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Watch Your Step: 1928

Watch Your Step: 1928

February 1928. Washington, D.C., or vicinity. "Southern Railway, interior of car." National Photo Company Collection glass negative. View full size.


On Shorpy:
Today’s Top 5

Commuters 1928

It looks like the woman on the left, the one who obviously caught her neighbor's attention, is a smoker herself, as she is holding a cigarette, as well! I wonder if they are commuting to work, as there is no sight of luggage. And yes, I also thought they remind of the iconic 1925 Christmas photo!

Liberty Magazine

February 4, 1928 -- Vol. 5, No. 5

Sister Cars

Our Mount Vernon car in the photo and the Kitchi Gammi Club Car are sisters.

The Kitchi Gammi is an observation lounge sleeper accommodating 12 guests and a crew member in five sections, a master bedroom, and a crew bedroom. It can seat 20 people during the day in the sections and comfortable observation lounge. The car is equipped with a full service kitchen and features a large stainless steel shower in one of the two restrooms. Built in 1923 for Pullman Company nationwide service, the Kitchi Gammi Club is now owned by Virginia Rail Investment Corporation.

It was built in July 1923 as part of a group of lounge observation cars, of which four were purchased by the Pennsylvania Railroad, five by the Monon Railroad, three by Santa Fe, six by the Baltimore & Ohio, and two unknown.

Here is a current photo of the interior from the same vantage point as the original.

Surprise, surprise

These prosperous-looking folks clearly have no inkling of the national economic and social meltdown waiting to spring on them late the following year. They probably thought that unforeseen catastrophes were a thing of the past.


I am pretty sure some of these people were at the Office Christmas Party.

Three Years Later

Looks like some of the participants of Shorpy’s Office Xmas Party: 1925, cigar and all!

Latest score

Left-over-right 5, right-over-left 2.

A Philip Morris moment

Cigars Cigarettes Extra Ear??

Smoking car?

I see three men holding cigars. But what exactly is the man at bottom right holding? It appears white and tubular.

[They called them "cigarettes." - Dave]


I vaguely recall that arrangement from elementary school, when it seemed like a strategy to minimize horseplay.

Pardon me Boy

The guy on the right foreground: "Track 29, hey can I give you a shine?" Attend to those shoes Mr.! Everyone else in the car has seen to theirs.

Travel in style

The name on the door, “Mt Vernon,” is the car name. The large windows on the door and to either side of it suggest this was a “solarium car” designed to combine sunny seating space with light food service and probably sleeping accommodations. I can’t say for certain, but probably a Pullman car, operated in those days by the Pullman Company but run as an integral part of trains operated by railroads like the Southern.


At least 3 unlit and unbit cigars and one unlit cigarette. Just they're being polite with the fairer sex in attendance.

Not a salesman in the group

"He’s a man way out there in the blue, riding on a smile and a shoeshine ... A salesman has got to dream, boy." -- Death of a Salesman

Excellent hearing

Somehow the guy on the left grew another ear.

[Oops. Fixed! - Dave]


DC Police looking for a three eared cigar smoker with gassed back hair who is likely to watch his step.

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