Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Arlington Traction Co. – Part 3

Norman C. Muller and his museum made the national news in the summer of 1956 when he attempted to acquire another high profile historical streetcar to go with No. 4144. The United Press story below ran in a variety of newspapers, including the Anniston Star in Anniston, Alabama (June 21, 1956), the Brazosport Facts in Freeport, Texas (July 3, 1956) and the Provo, Utah Daily Herald (July 8, 1956).

Transit Museum Man Seeks Oldest Street Car
LORAIN, O. (UP) – Norman C. Muller, who runs a transportation museum here, is making a concerted effort to do right by old 0140, the oldest street car in the world. Muller said the ancient electrical vehicle, which the Cleveland Transit System gave to the Ford Museum in Dearborn, Mich., two years ago, is “sitting out in the weather with no protection or without even a badly needed coat of paint.” He wants the Transit Board to get old 0140 back in Ohio. At the museum now is 4144, the last street car to run in Ohio, and Muller wants to give it company.

Muller was not successful in his attempt to acquire 0140 and today it is still part of the Henry Ford Museum.

By the late 1950s, it appears that things were winding down at Norman C. Muller’s museum.

According to the 1957 Lorain City Directory, a church – First Assembly of God – had already taken up residence at 5459 Broadway. The church shared its pastor, Keith Smith, with Lorain Gospel Tabernacle on E. 31st Street in Lorain, which continued to appear for one more year in the directory. It seems that both congregations were then consolidated at the 5459 Broadway location as Broadway Assembly

In July 1958, Norman C. Muller listed his house at 223 E. Cooper Foster Park for sale or trade. An ad which ran in the July 11, 1958 Sandusky Register stated, “Would like to trade for small farm Norwalk or Berlin Twps.”

And what about No. 4144?

Courtesy of Dennis Lamont
Dennis Lamont saw it shortly before it was scrapped. Referring to the above photo, he explained that it represents the “last days of Norm’s trolley.”

“His coat of “green” Southwestern paint has worn down to the original Cleveland Transit System colors and the church bus is in the new driveway.

“This is about the time I saw it last. It was not in good condition but unfortunately absolutely nothing was salvaged when it was scrapped,” said Dennis.

The book Cleveland’s Transit Vehicles: Equipment and Technology by Jim Toman and Blaine S. Hayes indicates that No. 4144 was scrapped in 1962.

The Trolley Dodger website provides additional history about 4144, the man who designed it and the reason as to why it was not salvaged by Gerald E. Brookins, the man behind Trolleyville, U.S.A. You can read this interesting post here.

Norman C. Muller and his wife eventually moved to Richland County. A 1968 article in the Mansfield News-Journal indicates that he had been keeping busy as the caretaker at “one of Ohio’s oldest and most attractive roadside parks” near Olivesburg. It seems like an appropriate position for someone who brought a lot of enjoyment to the children who enjoyed his miniature train.

Streetcar buffs certainly appreciate his efforts to salvage an important part of transportation history for others to enjoy.

He passed away on January 19, 2001.

The corner of South Broadway and Cooper Foster Park today
UPDATE (November 10, 2016)
Be sure to follow this link to my new post about the Arlington Traction Company featuring fantastic photos of the kids riding the cars!

1 comment:

Mike Kozlowski said...


Mr Muller's spirit lived on for some years at Trolleyville USA in North Olmstead ( It was a wonderful place that gave rides on various cars (including at least one or two my dad would have ridden in Cleveland when he was a kid) and also served as a functioning line between a large trailer park and a nearby shopping center. Sadly, it went away in the early 2000s and the collection (easily 20-30 cars as of my last visit in the early 90s) was broken up. There's pics of a lot of the collection at .