The decline of the urban horse in American cities

Date of Original Version




Abstract or Description

Urban horses were phased out gradually, function by function, over the course of a century. Between 1850 and 1880 the number of urban horses grew dramatically, since most freight on the new railroad network required local delivery and rapidly growing cities required more passenger service. The displacement of the horse was slow: for stationary purposes beginning around 1830, for street railways from 1885 to 1895, for light passenger use from 1895 to 1915 and for heavy freight from 1915 to 1930. Equine technology, supposedly made obsolescent by the steam engine, showed remarkable resilience, persisting for more than a century after its supposed replacement.




Published In

Journal of Transport History, 24, 2, 177-198.