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Grand River Tales Part IV by Gary Thomas
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By Gary Thomas
April 13, 2013 2:26 a.m.


One of my earliest memories of Chillicothe is of the mule drawn street cars. They furnished transportation around town, any place you wanted to go for five cents. When the streetcars reached the end of the line, they unhitched the two mules from the front of the car and hitched them to the other end and started back the other way.
I’ve heard a relative tell about what a thrill it was for her as a child to ride the railroad train to Chillicothe from Sumner where she grew up, and be met at the train by the mule drawn street cars. I especially remember her telling about how they rode the street car to the city park, which was the square in the middle of town (where the courthouse now stands) for a big fourth of July celebration. One of the main attractions of the fourth of July was the town band which played music from the “bandstand in the middle of the park.
When I was growing up, my mother and father and all of my brothers and sisters and I lived on the Lowe farm which was five miles northwest of town. My father was a school teacher as well as a farmer, and he wanted his children to have a good education, so we went to high school in town, even though it meant walking the five miles some of the time or riding horseback the rest of the time.
Mama said it was the Four Hundred who used the streetcars the most; she explained that “The Four Hundred” was a slang term but it meant the society ladies of the town who would dress up in their fanciest clothes and ride across town to their Ladies Aid meetings, their teas, and their newly organized social clubs.
The streetcars went down Walnut Street to the fair grounds which are now the County Club golf links; they traveled to the end of Fair Street which was the Normal School, (later Chillicothe Business College), they went to both depots and met every train, and came around the square. Locust and Webster were the most traveled streets, and each time the street cars went through town they stopped at the Leeper Hotel (now the Lambert), which was the meeting place for everybody in town.

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