Staib’s Saloon, Blossom and Winton, 1913.
Of course it was an imperfect arrangement. Streetcars in cities were an important, even critical, part of early 20th century urban life, but like any human conception, not without the occasional flaw.
Like the one above, when a streetcar crashed through the front door of Staib’s Saloon. Perhaps the motorman was thirsty….
One of the biggest challenges was keeping autos and streetcars separated. As on Main Street, below in 1919, officials experimented with a variety of controls to assure that the transit modes stayed clear of each other.
Which of course they didn’t.
Parsells Avenue, 1915.
Monroe and Crosman, 1923.
And often the sudden presence of a car or truck on the tracks would induce various kinds of mayhem.
On St. Paul in 1922, a truck bumped a streetcar off the tracks, and it promptly hit a fire hydrant, causing a small tidal wave.
Not sure how this next one happened right downtown, but it sure drew a crowd.
Methinks somehow a rubber-tired vehicle was involved….
Streetcar workers occasionally went on strike (as railway companies found ways to operate the trolleys with fewer employees, for example), but the show had to go on. And it did.
I can hear OSHA inspectors nationwide groaning at this image. But hey – it worked.
Judging by all the smiles, everyone was having a pretty good time in spite of the work stoppage.
Main and Fitzhugh, 1910.
So mishaps and hiccups notwithstanding, the streetcar city worked pretty well.
Moral of the tale: cities are for feet, then rails, then cars.