CLEVELAND — Editor's note: the video in the player above is from a previous story.
A Cleveland institution of nearly four decades has taken its final ride. On Friday, Trolley Tours of Cleveland -- affectionately known locally as "Lolly the Trolley" -- announced that it will cease operations following a two-year hiatus related to COVID-19.
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In a statement, the company's owner, Sherrill Paul Witt, reminisced about the cheerful red trolleys' time in Cleveland, which began in 1985.
“There were few people living in downtown in 1985 and there was no Rock Hall or Science Center. Baseball and football were at the old Municipal Stadium and the Flats, Ohio City and Tremont were just developing with urban pioneers working on rehabbing homes and loft spaces. Playhouse Square was in its infancy and the Cleveland Clinic was bringing Euclid Avenue back to life. In spite of it all, we entertained people with Cleveland’s colorful history and future predictions of what was going to come, all said with our fingers crossed!”
According to the company, the trolleys served more than 2.5 million people during their run, including visitors and locals from elementary, middle school and university programs to alumni events and personal events like weddings, birthdays, anniversaries and family reunions, as well as corporate and community events. Lolly was also well known for its annual Holiday Lights Rides.
“Our company from Day One has always been the people we hired from all walks of life who had a passion for Cleveland. Over the years, this talented, loyal and enthusiastic family of employees helped carry our mission forward…to provide a fun, educational experience and, in the process, totally change people’s opinions about Cleveland,” Witt said. “We will always be proud of what we did to help Cleveland become the dynamic city it is today.
“Though it saddens us to end this wonderful 37 year love affair with Trolley Tours and with Cleveland. It is time for us to move on to our next adventures in life.”