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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • OCTOBER'S BRIGHT BLUE WEATHER: 1940

Wood Street: 1910

Wood Street: 1910

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, circa 1910. "Wood Street from Liberty Avenue." 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.

 

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Wagons in the Trolley Tracks

The gauge of Pittsburgh's trolley system was (and still is) 5 feet 2½ inches. Trolley companies were often required to pave the area of their tracks as part of the operating franchise arrangements with the cities and towns where they operated. It was an onerous responsibility and when they began losing money it was often a reason for abandonment or conversion to buses. All of Pittsburgh's downtown street trackage was abandoned in the mid-1980s when the subway was completed. The system once had more than 600 miles of tracks in and around the city. It's too bad more of the system wasn't saved as the tracks would once again be the smoothest part of some of our deplorably paved streets.

Ex-Post Factoid

I used to work in the Post Building, before we moved our office over to Penn Avenue. It's still there, as is the Granite Building (which is magnificent) on the same side just before the next intersection. The triangular building is now a subway station. The whole next block has been replaced, between Sixth and Oliver on Wood.

Riding the Rails

Check out how many horse-drawn vehicles have their wheels set at exactly the right gauge to ride the streetcar rails (or flangeways). The rails were by far the smoothest part of the street, and outside of the central business district were often part of the only paved area. This photo has just about the perfect angle to illustrate this "riding the rails" habit that the streetcar companies found so irritating.

The view hasn't changed too much


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It's actually fairly the same these days.

Bugle

Perhaps because of it being a music store of some sort, look down where it says, "Hamilton Pianos."

"Hamilton Music"

From the street level sign, I'm guessing the store is closely related to the bugle rooftop weathervane. History Channel's American Pickers would just love to find that in some dusty Pennsylvania barn!

Rooftop reveille

Why is there a cornet (or bugle) atop that building on the right?

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