George School Trolley Stop Opens

The George School trolley line lasts from 1900 to 1922, when it goes out of business due to increased reliance on automobiles. At their height, interurban trolleys connect the school with Bristol, Yardley, and Doylestown, from which passengers can make connections—to New Hope, Trenton, and beyond at Yardley and to Philadelphia, Willow Grove, and Easton (which connects to Allentown, Reading, and the Delaware Water Gap) at Doylestown. Despite the trolley’s relatively short lifespan, it plays a vivid role. Two student accounts:

Mildred Miller Stapler ’20 recalls that attempts to play hooky by her sister, Elizabeth ’18, and her boyfriend, Norman Stabler ’19, are complicated after George Walton rules that cars used by day students to commute to school cannot be used for social outings. Instead, the group rides the trolley to the Willow Grove Amusement Park via Doylestown—a long ride.

On campus, boys (but not girls) are free to meet the evening Newtown-Bristol trolley, which goes right past the door of Mrs. Goodnoe (owner of a Newtown farm and general store famous for its ice cream), making it easy for her to place prepaid evening snacks for George School students on board. Once the food is on campus, boys face a challenge delivering it to the girls, who can’t leave Main building (which the boys can’t enter). There are many reports of baskets lowered from windows, with faculty members seeing or choosing not to see.

Bill Shoemaker ’20 recalls one occasion when, after returning late and getting no response to his discreet signals, he throws a quart of ice cream through the window of Frances Brown Harkins ’21 and Dorothy Smith Aldrich ’20. Although he assumes its noisy arrival will get the girls’ attention, he is wrong. In his words, “Dot Smith woke up sometime during the night feeling a degree of moisture which she had not committed.”