On February 5, 1887, the Tacoma City Council overturned the mayors veto of Ordinance No. 152, granting to Nelson Bennett the city’s first street railway franchise.  The ordinance called for electric street cars to run on two separate streetcar lines – the “C” Street line, and the Pacific Avenue Line.

Bennett and the city council argued back and forth over the issue, eventually the city caving in and allowed Bennett to operate a horse drawn street railway on the Pacific Avenue Line, and the “C” Street line operated a steam powered street car.

Within two years, Nelson sold the franchise to the Tacoma Railway and Motor Company.

Ordinance No. 152

An ordinance granting to Nelson Bennett and his associates…

Streets and Avenues 

Pacific Avenue from the Northern Pacific Railroad wharf to the southern terminus of said avenue at South Thirty-sixth Street; Jefferson Street from its junction with Pacific Avenue to South Twenty-seventh Street. its southern terminus; South Ninth Street from its junction with Pacific Avenue to St. Helen’s Avenue; “C” Street from its junction with Jefferson Street to Division Avenue; thence upon Division Avenue to Yakima Avenue; St. Helen’s Street from “C” to “D” Street: thence on -“D” Street to Tacoma Avenue; Tacoma Avenue from its present southern terminus at South Thirtieth Street to North Sixth Street; Yakima. Avenue, except from South Twenty-seventh Street to its northern extension

Amended by Ordinance Nos. 202, 1038, and 238

  • Passed January 8, 1887
  • Presented to the Mayor for his approval January 11, 1887
  • Returned by the Mayor with his objections January 15, 1887
  • Passed over the Mayor’s veto February 5, 1887

Ordinance No. 276

An ordinance ratifying, confirming, and granting to the Tacoma Street Railway Company. as assignee of Nelson Bennett, his associates.

  • Approved September 21, 1889

Ordinance No. 277

An ordinance ratifying, confirming and granting to the Tacoma Railway and Motor Company as assignee of the Tacoma Street Railway Company

  • Approved September 21, 1889

Ordinance No. 1041

An ordinance repealing Ordinance No. 277

  • Approved January 3, 1896



  1. Revised Charter, Amendments and Revised Ordinances of the City of Tacoma, Washington – 1898; Compiled and Revised by Authority of the City Council By Henry C. Beach Attorney at Law; Western Blank Book Printers, Tacoma, Washington