from LA Public Library 1

The Highland Park & Fruit Vale Railroad was a local rail line built by E.C. Sessions and Caspar Hopkins in the 1870s to serve the newly developed areas of Dimond and Highland Park. Hopkins refers to it as the Brooklyn and Fruit Vale Horse Railroad in his 1888 memoir; 8 an 1878 map labels the route Brooklyn and Fruit Vale Railroad. It was renamed Highland Park & Fruit Vale Railroad in 1882, and electrified in 1893. 9

The name change may have been to avoid confusion with the Oakland, Brooklyn and Fruitvale Railroad (the "Tubbs Line"), or Sessions may have wanted to call additional attention to Highland Park which he was developing.

In 1875, Sessions, Hopkins, and J.V. Webster formed the North Brooklyn Railroad Company, with Hopkins the president, Webster the treasurer, and Sessions the secretary. An ordinance was introduced in April 1875 to give them a franchise for a horse railroad from the Central Pacific Railroad station in Brooklyn up to the county road (later Hopkins Street, present-day MacArthur) "thence easterly to Fruit Vale Avenue." 7 Another line added in 1891 went from there to the train station at the foot of Fruitvale Avenue. 6

According to the LA Public Library, the railway had 8 double-decker motor cars and 2 service cars, and operated a line of 10.5 miles. 1 Sessions designed the cars; he had a partnership with C.L. Pullman, brother of George Pullman, and the cars were manufactured by the Pullman Company.

The LA Public Library photo shows a car labeled with California College, Beulah Park, and Altenheim.

The site says the railway opened in 1878 (when Highland Park was first developed), was electrified in 1893, and sold in 1898 to the Oakland Transit Company. 3

detail of 1891 bond

from The Knave

excerpt of 1899 map showing route

Links and References

1893 4

  1. Highland Park & Fruit Vale trolley Los Angeles Public Library digital collections

  2. bond certificate 1891

  3. Oakland Transit

  4. The Street Railway Journal July 1893

  5. The Knave Oakland Tribune July 26, 1959

  6. ad Oakland Tribune August 18, 1891

  7. North Brooklyn R.R. Co. Oakland Tribune April 6, 1875

  8. Life on Sausal Creek by Caspar Hopkins

  9. The Highland Park & Fruit Vale Railroad, by Cambridge Lutece The Review Issue 4 December 2023