Leonard's M&O Subway Car #1, Fort Worth, Texas
Ride The Leonard's M&O Subway. Founded in 1918, various members of the Leonard family owned and/or operated Leonard's Department Store in Fort Worth, Texas for almost six decades. Their slogan of "More merchandise for less money" drew in the crowds, and the store employed thousands of people. There is an entire story to be told of how the store’s policies were both successful in creating a loyal customer base and financially successful for ownership. Notably, Leonard’s was not only demonstrated this by extending credit to those in need during the Great Depression and selling lots of food staples on a thin profit margin, but was also the first downtown store to desegregate its facilities, years ahead of legal requirements.
Ultimately the store's owners decided to build transportation to the downtown “Home Store” location from off site parking on the Riverfront, and here enters the M&O Leonard’s Subway. For a cost of $1 million (approximately half for the purchase of cars and half for construction) brothers “Melvin" and “Obie" Leonard opened the trolley subway on February 15, 1963. It would operate until 2002 under the Tandy Corporation’s ownership.
One trolley car that survived the conversion process that most cars saw by being withdrawn from service in 1980 was cosmetically restored and is displayed in downtown Fort Worth, Texas. Together with the nearby Leonard's Museum, they tell the story of this remarkable store and trolley operation. Both are free to visit. Shiny Survivor. M&O Leonard's Car #1 (née-Capital Transit [Washington DC] #1560, St. Louis Car Company, 1945) is displayed at One City Place in Fort Worth, Texas, as seen on Monday, December 28, 2020. This car was not "modernized" along with much of the rest of the fleet by the Tandy Corporation in 1980, and was cosmetically restored as part of an exhibition on the trolley subway.