Intricately engraved antique stock certificate from the Hestonville, Mantua and Fairmount Passenger Rail Road Company dating back to the 1920's. This document, which is signed by the company President and Treasurer, was printed by the American Bank Note Company and measures approximately 11" (w) by 7" (h).
This piece features four beautiful vignettes - the Philadelphia City Seal, a bridge crossing, a female allegorical figure in front of a river scene and the Pennsylvania State Seal.
The Hestonville, Mantua & Fairmount Railway incorporated as a horsecar line in 1859 to provide service from West Philadelphia to downtown Philadelphia (Hestonville is the name of a hamlet that was at about 52nd Street and Girard Avenue near the Old Cathedral Cemetery.) The line crossed over the Schuylkill River via the Fairmount Wire Bridge at first and then via the stronger span that replaced it by 1874. They were replaced by the 1960s era Spring Garden Street Bridge. The railway entered Fairmount Park at three points along the way and had its offices at 4300 Lancaster Avenue.
By 1886, the line ran to the east, all the way to Front and Arch Streets. This horsecar route, called the “Arch Street Line,” may have been responsible for the central section of the Smythe’s Stores building at the northwest corner of Front and Arch being removed in 1913 to allow for a trolley turnabout. The Hestonville railway later operated routes on Race and Vine Streets, for a total of about 24 miles of trackage around Philadelphia. The Union Traction Company leased the entire railway for 999 years on February 1, 1890.