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Prime Parking at the Downtown Indianapolis Traction Terminal

Today’s circa 1947 feature image shows a rear view of the Indianapolis Traction Terminal (bus station) located downtown in the City on West Wabash Street and in the foreground the Terminal Parking Lot. The back side of this Facility was located two blocks northwest of the partially visible Soldiers and Sailors Monument at the intersection of West Ohio and West Capitol Streets. All of the structures in this half-a-block area have been demolished and replaced with a modern structure.

The Terminal Parking Lot is filled to capacity with mid-1930s to late ’40 cars, trucks and a school bus, the oldest vehicles in the view are two 1930-’31 Model “A” Fords. On the corner of the Lot are three “Red Crown” gasoline pumps that apparently were not being used at the time. There are a number of interesting vehicles here for you to help identify.

Tell us what you do find of interest in the enlargeable photographs below courtesy of the Bass Photo Co. Collection and the Indiana Historical Society.


21 responses to “Prime Parking at the Downtown Indianapolis Traction Terminal

  1. Second car parked in front of the Gulfpride Motor Oil sign, looks like a 1946 BUICK and the 5th car is a 1942 BUICK.

    Parked on the right side of the photograph, facing the street, a little left of the two men walking, is either a 1947 or ’48 BUICK Roadmaster.

  2. Looks like a couple of Oldsmobiles bookending the front row in the second close-up: a 46 or 47 fastback on the left, behind the street light, and then a 41 on the far right, the last car for which you can see the front end.

  3. The car upfront under the street light poles I initially thought was a 1941 Cadillac, but now think it probably is a 1946/48 Lincoln. To the right of the Lincoln is a c. 1939 Lincoln Zepher, and to the right of it a 1946 Buick, not a ’42. IMHO. Also a beautiful twotone 1946/48 Hudson in the middle of the picture and another Hudson in the lot. Those Hudsons were a unique design not liked by many, but with Hudson, they did things differently. These jigsaw puzzles of parking lots are a lot of fun. Thanks.

    • I see the Hudson in the center, which could be as early as ’41 or as late as ’47. (The stepdown came in ’48.) I had a ’46 Super Six with about that color scheme, but more faded, back in the
      50s. (I also had three stepdowns) and loved them all. Great cars.

  4. 1946 Ford Fordor in traffic on the lower left hand corner of photo. I like these parking lot photos. It tells a lot about what kind of cars folks really drove the most back then. Today coupes, roadsters and convertibles are popular among collectors. These photos show that the sedans are over overwhelmingly the body style of choice. For practicality I’m sure. In all of these cars I see just a couple of pickups.

  5. I see three woody wagons behind the Hotel Stratford. Also below the Gulfpride sign is a hearse of some sort. I do like seeing the few Model As- all of 15 years old and looking ancient!

  6. Nice pic. I see a Woody wagon in front of Ray Graham tavern. Bottom right looks like an Aerocoach transit bus. Judging by the catenary and lack of tracks, it would be a trolley bus. Top left is a bus pulling into the terminal parking lot. Possibly a Yellow PD 3751. That is a huge terminal. Looks more like a train shed.

    • It was a train shed — for interurban lines. Indiana (and the Midwest in general) was home to an amazing network of interurban lines connecting cities large and small. Most of these interurban lines were replaced by buses.

  7. I’ve spotted two pre ’49 Olsmobiles with that to-die-for grill that has always been popular with the customizers. About the center of the middle row is a ’40s era Chevy Suburban.

  8. Visible at the bottom left of the lead photo, but missing from the enlargements is possibly the only Studebaker in the photo. Many 41-42 senior Studes were two-tones. Next to it is a sweet GM pickup.

  9. The picture reveals a presence of an older Electric Streetcar system and a later presence of: (Modern for the times) Bus system . I can imagine that: A “stay” at the: “Hotel Stratford” might be: ” A lot of overnight guests”, with limited dining facilities”. The typical paraphernalia of a nearby: High Voltage D.C. “Converter Station”, as well as: High current D.C. Buss Cables is evident . Note the: Three – lamp pedestal mounted : Traffic Signal — there is is a separate box behind it — for its controls. The whole top of the intersection is full of all of the necessary support cables for the: 600 Volts D.C. “trolley wires”., which have a: ” WYE” intersection for either direction on the Cross street! , which indicates a nearby terminal building —that accommodated all of the Commuter Cars parked in the parking lot, — Until the busses came along ! The Older and the Newer “systems” in one picture! Edwin W.

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