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Former Calais-St. Stephen Street Railway Site

Milltown Boulevard, West Street, Scoodic Street, King Street, Prince William Street, St Stephen, New Brunswick, Canada

Formally Recognized: 2006/11/21

International Bridge leading to Calais, Maine, from St. Stephen; Provincial Archives of NB
Former Calais-St. Stephen Street Railway Site
Trolley car; Provincial Archives of NB
Former Calais-St. Stephen Street Railway Site
Water Street (Milltown Boulevard today); Provincial Archives of NB
Former Calais-St. Stephen Street Railway Site

Other Name(s)

n/a

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2010/03/23

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Former Calais-St. Stephen Street Railway Site is represented by the network of streets in St. Stephen that ultimately lead to the Canada-USA border crossing.

Heritage Value

The Former Calais-St. Stephen Street Railway Site is designated a Local Historic Place for its association with the first international street railway service in North America. The idea for a street railway system was proposed by Charles Young of St. Stephen in 1891. With financial assistance of several influential businessmen from the area the street railway became a reality. The Province of New Brunswick granted privileges to operate the line for fifteen years. On July 4, 1894 the streetcar system began its operation. Streetcars were already in operation in many cities across Canada and the United States; however this system was the first international service of its kind in North America. The route began from the car barns in Calais, Maine, travelled up Main Street to North Street and then to Milltown, Maine where it crossed over the Milltown Bridge in to St. Stephen. Once in Canada, the route continued down Water Street (Milltown Boulevard today) to West Street and then doubled back to Water Street via Scoodic Street. It then travelled up King Street and finally down Prince William Street to the old Shore Line Railway Station. The streets that represent the route used by the system are still in existence today. A person could travel by streetcar for a distance of over seven miles for five cents. The street railway line not only provided infrastructure for easier international labour and retail, but it also enhanced relations between these two communities. In 1908, a 99 year lease was granted by the New Brunswick Legislature. On the evening of October 30, 1929, the cars that provided transportation for the residents of St. Stephen and Calais made their last run. Taxi service became competition for the streetcars as they offered door-to-door service. The Calais-St. Stephen Street Railway operated for thirty-five years.

Sources: St. Stephen Town Hall – Local Historic Places File; "Around Town by Rail, The Calais/St.Stephen Streetcars" by Richard P. Auletta, St. Croix Public Library, St. Stephen, N.B.

Character-Defining Elements

The character-defining elements that describe the Former Calais-St. Stephen Street Railway Site include:
- network of roads that trace the original path of the street railway, including portions of Milltown Boulevard, West Street, Scoodic Street, King Street and Prince William Street;
- paved road surface leading to the entrance to the U.S. border crossing.

Recognition

Jurisdiction

New Brunswick

Recognition Authority

Local Governments (NB)

Recognition Statute

Local Historic Places Program

Recognition Type

Municipal Register of Local Historic Places

Recognition Date

2006/11/21

Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

1894/01/01 to 1929/01/01

Theme - Category and Type

Developing Economies
Communications and Transportation

Function - Category and Type

Current

Historic

Transport-Land
Road or Public Way
Transport-Rail
Station or Other Rail Facility

Architect / Designer

n/a

Builder

n/a

Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

St. Stephen Town Hall - Local Historic Places files

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier

1288

Status

Published

Related Places

n/a

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