Streetcars of America (Shire Library USA)

Streetcars of America (Shire Library USA)

Brian Solomon

Language: English

Pages: 64

ISBN: 0747813256

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


The handsome multi-colored streetcar is a nostalgic icon of the some of the most romantic and heritage-rich locales in America, including San Francisco, New Orleans and Chicago, immortalized on stage and screen in classics including Meet Me In St. Louis and A Streetcar Named Desire. Streetcars of America chronicles these vehicles from the earliest animal-drawn carriages to the height of their popularity in the 1920s, when there were more than 1,200 street railways, to the turning of the tide in the mid-twentieth century when congestion and attacks from the automobile industry eventually removed streetcars from most urban landscapes. It also looks at the recent efforts to revive vintage streetcars as hip and environmentally-friendly daily commuter service, as well as tourist attractions, in more than thirty cities including Memphis and Washington, D.C.

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Morrill-LeBeau Archive, page 4; Charles Foreman, Ron Cady collection, pages 32 (bottom), 33; John Gruber, pages 36 (top), 63, John Gruber collection, pages 19, 35; Russell Lee, Farm Security Administration, Office of War Information Photographic Collection, Library of Congress, page 13; Fred Matthews, pages 29 (bottom), 38, 41 (bottom), 42, 46, 50–51 (bottom); John E. Picket Collection, pages 7 (bottom), 32 (top), 40 (top), 40 (central); Historic photo, Detroit Publishing Company, Library of

ragtag fleet of traditional double-truck trolleys and its seventeen PCCs until the system closed in 1960. A PCC decorated for the Police Circus seen at Pittsburgh’s Manchester Car House on July 7, 1958. Pittsburgh was decades ahead of its time in dressing selected cars in unique advertising schemes, a practice now common to transit systems around the world. Until its streetcar service ended in 1963, Baltimore’s 5 foot 4½ inch (1638 mm) track was the broadest gauge used by any electric trolley

double-truck cars with old-fashioned clerestory roofs and ample capacity to absorb passengers. In the 1930s and 1940s Chicago enthusiastically embraced the streamlined PCC, opting for a variation of the car measuring 50 feet 5 inches long—10 percent longer than PCCs on most other systems. The surface lines boasted the largest PCC fleet in the United States, reaching 683 cars. On May 5, 1945, electric cars congregate at Oklahoma Railway Company’s terminal at Grand Avenue and Hudson Avenue. These

Chicago, Aurora & Elgin. The North Shore and CA&E both benefited from direct access to downtown over the “L” system that Insull also controlled, while South Shore used Illinois Central’s electrified line to Randolph Street. In addition to high-speed intercity trains to Milwaukee, North Shore provided local streetcar services to several communities along its line, including Waukegan, Illinois (until 1947) and Milwaukee, Wisconsin (until 1951). From the 1920s, local streetcar services were operated

service to Norristown. The Milwaukee Electric was another regional interurban that provided both long-distance and streetcar services to Wisconsin cities, centered on its namesake. Although its interurban services ended in 1951, Milwaukee streetcar routes survived until 1958. Chicago once operated the most extensive cable-car system in the world. Notice the conduit between the rails. This rare historic image was exposed before 1906 on State Street looking north from Palmer House, when Chicago’s

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