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Exceptional Photograph of an Atlanta Georgia Street Scene

Today’s feature image dated September of 1945 contains an unidentified intersection in Atlanta, Georgia. For old car enthusiasts who enjoy viewing old photos this picture has it all, a busy street scene, a filling station, and a parking lot.

The Standard Oil gasoline station on the right-hand corner has a parking lot costing 75-cents a day. The small building next to it sold frozen custard, and further up the street is a front end alignment shop. Traffic control at the intersection is handled by lights. The oldest cars and a trucks in the scene are two Model “A” Fords and an “AA” truck, the rest of the vehicles appear to be pre-war unless a reader can spot a new post-war machine in the mix.

Share with us what you find of interest in the photograph courtesy of the Georgia State University Library.




25 responses to “Exceptional Photograph of an Atlanta Georgia Street Scene

  1. Best seen in the 1st pic, the post war(?)43- ’47 Ford truck pulling what appears to be a telephone pole trailer, is stalled,(no cars in front, and no poles to unload) and the guy behind the rig, possibly the driver, is directing traffic around it.

  2. I recall that more than a few cars used to be well worn when I was growing up in the 50’s and 60’s as evidenced by the exhaust smoke they generated. In these beautiful clear photos I’d expect to see at least one car with smoke coming out the tailpipe from a worn engine. All these cars look pretty clean, shiny and well cared for. I sure don’t see any smoke.

    • I agree with Howard A above that it looks like a pole trailer, so that the truck can haul electrical or telephone poles and support both ends. It gives the company a bit more flexibility, since they can hitch up the trailer when poles need hauling and detach it to have a smaller truck for other jobs. It looks like this particular one is a double trailer, with one truck a few feet behind the body of the vehicle (with a single wheel on each end of the axle) and a second truck at the end of the shaft (with two wheels on each end of the axle).

  3. im a ford guy so top left 3 ford trucks 41 ladder truck , 40 pickup ,40 panel ,front left of garagebuiding 37 tudor and ma maybe a 41 tudor , diagonally behind building 33 tudor and again possibly a 41 tudor then a 34 coupe in traffic and I think a 36 humpback sedan going the other direction anybody spot more???

  4. Standouts circulating among the many “low-priced-three” are a ’36-’37 Graham parked at the curb next to a ’41 Nash 600 in the top view, two convertibles coupes gassing up at the Standard station: a ’37 Packard 115 and a ’40 Buick. About to enter the intersection is a ’41-’42 Studebaker Champion two door sedan in the middle view, a ’40 LaSalle peeks from behind the building in the lower view. Note how few cars have whitewall tires.

  5. Does anybody have any idea where in Atlanta this is? I’m pretty good on my Atlanta history (I volunteer with the Atlanta Preservation Center and conduct walking tours of Downtown) but can’t identify this intersection. I can’t see / read street signs in the photo, and although there are streetcar tracks in the photos I can’t match anything up with old streetcar maps.


  6. I’ve fond a map of Atlanta’s public transportation system from 1946. If I could find a way to post the map, the routing would narrow the search for the present day location.

  7. This is Marietta Street (with the tracks) at Spring Street (now Ted Turner Drive).

    Atlanta History Center’s site has another picture of the same intersection from a different angle.

    The building with the Simpson Tailors sign on it is now the Glenn Hotel. See the “History” tab on the hotel’s website.

    • Thank you! As we have such a history of tearing things down I thought perhaps the buildings were no longer there.

      • More specifically the following businesses can be identified on Marietta NW.

        119: Arrow Auto Service Filling Station; owned by Roy L. Livingston
        122 – 124: J. B. Simpson, Inc.; on the ground floor of the Glenn Building
        Note the Simpson Tailors sign
        123: Roy N. Livingston, Auto Parking.
        127: Morrison Shoppes Restaurant; Nickel Morrison
        Note the Morrison’s No. 1 sign
        133-35: Roy N. Livingston, Auto Parking
        135: Atlanta Safety Brake Service owned by Norman Glore

        Roy Morrison owned multiple parking lots and service stations near this location. In 1963 he sold them to a New York corporation for $2.5 million. More of his business can be seen at the following The Old Motor post.

    • The one and only car in the photo with whitewalls is a 1939 Ford Deluxe Tudor sedan (with unique front hood and fenders and two vertical tear drop tail lamps) in lower left approaching the intersection. I see that the Ford Pickup truck and Panel delivery trucks are actually 1941 year models by noting their hood chrome and hood side chrome Ford script plaques.

      My guess is that this is actually a photo from early 1942 or possibly a bit later. There were no white wall tires being made for any U.S. new cars or for U.S. tire dealers by Federal decree beginning December 1941 to conserve the extra rubber on side walls which were vulcanized to the black sidewall tires. The demand for Allied support aviation and military vehicle tires required extensive rubber supplies which had already been severely cut off by Japanese invasion forces. Synthetic rubber would soon be in production but it took quite a while to gear up chemical factories (butadiene and natural gas). ALL types of new replacement tires were on strict ration throughout the U.S. for the duration of WWII. Whitewall tires in existing dealer inventories probably sold out quickly of course but new car dealers were usually not able to supply them once gone.
      Many new 1942 model cars came without a spare tire (perhaps an empty wheel only). Whitewall tires did not become generally available in the U.S. for any new cars again until 1947. White wheel trim rings were offered on specific brands as accessories (particularly from Chrysler Corp).

      Correctly presented 1946 concours d’elegance or point judged (restored or original preservation division) U.S. made cars should not be eqipped with U.S. made whitewall tires to be historically accurate. (ref: Early Ford V8 Club of America Concourse Judging Standards).

      Thanks David for excellent photos!

      • Oops! I see David has given us the date of the photo as Sept. 1945 (surely proves how few new cars were on the street during those tough times). But hard won victory in Europe finally came and our “Great Generation” soldiers were finally on their way home from Europe. Many auto manufacturers were quickly converting back to domestic vehicle production by mid 1945 since victory in Japan was in sight. Our country was surely looking forward to better days by then. There is a famous photo of a smiling President Truman receiving a brand new 1946 year model Ford in late 1945.

        • Look closely in the bed of the Ford pickup truck on the street in front of the brake & wheel alignment shop (“Atlanta S…..” next to ’40 Ford pickup with stakes and ’41 Ford Fordor “Special” along the building side-with a wrecked car on its side!) and you will see a few old tires, probably being scarfed up for valulable rubber salvage. One of them appears to be a white wall tire!

          One industry that got a full shot of adrenoline back then would have been the tire recapping business (these were bias ply tire days, so good used casings could easily be remade with new tread recaps using considerably less recycled rubber). Our commercial trucking industry and agriculture needed these desperately, providing the government could alot enough recycled rubber for them to function beyond what the Alied military needed for new tires.

          Let’s not forget that gasoline was one of the prime “rationed” commodities beyond food staples, nationwide requiring use of the personal ration books and stamps issued by Federal Government along with a windshield gasoline ration sticker (non-removable, Class A, B, or C). That’s another reason why the gas station property we see is heavily occupied for use as a parking lot.

          The general public got “A” ration stickers and were required to ride share. This might explain so many people milling around the car parking area (near a major War Materiel factory?). Even though the Standard Oil dealer has six pumps, he probaby had little gasoline to sell even for those who had valid ration stamps. So he had to make money by any legitimate means (parking, washing, polishing, oil changes, lubes, tire inspections, etc.).

          I see only a single pair of train rails running down the center of the street with no streetcar overhead wires and no buses at the time this photo was taken. Poor public transit in the area? The National Garage is near the corner as well. I’m thinking there might have been a large military manufacturing facility near this intersection during this time. The retail businesses seem very limited here. Do you Atlanta historians know what was going on here for emplyoyment in 1945?

  8. Glad to see Rich’s above comment:
    “Correctly presented 1946 concours d’elegance or point judged (restored or original preservation division) U.S. made cars should not be eqipped with U.S. made whitewall tires to be historically accurate.”

    For decades we’ve been seeing “100 point” CCCA, Packard Club and other event ’46 automobiles with white sneakers, as well as gloss instead of satin/semi-gloss/matte black engine accessories, underscoring most janitorial d’elegances cater more to ego than historical accuracy. We’ve also heard from respected sources that whitewalls weren’t available on 1947 models, regardless make, model, price level, until the final few weeks or month of the ’47 model year.
    Of course, as with outlandish colors, many wave period magazine ads intended to turn page-turners’ attention as “proof” that such and such a hue or whitewalls were available in these years.
    Also, many people thought whitewalls tacky, gauche, and you rarely saw them on high end English and European cars. A good, cohesive design doesn’t need such frippery, but try explaining this to the gotta-have-it “well, the dealer offered it” sorts today’s show and shines.
    A friend has a gorgeous ’40 Packard One-Eighty Darrin victoria, black, black top, blackwalls, gray interior, standard bail ornament in lieu of usual flying lady or cormorant; you really “see” the car. He laughs that at any meet or exhibit (like most of us, he long since tired of judged events), some doofus gravely informs him that his car is “supposedta” have whitewalls.
    Thank you.

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