Eddie Russel drives the trolley.

Concord Trolley driver delivers more than the last mile

By Margaret Carroll-Bergman - Correspondent

Eddie Russel, shuttles visitors, residents, and commuters around town, while throwing in an entertaining tale or two about historic Concord, and all at no cost.

Eddie, 82, not only drives the Concord Trolley — a 45 passenger minibus that is wheel chair accessible — but also drives cars, limos, buses, “mostly motor coaches,” and the occasional movie star to the set. One of his favorite celebrity passengers was Denzel Washington when he was in the area filming “Equalizer 2.”

I rode the trolley with Eddie on a recent rainy day, hopping on at the Concord Visitor’s Center.

“A lot of people who get on don’t realize how many stops we have,” said Eddie, as we waited at the Concord Train Station for the 10:15 a.m. to arrive. “Or they get on and don’t know where to go or what to see. I suggest they drop in the Visitor’s Center and walk around town. Downtown Concord is a quaint place … with all of these little shops.”

It’s 10:20 a.m. No passengers disembark from the train. “We’re here. We’re out of here,” said Eddie, driving to his next stop.

Eddie approaches Concord Center, and explains how one is supposed to yield to traffic in the rotary. As we drive past the Concord Museum, he points out the “Trolley Stops Here” sign.

“Paul Revere’s lantern, the one put up in the steeple is here at the Concord Museum,” said Eddie. “There were two lanterns, but no one knows what happened to the other one.”

Eddie slowed down as we passed by the home of Ephraim Bull, developer of the Concord Grape. He explained how Bull never took out a patent on his grape, which in turn was propagated by farmers throughout the country, most notably Welch’s Vineyard. Bull died in poverty. His epitaph reads, “He Sowed; Others Reaped.”

We continue to drive through Concord, with Eddie pointing out every historic site known and some not known to me.

“You never heard of the Bullet Hole House?” asked Eddie. “I’ll show it to you. When the British were retreating from the North Bridge, they shot at the owner of the house, who was standing in the doorway and it struck the house. They’ve tried to test the lead in the bullet. It’s part of history … whether it ever happened or not.”

Eddie was a driver for the Liberty Ride Trolley Tour out of Lincoln. “We had a tour guide on that ride and I picked up bits,” he explained.
We stopped in front of the Bullet Hole house, and Eddie pointed out a triangular cut out to the left of the doorway, where the hole is now protected by plexiglass.

“I tell people if they have any questions to ask me, and I’ll answer, if I can,” said Eddie. “I encourage people to go to the Visitors Center and to spend about a half hour there learning about what there is to see and then get back on the trolley.”

The trolley adventure can take a whole day if you plan to hop-on and hop-off and visit every stop in the seven-mile loop, or less than an hour to reach your destination.

For more information, visit https://visitconcord.org/visit/trolley/

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