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America's Last Small City Streetcar: 1959

America's Last Small City Streetcar: 1959

I took this scene of Main Street in Johnstown, PA on the afternoon of September 6, 1959. The event was a part of the 1959 annual convention of the National Railway Historical Society that included a tour of the city's remaining five streetcar lines. All were slated for conversion to trolley bus the following June. Main Street at the time appeared to be prosperous, but in the ensuing 60 years, Johnstown has been practically rendered a ghost town, having lost its steel industry and suffered a devastating flood. Car 350 is today preserved at the Pennsylvania Trolley Museum at Arden, PA.

A subsequent submission will depict the closing day ceremonies held June 11, 1960.

35mm Kodachrome slide by William D. Volkmer

Grand Finale: 1960

Grand Finale: 1960

I submit this photo for the 60th Anniversary of the end of an American institution, the small city streetcar. Shorpy followers will have undoubtedly noticed that a great many of the early 20th Century streetscape photos show the ubiquitous streetcar which in those days was people's primary means of transportation.

The occasion here was the ceremonial last run of streetcars in Johnstown, PA at 5 PM, Saturday afternoon, June 11, 1960. There were streetcars remaining in other large cities such as Pittsburgh, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and San Francisco, but Johnstown was the last of the small city systems to be converted to bus operation.

35 mm Kodachrome slide by William D. Volkmer

Peddling Popcorn: 1936

Peddling Popcorn: 1936

The Gem Theater located on North Main Street in downtown Charles City, Iowa, circa 1936. Theater manager Jack Kuech is pictured under the marquis of the 1936 version of Romeo & Juliet being promoted. Popcorn sales look to be a little slow. Acetate negative. View full size.

The Candy Kitchen: 1906

The Candy Kitchen: 1906

The Candy Kitchen located on Main Street across from the Hildreth Hotel and Opera House in downtown Charles City, Iowa, circa 1906. Glass negative.

Dad and Son: 1908

Dad and Son: 1908

A father and son outside of their rural Charles City, Iowa home, circa 1908. Found in a collection of glass negatives.

Alterations: 1966

Alterations: 1966

My grandmother in 1966 at the sewing machine in her clothing store in McLean, Texas, on Main Street. I'm next to her in the hat, probably asking a million questions, along with my younger sister. Grandmother operated the store for many years and lived in the back in an apartment. McLean back then was on the old Route 66 and prior to my grandfather's death in 1963, they owned and operated the Hindman Hotel there. I used to spend summers in McLean, and looking back, it was like living in Mayberry. View full size.

Theater District: 1960

Theater District: 1960

A bright and sunny New Year's Day 1960 found me walking along Grand Avenue in St. Louis, Missouri. I snapped this photo because three days later the streetcars would cease running, owing to the closing of a nearby viaduct for replacement. The Fox Theater in the background, opened in 1929, fared a little better, lasting up to 1978. In 1991 it reopened and survives as a performing arts center. The Fox house organist at the time was Mr. Stan Cann, who held that position for 22 years, from 1952 until 1974. They called him "Stan Cann the vacuum cleaner man" because his hobby was collecting antique vacuum cleaners. He lived in Los Angeles during retirement and gave frequent organ concerts around town, many of which I attended. 35mm Kodachrome by William D. Volkmer. View full size.

1940s Lake Life

1940s Lake Life

Some kids heading out to fish; taken during the early 1940s on Commerce Lake, Oakland County, Michigan. Scan of hand tinted photo. View full size.

My Favorite Chair

My Favorite Chair

Circa 1909 photograph of an unidentified elderly gentleman relaxing in one of his two favorite chairs on North Jackson Street in Charles City, Iowa. Taken from a 5x7 inch glass negative. View full size.

Hart-Parr: 1910

Hart-Parr: 1910

Circa 1910 construction at the Hart-Parr Tractor plant in Charles City, Iowa the home of the first farm tractor. The plant was serviced by two railroads, the Illinois Central and the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul. Taken from a recently discovered collection of glass negatives. View full size.

Little Girl and Friend: 1910

Little Girl and Friend: 1910

Taken in Charles City, Iowa about 1910 by a local photographer. Captured from a collection of glass negatives found in an attic. View full size.

Return to El Cid

Return to El Cid

My husband of 41 years, Greg Weber (on the right), and his buddy Greg Duncan, Charleston, South Carolina, September 1972. They had just returned to The Citadel, Military College of South Carolina, for their junior year. Duncan's uniform (including white gloves) denotes his role as Cadet Regimental Staff Sergeant. I asked my Greg how it was that he had the temerity to sport a summer 'stache while on campus, in uniform, albeit without the addition of his Squad Sergeant rank. He said it was the first day back and he'd already gotten his regulation haircut ("My hair looks all right," he claims), and, obviously, been issued his rifle. My Greg, a basketball player from Toledo, Ohio, was at The Citadel on a full athletic scholarship, while Duncan, from Tavares, Florida, attended on a full academic scholarship. Both members of the Class of '74, they're still friends. The picture was taken by my mother-in-law. View full size.

College Smoke-In: 1956

College Smoke-In: 1956

Candid photo in a college classroom at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. 35mm Tri-X negative taken in 1956 by my brother. View full size.

Lunchtime: 1968

Lunchtime: 1968

Around 1968 we traveled from Akron, Ohio, to Los Angeles (the scenic route) and one of our lunch stops was somewhere in Wyoming. The wild, wild west is about how it is out that way with hundreds of miles of nothing. The car was running fine other than the gas gauge breaking and running us out of gas in some ghost town a day or two after this photo was taken.

Our snazzy little camper had a place to fix food in the back. Food tastes so much better when you are traveling and camping. I don't know why, but it does. View full size.

Trying out the New Camper: 1970

Trying out the New Camper: 1970

We were traveling from Ohio to California in 1970 and this stop was at Mt. Rushmore. We didn't have the money for one of those snazzy aluminum campers, so we did ok with this sporty little deal. It was better than sleeping in a tent and it even had a gas stove on the back! View full size.

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