Beautiful large certificate from the New York Cable Railway Company issued
in 1884. This historic document was printed by the American Bank Note Company and has an
ornate border around it. This item is hand signed by the Company's President, W. C. Andrews and Secretary, Abraham L. Earle and is
over 123 years old. Coupons attached.
American business in the late Nineteenth and early Twentieth centuries was characterized by attempts to control entire industries by forming patent trusts. A Patent Trust formed the New York Cable Railway in 1883 with a plan to build a system of 29 lines. This system would have included three major uptown lines running on embankments. The mayor vetoed its franchise in 1885. The company continued to push until 1890, but without success.
Rapid Transit Commission of 1883. November 30, 1883, Mayor Franklin
Edson appointed as commissioners of rapid transit the following persons:
George Byrd, Thomas E. Stewart, Abraham L. Earle
and E. R. Livermore. In their application for the appointment of the commission the petitioners call attention to the superior advantages of the system of surface cable roads to existing horse car and steam elevated roads. They
also state it as their opinion that the commission has authority under the
act of 1875 to lay out cable surface routes as well as steam elevated routes.
This was a doubtful point, but the Commission, after securing legal advice
determined that it had such power and accordingly located twenty-nine routes,
covering some seventy miles of the streets of the city. The road was to be
constructed as an elevated road for only seventeen of its seventy miles. The
Commission organized the New York Cable Railway Company to construct
and operate the road. However, the general term of the Supreme Court
refused to grant its consent on account of errors and irregularities connected
with the adoption of the routes. The Legislature of 1884 definitely determined
the disputed question of jurisdiction by enacting that surface roads could
not be laid out under the provisions of the rapid transit act of 1875.
Mayor Hewitt's Plan in 1888. In 1888, Mayor Abrarn S. Hewitt, in his
message to the common council took up the question of increased transit facilities and recommended the extension of the New York Central tracks from
Forty-second street to the city hall. Tlie proposed plan of construction and
operation was similar in general outline to the plan under which the present
subway was constructed. The proposal met with much public opposition and
was not accepted by the New York Central railroad. Mayor Hewitt then
favored the construction of other rapid transit routes in accordance with
similar plans and caused a bill to be drafted to carry out his ideas. The bill
was not favored by the common council and made no progress before the
State Legislature. This bill, applying to cities of 800,000 was the model on
which were based the provisions of the act of 1894 providing for municipal
construction and ownership of the subway.
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