Horse car and cable car systems in the Twin Cities spurred urban growth and gave residents more mobility. The coming of the electric streetcar in 1889 had an even greater impact. With cars that could travel faster and farther, the system grew to become one of the nation's finest public transportation networks before the dominance of automobiles and buses in the 1950s.
Before Minneapolis and St. Paul upgraded their street railway systems from plodding horse cars to modern electric trolleys, both cities flirted with the use of cable cars. Costly to build, only two lines operated in St. Paul before both cities converted to electric streetcar systems.
Wage cuts to employees of the Minneapolis and St. Paul streetcar companies in 1889 prompted a fifteen-day strike that disrupted business and escalated into violence before its resolution. In spite of public support for the strikers, the streetcar companies succeeded in breaking the strike with few concessions.