Moses Hazeltine Sherman was a teacher from Vermont who made his way to Arizona Territory in 1874. While teaching, he also made money in land and mining. Later, he would move to Los Angeles and become a millionaire. But before that, he and M.E. Collins founded the Phoenix Street Railway in 1887.
Originally the streetcars were pulled by mules. But electric cars took over in 1893. The new Territorial capital had a little more than 3,000 people. By 1925, the system boasted nearly 34 miles of track on six lines. It had two major spines. One ran west to the Capitol and on to 22nd Avenue, and east to the State Hospital along Washington Street. The other operated north and south from downtown to the Phoenix Indian School.
A long addition ran east from the Indian School to 12th Street, then cut north and west, eventually terminating in Glendale. Other routes went to the Fairgrounds; north through the new Kenilworth district to Encanto Boulevard, and over to the east side ending at 10th Street and Sheridan. Most of the streetcar lines ran down the middle of the streets.
Through the middle of the 20th century, most American cities and large towns had extensive streetcar networks. Numerous electrified interurban railways were also build, competing with the steam railroads of the time. They carried freight in addition to passengers on larger cars. The largest system was in Los Angeles, the Pacific Electric, known for its iconic red cars. Owned by the Southern Pacific Railroad, it operated more than a thousand miles of track in the LA basin.