(REASON) -- A person born in Tampa, Florida, in 1888—the year Frank J. Sprague produced the first successful electric streetcar—would live his youth knowing only Sprague’s invention as a regular means of mechanized transport. He would marry in a church within earshot of the streetcar clang and take his own young children on trolley trips downtown.
By the man’s 40th birthday in 1928 he would almost certainly have stopped riding the streetcar, perhaps even cursing it from behind the wheel of his automobile for holding up traffic. By the time he retired most of those old machines would have been sold for scrap. Yet if he lived to be 100, near the end of his life the man would have heard the first stirrings of regret from a nostalgic nation longing for those pokey old trolleys to return.