FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- Anthracite Trolleys, Inc. is working to restore Wilkes-Barre's last know trolley car, which is currently embedded in a home in Luzerne County's Back Mountain.
"30-some years ago, I took a bicycle ride and rode past this house and saw the protruding ends of the trolley away from the cottage, and it caught my attention ever since," Anthracite Trolleys, Inc. President Conrad Baut said.
The trolley car ended up here in 1950 when Wilkes-Barre's Trolley service ended. A family purchased it for $200 so they could use it as the base of their house.
"The ridership of the trolley is very ingrained in our anthracite region," Baut said. "It's how everybody got about. It's how the coal miners went to work. It's how factory workers went to work. It's how people went to the cities and everywhere else."
Baut and James Wert are members of Anthracite Trolleys, Inc. The nonprofit that is trying to preserve the trolley car. They want to remove it from the house so they can restore it. The family that owns the property will let them have the car, but the nonprofit will have to come up with the $30,000 it will cost to remove the car and clear the land. They're about a third of a way to their goal.
"We're very fortunate that Conrad found this because without it, this could've been destroyed, and we would've lost a historical icon forever," Wert said. "Once something like this is gone, you can't replace it. This is original. We're very happy about this."
The goal is to remove the trolley car from the house before the end of the year.
Anthracite Trolleys, Inc is hosting some events this month to raise awareness about the project. On March 15, Wilkes-Barre's mayor will present a proclamation declaring March 16-23 "Trolley Week" in Wilkes-Barre.
On March 16 at 2 p.m., there will be a presentation on Greater Trolleys by author Dr. Harrison Wick. It will be held at the Miller Room in the Henry Student Center at Wilkes University.
On March 23 at 7p.m., the Luzerne County Historical Society Museum will present a program about the trolley project.
If you would like to donate money to the project, you can do so by mailing a check to:
Anthracite Trolleys, Inc. Project 790,
228 Pollock Drive,
Pittston, PA, 18640.
Or you can call Conrad Baut at (570) 855-3977 or email him at email@example.com.