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Washington Railway and Electric Company

$25.00

SKU: 921
Product Details

Beautifully engraved antique stock certificate from the Washington Railway and Electric Company dating back to the 1930's. This document, which has been signed by the company Vice President and Treasurer, was printed by the Western Bank Note Company, and measures approximately 11 3/4" (w) by 7 3/4" (h). 

 

This certificate features a vignette of a trolley on a busy Washington, DC street. The Capitol Building can be seen in the background. A bust of George Washington is nestled within the company name.

You will receive the exact certificate pictured.

    Historical Context

    The Washington Railway and Electric Company was the larger of the two major street railway companies in Washington, D.C., until 1933. At that time, it was merged with its main competitor, the Capital Traction Company, to form the Capital Transit Company.

    The WR&E's core was the Metropolitan Railroad, the second street railway in Washington, which had a main line zigzagging north of Pennsylvania Avenue on streets including F Street North, and it included many other lines in the city and into Maryland suburbs.

    The North American Company began to acquire stock in the Washington Railway in 1922, gaining a controlling interest by 1928. North American had once been one of the original stocks in the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

    On December 1, 1933, Washington Railway, Capital Traction, and Washington Rapid Transit merged to form the Capital Transit Company. Washington Railway continued as a holding company, owning 50% of Capital Transit and 100% of the Potomac Electric Power Co., but Capital Traction was dissolved.

    By December 31, 1933, North American Company owned 50.016% of the voting stock of WR&E. North American also tried to purchase Capital Traction, but never owned more than 2.5% of Capital Traction stock. But for the first time street railways in Washington were under the management of one company.

    Capital Transit made several changes. As part of the merger, the Capital Traction generating plant in Georgetown was closed (and in 1943 decommissioned) and Capital Transit used only conventionally supplied electric power. In 1935 it closed several lines and replaced them with bus service. Because the Rockville line in Maryland was one of the lines that was closed, a new terminal, the "Capital Transit Community Terminal," opened at Wisconsin Avenue NW and Western Avenue NW on August 4, 1935.

    Washington Railway and Electric Company remained under the ownership of North American Company for the next decade, as a major subsidiary holding company of other lines.

    By 1940, North American had become a US$2.3 billion holding company heading up a pyramid of by then 80 companies. It controlled ten major direct subsidiaries in eight of which it owned at least 79%. Washington Railway and Electric Company was by then one of the three major holding companies among the ten direct subsidiaries.

    North American Company was broken up by the Securities and Exchange Commission, following the United States Supreme Court decision of April 1, 1946.