Saturday, 29 February 2020

Postcard of the Day No. 97 - Trolley to the Shore, Norwalk

Another snapshot of long lost transit. This is what was known as an open car on a trip to the coast in the small town of Norwalk, Connecticut. Probably from around 1900. Well patronised - an informal gender segregation seems to be in operation with female passengers occupying the front two thirds of seats while the men are confined to the back. Hats are universally worn. The streetcar styling borrows from the architectural language of the municipal bandstand and the seaside pavilion. Despite some smudgey blemishes and variable print quality, there’s a lot of well defined detail to be seen. The uniformed motorman and his nattily dressed acolytes form a commanding trio at the helm. Behind them, the respectable ladies of the town follow on, their modesty protected by high necklines and low hemlines. Some make little effort to conceal their discomfort at having their likenesses mechanically recorded while others display the frozen expressions that come with long exposure to the camera lens. The Norwalk Street Railway was swallowed up in 1900 by a larger rival which in 1906 leased all operations to the mighty New Haven Railroad - a reminder that rapid turnover of ownership is not unique to our own times. Open sided streetcars, known as toast racks in Britain, were popular across the world and a selection are shown here - from Honolulu to Stockholm, from Malta to Cairo and from Rothesay to San Antonio. 

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