert Street.   Barely visible in one shot is the wye where West Street met Church Circle.

All pictures are thumbnails; click on each for a larger picture, which will open in a new window.
The station at West and Calvert Streets.  WARNING: linked photograph is EXTREMELY large to show as much detail as possible and may take some time to download on slower connections.
This unused postcard shows a car, on its way out of town, coming down College Avenue toward Church Circle.  Note that, though the trolley poles are up, there are no wires.   Artistic license, I suppose, since the subject of the card is not the srteetcar but the fountain and Governor's Mansion.
The wye at Church Circle and West Street.  The arrows point out the barely-visible rails.

Summer 2000 repaving project reveals Annapolis' transit history

The curve from Church Circle down Main Street.  The tracks down Main Street were removed when that street was repaved in the 1990s.
The remaining track near Gate 1 of the U.S. Naval Academy veers to the left.  In the railroad's heyday the Naval Academy ran along King George Street to the water's edge, and there were two streetcar tracks running along King George Street to a ferry wahrf.  The arrow in the larger picture shows where Gate 1 once stood and where the streetcar tracks were uncovered in October 1981.
The odd curve from King George Street onto College Avenue. The interurban cars were too long to manage a regular 90-degree curve, so the railroad built this question-mark curve.
Another view of the odd curve, this one showing a better view of the question-mark shape of the curve (the upper arrow shows the straight track from Randall Street; the lower arrow indicates unusual "S"-shaped curve.
The straight track along King George Street, paralleling the 150-year-old walls of the U.S. Naval Academy. Almost like being back in 1909 - except for the modern automobiles, patched pavement, brick sidewalks and Fed-Ex deliveryman running across the street..

A sad but fitting photo to end this brief tour: a car and van are passing a city transit bus that is designed to resemble the old streetcars, while the tracks of the real streetcars fade into modern pavement and into history.

Original photographs copyright 2000, 2008, 2015 by Michael Calo;
all unauthorized use is prohibited
postcards are from author's collection

Last updated Wednesday, May 20, 2015