Streetcar vs Train 1912

Streetcar vs Train 1912

Streetcar vs Train never ends well.

streetcar vs train

Story in The Daily Picayune, 11-May-1912

Streetcar vs Train

Brief news article about a streetcar vs train accident in The Daily Picayune, 11-May-1912.

Passenger train No. 339, of the Illinois Central, crashed into the Royal Blue car at Washington Avenue, at 9 o’clock last night and knocked it into splinters. The car was dragged about 125 feet and part of it was on the front of the engine. The latter was derailed.

Howard Heldenfelder, of 136 S. Olympia, employed at the Krauss Store, was the only passenger in the streetcar. He sustained injuries about the chest and was badly shaken up. Jules Mainbaum, the motorman, was thrown from the platform, into a canal. He was fished out by the conductor, Thomas Burke. The motorman was injured about the head. He and Heldenfelder were taken to the hospital, where their injuries were found not very serious.

Interesting unpack here! A quick online search didn’t immediately turn up the route of IC train 339. It was either coming or going to Union Station, on Rampart Street. This was the “old” station, built in 1892. The city demolished it to make way for Union Passenger Terminal, in 1954.

A “Royal Blue car” ran on the Napoleon Avenue line. New Orleans Railway and Light Company (NORwy&Lt) operated streetcars in the city in 1912. The Napoleon line got the nickname “Royal Blue” because the roll board (the rolling sign indicating the streetcar’s route) was enclosed in blue glass. Since the streetcar was smashed into splinters, it likely was an all-wood Brill double-truck.

The motorman ended up in the New Basin Canal. This part of the canal is now part of the Palmetto canal system, that feeds into the 17th Street Canal and its pumping station near Metairie Road. Good thing the conductor could fish him out!

And then there’s the passenger, Mr. Heldenfelder. he lived at 136 S. Olympia. That’s across the street from St. Dominic School (now Christian Brothers School). To get to work at Krauss, he likely took the Canal line from Mid-City down to Basin Street.

What a fascinating writing prompt!

 

Rex Parade Photo ID

Rex Parade Photo ID

This Rex parade photo ID is a great challenge.

rex parade photo id

Rex Parade Photo ID

Photo of a Rex parade circa 1920. Handwritten caption says “Boys School in Rex Parade N.O. La.” The photo features a high school band, marching lakebound on Canal Street. They’re crossing Canal and Carondelet Streets, passing in front of Fellman’s Department Store at 800 Canal Street. The crowds are heavy, as the band approaches the official parade reviewing stand at the Boston Club (out of frame to the right). Via Col. Joseph S. Tate Photograph Album, LSU Special Collections. LSU notes the 1920 date as “questionable.”

Key ID factors

The photo contains three items that bring the 1920 date into question. Or do they? Let’s look.

Boys High School

The caption, “Boys High School” likely refers to what is now Warren Easton Charter School. The school stands at 3019 Canal Street, between N. Salcedo and N. Gayoso Streets in Mid-City. It’s been there since 1913. The city founded the school in 1843. In 1911, they changed the name from “Boys High School” to “Warren Easton High School.” The new name honored the first Supervisor of Education of the State of Louisiana and the City of New Orleans.

So, by 1920, the school had been Warren Easton for seven-ish years. While that’s ample time to change all the legal documents, old habits die hard. You can hear someone say, “What’s that band? Oh, that’s ‘Boys School.'” Additionally, the caption is handwritten, so we’re relying on someone’s recollection.

Fellman’s

rex parade photo id

Leon Fellman moved his store from the Mercier Building at 901 Canal Street to the Pickwick Hotel at 800 Canal Street in 1897. He died in 1920. Fellman’s family returned to the German version of their name, Feibleman, upon his death. They also re-organized the structure of the corporation, changing the store’s name to Feibleman’s.

Again, legal changes don’t always jive with what people say. Additionally, it takes time to change signage and such. Still, that the storefront on Canal says “Fellman’s” here, it’s likely the photo is earlier than 1920.

Cumberland

rex parade photo id

OK, this is a deep dive, but there’s an interesting sign in the bottom right corner. It says:

CUMBERLAND TELEPHONE
AND TELEGRAPH CO.
PAY STATION

Cumberland Telephone and Telegraph offered telegram and long distance telephone services at their “pay stations” in the south. Southern Bell merged with Cumberland in 1911. So, this sign likely stood there in the late 1910s. I haven’t seen the sign in photos of the 800 block from the 1920s.

Conclusions

I got nothin! The Islandora record for the photo says:

The photograph album (unbound) contains 103 black and white prints mounted on paper. The images show scenes from several locations in Louisiana during the 1920s. Photographer unknown.

Given the “Fellman’s” sign at 800 Canal Street, it’s certain the photo is no later than 1920. That re-branding was fast and severe. The telephone company wouldn’t have been so intent on replacing their sign. The caption is human.

What do you think?

Mugnier Rex 1907

Mugnier Rex 1907

George Mungnier Rex 1907 – A different angle from Allison’s.

mugnier rex 1907

Mugnier Rex 1907

George Francois Mugnier also caught the Rex Parade in 1907. His photo shows the parade moving lakebound, in the 800 block of Canal Street. A “riding Lieutenant” stands behind a float. A classic jazz band is behind the rider. The stores of the 801 block appear background right. the Mercier Building, with its golden cupola, rises, background center. The crowd stands on either side of Canal Street, as the parade goes up the Uptown side, turns around, then goes down the French Quarter side. Mules, draped with white canvas, pull the floats. The flagpole, flag furled around it, is likely the Lazard’s store.

Maison Blanche 1907

In our #AllisonUnpack earlier today, Alexander Allison caught the steel frame of the “new” MB building in distance of his 1907 photograph. Allison stood in the 500 block of Canal to catch this parade. Mugnier’s perspective, standing in the 700 block, offers more detail of the progress of the new store. The Mercier Building went up at 901 Canal in 1884. The Merciers acquired the corner from Christ Episcopal Church. The church chapter auctioned off their gothic-spire church that year. The sale netted the chapter enough to build the current Christ Episcopal Cathedral. That church towers over St. Charles Avenue and Sixth Street. That corner is also a busy area on parade days.

So, Shwartz opened the Maison Blanche in the Mercier building in 1897. Ten years later, he felt growing pains. He planned a building with five stories of retail space. On top of that he built two office towers. The towers brought the total height of the building to twelve stories. A thirteenth story was added to the rear tower later. This became the studios of WSMB Radio.

Rear tower first

To keep MB operating during the construction, Shwartz moved everything from the store into the front half of the Mercier Building. The rear was then demolished. The rear tower rose in the empty space. When that tower was complete, MB moved into the new space. They tore down the front of the old building (alas, losing that magnificent cupola). In its place rose the front of the current building.

Transition

Mugnier may never have caught this transitional period for Maison Blanche, were it not for the Rex Parade. Allison’s and Mugnier’s photos are courtesy New Orleans Public Library.

1907 Rex Parade #AllisonUnpack

1907 Rex Parade #AllisonUnpack

Alexander Allison caught the 1907 Rex Parade from the 500 block of Canal Street.

Rex Parade 1907

1907 Rex Parade

The parade of Rex, King of Carnival, heading down Canal Street, on 12-February-1907. Photograph by Alexander Allison. The photographer stood on the roof of a building in the 500 block of Canal, looking up the street. The photo shows the 601, 701, and 801 blocks of Canal Street. The structure of the Maison Blanche Building is visible on the far left side.

Alexander Allison’s photographs

Allison was an engineer for the New Orleans Sewage and Water Board from 1900 until his retirement in 1959. He carried a camera with him all around the city. When Mr. Allison passed in 1964, his daughter donated his photo collection to the New Orleans Public Library (NOPL).

Allison’s photographs document the growth and changes in New Orleans in the first half of the 20th Century. His photos are an incredible resource.

Unpacking 1907

So, Allison catches the Rex parade on Canal Street. The parade came down St. Charles Avenue from Uptown. They turned left at Canal, going on the wrong side of the street. Not a problem, of course, since the parade route was closed. This enabled Rex to pass in front of the Boston Club, in the 800 block. Rex toasted his queen and court there. The parade went up to Rampart Street, where it made a u-turn. They paraded down Canal, turning onto N. Front Street, where they disbanded.

Retail Shops

Almost every building on the French Quarter side of Canal Street erected reviewing stands for Carnival. Mayer’s anchored the corner of Canal and Chartres Streets, at 601. The four-story Touro Buildings in the 701 block remain very much as they were when built in the 1840s. After the big fire of 1892, the building at the corner of Canal and Bourbon Street was raised to five stories. The dry goods store, B. Cohn Company, occupied that space in 1907. The first two floors of the Touro Buildings held retail shops, usually owned by Jewish retailers. Judah Touro rented to fellow members of that community, and the practice continued throughout the 19th Century. Marks Isaacs, previously partnered with Charles Kaufman on Dryades Street. He then joined with S. J. Shwartz at Maison Blanche. In 1907, Isaacs left MB, opening his own store in the Touro Buildings. The Marks Isaacs store closed in the 1960s. The 801 block included Hanan & Son Shoes, Kreegers, and D. H. Holmes. Allison’s position in the 500 block compresses the view of the 801 and 901 blocks.

Maison Blanche

The steel superstructure of the “new” Maison Blanche building is visible on the far left of the photo. S. J. Shwartz demolished the 1884-vintage Mercier Building in 1907. He tore down the back of his store, building the rear section first. When that structure was complete, Maison Blanche moved everything into the new building. They then tore down the rest of the old building, that fronted Canal Street.

Identifying the photo

The NOPL record for this photo lists several inaccuracies that made it a challenge to identify. While the photo said 1908, the theme of the parade and the Viking float at bottom right puts this as the 1907 parade. The MB construction also confirms this. The location listing says Allison was at the Chess, Checker, and Whist Club, but that is also inaccurate. That club stood further up, at 900 Canal Street. So, for this photo, Allison was five blocks further down. NOPL expresses concern about the accuracy of Allison’s dates and locations. The errors on this photo indicate they were likely made by someone going back through the collection, not Allison himself.

NOLA History Guy Patrons

Since this post is the first #AllisonUnpack of the series, it’s not behind the Patreon wall. We’ll elaborate on some of this in a second, patron-only post. After this, these unpacks will be in the usual format. Everyone will see the first 100ish words and the image, with the full story available for patrons.

 

801 Canal Street – Hanan’s and Kreegers

801 Canal Street – Hanan’s and Kreegers

Hanan and Son, later Kreegers, operated at 801 Canal Street.

801 canal

801 Canal Street

801 Canal

Ad for Hanan & Son in the Times-Picayune, 30-January-1928

Franck Studios photo of the Hanan & Son shoe store, 801 Canal Street. HNOC dates the photo at between 1925 and 1933. The building replaced an earlier structure that was destroyed by fire in 1892. Hanan & Son was a shoe manufacturer in New York City. Kreeger’s occupied the space at 805 Canal, just to the right. Kreeger’s later acquired 801 and expanded into that space. D. H. Holmes department store wrapped around 801 and 805 Canal. The Bourbon Street entrance of Holmes is visible behind 801 Canal. It’s the three-story building down the block.

Hanan & Son Shoes

The Hanan Company manufactured shoes in Brooklyn. While other manufacturers went with a customized/handmade look, Hanan stamped their name on the soles of the shoes. This increased their sales. Beginning in the 1880s, the company opened retail stores in a number of American cities.

Canal and Bourbon Streets

801 canal

Postcard from the early 1930s, courtesy H. George Friedman.

The building at 801 Canal Street appealed to Hanan’s. Imperial Shoe Store took over the riverside corner across the street in the 701 block when A. Shwartz and Son closed. Shoppers walked from one side of Bourbon to the other as they sought out the latest shoe styles. Hanan & Son fell on hard times during the Great Depression. They closed a number of stores in the early 1930s. Imperial Shoes picked up the Hanan product line. They added “Hanan Shoes” to their Canal Street signage. So, Hanan’s presence continued on in New Orleans. The company went bankrupt in 1935.

Kreeger’s

The Kreeger family opened their store at 805 Canal after the rebel surrender in 1865. They sold ladies fashions. Kreeger’s specialized in furs, coats and stoles.

Kreeger’s grew in popularity. They survived the 1892 fire that destroyed the 701 block of Canal and the 801 corner building. When Hanan & Son left 801 Canal, Kreeger’s acquired the space. They expanded the store to Bourbon Street.

The company further expanded in the 1980s. They opened an “outlet” store at One Canal Place. Additionally, they opened stores in Lakeside Shopping Center, Uptown Square, and in Lafayette. The oil bust of the 1980s presented challenges for Kreegers. Changing styles and opinions with respect to furs also hurt sales. Kreeger’s declared bankruptcy in 1986. They closed their remaining store, in Lakeside, that year.

After Kreeger’s

801-805 Canal housed a number of businesses after Kreeger’s closed. In 2010, the first floor retail space was a Foot Locker store. The space is currently a Walgreens. While this seems redundant, given the large Walgreens at 900 Canal, it makes sense. It’s all about convenience in a busy neighborhood.

Details

Some interesting details in the photo:

Imperial Shoes – The store’s street-level sign is partially visible on the left. A pair of nuns cross Bourbon, just below it.

D. H. Holmes – As mentioned in the introduction, the Bourbon Street entrance of the iconic department store is visible behind Hanan’s. that side offered Holmes a separate entrance for the Holmes Restaurant.

Kreeger’s – the signage at 805 Canal is just visible.

Illinois Central – A billboard for the Panama Limited train stands on the roof. The ICRR offered all-Pullman sleeper car service from New Orleans to Chicago. Amtrak continues to operate the route as their incarnation of the City of New Orleans.

 

Women’s fashion 1914

Women’s fashion 1914

A sample of women’s fashion 1914 via ads in the paper.

women's fashion 1914

Women’s fashion 1914

Three snippets from The Daily Picayune, New Orleans, on 4-February-1914. The paper did a daily feature then, “The Picayune’s Daily Fashion Hint.” This day, the hint was on the Fichu. The fichu, a small triangular shawl, was a popular fashion accessory. Two of the big department stores in town, Maison Blanche and D. H. Holmes, placed ads on the same page as the fashion hint. The paper was smaller at the time (16-20 pages). So, it was logical for the stores to advertise near the “hint.”

The Fichu

The text of the “fashion hint” for this day explained the shawl:

THE FICHU STILL HIGH IN FAVOR

That there is no diminution in the popularity of the charmingly feminine fichu is proven by this house frock, included among the fetching wearables brought back from Paris by Mrs. Ogden Goellet. The fichu, of sheer white mull, is attached to a square collar of hand-embroidered handkerchif (sic) linen and the squared lower corners of the fichu are embroidered to match. A soft frill of lace finishes the edge. This dainty fichu is draped over a simple gown of bluet sicilliennc.

The “hint” does not state that the image of the model is the aforementioned Mrs. Odgen Goellet.

Optical Department

women's fashion 1914

The ad for Maison Blanche on the page with the fichu feature is a disconnect. It promotes the store’s Optical Department. “We Test Your Eyes FREE OF CHARGE” is a legit way to get folks into a store, to this day. The Optical Section was on the main floor of Maison Blanche’s Canal Street location. The rule of thumb in department store retail is, if you want to attract men to a department, keep it on the ground floor. Women were much more likely to take the elevator up.

Women’s Evening Slippers

women's fashion 1914

“In the Most Fashionable Models Are Here” – D.H. Holmes presented an ad more in tune with the “fashion hint” on this day. “Tango Slippers” and “Satin Slippers,” along with silver, gold, and beaded slippers. Holmes, in the 800 block of Canal Street, sold these shoes for $2.50 – $8.50. “Never has our assortment been more beautiful than this year.”