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About the Photos

Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

© 2019 SHORPY INC.

[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Traction Building: 1906

Traction Building: 1906

Circa 1906. "Traction Building, Walnut and Fifth, Cincinnati, O." Nowadays known as the Tri-State Building. 8x10 inch glass negative. View full size.

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Double Trolley Wires

London (the real one that is!) did for a time have double wires in the vicinity of the Royal Observatory - I think this was at the insistence of the Astronomer Royal and probably for the reason already mentioned by m' Learned Friend 'HS'.

I had at one stage a copy of the BICC overhead fittings catalogue (UK equivalent of Ohio Brass) and I'm pretty sure that 2 gauges were mentioned for trolley bus overhead, 18" and 24"...

Double overhead

AFAIK, Cincinnati and Havana were the only cities with double overhead for their electric streetcars. The ostensible reason was interference with the telephone system, which used the same earth return (ground) as the trolleys otherwise would have. Strange that no other cities had this problem, and even stranger that Cincinnati stayed with it throughout the traction era there; doing so doubled the cost of wire and fittings.


The trolley has two poles and they're both up against the overhead wires.

A closer look

The trolley has two poles. The Cincy double-wire system was spaced at 19 inches; most other double-wire systems (for trackless trolleys) used a 24-inch spacing.

Painless Dentist

Where's the.....

Overhead Wire...

Every time I look at this photo, I find my eyes drawn to the overhead wire of that trolley. The reason is not so much because I love trains, but rather the oddity I see there.

Cincy streetcars were unique among most cities, in that they featured a "two wire" system. Meaning two wires and two poles, as opposed to the usual one. However, looking closely at the trolley in the photo, it seems that the train has a single pole.

I suspect this is route 78, the only route of the transit system which used a single wire. The only problem with that suspicion, is 78's single wire system only existed for a short portion outside the city's limits, and not within it as this photo shows.

Bausmith Architect

Young Bausmith in the tiny office on the upper floor in foreground was featured in The National Builder, Volume 43 for 1906, with his designs for two-flat houses. As in 2 apartments, not flattened buildings.

Effective advertising?

Could it possibly be effective for New York Life to advertise on the windows so high on the building? Was there future construction that would have made that expense worthwhile?

On another issue I just believe that it must have been awesome to have opening windows into offices in the building, reach out and adjust the awning! How dangerous and wonderful!

Earlier Shorpy views of the same building....

This building still exists and is also shown in these earlier Shorpy images...

In this view it is the second of the two tall buildings. The four streetcars are stopped in front of it...

SHORPY OLD PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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