Trolley Place gets a second lease on life
Renovations on a set of 3 buildings next to Penn Central Mall in Oskaloosa will be getting an $800,000 dollar boost in the form of a grant. Main Street Oskaloosa was awarded the grant to help develop commercial space on the first floor, residential area’s that will be moderate income housing on the second and third floors. The project will include a geothermal system for heating and cooling of the facility. The ground floor area’s had most recently been used as an oriental food store, a second hand clothing store, and a pizza place currently occupies the remaining lower space.
The name Trolley Place comes from the earlier days of Oskaloosa when the trolley’s would park right out front of this location. In 1880 the Oskaloosa Street Railroad and Land Co. had 3 lines radiating from the square, with a total of 4 cars and 21 horses over 4 miles of line. 1898 seen standard gauge track and the cars were electrified. In 1902 the name was changed to Oskaloosa Traction and Light Co. In 1906 the interurban also served Beacon and had a line that ran to the then boom town of Buxton, Iowa 15 miles to the southwest of Beacon, Iowa.
Between 1913 and 1925 the system was bought and sold a couple of times, but by 1926 the trolley’s had been switched to buses. 1930 seen the demise of the buses and Oskaloosa has been without public transportation since then.
Thanks to the Oskaloosa Public Library with their assistance in finding the history of Oskaloosa’s Trolley’s.