Railroad enticements in 1924 included Asheville, NC and Cincinnati.
A few ads from the Times-Picayune, 13-August-1924. These railroad enticements appealed to New Orleanians wrestling with the dog days of summer. The Louisville and Nashville advertised sleeper service to Asheville, NC, and the Southern Railway System ran trains to Cincinnati. The L&N trains departed New Orleans from their depot at Canal Street by the river. Southern Railway trains operated from Terminal Station at Canal and Basin Streets. Both railroads (as well as most of the others) maintained ticket offices on the ground floor of the St. Charles Hotel. The photo is of the L&N’s “Pan American” train, which ran from New Orleans to Cincinnati.
“The temperature at this famous vacation land is delightfully cool and invigorating. Get some mountain air into your lungs, and come back to the South benefited by your vacation.”
L&N offered sleeper car service from New Orleans to Asheville. The trains left New Orleans at 8:30am, arriving the next morning.
“Are Railroad Rates Too High?” – L&N addressed the concerns of the various businesses they serviced. The railroads moved goods across the country in the 1920s. The dominance of trucking and the Interstate highway system did not come until the 1950s. “Cold facts and not wild fancies are shown by the figures here presented.”
While the L&N’s railroad enticements were to the cool mountain air, Southern advertised service to the cities. Two drains daily in 1924, leaving New Orleans at 8:30am and 8:10pm. The day train reached Birmingham, AL, by 6:55pm that evening, and Cincinnati at 9:30am the next morning. The evening train reached Birmingham for breakfast, terminating at Cincinnati at 8:55pm.
Unlike the Pan American’s all-sleeper service on the L&N, Southern Railway offered service via Pullman Sleeping Cars and standard coaches. That enabled the railroad to offer comfort as well as economy fares. Trains included dining cars.
Harry Batt, Jr., promoted Pontchartrain Beach 1934 in the local paper.
Pontchartrain Beach 1934
A full-page advertisement in the Times-Picayune, 1-July-1934, offered readers prizes at Pontchartrain Beach 1934. Participating stores included White Bros. jewelers, Cary and Helwick Hardware, Oliver H. Van Horn, Arrow Family Outfitters, and The Pants Store.
Pontchartrain Beach on the Bayou
Entrance to Pontchartrain Beach, when it was located along Bayou St. John.
Harry Batt, Jr., opened Pontchartrain Beach in 1929. He placed his amusement park on the east side of Bayou St. John at the lake. The Spanish Fort amusement area occupied the west side of the bayou for decades. Those attractions declined in the 1920s. So, Batt leased the land on the other side and opened a new attraction. Additionally, Batt’s experience selling ice to Spanish Fort attractions gave him knowledge of the area. He promoted the park with ads in the daily newspapers.
The concept of “co-operative” advertising benefits small businesses. On their own, a business may not be able to afford a full-page ad. So, if they pooled their funds with other businesses, the all received better visibility. Notice that the advertisers here don’t really overlap in terms of products. The most common co-op ads were from a manufacturer, who then listed the stores selling their products. Here, Pontchartrain Beach worked with stores to offer prizes for events and contests at the amusement park.
Getting to the Beach
ad for New Orleans Public Service, Incorporated, 1-June-1934
The route to Pontchartrain Beach at this time was the Spanish Fort streetcar line. Initially, folks traveled to the Bayou via rail service. When electric streetcars came on the scene in the 1890s, the amusement area at Spanish Fort was in decline.
That changed in 1911. New Orleans Railway and Light Company, NOPSI’s predecessor, offered electric streetcar service back to the bayou. The line followed the route of the West End line. When it reached Adams Street in Lakeview (now Allen Toussaint Blvd.), the line turned right, ending at the Bayou. When Batt opened his park, all folks had to do was cross the bridge and go ride the rides.
Pontchartrain Beach moved from the bayou to Milneburg in 1939. That’s another story, but Batt continued to promote the park regularly in the newspaper. For more history on Da Beach and Lake Pontchartrain, check out Catherine Campanella’s books on the subject.
The Huey P. Long Bridge Administration Building, on the east bank.
Bridge Administration Building
The State of Louisiana built the Huey P. Long Bridge in 1934-35. They included a Bridge Administration Building in the project. So, they located the building on the East Bank side. It stood in what is now Elmwood, Louisiana. From the Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) survey summary:
Significance: The Huey P. Long Bridge, Administration was built as part of the Huey P. Long Bridge project and designated as Contract No. 10. It was built to house the administrative offices of the Louisiana Highway and New Orleans Public Belt Railroad Commission. Also the control room for the bridge operations. The simple Modern/Beaux-Arts style building was designed by renowned Lousiana Architects; Weiss, Dreyfous & Seiferth of New Orleans who also designed the new nationally significant 1932 Modern/Beaux-Arts style Louisiana State Capitol Building in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Building floor plan
HAER surveys, along with Historic American Building Surveys (HABS) are done by the Department of the Interior to preserve detailed records of historic structures which may end up demolished at some point. For example, there’s a HABS survey of old Canal Station (now the location of the A. Phillip Randolph bus facility, operated by NORTA) at Canal and N. White Streets in Mid-City. While the best result for these buildings would be preservation, at least we have these records.
Crossing the river
Plaque marking the construction of the Huey.
The Huey P. Long Bridge provided New Orleans with its first overhead river crossing, Prior to its opening, people and goods crossed via ferries. A number of companies operated passenger ferries. Morgan Steamship (Southern Pacific Railroad) operated a ferry in the Marigny. It moved railcars from Esplanade Avenue to Algiers. From there, trains traveled to Houston and points West. SP later constructed ferry landings in Jefferson and Avondale. They used that crossing until the Huey opened.
Phone box used by the Huey P. Long Bridge staff in the Bridge Administration Building
The building housed the Louisiana Highway Commision and the New Orleans Public Belt Railroad. Additionally, it included a “control room” for the bridge. The Public Belt staff monitored railroad traffic on the approaches. Automobile traffic was secondary to rail for decades. (Anyone driving the original auto lanes on the Huey appreciates this.) The control room maintained communications with the switch towers. Supervisors manned the control room. Phones routed through the switchboard room.
Fate of the building
NPS published this HAER in 1968. The Public Belt demolished it after the survey. Additionally, a self-storage facility now stands on the site.
Proteus 1922 had a rose theme.
Krewe of Proteus chose “The Romance of the Rose” for their theme in 1922. Thanks to the Louisiana Research Collection, Howard-Tilton Memorial Library, Tulane University, for maintaining the krewe’s archives. Those archives include design sketches of their floats throughout the years. This post features three floats from that parade, “The Painted Wall,” “Love Conquers All,” and “Sir Mirth’s Garden.”
Proteus first paraded in 1882. They took a hiatus from 1993 to 2004, because of the controversial “Mardi Gras Ordinance” of 1993. Proteus returned to the streets in 2004. The krewe quarantined in 2021, but plan to parade on Lundi Gras 2022.
Le Roman de la Rose
Title float, Proteus, 1922
Like the other “old line,” debutante krewes, Proteus often chose themes from literature and history. “The Romance of the Rose” is a typical choice. From Wikipedia:
Le Roman de la Rose (The Romance of the Rose) is a medieval poem written in Old French and presented as an allegorical dream vision. As poetry, The Romance of the Rose is a notable instance of courtly literature, purporting to provide a “mirror of love” in which the whole art of romantic love is disclosed. Its two authors conceived it as a psychological allegory; throughout the Lover’s quest, the word Rose is used both as the name of the titular lady and as an abstract symbol of female sexuality.
To put this in Carnival terms, the poem offered the krewe a fertile ground for beautiful costumes and floats. Even if most of the parade-goers in 1922 had no idea about the poem, red! roses! costumes! The float designs lived up to the ambition.
“The Painted Wall”
“The Painted Wall”
Standing between “The Lover,” and the object of his desire, “The Rose,” was “The Painted Wall.” To reach his desire, the wall required our protagonist to overcome the trials of Poverty, Villainy, and Hate, among others. This float creates positions for six riders a side, with The Lover up front.
“Sir Mirth’s Garden”
“Sir Mirth’s Garden” Proteus 1922
Once he passes The Painted Wall, The Lover approaches the walled garden of Sir Mirth. Inside, he encounters couples dancing, led by Sir Mirth Lady Gladness.
Love Conquers All
“Omnia Vincit Amor”
This float bears the saying, “Omnia Vincit Amor” on the side. “Love Comquers All.” At the front of the float stands The Lover. The Rose, an artistic blending of a lovely flower with a woman at the center, highlights the float.
Floats then and now
Proteus 1922 floats sit atop old wooden wagons. The krewe use these same wagons to this day (well, to be sure, they’re regularly maintained/rebuilt). Proteus limits its size, so mega-floats are unnecessary. Additionally, a number of the members of Proteus also belong to other “old-line” krewes. It’s important to remember, these organizations present their daughters and granddaughters to society at their respective balls. Before the growth of parading organizations, the actual old-line parades served as glorified transportation to the bal masque.
Hanan and Son, later Kreegers, operated at 801 Canal Street.
801 Canal Street
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Times-Picayune regularly offered ads for various railroad destinations in the 1920s.
Yesterday’s post of NYC 3, an “executive car” from 1928, inspired this collection of ads for various railroad destinations. New Orleans served as an active hub for railroad connections. Travelers used trains more than automobiles in the early 20th century, particularly for long trips.
The Times-Picayune featured two ads for Southern Railway on 3-November-1925. “Two Trains Every Day” to Cincinnati. The early train departed at 8:30am. Southern offered coach and sleeping car service, with meals served in a dining car.
The railroad also offered sleeping car service to Meridian, Mississippi. The car, attached to a northbound train, departed at 8:10pm daily. It arrived at 2:10am the next day. “Sleeping car may be occupied at Meridian until 7:30 A. M.” – thank goodness! Nobody wants to be booted out of bed at two in the morning. Once at Meridian, the traveler could catch trains to other Southern destinations, getting a jump on the trip.
Along the Apache Trail
While Southern Railway traveled to destinations North and East, Southern Pacific transported passengers westward. Heading to California meant scenic views:
All-motor mountain trip through the heart of Arizona’s most rugged mountain scenery. The gigantic Roosevelt Dam, with its thundering cascades and picturesque mountain setting is only one of the marvels of the Apache Trail, a motor side-trip available to passengers using the Sunset Route to California.
The ad doesn’t explain how travelers taking the side trip get back on track to Los Angeles. Since the “New Sunset Limited” ran three times a week, did the train wait in Globe, Arizona? Did it drop off the side-trip travelers, who then took the next train? No doubt interested travelers learned the specifics at the City Ticket Office, located on the ground floor of the St. Charles Hotel.
The description of SP’s “New Sunset Limited” is similar to the current Amtrak version of the route. The train, with its consist of Superliner coaches, sleepers, along with diner and lounge cars, departs Union Passenger Terminal three times weekly.