#8 Streetcar Path
8 Streetcar PathHistory of Streetcar Route – In 1896, the electrified streetcar replaced the horse and carriage as the most efficient transportation between Catonsville and Baltimore. In 1899, the Baltimore Streetcar Company ran a 1/3 mile spur line into the woods near Montrose Ave. (now the #8 Streetcar Path) to connect the #8 Frederick Road route to the #14 Edmondson Avenue and #9 Ellicott City route (now the Trolley Trail). The streetcar ended service in 1963 when the last streetcar in Baltimore ran on this line. The tracks were torn up and the property fell into disrepair.
History of Trail -
History of Mural – The mural was designed and created by 14 year old Clark LeCompte as his Eagle Scout project in 1997. Marjean Irwin, a resident living near the trail, also contributed her talents to the mural by creating the scenery depicting houses and waiting stations along the trail.
Over the years, the mural has been defaced by graffiti. In June 2011, teens at the Kaleidoscope Arts Camp at the Christian Temple restored the mural with a thorough cleaning followed by a fresh coat of paint.
Parking – At the intersection of Edmondson and Dutton Avenues (behind 7-Eleven) is a large concrete area where parking is available. Several small public parking areas and on street parking spaces are located throughout the Catonsville Junction business district.
Trail Conditions – The #8 Streetcar Path is a paved, 0.4 mile trail connecting Frederick Road and Edmondson Avenue. There is a small incline on the Edmondson Avenue side of trail.
- Edmondson Avenue (west) – There is an on-road bike lane (1.4 miles) along Edmondson Avenue connecting the #8 to the #9 Trolley Trail (a 1.5 mile trail to Ellicott City). Lanes are marked with signage and ground stencils. Some biking lanes around the Junction business area are narrow but beyond Rolling Road, wide bike lanes take you to the #9 Trail.
- Edmondson Avenue (east) – Unmarked bike lane will take you to the Baltimore County/City line (2 miles) along this wide avenue. Be carefully around the Beltway interchange. Bike lanes are planned for 2013 to connect the trail to the Gwynns Falls trail along Edmondson Ave.
- Frederick Road (east) – Travel 0.8 miles to the Village of Catonsville with dozens of restaurants and shops. The business district does not have bike lanes so use caution when traveling through this congested area. Lots of bike racks. Future plans call for connecting the Short Line Trail (in east Catonsville) to the #8 via on-road bike lanes.
- Frederick Road (south) – Across from the #8 entrance is an on-road bike trail (2 miles) with signage along Montrose Ave. across Idlewilde Ave. to Hilton Ave and the Patapsco State Park (Hilton area). The park has a large recycled tire playground for kids.
- Frederick Road (west) – Wide shoulders on the well-traveled Frederick Road will take you to Ellicott City (2.7 miles) down a very steep grade. This route will take you to River Road and the Grist Mill trail
History of Streetcar Route – In 1896, the electrified streetcar replaced the horse and carriage as the most efficient transportation between Catonsville and Baltimore. In 1899, the Baltimore Streetcar Company ran a 1/3 mile spur line into the woods near Montrose Ave. to the Edmondson Avenue streetcars (#14 and #9) that ran from Baltimore to Ellicott City. A large circular concrete area at the Edmondson Ave. entrance marks the area where the streetcars turned around to head back up the track to Frederick Road. A small business community, the Catonsville Junction, developed at this intersection, and was a key trolley transfer point for the #8, #9 and #14 lines. The last streetcar in Baltimore ran on this rail in the early morning hours of November 3, 1963. The tracks were torn up and the property fell into disrepair. In 1996, a group from the Old Catonsville Neighborhood organized by Maureen Sweeney Smith restored the property owned by MTA into a bike/hike path. The project was transferred to the newly formed Catonsville Rails To Trails (CRTT) in 1999. In 2008, CRTT secured a grant from SHA and the trail was paved. CRTT continues to maintain the trail.
Highlights Of The Trail – The path is full of history which is well documented along the trail.
- Streetcar Mural – In 1997, a 14 year old Eagle Scout, Clark LeCompte, created a mural of a 18’ high streetcar at the Catonsville Junction business area, circa 1940. In 2011, Kaleidoscope! Arts Camp restored the mural.
- 1939 Stone Waiting Shelter – Three streetcar lines (#14, #9 and #8) met at the intersection of Edmondson Avenue and Dutton Ave. and the Baltimore Transit Company built a cobblestone waiting station for customers in 1939. MTA restored the shelter in 2011.
- Wayside Exhibits – Three interpretive signs/exhibits along the trail offer glimpses into the history of the trail.
What Is Nearby?
- Opie’s Snowball stand is open from April to October and offers some of the best ice cream and snowballs in Catonsville. Opie’s is an active supporter the #8 trail and is located at the Edmondson Ave. entrance.
- The 7-Eleven-Catonsville Junction, also on Edmondson Avenue, is a huge supporter of the trail and offers a full range of convenience foods.
- Matthew’s 1600 Restaurant is located next to the Frederick Road entrance. This restaurant was originally the Terminal Hotel and was built in 1862 to provide travelers with food and rest. Today, Matthew’s is a beautifully restored restaurant offering a full lunch and dinner menu, as well as an expansive bar area.
- Large mansions – The Oak Forest and Old Catonsville Neighborhoods showcase some of the beautiful “summer homes” built by wealthy Baltimore residents in the late 1800s. Some of the best excamples of Victorian architecture can be found on Montrose, Seminole and Hilton Avenues.