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Trolley Tracks Discovery Reveals Larchmont Growth, History

LARCHMONT, N.Y. -- Larchmont hasn't seen a trolley car in service since 1927, but it has seen what is left of its tracks when recent road work on Chatsworth Avenue uncovered two metal rails from the antiquated transportation system.

The rails carried prospective developers by horse car from what is now Station Plaza to what used to be the Manor Inn when Larchmont was little more than water-front farmland with a population of 86, according to the 1790 census.

"When they started developing Larchmont in the mid 1800s, they wanted to bring potential buyers from the station and may have used the trolley to get them from one place to another," said Lynne Crowley, archivist for the Larchmont Historical Society.

The horsecar, built in 1873 by the Larchmont Manor Company, began on Chatsworth Avenue, turned right on Boston Post Road, left on Larchmont Avenue and lastly right on Cedar Avenue.

Crowley suspects the reason Cedar Avenue is so much wider than the surrounding streets is because it had to fit a horse-drawn carriage.

The horsecar travelled through "a vast expanse of farmland dotted with haycocks," to the station, said George Towle, one of the first residents of the Manor, according to the historical society.

The Larchmont Manor Horse Railway Company, which took over the route around 1888, replaced the old wood rails held together by iron bars with flat iron rails. Then, in 1899, the horsecar was replaced with an electric trolley. It wouldn't be long before the trolley line went bankrupt and was replaced by busses.

The village board of trustees officially replaced the trolley line in Aug. 1927. In 1942, the trolley tracks on Chatsworth Avenue between Boston Post Road and Palmer Avenue were to be salvaged for steel needed in World War II. But thanks to the crew that trenched that very same section of Chatsworth Avenue Aug. 17, residents now know at least one portion of those tracks remains just a few feet underground.

Have you ever wondered why Cedar Avenue is wider than the streets surrounding it? Comment below, on Facebook and Twitter .

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