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Parking Lot Series: Images from Philadelphia and Milwaukee

For today’s installment in the Parking Lot Series, the lead photo is a street view of parking in Philadelphia. The image was taken in front of the John Bartram High School on 66th Street in September of 1958 in the City. The majority of the automobiles in the scene date from the forties and fifties, although there may be a pre-war car in the mix.

Share with us what you find of interest in this photograph courtesy of PhillyHistory.

This parking lot and service center is located at 738 North Broadway in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, this picture was taken in the mid-1960s. Most of the automobiles in this facility are 1950 to ’60s domestic vehicles, but two Volkswagen “Beetles” and a British sports car are contained in the mix. One of the VW’s is parked next to a Chevrolet Corvair station wagon, designed and built by the Automaker to compete with the small economy cars being imported at the time.

Share with us what you find of interest in this photograph courtesy of the Milwaukee Public Library.

27 responses to “Parking Lot Series: Images from Philadelphia and Milwaukee

  1. The British sports car is a MGA and to the right of the Beetle that’s behind it, is an Opel Rekord P1 1957/60.

  2. In the top image, the newest I see is the `56 Ford Customline coupe 3 cars back on our side of the street. In the second image, 2 cars over in the foreground I spot a `59-`60 Opel Rekord coupe–somewhat popular to see in those years. It sits behind someone’s `60 Dodge Dart or Seneca 2dr. post.

    • Actually , Will , it’s a ’56 Fairlane 2 door post Town Sedan, We had one, blue and white, matching interior, ran beautifully. Can’t remember why it left us…lost in the mists of time.

  3. Based on the facade that’s visible on the face of the school, the first picture’s on 67th Street, rather than 66th, and looking from Elmwood Avenue towards the railroad tracks. The school extends between the two streets, but the main entrances are on 67th. For basketball fans, it’s the alma mater of Earl “the Pearl” Monroe and “Jellybean” Bryant (Kobe’s father).

      • True, and it’s particularly easy when the two streets are consecutive numbers, which almost invites a typographical error.

      • Something is amiss with the Milwaukee photo location also. The building at 738 N Broadway is the AT&T building, an art deco high-rise built in the ’20’s, long before this photo was taken and still standing today. You can see it’s unique top just above the word “Service” in the upper right corner. I’m not sure yet where this was taken but it wasn’t on Broadway. There have been a lot of changes there so it might be hard to find the correct place using current street views.

        Interesting that the street itself seems to be serving as a parking lot since it is full of cars without drivers.

          • The cars in the foreground are definitely parked on N. Water Street (about 800 North) between Wells and Mason Streets looking SE toward that unique-topped 1920’s AT&T Building beyond in the upper right corner at 722-740 N Broadway. The building at ground level on the far left is the fire station at 784 N Broadway that is still just like that today. There is also a slight hill from Water St. up to Broadway as shown in the picture. This block of buildings was replaced with a 21 story building in 1969 and a parking garage was built on the open lot. BMO Harris Bank is in the process of tearing down the parking garage to build a new 25-story building there. Unlike Broadway, Water Street is a boulevard in this location so there could have been an unusual event going on nearby (Great Circus Parade maybe?) where they might have had traffic use the west half of Water Street with parking on the east half.

          • I agree with Brian64SS that the parking facility is in fact one block to the west where the BMO Harris (ex-M&I) bank is located. It is interesting that the pictured garage and the one I mistakenly identified in an earlier post are strikingly similar in design.

    • In regards to the high school photo: I find it shocking that IF this is the street with the main entrance, why is there no flag pole with both the U.S.A. and Pennsylvania flags flying (assuming this is during normal school hours)? Weather certainly does not appear so bad that flags could not be flown, but there is no flag pole here, so perhaps this is NOT the main entrance, or it is Saturday, Sunday or holiday or there is a more public area for the flags?

      I am actually curious WHY this photo was taken. Was it to document the lack of adequate parking for teachers and staff on campus perhaps or neighborhood complaints about the school using up all the street parking on both sides which the residents might want to use for themselves or visitors? This was a problem for the high school neighborhood where I attended and had to park my Ford sedan during Sr. year.

      This side of the school building also has two rather large and ugly high voltage power distribution towers. One is very substantial compared to the lighter weight one.

      I suspect most of the later model cars are owned by the teachers and admin staff, perhaps even the older well maintained ’48 Chev 4 door?

  4. Is that little white station wagon a corvair? I wouldn’t have thought there were so many VW beetles on the road in the early to mid 60’s. I don’t see many Ramblers which I recall were pretty common as they were built South of Milwaukee in Racine. No Muscle cars represented here yet.

  5. The sedan at lower left, next to the VW, which itself is behind an MGA, appears to be an Opel. Can’t quite recall when Buick dealers began selling them.

  6. I was pleased to see the ’48 Chevy Master Sedan four door parked right in the front of the lead photo as I have one parked in our garage just waiting for spring to finally get here so it can come out and play.

  7. The newest car in the second photo appears to be the ’61 Chevrolet in the parking lot. That ’60 Dodge Senica has the best tail lamp design ever put on an automobile. They fit perfectly on my ’55 Ford back in High School.

  8. The Milwaukee parking structure is located at 767 N. Milwaukee Street. The view shown is the back (West) side of the building facing Broadway on which the surface lot in the foreground is located. The building is currently in use as a Secure brand parking facility.

  9. Yeah, 1948 Chevy 4-door, just like my dad had outside of the color. Used to tow a teardrop trailer and a load of kids with that stovebolt (and bouts of overheating in summer). The Corvair wagon reminds me of one owned by a father of a friend as we were riding in it when we saw our first XKE, a car out of the future. His Corvair was a 4-speed manual and we egged hid dad on to catch up with the Jag so we could get a closer look! Otherworldly!

  10. Love the Chevrolet Corvair Station Wagon,,,same year and auto into which my family of six crammed for a trip from New Castle, Indiana to Wichita, Kansas to see my aunt. No interstate. As I road in the back with the luggage, I can feel the vibration of the engine after nearly 6 decades.

  11. I still love how vehicles look like before. I’m still amazed on how they are designed and how they work. The evolution of our vehicles today.

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