Transportation has always been a concern for students, but also for the citizens of Denton. In 1908, the Denton Traction Company sought to solve this problem with the introduction of street cars. The corporation was headed by H. M Griffin.  R. J. and W. W. Wilson purchased control of the operation in 1909.

The streetcars moved from the train depot to the downtown area. The cars then moved out to North Texas Normal College (now the University of North Texas). The streetcar moved west on Oak to Fry Street, then south one block to West Hickory where it turned and moved along West Hickory to Avenue C. At that point the line turned south and continued to Mill Street, turned west and stopped at the hill on Highland Park, a popular picnic spot, near what is now UNT’s Apogee Stadium area.  In August 1911, the extension of the line to the College of Industrial Arts (now Texas Woman’s University) was completed.

By 1912, public school students could buy a book of forty tickets for a dollar. Other members of the public could purchase twenty-four tickets for the same price. The streetcars operated on a 10-minute schedule in 1911. By 1917, the time schedule had increased to 20 minutes. 

The ability to catch a ride to the city center lasted for about ten years.  In 1918, the service was ended. The cause was a combination of financial troubles and the rise in popularity of the automobile. The rails, poles, wires, cars, etc. were sold by R. J. Wilson to the American Junk Company. The Denton Traction Company’s realty was not included in the initial sale. The right of way for the streetcar line near Texas Woman’s University was converted into a narrow street, the north end of Oakland Street.

The Denton Traction Company’s power plant, located south of the city power plant, was eventually sold. John Johnson broke ground in 1939 for the construction of the Raw Water Ice and Cold Storage Company in the company’s power plant location. The construction of the new business was estimated to cost $60,000.

Although cars and busses replaced the Denton Traction Company, the joy and efficiency of catching a ride on an electric streetcar was a brief part of Denton’s history.


Students pose in a streetcar.


An image of the Denton Square shows the impact of car culture in the 20th century. The photo is undated. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

top