Dallas’ first modern streetcar begins service this week and in recognition we’re taking a look back in time when streetcars were the premier method for travel across Dallas and the North Texas area.
There’s one specific DART property that reminds the organization everyday of its roots back to the historic North Texas streetcar system — the Monroe Shops.
Monroe Shops, built in 1914, housed the daily operations of repairing and maintaining the electric railroad cars for the Southern Traction Company and Texas Traction Company.
By 1942, the Texas Electric Railway was the only independent interurban line still operating in Texas. With increased automobile ownership and bus travel, ridership declined until the interurban made its final run on December 31, 1948.
Monroe Shops had various owners between the 1950s and the 1990s. DART purchased Monroe Shops in 1993 and began a major renovation of the property, which was deteriorating to the point that its historical integrity was at question.
Monroe Shops is now DART Police headquarters. Reusing the historic structure and using energy efficient products, systems and design have made the building a model for sustainable practices. It was the first public building on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) to receive Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum.
Check out the building for yourself at DART’s Illinois Station on the Blue Line.