East Side History Madison’s Blog

By and for the East Side History Club, a project of the Goodman Community Center

A streetcar named (your business here)

Posted by eastsidehistorymadison on March 9, 2009

When Madison’s streetcars were phased out in 1935, several of the old trolley cars found new uses on Madison’s East Side.

Bessie Vale’s Grocery was one, located on Fair Oaks Avenue between Webb Avenue and Thurber Avenue. Bessie had worked for the streetcars as a painter for 17 years and when she lost her job, she decided to buy a streetcar and turn it into a grocery store. 

Her son-in-law John Hanson bought another streetcar and turned it into The Spot Lunch, 640 Williamson Street. (Red Caboose Daycare now occupies that approximate location.) 

The Spot Lunch at 640 Williamson Street in 1952, courtesy of Wisconsin Hisotrical Society. Image WHi-24415.

The Spot Lunch at 640 Williamson Street in 1952, courtesy of Wisconsin Hisotrical Society. Image WHi-24415.

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