Single-truck Streetcars on Canal Street, 1905 #streetcarmonday

Single-truck Streetcars on Canal Street, 1905 #streetcarmonday

Single-truck Streetcars were the first electrics in New Orleans

single-truck streetcars

Single-truck streetcars on Canal Street. Teunisson photo, ~1905

Single-Truck Streetcars

Streetcar operating companies phased out mule power in the mid-1890s. So, the single-truck streetcars replaced the “bobtails”, as the first electric cars in the city. “Single-truck” means one set of four wheels. The cars were relatively small. Companies like NO&CRR and NOCRR initially purchased Brill streetcars. They switched to Ford, Bacon, and Davis single-trucks in 1894. The car on the left, running on Prytania, is a Brill. The car running on Annunciation is a FB&D. .

The Prytania Line

The New Orleans City Railroad Company opened the Prytania line on June 8, 1861. The line started at the Clay Monument, Canal Street and St. Charles Avenue. Cars ran initially from Canal, up Camp, to Prytania, to Toledano. NOCRR expanded the line in 1883. Prytania ran up to Exposition Boulevard at Audubon Park. Therefore, it dropped off riders at the Cotton Exposition. So, mule-drawn streetcars operated on Prytania at this time.

While the New Orleans and Carrollton RR operated on St. Charles Line, Prytania became popular, because of Touro Infirmary and the Garden District. The streetcars dropped folks off right at the hospital. Many people living in the Garden District took Prytania in for Canal Street shopping. They avoided the crowds on St. Charles. People called Prytania the “Silk Stocking Line” because of the privileged riders.

Prytania’s first electrics were Brills.  until the 1920s. The line switched to Jackson and Sharp single-truck streetcars. In 1915, New Orleans Railway and Light ran double-truck “Palace” cars on Prytania. The arch roofs eventually replaced those streetcars in the 1920s. NOPSI discontinued the Prytania line in 1932.

Annunciation

Annunciation serviced the uptown riverfront area and the Irish Channel. The Crescent City Railroad Company opened the line in 1863. New Orleans Traction Company electrified Annunciation in 1895. The line started at Canal and Camp, then up Tchoupitoulas, then Annunciation. At Louisiana, the line turned back towards the river and terminated at Tchoupitoulas. The return was different, because of one-way streets. From Louisiana, it ran down Chippewa, then Race, then Annunciation, Erato, Race, Camp, Calliope, then St. Charles to Canal.

The first electrics on Annunciation were Brills painted yellow with brown trim. FB&Ds replaced the brills in the late 1890s. Palace double-trucks operated on Annunciation around 1910. The line merged with Laurel in 1917.

The Mercier Building

The coupla visible in the top right of the photograph is the top of the Mercier Building. Simon J. Shwartz operated his Maison Blanche Department Store in that building. He tore down the building in 1908. The building we know as the Maison Blanche Building (Now the Ritz-Carlton Hotel New Orleans) dates from that time.

CONTEST – Help me find “Fading Ads” in New Orleans and the suburbs

CONTEST – Help me find “Fading Ads” in New Orleans and the suburbs

CONTEST time! Help us find “fading ads”

A. Shwartz ad, 800 block of Canal Street (Infrogmation photo)

Contest time!

I’ve submitted the proposal for Fading Ads of New Orleans to The History Press! It’s looking good that they’ll accept the proposal and the book will move forward. That means I need fading ads! You guys are always wonderful about helping out with ideas and old photos. It’s time to reward that help.

Da Rules

Here’s how this is going to work. You submit a photo or a location to one of these places:

Comment on this post, or on the links in the following Facebook spots:

  • NOLA History Guy
  • Ain’t There No More New Orleans
  • New Orleans – Still There More
  • Edward Branley’s Personal Page

And you’ll be entered.

Details

  • Only two entries per individual per week.
  • You can submit a photo or location suggestion only once.
  • It’s OK if you suggest something someone else suggests. A lot of us don’t read the comments.
  • I’ll judge your submission/suggestion as to whether it works for the book. If it does, you’re entered. If it doesn’t, you can suggest something else. My decisions are final.
  • One winner per week. Weeks run Tuesday to Monday. The first week starts today, the last week ends on Christmas Eve.
  • The weekly winner will be announced on the Tuesday after that contest closes.

Prizes

I have four $20 gift cards for Wakin Bakin. So, you can choose between those or a copy of one of my books. While WB is tasty, it’ll be just the books when the gift cards run out.

Let’s Have fun!

I really do appreciate all y’all. You offer good conversation, lots of great research help, and you’re fun folks. I know you’d support this effort without an incentive, which is all the more reason to offer it. I’m looking forward to the discussions.

And we’re off!

 

New Orleans L&N Railroad Station on Canal Street – #Train Thursday

New Orleans History L&N Railroad Station Canal Street – #Train Thursday

New Orleans History L&N Railroad Station Canal Street

Postcard of L&N Station, ca. 1910

New Orleans History L&N Railroad Station Canal Street

New Orleans History L&N Railroad Station Canal Street

1901 Route map for the Louisville and Nashville Railroad.

The Louisville and Nashville Railroad operated for 132 years, from 1850 to 1982. The L&N began in Kentucky. The Class I railroad expanded to over 6000 miles of track. L&N freight operations came to New Orleans in the 1880s. In 1902, L&N opened a passenger terminal in New Orleans. The terminal stood at Canal Street at the river. The Aquarium of the Americas occupies the location today.

L&N Station

New Orleans History L&N Railroad Station Canal Street

Aerial view of Canal and the river, 1950s, showing the L&N train sheds in brown.

In a 1927 report titled, Railroad Transportation Report for New Orleans-Louisiana, the consulting firm, Bartholomew and Associates listed specifications of the station:

  • One-story
  • Brick building
  • General waiting room, 30’x45′
  • Colored waiting room 25’x35′
  • Two mens and one ladies rest room
  • Lunch room (15’x20′) in the general waiting room
  • Baggage room 30’x60′
  • Train sheds for three tracks that were 550′ long

Navigating Canal and the River

Lucie Allison, preparing to board a L&N train to Asheville, NC, in 1943 (Alexander Allison photo, courtesy NOPL)

Canal and the River was incredibly congested at this time. The L&N, Southern Pacific, and New Orleans Public Belt all had tracks at Canal Street. Streetcars operated to the loop at Liberty Place. They parked in a six-track terminal just up from the railroad terminal. In the above photo, Lucie Allison stands at Liberty Place. Note the streetcar tracks circling her. Her father, Alexander Allison, shot thousands of photos around New Orleans. He worked for the New Orleans Sewage and Water Board. His job took him all over the city.

L&N Trains to New Orleans

New Orleans History L&N Railroad Station Canal Street

L&N dining car, 1920s

The railroad operated four “name” trains to New Orleans:

Azalean – Cincinnati to New Orleans. The Azalean picked up Pullman sleepers from New York in Cincinnati. So, the route offered through sleeper service from that city.

Crescent – While many folks associate the Crescent with Southern Railroad, it actually arrived and departed in New Orleans via L&N. The Crescent traveled over tracks from several railroads in its journey from New Orleans to New York City. The train used L&N’s tracks from Montgomery, AL, to New Orleans. Therefore, it terminated at the L&N station, rather than the Southern terminal. That station stood at Canal and Basin Streets.

New Orleans History L&N Railroad Station Canal Street

L&N advertising poster

Gulf Wind – New Orleans to Jacksonville. The L&N operated the New Orleans – Florida Limited on this route, 1925-1949. So, that train used the older, heavyweight cars. The railroad replaced the older equipment with streamliner trainsets and changed its name.

Piedmont Limited – This train followed the same route as the Crescent. The Crescent train overshadowed the Piedmont Limited in popularity.

Transfer to UPT

The L&N station serviced passengers until the opening of Union Passenger Terminal in 1954. The city demolished the station shortly afterward.

 

 

 

 

Grunewald Hotel and Double-Truck Streetcar, 1911 #streetcarMonday

Grunewald Hotel and Double-Truck Streetcar, 1911 #streetcarMonday

Grunewald Hotel would become the Roosevelt Hotel

Grunewald Hotel

Grunewald Hotel. J. H. Coquville, 1911

Grunewald Hotel

“One of the most up-to-date and finest hotels in the U.S.” is the caption on this 1911 postcard of the Grunewald Hotel. The hotel occupies the corner of Canal and Baronne Streets. While it does not occupy the full block fronting Canal Street, the hotel stretches from Baronne Street to Roosevelt Way (O’Keefe Avenue) behind the storefronts.

Louis Grunewald built the hotel in 1892, on the site of the Grunewald Music Hall. The music venue burned down. He opened the hotel in time for Carnival in 1893. Grunewald later expanded the hotel with six-story annex. The annex opened in 1908. About that time, Louis turned control of the hotel over to his son, Theodore.

The Cave

Grunewald Hotel

“The Cave” night club at the Grunewald Hotel. (Detroit Publishing Company)

The expansion of the Grunewald Hotel included a night club called “The Cave.” The Cave was decorated as, well, a cave, with stalactites, stalagmites, running water, and vines. The night club regularly booked “Dixieland” bands. We now refer to that style of jazz as “Traditional.” After the the Vaccaros bought the hotel (1923), they closed The Cave. They re-opened the night club in 1935. They named the new club, “The Blue Room”, and featured big-band music.

Streetcars in 1911

Double-truck streetcars replaced the single-truck Ford, Bacon, and Davis streetcars in the 1910s. New Orleans Railway and Light, Co., purchased double-trucks from Brill and Barney and Smith. In 1915, NORwy&Lt purchased a new style double-truck from Southern Car Company. They bought arch roof streetcars from Southern Car Company. These become the original 400-series. They ran mostly on the St. Charles/Tulane belts. Perley A. Thomas designed the arch roofs for Southern. He used the design to start his own streetcar manufacturing company, in High Point, North Carolina.

Barney and Smith

grunewald hotel

Barney and Smith streetcar. (NOPSI drawing via Hennick and Charlton)

Postcards at the turn of the 20th Century were often colorized photographs. This is the case here. Artists usually painted over power lines in the photographs. The streetcar passing in front of the Grunewald in this postcard has a single trolley pole on the roof. Assuming the artist didn’t paint out a second one, this means the streetcar was likely made by Barney and Smith. These streetcars operated on Canal Street and on the Spanish Fort line. The electrified version of the Spanish Fort excursion line opened in 1911.

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New Orleans Centre – Shopping Downtown in the 1990s #Superdome

New Orleans Centre – Shopping Downtown in the 1990s #Superdome

New Orleans Centre – downtown shopping

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New Orleans Centre

A shopping mall in the CBD? Why not? In 1988, developers opened a mall right next to the (then) Louisiana Superdome. Several new office buildings popped up on the section of Poydras Street between Loyola and S. Claiborne Avenues. Those buildings enticed many companies to leave the “old CBD” buildings with lower rent and easy parking.

There’s always a catch. In this case, it was not enough lunch places. The po-boy places were back in the “old CBD”. The Krauss Luncheonette was a schlep down Loyola. Mother’s was (and still is) all the way down on Tchoupitoulas and Poydras. The neighborhood needed a bunch of food places in a small footprint. The solution? A food court.

The Mall in 1988

New Orleans Centre opened in 1988. The development included not only three floors of shopping, but a fourteen-story office tower. The mall featured two national department stores, Lord and Taylor and Macy’s. New Orleanians knew the stores as New York icons. So, the novelty of New York coming to New Orleans drew suburban shoppers back downtown. That was something Holmes and Maison Blanche never could accomplish!

New Orleans Centre started with approximately fifty stores. There was room for 150. The mall expanded to over 100 stores at its peak.

The Mall and Da Dome

New Orleans Centre offered an interesting opportunity for the Superdome. By 1988, the National Football League understood that Da Dome was the best place for the league’s championship game. While internal politics made designating the stadium the permanent home of the Super Bowl. Many league staffers argued for just that, anyway.

The Superdome presented the NFL with a tempting feature: a hotel, right next door. So, the Hyatt Regency Hotel enabled the league personnel to literally walk to work. They used the bridge connecting New Orleans Center and the stadium. No taxis to the suburbs. No public transit. Just get up, go downstairs, and walk into the Superdome.

ESPN

The sports network set up shop in New Orleans Centre for the 1990, 1997, and 2002 Super Bowls. Setting up in the mall gave ESPN the Superdome as a backdrop behind the anchor desk. Other cities just couldn’t match the visuals. So, the mall gave ESPN the win, no matter which network actually broadcast the game.

CNG/Dominion/Benson Tower

The primary tenant of the accompanying office building was Consolidated Natural Gas (CNG) Producing Company. The company moved from One Canal Place in 1989. The company, now known as Dominion Oil, occupied the seventh through fourteenth floors of the tower.

Hurricane Katrina

The mall declined in the early 2000s. Lord and Taylor closed at that time. The management company leased the nearly-empty third floor to WGNO-TV. Katrina was the final nail in its coffin. The Superdome was a mess, the Hyatt suffered terribly, and the mall flooded. A medical clinic, operated from the Lord and Taylor space, until University Hospital resumed service.

Champions Square

new orleans centre

Champions Square

The late Tom Benson, owner of the New Orleans Saints, bought New Orleans Centre and the office tower in 2009. After the Saints won the NFL Championship in the 2009-2010 season, they planned major changes for the mall. They demolished all of the mall with the exception of the Macy’s footprint. They converted the space into an open-air venue. Champions Square hosts pregame activities for Saints home games, as well as concerts and other events.

NOPSI Buses and the 900s on Canal Street #StreetcarMonday

NOPSI Buses and the 900s on Canal Street #StreetcarMonday

NOPSI Buses

NOPSI buses

Canal Street, late 1960s (Aaron Handy III photo)

NOPSI Buses on Canal Street

NOPSI buses and not much streetcar action in this #StreetcarMonday photo. That’s because it’s from the 1970s. The St. Charles Line operated solo from 1964 to 1988. Buses ran on all the other lines.

The appeal of buses

New Orleans Public Service, Incorporated (NOPSI) operated the New Orleans public transit system from 1923 until 1984. NOPSI was a private corporation. Middle South Utilities owned NOPSI. A holding company owned by General Electric, Electric Bond and Share Company (EBASCO) owned MSU. So, essentially, NOPSI belonged to General Electric. The power company owning the transit system made sense when streetcars dominated. They needed electricity, after all.

There are a number of reasons transit companies adopted buses over streetcars. NOPSI switched over a number of lines before World War II. The government forbade further conversion during the war. The War Department wanted the rubber used for bus tires for the war effort. After WWII, conversion to buses resumed. Most of the remaining streetcar lines converted to buses between 1948 and 1952. That left only Canal Street and St. Charles. In the early 1960s, Air-conditioned NOPSI buses tempted riders from Lakeview with a cool ride downtown. When buses took over Canal Street in 1964, that left only streetcars on St. Charles.

Buses on Canal

From the river to Claiborne Avenue, Canal Street buses ran in the street’s neutral ground. Three lines named “Canal” and two Express lines serviced Canal Street:

  • Cemeteries
  • Lake Vista via Canal Blvd.
  • Lakeshore via Pontchartrain Blvd.
  • Express 80 (Lake Vista)
  • Express 81 (Lakeshore)

So, all three Canal lines stopped at every stop from the river to City Park Avenue. NOPSI buses on Express lines picked up passengers until Claiborne Avenue. So, from Claiborne to City Park Avenue, they did not stop. Riders paid an extra nickel (in addition to the quarter base fare) for Express service.

When Canal-Lake Vista and Express 80 reached City Park Avenue, both lines turned onto Canal Blvd. From there the route was:

  • Canal Blvd (all stops)
  • Right turn on to Robert E. Lee Blvd. to Marconi Drive
  • Left turn onto Marconi to Lakeshore Drive
  • Lakeshore Drive to Beauregard Avenue
  • Right turn onto Beauregard to Robert E. Lee

Therefore, the inbound run began at Robert E. Lee and Beauregard

The Canal-Lakeshore and Express 81 route, from City Park Avenue:

  • Left turn onto City Park
  • Right turn onto Pontchartrain Blvd.
  • Curve along Pontchartrain Blvd, continuing on Academy Drive
  • Continue under I-10 at the 17th Street Canal, where street becomes Frontage Road
  • Left turn from Frontage Road onto Fleur de Lis Avenue
  • Fleur-de-Lis to Veterans Blvd.
  • Right on Veterans to West End Blvd.
  • Left on West End to Robert E. Lee Blvd.
  • Right on Robert E. Lee to Canal Blvd.
  • Left on Canal Blvd. to the end of the line at Lakeshore Drive.

Inbound run started at Lakeshore Drive.

One block of streetcar track

NOPSI 972, at the left of the photo, runs outbound on the single block of streetcar track remaining on Canal Street. The streetcars turned right onto St. Charles from Canal, for their outbound run to S. Claiborne.