With my high starched-collar and my high-topped shoes,
And my hair piled high upon my head,
I went to lose a jolly hour on the trolley,
And lost my heart instead.
– The Trolley Song by Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane
After more years than anyone involved with its creation would care to admit, the Loop Trolley is now in operation. It runs two miles from the U City Loop to the History Museum in Forest Park. There are two cars, a red one and a blue one, although I only saw the red one, but it was still early. The Loop neighborhood got its name from trolleys that back in the day would loop around and head back downtown. Now when a trolley gets to the end-of-the-line, the conductor just walks to the other end of the car and heads back the way that he came.
We were in the Loop to do some shopping. Anne wanted to go to Plowsharing Crafts, a fair-trade collective. We first stopped in at Artisans in the Loop and spoke with one of the proprietors, Nina Miller. She does glass, first fusing and then cutting multicolored strands. Her technique creates rows of short line segments that reminded me of photos I’ve seen of sequenced DNA. After Plowsharing, we headed back up the street to Craft Alliance. When the boys were young, they would go there and take summer art classes that I guess took for at least one of them. Anne got the idea that we should take a class there in, you guessed it, glassmaking.
Walking up and down Delmar, we couldn’t help but notice the large number of shuttered storefronts, an unfortunate byproduct of the trolley’s long construction period that effectively closed the street. This had been reported in the paper, but it was distressing to see for ourselves. Now that all work has been completed and with the added attraction of the trolley, I foresee businesses returning to the Loop and predict that next year will bring a boom there.