The official name is Birney Streetcar 21, but everyone in town calls it the trolley. Streetcar tracks were built in Fort Collins in 1907 by the Denver and Interurban Railway. The original route ran east and west on Mountain Avenue, to transport riders to what was then the county fairgrounds. By 1918, the system was losing so much money due to the increasing popularity of those new-fangled automobiles that the streetcar line was closed down. But the people of Fort Collins missed it so much that they bought the operation and ran it until 1951.
After that, Birney Car 21 sat outside the museum until 1977, when a group of volunteers began to restore it. The repairs to the streetcar and the track from City Park to the Avery House were completed by 1986, and the trolley has been giving rides almost every year since. Volunteers from the Fort Collins Municipal Railway Society serve as motormen and conductors.
In spring and summer, the trolley carries passengers along the original track for a small charge. Most families can ride round-trip for less than ten dollars. It has long been a favorite activity for us. This (underexposed; sorry) picture of my younger son and me riding the trolley was taken almost ten years ago, although (say it with me) it seems like yesterday: