This year is the 50th anniversary of the real start of the unraveling of the Washington area's first "Metro," a rail trolley system that reached out as far -- in some cases farther -- than the high-speed subway system that serves us today.

In 1935, with the nation suffering the Great Depression and transit systems not exempt from the economic pain, many of the lines that led to or near such places as Chevy Chase, Kensington, Bowie, Cherrydale, McLean, Bethesda and Rockville were abandoned. A line through Alexandria to Mount Vernon had been dropped earlier.

In the coming months, on appropriate anniversaries, we'll recall some of these abandonments. Some other haltings of trolley service were the laudable result of a slimming-down process that followed the 1933 merger of Washington's two rival transit systems.

The year 1935 saw the end of streetcar service to Anacostia and Congress Heights.

The picture above shows a Congress Heights trolley on what was then Nichols Avenue -- now Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue SE -- near Alabama Avenue, taken on Oct. 3, 1910. The firehouse tower in the middle of the picture still stands, but a nearby windmill does not.

The last car through Anacostia ran on July 16, 1935. The city's last streetcars stopped running in 1962.

And it was 50 years ago tomorrow that the last heavy interurban-type car ran from Friendship Heights, through Bethesda and out Old Georgetown Road, to Rockville.