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Rose Gruening: Recycling Trolley Cars

[ photo: Rose Gruening ]

Recycling Trolley Cars

Rose Gruening, class of 1895, had an idea similar to Adam Kalkin's: "to use as bunks for a camp discarded trolley cars once pulled by horses but unneeded in an era of electrification. Her creation, Camp Moodna, also called the car camp, in Mountainville, New York, served young working women from New York City. By 1911, Camp Moodna had no less than 20 trolleys. Most were used for sleeping, one served as a kitchen, two were used as dining rooms, and one was a library. The library car had once traveled on Avenue A and did not hide its past. A sign reading, 'Beware of pickpockets!' hung on its window casing."

Gruening went on to found the Grand Street Settlement, a New York City social services agency that is still very much alive and well, serving "more than 10,000 area residents, from Early Head Start kids to senior citizens" annually.

To read a biography of Rose Gruening and a 2010 update on the current status of the land that held Camp Moodna, click here.

New York Society for Ethical Culture newsletter, April 2004

Image courtesy of Herman Galberd