The Interurban

The Interurban

The Interurban on Pewee Valley's Railroad Avenue

Percival Moore of Anchorage, KY founded the Louisville, Anchorage & PeWee Electric Railway (aka The Interurban) in 1900, around the time of "The Little Colonel's House Party" and "The Little Colonel's Holidays". This put downtown Louisville (end station Third & Liberty), about 20 miles away,  within easy reach of residents of Pewee Valley.  With some of today's rush hour traffic, the commute by automobile can be even longer than it was in 1900 by Interurban.

The Pewee Valley interurban station was located next door to Town Hall on Mt. Mercy Avenue (then called Railroad Avenue). A small brick building, Glen Gallery, is on the spot now. (That building once housed the phone company.) There were two sets of tracks and a sidecar rail running through the downtown Pewee Valley. 

Most of the rail trips to and from Pewee Valley depicted in the later Little Colonel books would have been via Interurban.

There is a vacant lot on Mt. Mercy that once served as the turnaround for the interurban. Pewee Valley Historian Gin Chaudoin says it turned around on the half hour to Louisville and on the hour it went to LaGrange. She remembers a platform and an ice house by the interurban station. She says the interurban also hauled milk. (Gin took the last ride on a passenger train between LaGrange and Pewee Valley.)

When the trains stopped, the Chaudoin Line started with limousines and eventually had busses and four lines that went to Carrollton, LaGrange, Shepherdsville and Paducah. Mr. Chaudoin  (Gin's husband, by the way) sold the company to the Kentucky Bus company when he was drafted to serve in World War II.

Information on the Interurban from "Land of the Little Colonel" by Katy Smith, 1974:

[Photo left:  The site today]

"The Louisville, Anchorage & Pewee Valley Electric Railway, Inc., completed to Beard's in November 1901, was Louisville's first interurban line. The name was changed in 1903 due to the company's plan to built all the way to Cincinnati. The track was extended to LaGrange in early 1907, but financial difficulty prevented further extension north. The Louisville & Interurban (now the Louisville Transit Company -- really now TARC) took over in 1911. The L&E had been built to steam railroad standards with heavy cars, regular stations with station agents and freight was handled as well as passengers. With the advent of paved roads ad trucks, the freight service stopped May 15, 1934. The last day of passenger service through Pewee Valley to Louisville was August 10, 1935. Today the Southern Belle Telephone Office (now Glen Gallery) stands on the site of the L&E Station in Pewee Valley."

There is more Interurban history at , excerpts below:

1889 - First electric streetcar line in Louisville opened on Green St., now Liberty St.

1890 - Louisville City Railway acquires all other streetcar companies, and changes name to Louisville Railway Co.

1901 - Electrification of streetcar lines completed. Louisville & Eastern Railroad opens first interurban railway in area, extending northeast to Crestwood.

1904 - Louisville & Interurban Railroad opens its first interurban line, east to Jeffersontown. Louisville & Interurban Railroad was owned by Louisville Traction Co., a holding company which also owned Louisville Railway Co. Line also opened northeast to Prospect, by electrifying a Louisville & Nashville steam railroad branch. This would be the only standard gauge interurban line in the Louisville area, with broad gauge on all other electric railways in area.

1905 - Louisville & Interurban Railroad opens interurban line southeast to Okolona.

1907 - Louisville & Eastern Railroad completes interurban line beyond Crestwood to La Grange. Louisville & Interurban Railroad opens interurban line southwest to Orell.

1935 - Interurban line to La Grange abandoned, replacement bus service operated by Chaudoin Bus Lines. Interurban line to Prospect abandoned, replaced with Paxton Bus Line route. After World War II, Paxton Bus Line would be succeeded by Goebel's Bus Line, and later Prospect Bus Line. Interurban line to Orell also abandoned, replaced with Louisville Railway Co. bus route. Virgil Pierce bus line sold to Blue Motor Coach Co.

1945 - Chaudoin Bus Lines sold to Kentucky Bus Lines.

The Interurban Depot

A piece of Interurban memorabilia

Another great picture of a LaGrange Interurban car can be seen here: