Trolley Tracks Today

North Bound Lanes of Brewerton Rd





McGrath Genealogy  |  Upperchurch Connections  |       Old Mattydale          |  What's New  |  Contact



McGrath Genealogy  |  Upperchurch Connections  |       Old Mattydale          |  What's New  |  Contact

















Trolley Tracks Today


The South Bay Trolley was talked about, planned for and under construction for a longer period of time than it was actually in operation. The discussions began as early as 1882 [1882-07-06] and the trolley was not fully operational until 1908 and it was closed down and replaced by busses in January 1932.


Competition For The Franchise

At least two companies were competing to get the approvals, in the form of franchises, from the various towns through which the trolley tracks would run. In the summer of 1900 there was a heated meeting in the tollgate house at tollgate No. 1 on the Cicero Plank Road. The Syracuse & South Bay Railway company wanted the franchise but they were met by the opposition of many of the Town of Salina taxpayers. They overwhelmingly wanted the franchise to go to the Syracuse & Oneida Lake Electric Railway company. [1900-06-03]  


Out Of Patience

The promises had worn themselves thin and the people were ready for something different. In 1904 they were ready to look to the automobile. As one article from that time described it: "There will be transportation facilities between Syracuse and South Bay this summer besides those offered by the stage drivers who pilot 'Snow Bird' and 'The King of the Planks.' The patience of the people who have been waiting for the New York Central to extend a line from Clay to Cicero and South Bay and the numerous companies who have displayed elaborate maps of proposed electric lines is exhausted. They will no longer place confidence in these people, but have hit upon a brand new twentieth century idea. It is to establish an automobile line between this city and Oneida Lake." At a meeting with local automobile manufacturers a plan had been developed "for operating large touring cars hourly between a central point in the city and South Bay." "The round trip fare has been fixed at $1." [1904-06-18]


Finally The Trolley Arrived

The work seemed to be proceeding then there were rumors of financial irregularities, a trial for bribery and a bankruptcy. But finally - The Syracuse and South Bay Electric Road finally began a regular operating schedule on Sunday, August 20, 1908. [1908-08-26]


And Then Its Time Was Up

The Cicero Plank Road had lasted 67 years but the trolley was gone in 23. It had been running parallel to its competitor and eventual successor for most of that time. After the Cicero plank road was re-opened in 1915, as Brewerton Road, a modern highway, and the number of automobiles exploded, the trolley was on borrowed time. The Trolley was discontinued as the Great Depression began, even as the population explosion in Mattydale was continuing - at least for a while. [1931-07-29] The final run came on Monday night, January 11, 1932. [1932-01-10]






This 1924 map shows the trolley lines as they pass through Mattydale. The map is rotated so that North is right. Brewerton Road, paralleled by the trolley tracks, enters diagonally from the upper left hand corner of the map. As the double tracks (one northbound, the other southbound)  pass through the center of the map, Brewerton Road (labeled Cicero) is to the west of the tracks and Mattydale Drive is to the east. This drive is a continuation of LeMoyne Street, which enters from the left. The drive extends to Sand Road and as it passes the Hinsdale Farm development its name changes to Hinsdale Drive.


Stop No.

Trolley Stop Locations - 1924


Just past the railroad tracks. At the site of the Old Switzer Hotel, east of the trolley tracks, prior to 1900. Later the hotel was renamed the Plankington Hotel and finally the Bay Road Hotel, which burned down on August 31, 1909.



Edgemere Drive



Boulevard St.



Molloy Road



Campbell Road – across from the old Rural Inn, on the west side of the trolley tracks, it was also known as Faatz’s Hotel. (Now the Action Sport and Skate)



Sand Road



Lawrence Road at South Bay Road. Near old Lawrence Road School. The school was moved a small distance east, in November 1904, to make room for the South Bay Trolley line. The kids got a week off from school during the move.










Following In The Tracks of the Trolley

The trolley tracks have long since been removed from Mattydale. The pathway they took upon entering from the south is now part of the median between the north bound and south bound lanes of Brewerton Road. As they passed the area where Northern Lights Shopping Center is now, they veered off to the east. Today, that has become South Bay Road. However, there are a few remnants left just south of Mattydale.




This 1924 map shows the trolley tracks as they approach the Syracuse Junction Railroad tracks. The trolley tracks left the city on a private right of way about a half block east of Wolf Street. The trolley had its own railroad underpass, just east of Brewerton Road. After passing under the railroad tracks the trolley tracks swung west and paralleled Brewerton Road until reaching Molloy Road. North of Molloy the tracks were still parallel to Brewerton Road running through the area that would later become the median that still runs through the center of Mattydale until this day.




1926 Photo showing the area northeast of the intersection of Wolf St. and 7th North St. The trolley tracks are labeled as #4. The trolley had followed Wolf Street until it reached 7th North Street. From that intersection the trolley made a right turn followed by a left turn and headed out of the city into Mattydale. 1. NYC Railroad, 2. Wolf Street, 3. Crouse Hinds, 4. Trolley tracks, 5. 7th North Street, 6. Lemoyne Ave., 7. Evelyn Terrace, 8. Matthews Drive.


Modern day photo showing parts of the trolley right of way that can still be seen. The company had purchased land paralleling Wolf Street about one-half block east of Wolf Street. The trolley came up Wolf Street and made a right turn onto 7th North Street followed by a quick left right turn onto the trolley right of way. What remains is labeled as #3 in the picture above and is used as a private road. 1. NYC Railroad, 2. Wolf Street, 3. Trolley tracks, 4. Lemoyne Ave.



[1882-07-06] - "Railroad To Oneida Lake," The Daily Journal, Syracuse, NY, Thursday, July 6, 1882.

[1900-06-03] - "Against The  New Company," The Evening Herald, Syracuse, NY, Thursday, June 3, 1900.

[1904-06-18] - "An Auto Line To South Bay," The Telegram, Syracuse, NY, Saturday, June 18, 1904.

[1908-08-26] - "To Run Sunday To South Bay," The Syracuse Journal, Syracuse, NY, Wednesday, August 26, 1908.

[1931-07-29] - "Exit the Trolley!" The Syracuse Journal, Syracuse, NY, Wednesday, July 29, 1931.

[1932-01-10] - "Journeys End For Railroad," The Syracuse American, Syracuse, NY, Sunday, January 10, 1932.