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Lost on a Streetcar

"Churning about in a big tub of water at the offices of the Omaha Street Railway company, Twentieth and Harney streets, is a turtle of more than average size," said the Omaha Daily News of July 29, 1900. "The first question asked by visitors is: "'Where did you get that turtle?' 'It was left on one of our cars by some absentminded passenger,' is the answer.

"And this is a reminder of the fact that a large proportion of the traveling public is afflicted with absentmindedness, lapse of memory, or whatever it may be called. If verification of this assertion were needed, it could easily be found by a stroll through the junk rooms of the three street car barns-Twentieth and Harney streets, nineteenth and Nicholas streets and Twenty-fourth street and Ames avenue. . . .
"As a rule, umbrellas head the list of the lost. It is an American habit to lose umbrellas and it is equally as much the rule to make no special effort to find them after they are lost. As a result, the street railway conductors of Omaha have enough umbrellas to last them the balance of their natural lives, even if St. Swithen's ghost should send a rainstorm every day."

The News said, "Perhaps the most unusual find of recent years is the turtle which is just now attracting so much attention at the Harney street headquarters. It was turned in by a Farnam street conductor one day last week. The conductor has no idea as to the identity of the man who left the turtle on the car, and as yet no one has appeared to claim it. If the owner doesn't show up and claim his turtle, there is likely to be some soup at that conductor's house about sixty days from now.

"Shop girls frequently forget their lunch on the cars. This means that they go hungry for dinner and the lunch is of no benefit to the conductor who finds it, either. A woman from the aristocratic end of St. Mary's avenue left a bathing suit on a Park line car a few weeks ago. It was a dream. The conductor who found it was unmarried and he chuckled as he thought what an elegant present it would make for his sweetheart, who is a frequent visitor to the lakes over in Iowa. But a blunt-spoken man claimed the bathing suit the very next day. He said it belonged to his wife, and he carried it away in his vest pocket."

In conclusion the News noted, "Although the railway company is not legally nor morally responsible for the absentmindedness of its patrons, as a matter of accommodation, its authorities and employees put themselves to considerable trouble to see that lost articles are returned to the owners."

A street railway car at Red Cloud about 1910.
From USGenWeb Nebraska Archives


(October 2009)



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