Community History – Ludlow – Streetcar Service

Streetcar Service

Transportation between Ludlow and Covington proved problematic in the years following the Civil War. The main road linking the two cities was River Road (also called Washington Road). The road followed the Ohio River and was prone to flooding. Also, a toll was charged for the privilege.

The first know proposal to run a streetcar line from Covington to Ludlow occurred in 1875. The plan called for a track to be run down the River Road from West Covington to Ludlow. The project did not receive enough support to succeed.

When the walking path across the Southern Railroad Bridge was completed in 1885, many Ludlow residents began doing their shopping and other business in Cincinnati.

The transportation difficulties to Covington were solved in 1893 with the construction of Highway Avenue. The cost of constructing the new road was shared by Covington and Ludlow. Ludlow’s share amounted to $24,398.35. In the fall of that same year, the city council granted a franchise to the South Covington and Cincinnati Street Railway Company to construct a streetcar line over Highway Avenue.

The South Covington and Cincinnati Street Railway Company completed the double track line through Ludlow to the Lagoon Amusement Park (which was also under construction). The line was officially dedicated on September 22, 1894. Ludlow school children received the honor of being the first passengers on the new cars. The inaugural trip took the children from Ludlow, through Covington, to Fountain Square and back. Several bands played in Ludlow and Elm Street was decorated with Chinese Lanterns. The festivities were completed with a brilliant fireworks display.

Streetcar service made the trip between Covington and Ludlow much more enjoyable. The quick and reasonably priced service also attracted many new residents to Ludlow.

In 1939, electric streetcar service in Ludlow was replaced by Greenline trolley buses. Eventually, the old streetcar rails were removed or paved over.

Ludlow Reporter, May 15, 1875, p. 2 and June 19, 1875, p. 2; Kentucky Post, September 20, 1894 and September 22, 1894; Ludlow Centennial Souvenir Program 1864-1964, p. 15-16.

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