This amazing picture is taken from a postcard, which the seller identified as Chicago. The general consensus is that it’s Herald Square in Manhattan, with the 33rd St. station on the old 6th Avenue El, and that’s a streetcar powered by conduit.
Not every post has to have an over-arching theme. Today we offer a “Mulligan stew” of various pictures that interest us, in hopes they will have the same effect on you. (Mulligan stew was something hobos prepared. Anyone who wanted to eat had to put something into the pot.)
In golf parlance, to “take a Mulligan” means to get a do-over without penalty. How this term originated is not known, but perhaps you will be able to help us solve a few mysteries without needing more than one shot.
A Tipton interurban from the Indiana Union Traction of Indiana, June 29, 1909.
Indiana Railroad car 407, the “Winchester.” This heavyweight interurban was built by Cincinnati Car Co. in 1913 for the Union Traction of Indiana.
Indiana Railroad lightweight high-speed car 55 in Indianapolis on June 29, 1940. The Indiana state capital is in the background. This car survives at the Seashore Trolley Museum as Lehigh Valley Transit car 1030. Railfan George F. Kuschel (1910-2010), who took this photo, was originally from Michigan.
What a difference a year makes. The same car (but a different end), now restyled for LVT service on the Liberty Bell Limited in September 1941.
A turn-of-the-century view of Washington, D. C., showing how streetcars were powered by an underground conduit. From a glass plate negative.
DC streetcars at Washington Union Station, designed by Daniel Burnham. It opened in 1907. From a glass plate negative.
Before the invention of Kodachrome in the mid-1930s, sometimes the only way to tell what color some cars were painted is by looking at old postcards such as this one, showing the Lake Street “L” in Chicago.
A station along the Stockyards “L” branch in 1915. Note the use of signs to indicate where cars of different lengths should stop. Not sure how widespread this practice was at the time.
This old Chicago Daily News photo is identified as being at the end of a cable car route, where horses were used to move the cars around. However, the Chicago Auto Show is being advertised, which would help date this photo.
Not sure when this Chicago Surface Lines ticket dates from, but CSL only existed from 1914-1947 so that does narrow it down a bit.
A new 5000-series Chicago rapid transit car being delivered by truck in March 2015. (Diana Koester Photo)
6 thoughts on “Mulligan Stew”
I’m betting that first picture is from New York, and those streetcars are running on conduit power. I’ve seen other NY pictures of similar stations, and I don’t recognize the intersection shown at all from anywhere in Chicago, leading me to believe it’s somewhere in Manhattan.
You can make out “Manhattan Theatre” on one of the buildings. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manhattan_Theatre That would then likely put the scene as near Herald Square https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herald_Square, with the station the 33rd Street station on the IRT Sixth Ave. line. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IRT_Sixth_Avenue_Line
That location would explain the odd shape of the intersection as well. The link to Herald Square has a picture of street cars in the intersection along with the elevated.
That seems to be the consensus. I’ve updated the caption, thanks.
A couple of comments on the Chicago cable car shot:
1) This has to be on Cottage Grove, based on the “Jackson Park” destination sign. Also, the photographer’s studio awning has an address of “35??” barely legible, this should make it 35th Street but were South Side addresses changed like north and west side ones were?
2) Note something odd about the scene, in that the tracks are not parallel, but at an angle to each other. Also, both trains are facing the same way, with the grip at the supposed south end. Also note a large building in the rear background with a tall smokestack. Would this be a cable powerhouse maybe?
Finally, I wonder if what we are looking at is trains being pulled in or out of the barn at 38th? This would explain the horses, as terminals were all loops which cars negotiated on the cable, and there would not be any reason to cut or add trailers, as each train only has one closed trailer and is pulled by an open grip. Note also, no passengers seem to be on the cars.
Great detective work, thanks!
The top photo is indeed New York City’s 6th Avenue El 33rd Street station at Herald Square. The El was demolished in 1938 when the 6th Avenue Subway was opened, just in time to make the area around Rockefeller Center (6th Ave, & 50th St.) more attractive to visitors in town for the 1939 World’s Fair.
The large building with rooftop flags and ornate cornice was Saks 34th Street Department Store until around 1965. The steel frame of that store is still standing, although the interior has been completely gutted and rebuilt at least twice in the last 50 years. The building just beyond with the curved window at the top was then, and remains today, Macy’s flagship store at 34th Street.
The smaller buildings at the left, including the Manhattan Theater, were demolished shortly after this photo was taken around 1905, making way for the construction of Gimbel’s Department Store.