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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • THE NAVY NEEDS YOU IN THE WAVES

End of the Line: 1963

End of the Line: 1963

As a coda to the day's earlier Baltimore transit photos, we present "1963 -- Last streetcars in Balto." Kermy and friend, along with Car 7109, in a pair of off-brand color slides. Who can locate the intersection? View full size.

Blast from the past!

That is indeed the end of the line point on Belair Road in Overlea for old #15, which was the last streetcar line removed from service in Baltimore (if my memory serves me correctly).

In the bottom photo, the grey stone building on the right is the old location of Della Rosa's restaurant, which has relocated elsewhere. I lived about a mile south of there on Rosemont Avenue and rode this every day while I was going to Baltimore City College in the 60's.

I lived 2 minutes from there

The streetcar is about to turn right (south) onto Belair Road and in the picture is parallel to Overlea Ave.

TTC PCC

The Toronto Transit Commission, which still runs streetcars, had PCC cars in regular service until 1995. People called them red rockets.

Balto Broad

Baltimore streetcars ran on a 5' 4 1/2 " track gauge, wider than most cities which used standard gauge, 4' 8 1/2". Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and New Orleans still run on 5' 2 1/2" track. Toronto, Canada, operates to this day on a unique 4' 10 7/8". Denver and Los Angeles city cars ran on narrow gauge, 3' 6". You can read more about it here.

Better Than Carlin's Mountain Speedway

The 15 streetcar line was my life line as a preteen and teenager growing up in Baltimore. I used it to go downtown to see first run movies plus vaudeville at the Hippodrome (The Three Stooges & Herb Shriner are two acts I remember), the main Pratt Library and Ford's Theater (not the infamous one) where I saw a young Andy Griffith in "No Time For Sergeants." As a car-less teenager it was the route to and from various date destinations.

Yes Virgina there were nice looking cool girls in the late 50's who would date car-less boys and ride a streetcar to go see a movie or a rock & roll show. We never called them concerts. Concerts were at the staid Lyric and R&R shows were at the Coliseum along with NBA & BAA Basketball and Tuesday Night Wrestling with Antonio Rocca and Gorgeous George.

When my sister moved to the wilds of Overlea/Fullerton I would take the 15 Overlea down to where the streetcar bends (the topic of this pic) and walk a mile or so to her new house. The best part came when the streetcar would crest the hill at Brendan Ave and fly down the hill to the bottom at Herring run and they coast back up the hill towards Parkside as gravity would exert its influence and slow down the car. If the operator was an adventurous sort he would never apply the brake and if the car was loaded what passed for warp speed would be achieved and the car would rock side to side to the glee of youngsters and consternation of the older folk.

Balto to Frisco

The City of San Francisco bought, refurbished, and operates vintage streetcars, including a restored PCC car painted in Baltimore Transit Company yellow.

PCC streetcar

The most successful streetcar/trolley design in the US, PCC cars ran in at least 26 North American cities. I rode one every day to school as a kid in Pittsburgh in the mid '60s.

Good find!

Janbear: You're a fast Googler! I knew that bus stop as soon as I saw the picture - I used take the #15 on my way to high school!

Still in Service

for the #15 bus route.


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Shorpy.com | History in HD is a vintage photo blog featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1950s. The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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