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Exploring the Waveland Trolley Loop's personal connections at Shive-Hattery and the community.

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Waveland Trolley Loop from Shive-Hattery, Inc. on Vimeo.

With a little side-to-side swaying and a lot of imagination, you might be able to recreate the feeling of riding the old University streetcar when the Waveland Trolley Park project is complete.

The project, located at 49th and University Avenue, will commemorate and preserve the former Waveland Streetcar turnaround on University Avenue near the entrance to Waveland Golf Course. This loop, the westernmost turnaround for this trolley line, still have remnants of tracks under the paving. The turnaround was originally built in 1901 to bring golfers to the Waveland Golf Course. As the area grew, the streetcar was used by residents as well. The streetcar ran until 1947 and curbliner buses ran until 1964.Classic images and new concepts of Waveland Trolley

Emily Naylor is a Landscape Architect and Project Manager in the Des Moines office. Her grandfather, Bill Lawson Sr., is a lifelong community volunteer and co-founder of the Downtown Urbandale Neighborhood Association. Bill led the development a trolley park near his home in Urbandale, Iowa which commemorated the western limits of the old Interurban streetcar line. The park opened in 1998 and just a few years ago, was renamed as Lawson Trolley Park in his honor. 

At the renaming ceremony, Emily met Earl Short, whose father was a streetcar motorman in Des Moines during the early 1900s and viewed her grandfather as a mentor. He sought to develop a similar memorial to commemorate the end of the streetcar line at 49th Street and University Avenue in Des Moines which ran from 1901 to 1947 to bring golfers to the Waveland Golf Course. 

Named the Waveland Trolley Loop, this project was initiated by Earl who launched Des Moines Streetcar Friends and has worked tirelessly to ensure a streetcar monument would live at this site.

Shive-Hattery became involved with the Waveland Trolley Loop effort in 2017 by hosting a design charrette yielding a concept and cost opinion. 

The loop area will be transformed into a park-like pedestrian space featuring an artistic streetcar sculpture positioned on curved paver walkway mimicking the path of actual streetcar loop. The space will have benches and educational signage focused on the history of the turnaround and life during those times. The project, currently in the fundraising phase with more than 60% of $275,000 raised to date, will be constructed in 2021.

A rendering of the Waveland Trolley concept

“Fulfilling and rewarding projects like the Waveland Trolley Loop are why I love my roles as a landscape architect and project manager. This is one of those special and rare projects where all the boxes are checked and personally resonates with me,” said Emily. “This project is special to me because of a personal connection, community impact, historical significance, and features the genius of our talented design team. It will be an all-time favorite when I look back on my career.”

Waveland Trolley Loop is sponsored by the Des Moines Streetcar Friends, Waveland Park Neighborhood Association Board, Des Moines Historical Society, City of Des Moines, and an ambitious committee of volunteers.

Learn more about the Waveland Trolley Loop and how you can help.