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Oak Cliff Streetcar Photos

Posted by Jim Foster 
Oak Cliff Streetcar Photos
September 17, 2005 11:11AM
The Oak Cliff Streetcar photos were made in 1956 by the late James Guinn.
After going to Direct Link, click on Old Oak Cliff:
[www.dallaspioneers.org]
Re: Oak Cliff Streetcar Photos
September 17, 2005 01:35PM
Jim & Vivian:
The first streetcar is one of the newer ones that used to scare me to death rocketing across the Trinity River high in the air with no sidewalls except just over the river itself! You were able to look straight down from high above ground and those newer cars had softer springs and the faster they went, the more they rocked side to side over the less than flat tracks! The second shot is one of the old timer cars which were barely sprung at all and rode stiff and straight as lady in a whalebone corset in the early 1900's! It was also painted the cream and red of the newer cars and busses. Originally, they were an almost Lambert green with reddish trim! You could lift up the back seats by the doors and there was saand in the container under the seat which could be released to give traction on slick rails and also to help make fast stops! Does anyone remember the little Ford buses that were used on the Wynnewood line back in the early 50's? They were much smaller than the buses on main routes. The large busses were built by White Coachworks I think. Then, about 1963 or so, they came out with the Dreamliners or Dandiliners. I think Houston called them Dreamliners and Dallas called them Dandiliners or maybe it was vice versa.
Fred Ragsdale
Re: Oak Cliff Streetcar Photos
September 17, 2005 11:51PM
Those two photos of OC streetcars don't look anything like the ones I remember. Those on the Sunset line were never red and cream, as far as I recall; they were mostly green and had some yellow on them.
Of course Oak Cliff was a huge area and had several different streetcar lines, so it's possible that some red and cream cars ran on some of the lines that I never rode on.
Fred
Re: Oak Cliff Streetcar Photos
September 18, 2005 12:57AM
I agree with you. Fred. They don't look like the old clunkers that cruised the Hampton and Sunset lines. The post-war fancy streetcars used on the 7th street line were possibly red and cream but they split off from the Hampton and Sunset route just after coming off the streetcar trestle, close to Burnett Field, and never appeared in our neighborhood. I remember that the new streetcars had sissy chimes and not the old clanging bells of the green monsters. At the other end of their route I think they went out to South Dallas, maybe on Harwood or Ervay or such. The cars in the pictures don't look like them either.
Was the "late James Guinn" cited as the source of the streecar pictures the Jimmy Guinn that graduated from Sunset in 1949 and returned later to teach English there?
Re: Oak Cliff Streetcar Photos
September 18, 2005 01:36AM
Fred:
I, like you, primarily remember the old green and yellow with wood trim squared off cars in picture #2 running on Jefferson. The newer cars as in picture #1 were (naturally) used mostly on the North Dallas runs along with the electric buses which had double contact poles running up to double wires overhead. The buses jumped their wires more often as the drivers would cut a corner too sharply or swerve too rapidle. Then, they had to get out and walk to the back of the bus and pull the poles and put the contacts back on the wires. Electric buses were on the Haskell line which turned east on Capitol off Haskell. The trolley type streetcars would throw their contact occasionally and the driver just walked to the back inside and dropped the front window, I'm sure you recall that the windows went down to open, and looked out and grabbed the spring wound rope that ran to the round container for it on the front (back in this direction) pulled the contact rod down and reseated the contact with the overhead wire. I also remember going to the end of the line and having the driver pull the contact rod down and flip the seat backs and release the contact from the now back of the car and head back the other direction which we had come from! They painted the old boxy cars very shortly before 1956 when they took them off completely (stupid move made by many cities). I suspect the pictures were illustrating the repaint scheme! The newer streetcars and electric and diesel buses were always painted the red and cream as nearly as I recall. The electric buses were kept a bit longer than the streetcars but they too disappeared. I used to ride the Jefferson line daily to and from W.E.Greiner! I took the Wynnewood bus to Jefferson and got a transfer and rode to the Greiner cross street, was it Winnetka?) and walked from Jefferson to school. We lived out at Polk and Keist close to Jefferson Davis School which, I understand, has had a name change. I have written before that Iwas in the first 6th grade graduating class from Jeff Davis as it was brand new.
These memories are not guaranteed accurate but that is the way I remember!
Best to all,
Steve
Re: Oak Cliff Streetcar Photos
September 18, 2005 05:54AM
There was a street car line into North Dallas that terminated very close to the NW edge of the SMU campus, on Hillcrest and I don't recall the cross street. It was more or less across Hillcrest from what was then Hillcrest State Bank. I remember the green streetcars with a lot of woodwork on that line which I rode many times. That was the way my mother would go downtown during WW 2 and gas rationing.
I don't remember the electric buses out there but could have that wrong. I certainly rode the electric buses otherwise and also the IC buses which went further north on Hillcrest before circling back.
Re: Oak Cliff Streetcar Photos
September 18, 2005 06:36AM
Bill:
Remember the old brass pinch type window locks which allowed the wooden framed windows to be lowered to various levels from a small opening at the top almost all the way to the bottom on the old streetcars? Seems like they also had about 3 horizontal brass bars to prevent crazy kids (me for one) from hanging out the windows. I can remember getting yelled at by the driver many times when we would stomp on the warning bell button on the floor causing it to clang and scare pedestrians who were waiting on the center median to cross Jefferson! I was a model child! The model that should have been recalled!
I do know that he was a teacher, but not sure where he taught. He never talked about that much. He was the proof reader (volunteer) Proud Heritage, Vol. III and knew much history about Dallas pipe organs.
Re: Oak Cliff Streetcar Photos
September 18, 2005 09:56AM
Sir, I remember the latches and guard bars, the seats being swung at the end of the line and floor button for the bell. The seats were worn shiny from all the passengers and the floors were clean - I guess you'd say from a housekeepoing standpoint of no loose trash - but with so much walked in grime that to refinish would have taken a lot.
And what was the real true name for the operator? Driver? Motorman? Engineer?
After the trolley's were replaced with buses I often got to Fair Park by taking one of the buses towards that ran out to North Dallas and transferring to the Crosstown bus at North Dallas High. A lady who seemed very old at the time had a tropical fish business on the corner. Would that have been a Tina or a Lena?
And on the other side of the campus there was a Furniture business for years (don't recall the name except they spelled it furInture or some such on the store sign which is why I remember that storte at all.
Also, on that same side of NDHS there was Chinese restauarant at a time when Dallas did not have so many. It was named the "China Clipper" and had a neon sign with an old airplane. Shnaghai Jimmy, the Chili rice man otherwise mentioned on this board said they had the best Chinese in town in the late fifties.
Re: Oak Cliff Streetcar Photos
September 18, 2005 10:26AM
Those red & white PCC (President's Council Coaches) ran on the 7th-Belmont line which ran Colorado to Bishop to 7th to Clinton. Those cars were designed to modernize the streetcar fleets after WWII ended, since the same cars had run in most cities since the 20's and 30's.
I rode both the older ones, which ran up Jefferson to downtown and the PCC's which ran up Colorado. My house was about equal distance to either line. The PCC's were great but didn't last long. I rode one a few years ago in Pittsburg, PA.
As a sidelight, the 7th-Belmont line was originally called the North Loop car, since it was routed Colorado to Bishop to 7th to Tyler to Jefferson and back to downtown. The Tyler part was cut off and routed to Kessler Park on Clinton in later years.
Re: Oak Cliff Streetcar Photos
September 18, 2005 10:46AM
For all of you who remember the trolleys and the ride. The McKinney Avenue Trolley is still operating and what most people do not know is that it is free. Yes, Free.
You could also stop by the office and car barn at Oak Grove and Bowen street. So why not get in the car and drive down to McKinney Ave and take a ride. Take some friends with you. Make a Sunday outing of it. Jump off and eat at one of the many restaurants and get back on. Again it is free and it runs until 10:00 PM
Re: Oak Cliff Streetcar Photos
September 18, 2005 10:57AM
Bob,
I have a cousin in Houston that used to operate the cars from downtown to Oak Cliff. He showed me the viaduct that they came across onetime. I believe it ran alongside Canton Street. Don't know how it got from there over to Oak Cliff unless it went down eighth St. I am going to email him and see if he can pass along (if he is able) some of his memories.
Re: Oak Cliff Streetcar Conductors
September 18, 2005 11:17AM
A friend's father, who was one, referred to himself as a "streetcar (not trolley) conductor". I also remember the term "motorman" used.
Re: Oak Cliff Streetcar Photos
September 18, 2005 12:00PM
Bill:
I think we called the driver "the conductor" but I could be wrong. In 1948, I lived on Haskell Ave. just North of Capitol Ave. The China Clipper was definitely there back then and they were still building Central Exp. Lang Floral was on the SE corner of Central and Haskell, it later moved across Central to the NE corner when Neimans warehouse was built. They also built the Plaza theater just West of NDHS and it may have become a furniture store later. It was still standing last time I was in Dallas. That's about all I remember about that neighborhood as we moved to Grand Prairie in 1950. Long time short memory!
Re: Oak Cliff Streetcar Photos
September 18, 2005 12:10PM
Ralph:
They had just begun the McKinney Trolleys when I left Dallas. They werelike the old streetcars but it seems they were a bit older and smaller than the originals. Am I just remembering through the eyes of youth which make things seem larger than they were? I was so thrilled to see them running and drove on McKinney behind one remembering how the car tires would slip on the rails back in the day of narrow bias ply tires. I was just starting to drive back in 1956 when the streetcars were removed but the tracks stayed for a while and I do recall them grabbing tires!
Re: Oak Cliff Streetcar Photos
September 18, 2005 12:19PM
The Seventh St. car line left 7th at Edgefield headed north and ended just south of Kings Highway. Occasinally the cars would run beyond the tracks just a bit, cutting a grove in the McAdam.
Re: Oak Cliff Streetcar Photos
September 18, 2005 12:22PM
Jim:
The tracks I remember ran just South of and parallel to the Houston St. Viaduct. They had no sides except for metal walls just above the trickle of water that the Trinity River is until it hits flood stage. The tracks were as high above the river as the Houston St Viaduct as well and it was a long way to look down from up there!
Re: Oak Cliff Streetcar Photos
September 18, 2005 01:41PM
Jim, Steve's right. The streetcar trestle ran parallel to the Houston St. Viaduct where the current newer bridge is to downtown. No railings and just depended on gravity to hold the cars on the rails. The cars would buck and sway as they crossed the river bottoms as the motormen made up time on their schedules. Seemed like they were really going fast to me at the time, but probably not in today's terms.
That was a historic right-of-way and was the route of the original steam train that connected Oak Cliff to Dallas.
The building I mentioned in the post above was at the intersection of the streetcar tracks on Jefferson and the Interurban from Corsicana came together. The line from the south ran across eighth street (where you can still see the ROW by the Oak Cliff Cemetery), up Hutchins Road to the intersection at Fleming and Jefferson.
Re: Oak Cliff Streetcar Photos
September 18, 2005 07:45PM
McKinney operates an original turtle roof car from the stone and webster era.
another note..the PCC or president council cars that operated in dallas were the only double ended PCC's operated in america that is cabs on both ends....all went to other cities after dallas shut operations down and several are still in existence
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