illustration of a streetcar pulled by two horses
Streetcars stamp art, 1983

Illustrator: Richard Leech

Streetcars began operating along Bowery and Fourth Streets in 1832. Called “horsecars,” these horse-drawn streetcars rolled along special rails in the middle of the road. Forerunners of today’s mass transit system, streetcars allowed people to move quickly throughout the city and were especially crucial in Manhattan, which, during this period, was developing into a major business center.

Courtesy United States Postal Service, Postmaster General's Collection