Monday, January 23, 2012

Forgotten Streetcar "Then & Now"

This old streetcar had been long forgotten by the time I took my first photograph of it in 1991. I had long been fascinated by the wonderful textures created by weather wearing on an old building or, in this case, an abandoned streetcar. At the time, I was trying to photograph anything old, dilapidated, rusting, or peeling. I would drive endlessly around Baltimore looking for that perfect abandoned building or place. I found this old streetcar on Falls Road in the winter after it had been revealed by the leafless trees. I had driven by that way almost daily for years and never noticed it sitting back and behind the rusting hulk of the old Lombard Street bridge. Although the scan is pretty bad, the photo has always been one of my favorites and has hung in my living room for 20 years. When I started this blog my partner mentioned that I should do a "then and now" about this streetcar. My first thought was "no" because what was left of it that I could see from driving by, looked to be very little. I changed my mind one day and finally got out to take another picture, 20 years after the first. I was amazed! I noticed right away that the small trees on the right side of the picture had grown large enough to actually tilt the streetcar off to it's side a bit. The roof had caved in from many years of storms and the rust spots had grown bigger. Things had also been piled up around it, to further obscure it from the road. I have no idea what type of streetcar this is, but it looks similar to these old Peter Witt cars. If anyone knows more about it, please let me know!

Streetcar 1991
Streetcar 2011
March 8 2012, UPDATE:
I asked a contact on Flickr who is very knowledgeable about old Baltimore Transit to take a look at this post to see if he knew anything about this streetcar. Here's what he had to say:

Dear Kris,
This car is actually a steel trailer streetcar from the 1920s. It had no motors or controls. It was pulled behind a regular motorized streetcar. The transit company ran trains of streetcars of up to 3 cars similar to the light rail today. The trailers were quite heavy and were difficult to pull since the streetcars that operated here were not heavy duty enough for them. As a result they were pulled from service in 1932. The car in your photo sat on Reisterstown Rd. for many years and was the home of "Jacks Vegetable Stand". I remember seeing it out there. It now rests in a sad state of deterioration on Falls Rd. at the streetcar museum.

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