The unpretentious utilitarian building at the corner of Water and River Streets evokes memories of the time when Guilford residents could hop aboard an electric trolley on the Green and take the scenic route up and down the shoreline, from New Haven to New London and beyond.
Presently occupied by a carpet store, the old trolley barn was built around 1910 and served as a maintenance facility for electric railway cars until 1930. During the brief heyday of the interurban trolley, before the muffled roar of highway traffic disturbed the peace, the gentle ding-ding-ding of the trolley bell signaled a vital link between small agricultural communities like Guilford and the wider world.
We hope that you and your families will join us for our free spring program on May 10, when we’ll turn back the clock and recapture the magic of Guilford’s bygone trolley era. There will be old-time music, displays, slide shows, refreshments, and a presentation by a founding member of East Haven’s renowned Trolley Museum. The doors will open at 6:30, and we promise to get you home at an early hour (see the page on our website about our program, “Back on Track” for more information).
Although we can’t bring back the electric trolleys, the issues of mass transit and energy-efficient “transit-oriented” development are very much on the agenda of both the GPA and town officials these days. Guilford is fortunate to have excellent commuter rail service seven days a week, as well as hourly bus service to and from New Haven on weekdays. Experience has shown that mass transit isn’t a luxury that only big-city residents can enjoy. It’s an essential part of the infrastructure that sustains the local economies of small and middle-sized towns like Guilford.
Elsewhere on our website, my fellow bloggers Howard Brown and Dennis Culliton shed light on two of the GPA’s longstanding priorities—sustainable development and historic preservation. Far from being mutually exclusive, it’s our belief that, as Howard says, “preservation and economic development are two sides of the same coin.” For example, the GPA’s ongoing efforts to preserve Guilford‘s 19th-century railroad station buildings are fueled by a conviction that such historic resources can be a driving force in the economic revitalization of our town center.
Through our website, public programs, and other activities, the GPA will continue to keep you informed about news and events of interest to our community. Guilfordpreservation.org is a work in progress. Among the enhancements you can look forward to is a greatly expanded and more user-friendly online registry of historic buildings around town. Stay tuned, visit us often, and please let us hear from you.