Pelican Valley Navigation Company

Flowing out of Detroit Lake to the southwest, short segments of the Pelican River connect a string of five large lakes and two small ones. From 1889 to 1918, steamboats, launches, and a system of locks and channels connected this chain of lakes, which stretches twelve miles southwest from the town of Detroit Lakes.

photograph of motorette operating streetcar

Elizabeth Pederson at the controls of a streetcar

Motorette Elizabeth Pederson at the controls of a streetcar at East Side Station, University Avenue and First Avenue NE, Minneapolis, December 4, 1950. Pederson retired in 1973.

Photograph of motorette boarding a streetcar

Motorette Helen Murphy

Motorette Helen Murphy, St. Paul, 1946.

photograph of three uniformed motorettes

Motorettes Marie Hagen, Bernice Nelson, and Verna Fox

Motorettes Marie Hagen (left), Bernice Nelson, and Verna Fox at Lake Street Station, Twenty-first Avenue South and Lake Street, Minneapolis, 1945.

photograph of a streetcar at a station

Motorette operating a streetcar, c. 1945

A streetcar operated by a motorette in Willernie, c.1945.

photograph of uniformed motorette

Motorette Helen Murphy

Motorette Helen Murphy at the Snelling Station, Snelling and University Avenues, St. Paul, about 1945.

motorette newspaper advertisement

World War II motorette advertisement

A newspaper ad recruiting women to operate streetcars, 1944.

photograph of a group of uniformed streetcar conductresses

Duluth streetcar conductresses

The Duluth Street Railway hired twenty-one women as streetcar conductors (or "conductresses," as they termed them) in 1918. Some of them posed outside the streetcar barn at Twenty-sixth Avenue West and Superior Street for this photo taken June 21, 1918.

World War II motorettes

Three of the first motorettes report for work at Nicollet Station, Thirty-first Street and Nicollet Avenue, Minneapolis, 1943.

photograph of two female streetcar operators

Female streetcar operators

This photo taken about 1918 is the only known picture of women who ran streetcars in Minneapolis during World War I. The numbers on the hats indicate that the one on the left is a conductor (even number) and that the one on the right is a motorette (odd number). The numbers imply that the women were based at the North Side Station, Twenty-fourth Avenue North and Washington Avenue, Minneapolis.


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