Rice Trolley Pole Stop 117
On old Ridge Road at the western edge of the village of Sodus, two original trolley poles can still be seen. Near the top of on one of these poles (see below), can still be seen a sign for the Rice Stop # 117. Picture by Edith Farrington.
This pole is dated 1922 and named for the Rice Family that owned the property and had a house that was across the street. That house is said to have been part of the Underground Railroad and had a tunnel used to hide “freedom seekers”.
The house here now was built in 1930 and is the home of Stan and Dina Coppens. Stan has been maintaining the Rice Stop sign and has the original trolley stop sign (see below). We believe this is only one of two remaining original trolley stop signs left. Picture by Edith Farrington.
It is believed that produce was picked up at this stop and shipped to Union Hill in Rochester. An important part of the trolley system, in addition to transporting people, was the transportation of dairy goods and farm produce.
The end of the line for the trolley
So what caused the demise of the trolley in 1929 after 29 years in operation? No, it was not the Great Depression because the end came in June 1929 months before the start of the Great Depression in October of that year. Rather it was its inability to compete with the new bus services being offered in Rochester. At the best of times during its 29 years, the trolley business was not all that profitable and this was especially true during the winter months. The new bus system drove the nail in its coffin as it was quicker and cheaper for passengers. While thinking about this part of our culture that is now “gone with the wind” it is still amazing to think that over 100 years ago, people and freight were transported on an all electric vehicle to and from our village.