This week for Georgetown Time Machine, GM is exploring an absolutely lovely photo of an earlier incarnation of the P St. Bridge.
Riding across the top is a horse-drawn trolley. It would have likely been from the Metropolitan Railway, which operated from 1864 until being acquired in 1902. It ran cars along the green lines below:
It was the Metropolitan that constructed the trolley lines along O and P St. that are still visible (albeit in reconstructed form).
This particular car in the photo appears to have run between Georgetown and the Capitol (according to the destination signs along the top) and was pulled by two horses.
The Metropolitan continued to use horses until Congress ordered it to switch to electric, which it did in 1894. Due to laws against overhead wires in the city core, the Metropolitan was forced to run the power along buried conduits between the tracks. The cars would drop a shoe into the slot to get the power. It was the first successful use of this technology in the western hemisphere.
As mentioned above the Metropolitan was purchased in 1902 and came under the Washington Railway and Electric Co. This became part of Capital Transit in 1933, which operated until 1956 when its monopoly was revoked by Congress and sold to Roy Chalk, who renamed it DC Transit. It lasted until the creation of WMATA in 1973.
The bridge itself dates to 1855 and lasted until it was replaced by the current structure in 1935. After an inexplicable request from the Dupont ANC in 2006, the city renamed the Lauzun’s Legion Bridge, a name that absolutely zero people ever use.