Monday, October 27, 2008

urban transit in the early 1900s

This image, from Library of Congress Prints and Photos Division, shows Brooklyn's Atlantic Ave. station on a summer day. Taken in 1910 or a little after, it shows New Yorkers in Sunday dress, many of them headed to the boardwalk on Coney Island.

{Source: Library of Congress; click image to view full size}

This detail shows a Culver Line train pulling into the station on a return trip from Coney Island. The open siding on the cars is unusual. As you can see passengers could raise or lower the fabric screens, something like window shades.

{Source: Library of Congress; click image to view full size}

Still closer up, you can see young men riding between the cars and a modern young lady in shirt sleeves and tie, without hat.

{Source: Library of Congress; click image to view full size}

This second close up shows the driver in shirt sleeves, a lady with a big Sunday hat, and most everyone giving the scene below their full attention.

{Source: Library of Congress; click image to view full size}

Down below are pedestrians, the women in full Edwardian skirts and more Sunday headgear.

{Source: Library of Congress; click image to view full size}

It interests me that the women are in pairs, without male escorts. All the men are hatted, many in summer boaters and the police under regulation helmets. It's nice to see that not everyone wears dark clothing, though that's pretty much the norm. There are trolley tracks set into the street. This station serves the public with trolleys, a grade-level railway (the LIRR), the elevated trains of the Culver and other rapid transit lines.

This map from 1939 shows the route of the Culver Line. Part of it is labeled "South Brooklyn Line" because that line had taken over the Culver in 1912.

{Source:; click image to view full size}

For a pleasant outing on a summer's day, you could board a Culver Line train at Park Row in Manhattan, cross the Brooklyn Bridge to Atlantic Ave and proceed onward to the west end of Coney Island. The Atlantic Ave. station is not marked on this map; it's a little below the Fulton St. crossing. Here's the Culver Line (Original Route). Here's a link to a pdf of a map made in 1912. In it you can see the Atlantic Ave. station (with black rectangle marking the LIRR terminal). The Culver Line is shown from its northern end at Park Row down to its southern one at Coney Island.

This old postcard shows the Coney Island terminal.

{Source:; click to view full size}

This photo shows a destination -- Dreamland -- in Coney Island about 1904.

{Source:; click image to view full size}

This link takes you to a description of the Culver Line in its early days. Here are some
Culver Line Memories. And from the NYC subway site: BMT Culver Line.

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