Lawrence County Career and Technical Center: Trolley Restoration Project

Posted on Categories Career Development & Postsecondary Prep, Engagement, Student Engagement, Work-based learning

At a Glance

This profile showcases an exemplary partnership between the Lawrence County Career and Technical Center (LCCTC) and the Ellwood City Historical Society and Elwood City Chamber of Commerce to build a replica of the original 1908 trolley. With the backing of the LCCTC administration, students and instructors from Welding, Commercial Art, Electrical Occupations and Constructions Trades collaborated to construct a trolley which was presented to the Historical Society in May of 2022.


In 1908, the first trolley ran in Ellwood City. It was named the Pittsburgh Harmony Butler and New Castle Railway, but commonly called the Harmony Short Line. Continuing their mission to preserve and promote their region’s rich history, the Ellwood City Area Historical Society partnered with the staff and students at Lawrence County Career and Technical Center (LCCTC) to create a functioning replica of the original 1900’s trolley car.

The partnership between LCCTC and the Ellwood City Historical Society began in 2019 when the society’s President Everett E. Bleakney Jr. contacted former LCCTC Principal Milanovich and said the existing trolley needed some updating and asked if the instructors and students would be interested in doing the repairs. In fact, the trolley was in a sorry state. That is when LCCTC suggested that they build a new trolley from the ground up. This required extensive research by the CTC’s leadership, instructors, and students to assure it was indeed a replica of the original model. The society was an eager partner, putting their trust and funding behind the project as the sole financial provider. Unfortunately, when the COVID-19 pandemic arrived in early 2020, the project experienced delays, but on May 24, 2022, the students completed their work constructing their functioning replica of the original 1900’s trolley car and presented the final product to the Ellwood City Historical Society and the Lawrence County Community.


The impact of this project was multi-disciplinary in that it encouraged vocational, academic, and cultural growth of the students involved. The steps to create a road-legal replica of a 1908 trolley car are not something that can be found in a textbook or pre-packaged curriculum. Students, as a result, exercised problem solving, critical thinking and creativity skills in designing and creating the replica to fit the client’s specifications. A wide array of academic skills complemented the trade skills utilized, with mathematical and research-based skills being crucial in the early stages of the project. Welding students got to learn and demonstrate multiple techniques and materials in the execution of their portion of the job, as did students in Construction Trades and Electrical Occupations. Commercial Art students gained experience in designing and producing graphics that not only fit their clients needs, but also would be appropriate for long term outdoor use as well as hold up to the environment of the road. Finally, through the project all students involved gained a deeper understanding and appreciation for the rich history of their communities and were able to interact with multiple community partners throughout the process. The final completed replica is now a community resource that will benefit future generations of county residents and visitors by assisting the local historical society in their efforts to promote and preserve the area’s past. 


Lawrence County Career and Technical Center

Leonard Rich, Building Director

Tim Barton, Welding Instructor

Thomas Kelly, Construction Trades Instructor

Pete Montini, Electrical Occupations Instructor

Anthony DeRosa, Commercial and Advertising Art Instructor

Videos Trolley Restoration Videos

Videos Trolley Restoration Photos

Trolley Photo One

Trolley Photo Two

Trolley Photo Three

Trolley Photo Four

Trolley Photo Five