Last Streetcar Ride in Edina

An Edina era ends on June 19, 1954.
Panoramic group photo of last streetcar trip.

From his home on Thielen Avenue in Edina, Jay Magoffin grew up watching yellow streetcars travel along the rails on 44th Street en route to downtown Minneapolis and beyond. The entire Brookside neighborhood depended on the streetcar for daily transportation in an era when few families owned more than one car. Although Magoffin didn’t realize it then, times were changing. Freeways replaced rutted roads. Buses replaced streetcars. And on June 18, 1954, Twin Cities Rapid Transit ended streetcar service. The Como-Harriet line made its final stop at the Brookside loop shortly after midnight. The motorman was Arthur E. Orrben, a 43-year TCRT veteran, driving No. 1166, the oldest TCRT streetcar in regular service. Streetcars would make one last ceremonial run the next day. Although public service ended, Minnesota Rail Fans Association made a final trip through the Twin Cities, stopping for a photo at the Brookside and 44th Street turnaround, just down the street from Magoffin’s house, where he and neighborhood kids were playing in the street. “We heard noise from all the people, and we ran down to see what all the hoopla was about,” he recalled. The youngsters were invited to join the group photo. Magoffin, front left, stood with his friends, part of a historic moment that they didn’t understand at the time. Many of those rail fans would later form the Minnesota Streetcar Museum, according to its historian Aaron Isaacs. On warm summer days, visitors can take a streetcar ride along a one-mile line of track by Lake Harriet and experience a bygone era in the Twin Cities. Marci Matson is executive director of the Edina Historical Society. Visit for information. & Check out “EdinaScapes,” a new exhibit featuring art of Edina landscapes, cityscapes and landmarks past and present at the Edina History Museum. See for more information.