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Downtown Auburn, New York c. 1930

Things were pretty quiet on this major thoroughfare in the commercial district of Auburn on this day some eighty plus years ago. We believe the big sedan driving away from us is a 1929 Hudson and the Flivver parked at the curb is a 1924 or later high radiator model. Can any sharp-eyed readers pick out the year and make of the other cars in this scene? Take note of the ornate cast iron street lamps. You can find another photo of this small city in the Finger Lakes region taken about 25 years later here on The Old Motor. Image courtesy of the AACA Forum.

2 responses to “Downtown Auburn, New York c. 1930

  1. The car parked at the far right looks like a 1929 Plymouth Model Q 2-Door Sedan if it was made early in the Plymouth production run (which started on June 11, 1928). If it was made later in the year it is a Model U 2-Door Sedan. They are almost identical, but a sure sign of a Model Q are the two grooves in the bumper bars. The Model U did not have these grooves. Other differences between these models are the wheel hubs being different shapes, different tire sizes, and the name “Chrysler/Plymouth” appearing on the Model Q radiator grille instead of just “Plymouth” on the Model U. The photo is not clear enough to see most of these details. Although the 1929 Desoto Sedan Coche (Coach) was almost the same, the lack of cowl lights indicates this is a Plymouth.

    The license plate on the Ford Model T is from 1929, so that is likely the year of the photograph. This was the only year that New York used a raised letter character at the left of the numbers. On some plates there is a number below the letter.

    The location in Auburn is on South Street approaching Genesee Street. The Shields Bonnet Shop, owned by Mrs. Anna A. Shields, in the foreground is at 9 South Street. The Owasco River is two blocks north of this address. The two buildings on the right side of the street are still there, but nearly everything else has been demolished. Note the early traffic control signals at the intersection. Auburn had a population of about 39,000 at this time. According to the city directory diesel engines were one of the principal manufactured products of the city.

  2. Great photo – I live very near Auburn NY. I have recently purchased 1929 4 door sedan like what is pictured for restoration. Thank you for sharing your photos – Dave

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