Trolley in the Snow

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Back in the day of the Rochester-to-Sodus Bay trolley in the early 1900s, the roadways were not plowed in winter. There was, however, a trolley car that had a rotary snow plow attached to the front to help keep the trolley tracks clear.


Often the farmers drove their teams with sleighs down the trolley roadbed adjacent to the Ridge Road. When a trolley met a sleigh, the trolley car would back up to a driveway or road crossing, but if the trolley overtook a sleigh going in the same direction, it followed the vehicle to the nearest crossing or driveway.


Sometimes these villages along Ridge Road, including Ontario, were snowed in for 24 hours or even more without news from the outside world or newspapers or mail. (No telephones for most people in those days.) Some of the more nervous citizens would sit up late at night waiting for the rotary plow to get through for one or more trolley cars would surely follow it with shivering passengers, the mail and tidings as to how the outside world was going.


Story and photo by Frank Robusto