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If Only These Walls Could Talk

Atlanta Trolley Car 604. Photo by Corinne Cox.
Atlanta Trolley Car 604. Photo by Corinne Cox.

By Corinne Cox
Atlanta Trolley Car 604 rests comfortably on the southern end of Gilbert Street, looking good for a 96 year old. But oh, the things she’s seen in her lifetime. Thousands of people rode the trolleys in Atlanta from the mid 1860s until the 1940s, enjoying the amazing growth and decline of the city’s extensive electric trolley car rail system.
The Georgia Railway & Power Company operated the lines using trolley cars on Atlanta’s busy streets. At the end of 1930s, Car 604 was standard on the Buckhead and Oglethorpe route. The McGuire-Cummings Company built Car 604 in 1922. It seated 48 passengers and measured 44 feet 6 inches long, 8 feet 3 inches wide, and 11 feet 8 inches high.
Many of the city’s trolley cars were retired by 1949 and sent to Korea to ride again. Others were stripped for spare parts and sold to individuals for various uses. The story of Car 604 is that Georgia Railway & Power Company employee Charlie Sheridan and Car 604 retired about the same time, and he took Car 604 home with him.
The SAND neighborhoods use a trolley car emblem to mark the importance of the electric train cars in the development of the area. The Georgia Railway and Power Company operated the Atlanta trolley service to take passengers to outer developing neighborhoods such as Brookwood, Piedmont, West End, and Inman Park. A trolley line also helped develop the SAND area as it came out to new neighborhoods east of beautiful Grant Park with a stop at the Old Soldiers Home on East Confederate Avenue, where the Georgia State Patrol is now.
In the early 1980s, Corinne Cox purchased Car 604 and her work was cut out for her. With the help of many talented and imaginative neighbors, the run-down train car became beautiful again, designed to look as if it is parked in a small train station. For Corinne, this was her perfect artist’s studio. Her newly revitalized home was a stop on the first SAND Tour Of Bungalows in 1988. The Car’s stories continued to unfold while Corinne lived there until 1994. Since then her trolley car home has had over 20 rental residents, adding their own stories as they have enjoyed a real touch of Atlanta history. If only these walls could talk.

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