Dover Trolleys


The first means of public transportation to the borough from York came with the construction of an electric trolley line by the York Traction Company in 1901. The service was inaugurated on November 28, the day after Thanksgiving, when the company used six of their big county cars to transport some 1600 people from York to Dover where an ox roast was held to celebrate.


The unofficial opening the previous Tuesday had been unannounced, so only a few Dover children were on hand to see the arrival of car number 107 with the company’s dignitaries and newspapermen as they set out to get an overview of the road. The trip had taken 33 minutes counting stops so the passengers could admire the countryside. It promised great things for rapid transit travel and for the comforts of electric heating instead of coal stoves.


At the time the line stopped at the southern end of the town, so the people disembarked and walked up to the square, spending considerable time talking with the villagers. The line was extended to run to the northern end of town and over towards Brookside Park.


The town was ready for the celebration with bands, bunting and speeches. Henry Haas and Henry Brunhouse prepared coffee and sandwiches from an ox furnished from Hass’ farm. Only the skeleton remained after that eventful barbecue.


Forty years later a unique “flitting” occurred. The Messerly family was moved to Emigsville by freight car over the lines.


An open summer car could hold about 90 passengers. Single fares were 15 cents; round trip 25 cents in the good old days! There were nine round trips daily.


The Traction Company became the York Railway Company, a subsidiary of Edison Light and Power. The trolley line was run to Brookside Park, which became a popular picnic and amusement area. In September1939, the York Railways Company auctioned off the park which was then bought by a York attorney but continued to be rented out for picnics.


By 1939, all the street cars were replaced by buses. The suburban lines were the first to go and Dover was either first or second. In 1941, the York Railway Company was purchased by the York Bus Company.


First Trolley in Dover Square

Car 319 pauses before crossing the Lincoln Highway at Stony Brook crossing in 1926


York Railroads Company Share through Fidelity Philadelphia Trust Company dated October 26, 1934



Greater Dover Bicentennial Celebration 1764-1964

Reprinted with corrections by GDHS in 2005