Sunday, September 11, 2005

Trolley Honeymoon from Delaware to Maine

One of the high spots of Delaware book collecting is a little volume by Clinton W. Lucas titled A Trolley Honeymoon from Delaware to Maine. In the decades after 1890, the trolley-car was the great technological innovation. It was like computers and cell phones today. Trolley companies sprang up everywhere. Soon half the country was linked with interconnecting independent local trolley lines.

A pair of Delaware newlyweds decided to honeymoon by taking trolleys from Delaware to Maine. They wrote a 125-page book about the experience. Though the book is undated, it was published in 1904 by the M. W. Hazen Co., New York. Here is a quotation from the book.

"If William Penn founded the Quaker city, God made its suburbs – a fair countryside that now passed before us in dissolving views, as our car at quickened speed plunged on to Willow Grove:

'Straight mine eye hath caught new pleasures
As the Land skip round it measures.'

"We trolleyed past lawns and meadows, stately villas and trim gardens, old wayside inns and ivy-covered churches lodged under the spreading trees; here a classic gateway with Ionic peristyle; there an ancient mansion half-hidden behind high walls of solid masonry; a wide stretch of green fields in the foreground; a background of woodland; winding country lanes deep in shade; and last but not least a valley sweeping northward and disclosing in far
perspective green hills with a bluish haze …"

'A shady road with a grassy track;
A car that follows free;
A Summer’s scene at early morn;
A nickel for a fee.' "

I have never seen a copy of this book. There is a record that one was sold at Wilson's Auction in Lincoln, Delaware, in April 1990 for $210.