BLT on Magazine St., Toledano to Joseph, double track. While it ostensibly extended the New Orleans City RR Co. Magazine line (by transfer — no through cars exchanged, no financial connection binding the NOC and the JC), this two mile long street railway was independent. BLT by Mr. Joseph Kaiser, progressive transit promoter of the 1860s and 1870s. While limited service may have been tried as early as 1865, in 1865 “we are pleased ... to hear of ... entire completion ... two miles ... This road is smooth and well laid” and has “cars new and commodious” (NOT 12/12/1865). The franchise stipulated that the cars were to be exactly like those of other city railroads, and the JC's 5¢ tickets, locally printed, had an image of a JC car: AR PM BT, which is probably an accurate depiction.
It is possible the JC obtained omnibus bodies on RR wheels. The NOC had them, and easily could have BLT them for Mr. Kaiser. The JC and the road's reorganizations reported 10 cars (see S p. 18, Magazine St. RR and JCC 1874). General Grant opened the Mississippi River to the Gulf after he took Vicksburg in 1863, and with New Orleans under Union occupation after 1862, the city was open to purchase from northern carbuilders before 1865.
The PJ car barn and station was located within the square Peters Ave.-Octavia-Magazine-Live Oak in 1873 (RCOB #102 folio 770-771, sale 5/20/1873 George Mertz to 6th District & Carrollton RR Co.). Mr. Kaiser's street railway suffered spectacular financial distress after the Civil War, which saw him lose control (see S pp. 12 ff). Two reorganizations ensued with different corporate titles each time (Magazine St. RR Co., 1865 and Sixth District & Carrollton RR Co., 1873), and finally there was a merger with the Crescent City RR Co. in 1880. The JC became part of the CC's new Coliseum line, which started a short time later that year, and in 1913 finally became the mid-part of the Magazine line of New Orleans Ry. & Lt. Co.
This company had a rich history, in every respect. Construction superintended by J. B. Slawson 1867-1868 (Gardiners N. O. Directory, same years). A big investor was Patrick Irwin, one of the omnibus operators (see S p. 13 and Appendix III, page b2). Its first president was David McCoard. (The CC had at least six presidents 1867-1891, most very active, progressive men in the city railway field.) In 1873, A. Montgomery was the new president (Edward's Ann. Dir. of the City of N. O.). In 1874, the CC owned 35 cars (JCC 1874).
The CC 10th Annual Report (3/31/1876) complained of “dilapidated cars, some so gone they can't be repainted.” But the road got new cars, two for the Tchoupitoulas line and six for the Annunciation line (builder not given). The report claimed ten cars RB and painted and the purchase of 51 “choice” mules, plus the construction of a new stable and “car house” at Tchoupitoulas and Water Streets. Mr. Hugh Kennedy was president 1876 and 1877 (Soard's).
The 1876 report also admitted pressure from “huge floating debts” (by “old management”), but anticipated relief from “new revenues”. The CC reminded readers of the mixed 1876 report that street railways in New Orleans were “unprofitable investments” due to “dead hand system” and “diversified cheating”, and that the annoying ubiquitous counterfeit 5¢ “pieces and tickets” persisted. Yet, the company announced — incredible after such sobering comments — plans to extend the Tchoupitoulas line to Upper City Park (see Coaches & Trailers).
W. Van Benthuysen became CC president next (Soard's 1879) and held that post at least until 1885 (Soard's 1879 & 1880, TD 4/30/1884, TD 9/1/1884 — indicating 1883 & 1885 — and Soard's 1885 & 1886). Mr. Van Benthuysen for a while was president of both the CC and New Orleans & Carrollton RR Co. (TD 10/19/1883).
The 13th Annual Report (3/30/1879) noted the CC having 47 cars and 201 mules (14 cars on Tchoupitoulas line, 14 on Annunciation, and 6 on the “Jefferson” line — the soon-to-be-merged 6th District & Carrollton RR, and 13 “extra” cars. Thus began Mr. Van Benthuysen's energetic presidency of the CC, which included extensions, new cars, and higher revenues (especially due to the two Centennial Exhibitions of 1884 & 1885).
To prepare for the Exhibitions, the CC purchased 12 new cars and RB 10 old ones (TD 9/1/1884, no other details). By 1887, the CC operated 90 cars with 400 mules (SRJ Jan. 1887). The CC had a new president for 1885 & 1886, Mr. Jules A. Blanc (Soard's).
In 1887, Mr. Walter J. Behan became CC president, and with support from the Hart interests, started the Electric, Traction & Manufacturing Co., the grand electrification project, intending to completely replace animal traction power by electricity (see Electric Traction section, page g).
Poors of 1889 lists the CC with 90 cars, 400 mules, 20 miles of track laid with 35 and 40 lb. rail — Mr. Behan, President, J. R. Juden, Secy. & Treas., A. V. Smith, Supt., General Office at Canal & Wells Streets. The 1895 U. S. Dept. of the Interior closed out the CC's animal traction era with 80 cars and 390 mules. The reduction by 10 cars might be explained by the CC's policy of BLD & RB cars for sale. In 1890, BLT (or RB) and RG two PM BR BT cars for Alexandria (La.) City Ry. (P in LaSR vol. 1 p. 12). Five years later, CC sold 10 cars, poss. RB & RG, and 60 tons of rail to Mr. E. G. Burklin for a street railway in Biloxi, Miss. (TD 3/10/1895).
A trace of the mule car days were the cast iron CC RR starter houses from the Canal St. neutral ground which the railway donated to the City Park for its “iron summer house and pavilion” (TD 8/12/1895).
Strange to say, not any references to the Crescent City RR Co. revealed its cars' builder, but with Mr. Slawson's connection to Stephenson, that builder is a safe guess.
Copyright © 2008, 2015 Louis C. Hennick. All rights reserved.
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