The death knell of the streetcar sounded loudly after World War Two. What was the fifth largest industry, a mostly private-sector affair, was greatly reduced in less than 20 years. Luckily for DC, the man in charge of obliverating the streetcar system merely enclosed the tracks under asphalt, a fact that did not become apparent until Metro construction in the 1970's. Maybe the death knell is...streetscaping. DC's notoreiously bad streets are often languished for repairs. But on 11th street, a blessing may not have been all that good. Beside the heap of dirt laid mangled rail-like strips of metal, torn from the ground. That was it.
For a fact, the 47-year neglected track may not have been perfect, but some towns have found that the buried tracks sufficed for restored service.