Tag Archives: tempe

The Salt River Valley Electric Railway

A brief history of the company and its competitor line to the Phoenix Street Railway, taken from the files of the Electric Railway Journal. Thanks to J. Gale for finding these.

Electric Railway Journal Vol. XL No. 6, August 10, 1912, Page 234

Under “Track and Roadway”

Mesa, Arizona.—The W. K. Palmer Company, engineers, Kansas City, Mo., is actively engaged with the Salt River Valley Electric Railway, doing engineering work and making the necessary business arrangements for the construction of this line. Locations and surveys have been completed and the plans and specifications have been prepared for the direct line from Phoenix to Tempe and Tempe to Mesa and the Palmer company is now making surveys for a second line, known as the Southside line, to run from Phoenix to Tempe on the south side of the Salt River. The company hopes soon to announce definitely its construction program.

Electric Railway Journal Vol. XL No. 24, December 21, 1912, Page 1257

Under “Franchises”

Phoenix, Ariz.—The Salt River Valley Electric Railway, Phoenix, has asked the Council for a ninety-day extension of its franchise in which to begin the construction of its line in Phoenix. It will connect Phoenix, Scottsdale, Tempe, Mesa, Chandler, Alhambra, Glendale and Peoria. C. C. Lewis, president. [E. R. J., Aug. 10, ’12.]

Electric Railway Journal Vol. XLI No. 1,  January 4, 1913, Page 51

Under “Franchises”

Phoenix, Ariz.—The Salt River Valley Electric Railway has received an extension of the time fixed in which to begin the construction of its line in Phoenix. It will connect Phoenix, Scottsdale, Tempe, Mesa, Chandler, Alhambra, Glendale and Peoria. S. C. Lewis, president. [E. R. J., Dec. 21, ’12.]

Electric Railway Journal Vol. XLI No. 4, January 25, 1913, Page 175

Under “Franchises”

Phoenix, Ariz.—The Salt River Valley Electric Railway has asked the Board of Supervisors for a franchise for right-of-way over county roads between Phoenix and Mesa, via Tempe.

Electric Railway Journal Vol. XLIII No. 20, May 16, 1914, Page 1123

Under “Track and Roadway”

Salt River Valley Electric Railway, Phoenix, Ariz.—This company advises that it has no definite plans when work will be begun on its ’20-mile electric railway from Phoenix to Mesa. C. C. Lewis, Phoenix, president. [E. R. J., Nov. 1, ’13.]

Electric Railway Journal Vol. XLIV No. 13, September 26, 1914, Page 594

Under “Track and Roadway”

Salt River Valley Electric Railway, Phoenix, Ariz.— All matters in temporary dispute between the city manager and this company have been satisfactorily adjusted and active work is being pushed on the construction of the line east on Monroe Street in Phoenix. The first line will be built from Phoenix to Scottsdale and probably extended south across the Salt River to Tempe, Mesa and Chandler. It is the purpose of the company to build its own bridge across the Salt River. C. C. Lewis, Phoenix, president. [E. R. J., May 16, ’14.]

Electric Railway Journal Vol. XLV No. 11, March 13, 1915, Page 536

Under “Track and Roadway”

Salt River Valley Electric Railway, Phoenix, Ariz.—Surveys have been completed by this company between Phoenix and Mesa, 18 miles, and between Scotsdale [sic] and Phoenix, 12 miles. The company’s franchise for the line expired Dec. 21, 1914, and the project has been abandoned on account of financial conditions. C. C. Lewis, Phoenix, president. [E. R. J., Sept. 26, ’14.]

more articles here

Trolley Line of 32 Miles

Suburban Cars Will Connect Phoenix, Tempe, Scottsdale, Tempe, Mesa, and Glendale.

Work Being Pushed Phoenix, April 20. “All aboard for Scottsdale, Ingleside, Tempe, and Mesa.”

Ground was broken this morning at the corner of First and Madison streets for the construction of the “White Line,” officially known as the “Salt River Valley Electric railroad.”

By nightfall Contractor Lewis had the street torn up as far as Third street, and in a couple of days he will be at Seventh street. This is the first actual manifestation the people of Phoenix have had of the actual construction of the line, and the work of grading was watched throughout the day by interested crowds.

It is announced by Secretary Lewis that the company has in its possession, in addition to franchises through the streets of Phoenix, Tempe, and Mesa, private rights of way for thirty-two of thirty-five miles to be traversed by the new line.

Contracts have been closed, Lewis says, for a large quantity of ties, and the work will be pushed forward rapidly. No serious engineering difficulties are to be encountered until the Salt River, at Tempe, is reached. Here a costly bridge must be built.

— The Bisbee daily review, 1912-04-21, p. 7

East Valley Interurban Proposed

Ready for Franchise

Company Will Build Interurban Car Line. To Incorporate Today.

Valley Towns Will Have Hourly Service. — Phoenix the Center of the System. Franchise Asked From City Council.

Local capitalists are reported to be embarking upon one of the greatest and most important financial adventures ever undertaken in the valley. It was learned yesterday that a body of responsible business men of this city propose to incorporate a company which will build and operate an interurban electric railway between Mesa, Tempe, Phoenix, Ingleside1, and Scottsdale.

Application will be made to the city today for a franchise authorizing the company to lay tracks through the streets of Phoenix…

The new line, as at present planned will be divided into two long arms, which will come together at Chicago Avenue2, near Desert Inn3. From this junction point a single line will be run through Phoenix to the Capitol, running from Chicago Avenue west on Roosevelt to Fourth Street, south on Fourteenth to Van Buren and west on Van Buren to the capitol.

One arm of the project will end in Mesa, running from that point through Tempe, past the Hole-in-the Rock4, and onto Chicago Avenue. The other arm, will be constructed from the junction to Scottsdale [via] Ingleside…

From the Arizona Republican, July 26, 1911.

The Salt River Valley Electric Railway Company incorporated on that date, and is listed in the 1912 through 1914 Phoenix City Directory, but not in the 1915 or later editions. The Company lists as its officers president C. C. Lewis, secretary A. B. Baker, treasurer Jason M Sweatman; and the address Fleming Building, #315-316.  (The Fleming Building was at the northwest corner of Washington Street and 1st Avenue.)

Source: Jim McAllister’s Arizona Central (Arizona Republic) blog

Further Progress on Inter-Urban Line

Articles of Incorporation Filed

…The aims and progress of the company were described last night by Mr. [F. M.] Winter, the principal promoter, who said that the work of construction is expected to be begun early in September…

As has bene stated it is the purpose to ask the council for a franchise along Van Buren Street, whence the road will run to Hole-in-the-Rock, at which point it will branch, one line running to Scottsdale via Ingleside, and the other to Tempe, Mesa, and south to Chandler.

Westward the road will run to Alhambra, Glendale and Peoria. A thorough canvass has been made of the territory proposed and everywhere the most earnest support has been encountered…

It is proposed to levy assessments on the acreage and practically every property owner along the proposed route has been interviewed. Mr. Winter said that in no case had a refusal been encountered. The company has offered to give stock for the amount of the assessments so that the line will be essentially a people’s line.

It is proposed to handle beside passenger traffic, freight, express and mail… It will be a rapid transit line equipped with the latest models of cars used for interurban traffic.

The profits have been figured by Mr. Winter who has had extensive experience in such matters and he believes that a divident of twenty-five per cent on the stock will be realized…

Though in the present plans of the company the matter has not yet figured, Mr. Winter said that in all probability there would be an extension of the road into the Buckeye country, as petitions covering a large stretch in that direction have been received…

— Arizona Republican, 27 July 1911, page 6.


  1. Ingleside, Arizona was located in what is today a neighborhood of Scottsdale, around the site of the Ingleside Inn, which was at what is now 61st Street and Indian School Road.  Here is a history of the Inn.
  2. Chicago Avenue was renamed 44th Street in 1956.
  3. Desert Inn was a sanatorium located at “Clayson’s Ranch” according to the 1909 Phoenix City Directory.
  4. Hole-In-The-Rock is located in today’s Papago Park on McDowell Road west of 68th Street.


Plans for Gridironing Valley with Electric Lines to Mesa, Tempe and Scottsdale

Arizona [Phoenix] Gazette, 26 July 1911, Page 1.

The launching of a stupendous transportation project was signalized today by the filing of the articles of incorporation of the Salt River Valley Electric [Railway] Company, which contemplates the building and operation fo sixty miles of rapid transit electric lines, connecting Phoenix with Glendale, Scottsdale, Peoria, Ingleside, Mesa, Tempe, and Chandler. A superintendent of construction has already been hired, and according to the confident assertions of the promoters, actual work will be commenced within thirty days. The initial work will be on the Scottsdale and Ingleside branch.

This ambitious project, which it is claimed will immensely stimulate land values and give Phoenix a population of 125,000 within ten years, was born only two months ago. The incorporators are F. W. Winter, rancher; Jacob Kleck, rancher; W. S. Furman, attorney; Dr. J. m. Swetnam, physician and banker; and C. C. Lewis, rancher.

The company is capitalized at $600,000, divided into 6000 shares of $100 each. The articles of incorporation provide that the incorporators shall act as the board of directors until the first annual meeting, July 26, 1912.

The promoters say this will be a people’s line. For every dollar contributed an equal amount of stock will be issued, and no bonuses of any sort will be asked. The promoters are going ahead with their project in a manner that indicates their absolute faith in the outcome and their further faith that a line of the sort contemplated will be a paying proposition from the beginning.

Plans for the proposed route have been prepared, but these are subject to change, as the existing plans of a more or less tentative nature. However, it is proposed to connect the towns and villages named, and it is further proposed to take in every scenic spot possible in running the lines.

To this end one of the lines will pass by Camelback and the Tempe line will proceed directly east on Roosevelt Street, past Hole in the Rock [later Papago Park] and across the river not far from Tempe. The river will be crossed on the company’s own bridge.

The equipment will be of the most modern kind and the road in both its construction and operation will be up to date in every particular.  As an illustration of the expected early consummation of the company’s plans, it may be mentioned that J. C. Harwood, who built the Glendale line and who is a railroad builder of long experience, has been chosen superintendent of construction and purchasing agent. There is every reason to believe that Mr. Harwood will be an extremely busy man during the next several months.

One feature emphasized by the promoters is that the new line is to be a strictly home institution. As it is expected that the money necessary to construct and operate the line will be furnished largely by the people of the Salt River valley, so it is intended that all this money, or at least as much as is possible, shall be kept here. All the officers live either in Phoenix or in this vicinity and no outside aid will be asked.

“Every man who subscribes a dollar to the fund required for building this road will subscribe to one of the greatest transportation projects that was ever conceived in this valley,” Mr. Winter, one of the promoters, said today. “We are not asking bonuses. We are merely asking the people of this valley to support a proposition that will immensely increase the value of their property and which will, as nothing else could, aid in building up the city of Phoenix. Everyone knows that one of the crying needs of this valley is more adequate transportation facilities, and that is what we propose supplying. We feel certain the lines will be a success because we know there is a real demand for such an improvement. Each contributor will be a stockholder and will participate in the profits, whatever they may be.”

The promoters are confident they will have absolutely no trouble in securing the necessary franchises, nor in floating the requisite amount of stock.  As stated above, they say actual construction work will be begun within thirty days.

The sale of the stock will begin at once and a ready response is anticipated. And if the enthusiasm of the incorporators is as valuable as enthusiasm is generally supposed to be, there should no be difficulty whatever in financing the project. Furthermore, if the company makes good its claim as to the upbuilding of Phoenix it will have accomplished a task that can be fitly classed with the marvelous.