Denver Tramway Company Streetcar No.4

tram 2tram1
Year Listed: 2015
County: Jefferson County
Construction Date: 1911
Threat When Listed: Demolition by Neglect – Vacant
Status: SAVED


Video courtesy of CBS4

On July 3, 1950 the clatter of Denver’s once thriving transportation system fell quiet as the last streetcar for the Denver Tramway Company (Streetcar No.04) completed its final route.

Today, Streetcar No. 04 is one of the only remaining streetcars from the Denver Tramway Company, a rare narrow gauge car, which at one time carried passengers from downtown Denver to Lakeside Amusement Park, Berkeley Park, Arvada, Golden, and beyond.  For nearly fifty years the electric streetcar served as the main link from Denver to the suburbs, a beloved icon that was one of the most advanced transportation systems of the nineteenth century.  Built in 1911, Streetcar No.04 serviced commuters for 40 years running until 1950. The car was one of four converted from a standard gauge rail to a narrow gauge in 1924 and is the only surviving narrow gauge car.

Denver’s streetcar system began 12 years after the founding of the city and physically shaped Denver as we know it today.  The story of Denver’s streetcar system tells the evolution of the city, which is still evident in Denver’s embedded commercial districts that emerged as key stops on the robust streetcar network.  For nearly 40 years, Denver streetcars transported passengers throughout the city for work, play, and errands.  At the height of trolley operations the Denver Tramway Company owned more than 160 miles of track and operated over 250 streetcars.  By 1950 only 64 cars were still in use as motor buses began to take favor.  After being decommissioned in 1950, the Denver Tramway Company sold the old trolleys for $100 each.  Ownership of Streetcar No. 04 changed hands many times, first serving as a cabin near Rollinsville. It was then stored at the Forney Museum until it was eventually donated to the Denver Rail Heritage Society in 2000. The car has suffered from exposure to the elements and is currently in poor condition. The wood siding is rotting, its windows broken, and the distinctive yellow metal siding rusting and missing.  Without a secure, protected location, No.04 will continue to deteriorate into oblivion like the entire electric streetcar system.   The first priority for future preservation and conservation of the car is to protect it from further damage through exposure.

Colorado Preservation, Inc. selected Streetcar No.04 as endangered, recognizing its significance to Denver as well as its opportunity to bring awareness to the role the streetcar played in the development of the community.  The City of Arvada has received a $200,000 State Historic Fund grant and the Arvada Urban Renewal Authority (AURA) provided matching funds for site development to display the now saved trolley near the Grandview Avenue bridge in Olde Town.

In 2018, the Friends of the .04 Trolley organization was formed to raise awareness of the importance of the streetcar, identify additional funding for display and interpretation, and help with finalizing a site for this important resource. Most recently, Friends of the .04 Trolley worked with the City of Arvada to finalize a location to display the trolley in a pocket park near the Wadsworth Grade Separation/Bridge on Grandview Avenue. CPI monitored the completion of the SHF grant for rehabilitation at a restoration facility in Cheyenne, WY, and continues to aid in the fundraising efforts for display and interpretative signage at the streetcar’s site under development in Olde Town.  In 2022, CPI announced a Save for this important resource at the Saving Places Conference.  


Video produced by Arvada Media Services and KATV-8

Additional Links:
Official Trolley Website
Streetcar in Denver

Donate to CPI

We hope you will extend your appreciation for Colorado's heritage by helping us take advantage of this $1 to $1 matching campaign. Learn more about our matching campaign and make your tax-deductible donation today!

Featured Project

Preservation for a Changing Colorado

Historic preservation has a direct economic benefit to communities and Colorado! Take a look at the 2017 study, which considered the ways adaption of historic places has a direct financial effect on the state.

This updated, most resent study, was the result of a partnership between Colorado Preservation, Inc and History Colorado, funded by a grant from History Colorado's State Historical Fund. Prepared by Clarion Associates, the new report document the economic benefits of rehabilitation projects, analyzes property values and neighborhood stability in local historic districts, and summarizes the increasing impact of heritage tourism, private preservation development and the success of Colorado’s Main Street program.

In a key finding, researchers determined that for every $1 million spent on historic preservation in Colorado it produced $1.03 million in additional spending, 14 new jobs, and $636,700 in increased household incomes across the state!

The 2017 report also considers the important role preservation plays in helping Coloradans provide new spaces for creative communities and co-working, create and sustain meaningful places, responds to the state’s changing demographics, and addresses climate concerns.

Click Here to see download and read the full report, "Preservation for a Changing Colorado".