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Part 3 of 5 Parts

Except for the lines of the SCSRR, and a few through routings tried out during the periods 1901-1902 and 1911-1925, virtually every streetcar line in the city not only came to Canal Street, but ran along it in both directions for at least a few blocks, and in many cases for five to twelve blocks.  The resulting mass congestion of streetcars, far worse than that of horse car days, was a problem at least as early as 1902.  Added to the problem of sheer numbers of cars was the problem caused by numerous switching operations: cars turning left across several tracks to enter or leave Canal Street, cars switching into and out of the center track, etc.

Beginning around 1917, efforts were made to reduce this congestion by running some lines a minimal distance on Canal.  The first such effort involved the former ORR lines.  This was one of the worst operations, since it involved a left turn across four tracks to enter Canal at Burgundy, and crossing of the inner tracks at St. Charles/Royal to enter and leave the center track terminus.  The solution was elegantly simple: the direction of operation of the single tracks on Dauphine and Burgundy* was reversed, and the lines were routed up Dauphine, turning right onto the outer Canal Street track to proceed out one block to Burgundy, then down Burgundy to begin the return trip.


*The French Quarter streets, downtown from Canal, are so narrow that they never had more than a single track each.

 Click here to view a map of Canal Street trackage in 1917.

The success of this plan finally established for most lines what had always been true for the SCSRR lines: that it was not necessary to operate for long stretches on Canal itself.  Gradually, over a period of years, the same principle was applied to many lines which approached Canal between Rampart and Peters: turn right onto the outer track, run as short a distance on Canal as possible (usually a single block), then turn right again to begin the return trip.  This policy resulted in the abandonment, some time before 1922, of the N. Franklin Street stub terminal, and in late 1925, of the last use of the Canal Street center track: that of the City Park and N. Peters lines between Camp/Chartres and Peters.

 Click here to view a map of Canal Street trackage in early 1925.


Pictures 170 and 171.
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The normal, congested movement of cars on Canal in March 1902, looking out toward the lake.  Compare Picture 69.5, in horsecar days.  These two pictures were probably taken from the same vantage point and just minutes apart, although they were published by different firms.  Camp and Chartres are the nearest cross street.  Notice the solid mass of streetcars as far as one can see!  In the upper picture, there is a starter standing on the center track in the foreground.  The large double truck car on the inner lakebound track, carrying a “Canal Belt” route sign on the dashboard, is the first of the St. Louis Robertson “Palace” cars, car 01.  Most of the other cars in sight are various types of single truck cars, primarily FB&D cars on the outer tracks, and “1894 Brills” on the inner tracks.  Car 175, the one following Canal Belt car 01, is signed “Peters Ave.”; its side is lettered “N. O. City R. R.”  The lead car on the inner riverbound track has a rooftop sign marked “Audubon Park” and a dashboard route sign “Coliseum”.  To the photographer's left from the Coliseum car is single truck car 249 in Camp Street, probably on the Prytania line (but possibly the Annunciation line), waiting to enter Canal Street.  Cars 240-259 were built by Jackson & Sharp in 1899, and were usually to be found on the Prytania line until that line got new cars in 1910.  On the photographer's right another block in the distance, a Clio or Carondelet car is crossing Canal from Royal into St. Charles Street.  In the lower picture, the company name on the first car at the left edge is “[N.] O. & [C.] R. R. CO.”; this car and the one in front of it are FB&D design. — Adolph Selige Pub. Co. (upper), C. B. Mason (lower)
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Pictures 172 through 205.
After the old Maison Blanche department store building was torn down and replaced early in the twentieth century, pictures of Canal Street featuring the new building seem to have become very popular.  Witness the following group of pictures, all looking out toward the new building.  The first picture shows the new building under construction.  The rest are shown in order beginning with the closest view, from about Baronne/Dauphine, and moving in toward the river and further away from the big department store.
Picture 172.
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The new Maison Blanche building nears completion, 1908.  The first cross street in the foreground is St. Charles/Royal.  Note the two-block gap in the Canal Street center track, with a train on the center track in the distance, at or near its terminal.  In at least two places, passengers can be seen boarding inner-track streetcars from the left rear doors.
Pictures 172.2 through 172.7.
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Here is the completed new Maison Blanche building, as seen from a building across Canal Street and around the middle of the next block.  These two photos from the postcard publisher's archive, apparently taken just minutes apart, are sufficiently detailed to focus on some of the other features of the pictures.

The first closeup is of the streetcar at the lower left of the second photo.  We see “Palace” car 0113 signed for the Prytania line on the riverbound inner track.  The view is a bit foreshortened, making the long car look shorter than it really is.  Just beyond car 0113 is a glimpse of a trailer for the West End trains, laying over on the center track.

The next closeup is of the streetcar at the lower right of the top photo.  It is marked N. O. & C. R. R. CO. (New Orleans & Carrollton R. R. Co.), which makes it a standard gauge car.  It is running on dual gauge track.  The wide gauge right-hand rail can be seen to turn right into Dauphine Street for the Orleans RR lines.  The standard gauge left-hand turn into Baronne Street is for the St. Charles Belt cars, and the standard gauge track straight ahead is for Tulane Belt and N. Claiborne cars.  At this time, the outer lakebound wide gauge track did not continue past this point.  The streetcar, number 196, is from the 70-car 1899 order of FB&D cars from American Car Co., numbers 160-229.  Since it appears to be going straight, it must be on the Tulane Belt or N. Claiborne line, but its route sign is not readable.

The other two closeup views, visible in both of the photos, show us some interesting signs on the stores next to the streetcar.  At the right, at 835 Canal St., we see “Buffalo Dental Parlors” on the edge of the marquee, and below that what appears to be a painted canvas advertising “Schaumburg's Restaurant and Confectionary”, with advertising of featured treats at right and left (an interesting juxtaposition).  To our left is a long, narrow sign which gives us the date of the pictures.  It describes a big sale “commencing Wednesday March 16”.  March 16 was a Wednesday in 1904, 1910, and then not until 1921.  1904 is too early; the new Maison Blanche was not even started in 1904.  1921 is too late considering the other features of the photos.  Thus, they are clearly dated 1910, or less likely late 1909. — Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Detroit Publishing Company Collection

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Picture 173.
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This snapshot was taken on a wintry day around 1920 from the corner of Carondelet and Canal Streets.  In the center of the picture, an arch roof car approaches on the outer riverbound track, probably one of the 400s operating on the St. Charles Belt line.  To our right from this car are a deck roof “Palace” car on the inner lakebound track, and another arch roof car, a 400 or 800-900 series car, possibly on the Tulane Belt line, on the outer lakebound track.  In the right front corner of the picture, we have a good view of the double right-hand rail on the dual-gauge outer track.
Pictures 174 through 178.
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Although these pictures were taken from slightly different angles, they show the same buildings on the downtown side of Canal (which the photographers were facing), from about Carondelet/Bourbon.  The top picture, the earliest of the group, features a single truck streetcar loading passengers on the outer lakebound track, while a pair of double truck “Palace” cars cross the intersection of Baronne/Dauphine riverbound on the inner track.  The second picture features a “Palace” car on the Canal Belt line riverbound on the inner track, and a single truck car lakebound on the outer track.  The third picture shows another “Palace” car, on the lakebound inner track, loading passengers at its left rear door.  Just behind the “Palace” car is a single truck car lakebound on the outer track, and a cluster of single truck cars are approaching on the outer and inner riverbound tracks.  The bottom picture also features a lakebound “Palace” car loading passengers at its left rear door.  Note the predominance of horsedrawn vehicles in the three upper pictures, and of automobiles in the two bottom pictures.  We see also the old fashioned “galleries” over the sidewalk in front of most businesses.  On the downtown side of Canal, the top picture shows the signs for Grunewald's Music Store Pianos & Organs, next door to the J. Rosenberg Co. Ltd. (at the right edge of the picture).  Some moves had been made by the time of the second picture, and still more changes are seen in the two bottom pictures (1920s).  In the second picture, we see that Grunewald's has moved into the ex-Rosenberg location, and the F. M. Kirby & Co. 5 & 10c store has taken Grunewald's former place.  (Later, Kirby's moved in one block.  Compare Picture 182.)  In midblock, we can also see the sign for D. H. Holmes, a main competitor to Maison Blanche.  In the fourth picture, Kirby's has moved, and been replaced by the F. W. Woolworth Co., advertising “Nothing in this store over 10c”.  Grunewald's has rearranged the signs on the front of its store.  The signs are similar in the bottom picture, but one can also read the signs of the corner store: the upper sign says “Imperial Shoe Store”, and the lower says “Hanan Shoes”.  The fourth postcard caption says the view is “looking west,” which is true in New Orleans terms, if one thinks of north as to the right (downtown) from Canal Street; but in terms of the compass that the rest of the world uses, these views all face almost perfectly north. — E. C. Kropp Co. (fourth)
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Picture 179.
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This picture was also taken from the vicinity of the Carondelet/Bourbon intersection, about 1925.  In the left foreground, we see a single truck car on the outer riverbound track, and next to it, a double truck “Palace” car with a 700 number on the inner riverbound track.  At the lower right, another “Palace” car is on the lakebound inner track.  The “Palace” cars now sport two trolley poles each.  An examination of older pictures showing cars of this series reveals that they originally had only one trolley pole each.  With two poles, the motorman can change direction at the end of the line by simply leaning out the window; with one pole, he must get out of the car and walk the pole around to face the other way, a real nuisance in bad weather!  There is no longer a track crossing Canal from Carondelet to Bourbon St.  The Clio line no longer crosses Canal, but runs in uptown only, and the Carondelet line has been succeeded by Freret on its uptown trackage and the famous Desire line on its downtown trackage.  Automobiles are plentiful in this picture, but we see that they are parallel parked against the neutral ground curb.  Later pictures show angle parking.  There is a big HOLMES sign on top of that store, in the upper center of the picture; it shows up in front of the right-hand wing of the Maison Blanche building.
Picture 180.
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This view of Maison Blanche, D. H. Holmes, and their neighbors on the downtown side of Canal Street was taken from the Carondelet/Bourbon intersection.  We see at least one “Palace” car, in the lower foreground, on the riverbound inner track.  There is the usual selection of single truck cars, some more diminutive than others. — Lipsher Specialty Co.
Pictures 181 and 181.5.
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Two versions of a view very similar to Picture 180.  We again see a “Palace” car in the foreground, this time on the inner lakebound track.  There is also a downbound Carondelet or Clio car crossing Canal from Carondelet into Bourbon Street.  The upper picture is from a published postcard; the pelican seal in the upper right corner bears the inscription “New Orleans for New Orleans.”  The lower picture lacks not only coloration, but also painted clouds and flags. — F. M. Kirby & Co. (upper); Brill Magazine, vol. III, no. 8, Aug. 15, 1909 (lower)
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Picture 182.
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A view from the Carondelet/Bourbon Street intersection.  Signs on the building at the right say, “F. M. Kirby & Co. 5 and 10c Store Hardware Glassware Tinware Woodenware Dry Goods Fancy Goods Candy Toys”.  (Compare the earlier location of Kirby's in Picture 175.) — C. T. American Art
Picture 183.
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The downtown side of Canal looking out toward St. Charles/Royal, postmarked 1911.  On the right, a single truck car is starting to cross Canal from Royal upbound, on the Clio or Carondelet line.  Dash panels on the cars request passengers to “Pay Conductor on Entering.”  The patriotic decorations on the buildings are not for Mardi Gras, but for a convention.  (Mardi Gras decorations would be different.)  Most of the cars are single truck, but the first car on the inner riverbound track is a “Palace” car. — Lipsher Specialty
Picture 184.
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Single truck car 240 operates toward the river on the inner Canal Street track.  Cars 240-259 were built by Jackson & Sharp in 1899.  Another single truck car on the Clio or Carondelet line is crossing Canal from Carondelet Street to Bourbon Street on its way downtown.  Note the White Bros. jewelry store on the uptown side of Canal (the left of the picture), behind the sidewalk clock.  The umbrellas carried by some pedestrians are for protection from the sun, not from rain.  Copies of this card are known bearing messages dated 1913 and 1914.
Pictures 185, 186, 186.1, 186.2, and 186.3.
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Here are two versions of the same picture.  The top view is from the publisher's archive, the second is from the published picture postcard.  Notice how the published picture has been edited (and before the days of computers), for example, by removing the little wagon behind the man in the center foreground.  The clock in both pictures shows 10:52½.  The photographer was standing between St. Charles (behind) and Carondelet (ahead).  This is another good view of the short section of the “five track” system which had no center track.  A Clio or Carondelet car at the left is starting across Canal into Bourbon Street, heading downtown, but it is a bit blurred and little detail can be made out.  However, much detail can be found in the archival picture.  The next three pictures are detailed closeups made from it.

In the first closeup, we have an excellent view of Peters Ave. car 258 as it enters the Carondelet/Bourbon intersection, lakebound on the inner track, heading for S. Rampart Street.  This car was one of twenty, numbers 240-259, built in 1899 by the Jackson & Sharp Co. for the N. O. City RR.  Initially purchased for the Prytania line, they also inaugurated service on the “Royal Blue” Napoleon line in 1903, and saw service on many other lines.  Note the ladies in their long dresses and fashionable hats, and the umbrella mounted on a pedestal in the neutral ground, under which two gentlemen are finding shade from the hot sun.  There are strings of light bulbs hanging above the street.

The second closeup shows a cluster of three streetcars just the far side of the Carondelet/Bourbon intersection.  On our right, on the inner lakebound track, is “Palace” car 089 signed for the Magazine line.  It is on its way to its terminal on N. Franklin St. just off Canal.  Next to 089, on the riverbound inner track, is another Peters Ave. car, 332.  This is an FB&D-designed car built in 1908 by McGuire, numbers 325-354.  The third car in this group, number 140, is on one of the standard-gauge lines (unfortunately, its route sign is not readable), proceeding toward the river on the outer track.  This is one of the 1896 cars 25-49 built by American Car Co. for the Canal & Claiborne RR Co., and renumbered 125-149 in 1899 when that company merged with the N. O. & Carrollton RR.

The third closeup (bottom picture of this group) shows some of the commercial signs prominent at the left, on the uptown side of Canal Street.  The most prominent sign is the LAZARD'S (not “LAZARDIS”) sign, advertising some of the important brands of clothing that store carried (“Stein-Bloch Smart Clothes”).  A little below that we can see a Katz & Besthoff Drugs sign.  For many years, Katz & Besthoff was the most important drug store chain in the New Orleans area, and this was its first store.  It was known for its purple trademark color.  It was absorbed into the Rite Aid chain in 1997.  The clock is also clearly readable, showing about a half-minute past 10:52.

In addition to the blurred streetcar crossing Canal Street, there are also at least eight more cars further down Canal, but details are impossible to determine. — Detroit Publishing Co. (second picture); Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Detroit Publishing Company Collection (first picture and closeups)

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Pictures 186.4, 186.5, and 186.6.
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This picture was taken seven minutes after the previous, from the same location.  Note the clock showing ½ minute to 11:00, and the little wagon at the edge of the neutral ground.  It may not have been made into a postcard, as the overall picture is perhaps less impressive than the previous picture.  But some closeups from it give us some vivid details.  The next two pictures are high-resolution details from the original, as posted to the web by Shorpy.com.

At the right, almost in the foreground, we see “Palace” car 08, lakebound on the inner track, signed for the Esplanade Belt line both in the end clerestory glass and on the dash, with several ladies in long dresses and fashionable hats waiting their turns to board the car at its left rear.  In the end window we can make out the rim of the vertically mounted handbrake wheel, implying that the car has air brakes.  Behind car 08 is a good view of a booth, perhaps a ticket booth, shaped vaguely like a tiny streetcar, and carrying on its roof an elaborate sign “N. O. Railway and Light Co.”  Several business signs are prominent, among them “N. Bellamore Leading Optician” and “Williams' Pharmacy”.

Toward the center of the picture, we see a cluster of six streetcars on all four tracks.  Prominent at the right, on the inner riverbound track, is “Palace” car 089 signed for the Magazine line in its clerestory glass and on its dash panel.  The motorman can be seen in the center front window, and next to him, we can see the rim of the vertically mounted handbrake wheel, so this car also has air brakes.  This is the same Magazine line car seen in Picture 186.2 on its way to its terminal at N. Franklin St., so we know that it took the car seven minutes to make the round trip from this point to the terminal and back.  Next to car 089 is Dryades car 46, riverbound on the outer track.  Car 46 was one of an order of ten single truck cars, numbered 41-50, built by St. Louis Car Co. in 1899 for the St. Charles Street RR.  Beyond car 46, lakebound on the inner track, we can see another Magazine line “Palace” car, possibly number 064, heading toward the terminal at N. Franklin St.  Following car 064 is another “Palace” car, and beyond that are two other single truck cars, but no further details of those three cars can be seen.  At the left front of this closeup picture is a good view of the future competition in the form of a Glide automobile, with its right-hand steering wheel.

In the background of the top picture, we can see at least eight more streetcars, but no further details can be made out. — Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Detroit Publishing Company Collection (top picture); detail views from Shorpy.com

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Picture 187.
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This view was taken from about the same location as Pictures 185 through 186.6.  Various single truck cars are on the outer river- and lake-bound tracks.  The nearest cars on the inner river- and lake-bound tracks are both “Palace” cars.
Picture 188.
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This is another view taken from about the same location as Pictures 185, 186, 186.4, and 187.  In the right foreground we see a blurred view of a “Palace” car in motion on the inner riverbound track, with an assortment of single truck cars spread out along Canal Street.  A few automobiles share the roadways with horse-drawn vehicles, but the automobiles are not yet so numerous as to require parking along the edges of the neutral ground. — Albertype Co.
Picture 189.
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Streetcar traffic is light on this day, but automobile traffic is clearly growing.  Postcard fashion of the day prompted some card publishers to add flagpoles and flags to the scenes.  Compare the flags in some of these pictures.  This card is postmarked 1930, but the track arrangement is from the 1920s.  The clock at the lower left can be seen in several other pictures, but the big Lazard's sign seen in the previous several pictures is missing from this picture and the next. — E. C. Kropp Co.
Picture 189.5.
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This picture is from a photograph taken some time in the 1920s, judging by the plentiful automobiles.  At the right we see two “Palace” cars on the inner lakebound track, 625 serving the Canal Belt Line, followed by 703.  Passengers are boarding 625 at its left rear door, and appear to be squeezing into a crowd.  At the lower center, we see Southern Car Co. 415 on the outer riverbound track, probably serving the St. Charles or Tulane Belt Line.
Picture 190.
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The caption to this postcard called Canal Street “the shopper's paradise.”  In addition to the many stores, we can see signs for a theater (on the left, beyond the turreted building at Carondelet Street), and on the right between Maison Blanche and D. H. Holmes, a sign advertising “French Opera.”  But the hordes of automobiles have yet to arrive. — C. T. American Art
Picture 191.
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Passengers are boarding on the left side of the lakebound “Palace” car stopped at Carondelet Street on the inner track.  Perhaps the best feature of this picture is the mule-drawn water wagon in the foreground.  (Yes, mules.  Notice the long ears.) — New Orleans News Co.
Picture 192.
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Another view looking out from the St. Charles/Royal intersection, with single truck car 244 the nearest car on the outer riverbound track.  This car was one of the Ford, Bacon and Davis (FB&D) cars delivered to the New Orleans & Carrollton RR by St. Louis Car Co. in 1900, numbered 230-244.  The dash sign announces the PAYE fare system: “Pay Conductor on Entering.”
Picture 193.
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Looking out Canal from St. Charles/Royal.  At the left, single truck car 63, marked for the New Orleans Railway and Light Co., has just crossed Canal upbound, on the Clio or Carondelet line of the old St. Charles Street RR (SCSRR).  This car is probably one of the group of FB&D cars numbered 51-80 which were delivered to the SCSRR by St. Louis Car Co. in 1901.  Another single truck FB&D car is coming toward the camera on the riverbound outer track.  Canal Belt line “Palace” car 020 is on the riverbound inner track, heading for the loop terminus at the Liberty Monument.  Magazine line “Palace” car 074 is on the lakebound inner track, heading for the stub terminus on N. Franklin just off Canal.  The dash panels on the cars instruct passengers to “Pay Conductor on Entering.”  Note the passenger about to board car 074 at its open left rear door.  The dual gauge double right rail is visible on the outer riverbound track. — J. Scordill, M. M. Levy
Pictures 194 and 195.
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The intersection in the foreground of these two pictures is St. Charles and Royal Streets.  Note the big suspended “Orpheum” sign, which can be seen in some other pictures as well.  In the foreground of the upper picture, just left of center, we see one of the double truck Bill semiconvertibles on the Coliseum or Henry Clay line turning from St. Charles Street into Canal.  Compare the viewpoint in Picture 136, which shows one of these cars in almost the exact same position.  Note also the multi-seat touring car in the lower right corner of the upper picture, an early version of bus competition for the streetcars. — Acmegraph Co. (upper), J. Scordill (lower)
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Picture 196.
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This picture is from about midblock, facing St. Charles and Royal Streets.  In the foreground is a good view of the crossovers connecting the outer tracks to the end of the center track for the old Orleans RR center track terminus.  Several St. Louis Robertson “Palace” cars are in sight, including the car closest to the camera, which is on the inner lakebound track. — George Lipsher
Pictures 197 and 198.
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Two versions of another view much like Picture 196, the upper one postmarked 1911, the lower postmarked 1909.  The car closest to the camera, operating on one of the old Orleans RR lines (Bayou St. John, Broad, or City Park), is maneuvering from the outer riverbound track to its terminus on the center track, crossing and blocking the inner track on the way.  After pulling up toward the photographer and changing ends, it will take the crossover to the outer lakebound track to begin its return trip.  Behind it, on the inner riverbound track, a car on the Coliseum or Henry Clay line is just about to complete its turn from St. Charles Street.  These two cards illustrate the tendency of postcard publishers to try to improve on reality.  They are undoubtedly taken from the same photograph; compare, for example, the pedestrians on the far sidewalk at the right center.  But each picture has had different foreground details painted out.  In the upper view, note the buggy behind the 5¢ sign in the upper picture, missing in the lower.  Compared to the lower view, the upper view has had numerous pedestrians removed from the foreground, in the street and on the sidewalk.  But note the cart pulled up to the neutral ground curb in both pictures.  The streetcars in the two pictures have also been retouched differently.  In the upper version, the closest cars have X-gates on their platforms rather than doors; the Orleans RR car appears to have many more windows than it possibly could have had, and it appears to have double trucks.  (Double trucks are just barely possible.  A whole 201-car series of small streetcars originally had Brill 22-E “maximum traction” double trucks, but these proved unsatisfactory and were replaced by single trucks.)  In the lower version, the same streetcars appear to have fewer but wider windows, single trucks, and solid doors on their platforms. — New Orleans News Co. (lower)
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Picture 199.
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“Palace” car 0133, signed for the Canal Belt line, is stopped at Camp/Chartres Street on the riverbound inner track.
Picture 200.
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This view, postmarked 1911, looks out from Camp Street.  The big sign across the neutral ground says, in part, “Logical Point Panama Celebration 1915.”  The car approaching on the inner riverbound track is a “Palace” car.  Note the switchman leaning into his work at the switch ahead of the “Palace” car, to send the car either straight ahead or turning into Camp St. — New Orleans News Co.
Picture 200.5.
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Here is “Palace” car 07 at Camp Street, inbound on Canal.  The presence of large numbers of parked automobiles suggests a date no earlier than the late 'teens.  The “Palace” cars were renumbered into the 600-700 series around 1918, so the picture can be dated to approximately 1917.  The car sports X-gates at its doorways; these cars were later rebuilt with sliding doors, and still later, some got folding doors.
Pictures 201 and 202.
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These pictures were taken from just a bit further in than the previous.  The wagon and automobiles on the neutral ground are crossing from Camp Street to Chartres. — New Orleans Curio Co./Albertype (upper)
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Picture 203.
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Looking out from Magazine and Decatur Streets.  In the next block, at Camp and Chartres Streets, we see streetcars on almost every track, including the center track terminus for the City Park and Levee & Barracks lines.  Centered in the picture is Godchaux's Department Store, at Canal and Chartres.  There is a ladder propped up on the roof of the “gallery” near the right side of the picture, in front of the building on Canal Street at Decatur. — Grombach-Faisans Co.
Pictures 204 and 205.
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Two nearly identical copies of the same picture, looking out from Magazine Street.  Two “Palace” cars are on the inner riverbound track.  Behind them, we can see a car on the center-track stub terminus at Camp/Chartres.  Notice how the flags have been drawn facing in different directions.  The car colors of the upper picture are the true ones; someone made a wildly wrong guess in coloring the lower picture. — C. B. Mason (lower)
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Picture 206.
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This is a lakeward view looking toward the Camp/Chartres intersection.  Godchaux's Department Store is on the right, at Chartres Street.  “Palace” car 038, on our left, working the Dauphine line, is approaching on the riverbound inner track.  We can see some of the crossovers between the inner tracks and the center track.  An 1894 Brill single truck car, no. 129, is on the center track terminus, changing ends to begin its next trip on the French Market, Levee and Barracks, S. Peters, or Tchoupitoulas line.  Compare its narrow clerestory roof to the wider ones on the single truck cars on the lakebound tracks to our right, which are probably some of the Ford, Bacon & Davis cars.  Although this card is not dated, the absence of any kind of motor vehicles dates it to the first decade of the 1900s. — J. Scordill
Pictures 207, 207.5, 208, and 209.
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Four similar views, all taken from the Canal Street neutral ground looking out toward the lake from the block between St. Charles/Royal (behind the camera) and Carondelet/Bourbon (ahead).  Downtown is to the right featuring the Maison Blanche building, and uptown to the left featuring the building with the distinctive corner tower at Carondelet Street.  The Maison Blanche building still serves New Orleans, although the big department store building is now a hotel.  In the upper view, single truck car 41 shows its curved sides as it proceeds toward the river on the outer track.  This car is probably one of the 41-50 series of the old St. Charles Street RR, built by St. Louis Car Co. in 1899.  It is probably serving the Dryades line.  The third view features single truck car 226 on the outer riverbound track, one of the American Car Co. standard gauge FB&D cars delivered to the New Orleans & Carrollton (NO&C) RR in 1899.  This picture shows passengers in the act of boarding a car on the inner lakebound track at its left rear door.  The bottom picture features someone in a street railway uniform, probably a starter or supervisor, watching the streetcar activity.  On the left, a car is just going past the camera on the outer riverbound track, while on the right, single truck car 137 signed for Jackson Ave. is moving away from the camera on the outer lakebound track.  This car was part of the first series of FB&D cars, originally numbered 25-49, built in 1896 by American Car Co. for the Canal & Claiborne RR.  When the C&C was merged with the NO&C, this group of cars was renumbered 125-149.  At the Bourbon Street intersection, a car on the inner lakebound track is boarding passengers from the left side.  In all three pictures, we see again the lack of a center track in this section. — C. B. Mason (top), E. C. Kropp (second), Van Noy (third)
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Picture 210.
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We are looking at the back side of the Orpheum sign that hung at the St. Charles/Royal intersection.  Since the front of the sign faced the river, we are looking in, toward the river.  The closest car is number 256, on the lakebound inner track, probably one of the Jackson & Sharp cars built in 1899.  At the right, a car is just completing the turn from St. Charles Street onto the inner riverbound track, presumably on the Coliseum or Henry Clay line.  We can see a sign for the Peoples Bank at the top of one of the buildings on the right (uptown) side of Canal Street.  At the far left, we can just see a multi-seat automobile, an early bus, awaiting passengers — a sign of things to come. — Acmegraph Co.
Picture 211.
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This view looks out toward the uptown side of Canal Street.  It is roughly the opposite side of Canal from Pictures 204 and 205, looking in the same general direction.  The first cross street is St. Charles/Royal. — C. B. Mason
Pictures 212 through 215.
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These four pictures look toward Maison Blanche from the other direction, compared to Pictures 172 through 205.  We are looking in toward the river, with the uptown side of Canal to our right, and the downtown side to our left.  In the top picture, Rampart Street is in the foreground.  The other three pictures were taken from a point a little bit riverward from the first picture.  In those views, the first cross street is Burgundy/University Place (which becomes Dryades Street, one block up).  The top picture was taken around 1910; note the lack of automobiles, and the “Pay Conductor on Entering” sign on the streetcar dashes.  The nearest car is a “Palace” car carrying two signs for the Canal Belt line, one hanging on the dash, the other in the front clerestory glass.  Unfortunately, the car number is obscured by a sign reading “To Baseball”.  The car is on the inner lakebound track, coming toward the photographer.  Just behind it, on the outer lakebound track, is a single truck car, number 223, one of the 1899 American Car Co. group of FB&D cars, with a Tulane Belt route sign in its clerestory glass.  On the right, another single truck car, number 44, is going away from the camera on the outer riverbound track.  This car belongs to the 41-50 group built in 1899 by St. Louis Car Co. for the St. Charles Street RR.  (This same car 44 is also seen in Picture 166.)  Looking closely at the curve to this track from S. Rampart Street, one can see that the right-hand outer rail on this double gauge track comes in from the curve; before this point, the outer track is standard gauge only.  The reason for the barricades, marked “Street Closed M. R. P.”, is not known.  It is interesting to note that even as mundane an object as a street barricade was painted with fancy lettering and flourishes in that era.  The other three pictures appear to date from the 1920s.  (A copy of the bottom postcard is known postmarked 1922.)  The third picture features a “Palace” car turning from the Canal Street outer riverbound track into University Place on the Dryades, Jackson, or Louisiana line.  The bottom picture features an arch roof car in the center foreground.  This is probably one of the 400 class cars, but could possibly be an 800 class car, as the 800s were acquired in 1922.  The car is probably serving the St. Charles Belt line. — C. T. American Art (second), E. C. Kropp Co. (third and fourth)
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Picture 215.5.
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Two “Palace” cars on the inner lakebound track, with the Audubon and Maison Blanche buildings in the background.  The closest car is number 647, running on the Canal Belt line.  In the next block back, we can see an arch roof car, one of the 400, 800, or 900 class cars.  The picture dates from 1929, around the time of the carmen's strike. — Collection of Mike Walsdorf
Picture 215.7.
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This picture of Canal Street from the Burgundy/University intersection looks toward the river.  In the left foreground, we see car 433, probably on the Tulane Belt, on the outer track heading lakebound.  At the left center of the picture, car 821 is lakebound on the inner track to serve the N. Claiborne line.  At the right we find two arch roof cars on the outer riverbound track.  The first car could be a 400- or an 800-900-series car.  The second is car 813 on the St. Charles Belt line.  In the distance we can also see an assortment of other streetcars, mostly deck roof designs, but they are too far away to make out any details.  The appearance of a N. Claiborne car on the inner track, which was broad gauge, means that this picture was taken after that line was converted from standard to broad gauge in February 1926.  The Canal Street tracks were rebuilt from five to four tracks between December 1929 and February 1930.  The picture therefore dates between 1926 and 1929.  This implies that cars 433 and 813 were standard gauge cars at the time of this picture, because the St. Charles and Tulane Belt lines were not converted to wide gauge until October 1929, after the 1929 strike. — Charles Franck photo, collection of Earl Hampton
Picture 216.
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This unusual structure was built across the Canal Street neutral ground, near Maison Blanche, for a Knights Templar convention in 1922.  The dates at the upper left and right are 1918 and 1922, respectively.  The nearest cross street, just beyond the double arch, is Carondelet/Bourbon.  The pennant on the knight's lance is marked “KT”.  The streetcar approaching on the riverbound inner track is “Palace” car 710.  Note the deteriorated condition of the neutral ground paving and trackage. — Collection of James H. Adams, Jr.
Picture 217.
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This is a view looking out toward the lake.  The lakebound streetcar is stopped at Rampart Street.  Note the double right rail on the outer riverbound track in the foreground.
Picture 218.
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“Palace” car 644 on the St. Claude line begins the turn from N. Rampart Street to Canal some time in the late 1920s.  At this time, the line operated on the inner Canal Street tracks to the loop at the foot of Canal.  Later, it changed to use of a loop through the Vieux Carré, and still later to a stub-end terminal at this point on N. Rampart.  Note the Saenger Theater on the left; we will see it in many more pictures of this area.
Pictures 219 and 220.
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These aerial pictures look out toward the lake from the corner of Canal and Rampart, which is seen in the foreground of the upper picture (postmarked 1921).  In the lower picture, we can follow Canal for many blocks out toward the lake.  Note that the paved neutral ground gives way to grass at Liberty Street, and four blocks further out (at Claiborne) the neutral ground begins to have trees.  The five-track section extends out almost to Claiborne, where the two outer tracks turn onto N. Claiborne (our right in this view), and only the two inner tracks extend out from there on Canal Street.  Note the Southern Railway depot on the right, facing Canal Street.  Despite the caption on the lower picture, the French Quarter is out of the picture to the photographer's right. — C. T. American Art (upper), E. C. Kropp Co. (lower)
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Picture 221.
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This aerial picture looks across Canal Street toward the river.  The building in the left foreground is Maison Blanche, and the closest cross street, visible in the left-center foreground, is Dauphine.  The famous crescent bend in the Mississippi River is obvious from this vantage point.  We are looking across the Vieux Carré downstream toward the Gulf of Mexico.  The far shore of the river is Algiers. — C. T. American Art

Text, captions, photos by R. Hill, and photos by the author, © 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2016 H. George Friedman, Jr.  All rights reserved.  Permission is hereby given for the QUOTATION of SHORT excerpts, as long as credit is given to H. George Friedman, Jr.


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