An Entertaining & Informative Vintage Automobile Internet Magazine

Parking Lot Series: PM Whiskey, 1930s to’50s Cars, and Locomotives in Philly

Editors Note: Our network of computers was hacked over the weekend and finally late last night we were able to cobble enough wires together to put this feature together. The Old Motor Motor will not be running on all of its cylinders this week; the posts will be brief and after Friday’s feature is posted we will shut down again for the weekend to do more repair work. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause our readers.

Today’s lead image is dated by the source to November 9, 1951, and contains a parking lot identified as being located at the intersection of 22nd and 23rd Streets in the North End of Philadelphia, PA. There is a lot to see in this photo, including Pennsylvania Railroad tracks, locomotives, and cars visible in the lead photo on the top of the wall behind the parking facility.

Share with us what you find of interest in the expandable sections of this photograph (below) by C.H. Johnson and Richard Seltzer courtesy of the Free Library of Philadelphia.

39 responses to “Parking Lot Series: PM Whiskey, 1930s to’50s Cars, and Locomotives in Philly

  1. The trailer at the right of the photo might be marked with a Bell System logo. The tower on the right is interesting also. I like the coupe with the window sign parked next to the billboard. Is a Lincoln? Finally, what does a rabbit eating a carrot have to do with blended whiskey, unless it’s Harvey.

    Hacking a site which is not controversial in way, why?

  2. In Item 1 of 2, up front may be a ’39 Dodge, a pair of ’47 or ’48 Ford Tudors: up front and farther back at the curb with a ’49 or ’50 Nash ahead of it at the curb…and another one back by the Mobilgas sign. Beginning at the corner of the lot, a ’46 or ’47 Chevy Fleetline Aerosedan, a ’50 Chevy sedan and what could be a ’49 Pontiac with sunvisor, though I can’t make out the silver streaks on its hood.
    There appears to be a handsome ’46-’48 Lincoln Club Coupe beside the billboard and seen above the dark ’46-’48 Chrysler or DeSoto pulling into the lot, in the distance, a light colored ’46-’48 Lincoln sedan.
    In the street, the truck on the left, possibly an Inquirer delivery, appears to be a ’46 or ’47 Ford with a ’48-’50 Ford COE beside it.

    In Item 2 of 2, there appears to be a ’46-’48 Crosley convertible in the 2nd row beside a black ’46-’48 Lincoln. Farther to the left possibly a ’36 or ’37 Packard 12 or Super 8 Cabriolet. At the far end of the 4th row, a two-tone ’42 or ’46-48 Senior Buick. In the front row, backed up to the fence midway between the power pole and parking sign may be a ’46 or ’47 Hudson.

    • I agree it’s a ’37 15th series Senior Packard with the factory Touring Sedan bodywork (no dumb-bells on the bumper and a single pane windscreen, together with the angle of the radiator) and from the relative widths of the front and rear doors a longer one than the short chassis 1500 – either a 1501 Super Eight or a 1506 twelve. For what it’s worth, on my screen the hood’s side panel side looks more twelve than eight but it’s indistinct

  3. Oh, the interweb is such fun, leading to more crashes than a demolition derby. Hope you recover your data safely as your archives must be a treasure.

    With three 50-51 Nash’s (Nashes??) and everything from a Crosley to a senior late 30’s Packard sedan, this is a wonderful image.

    • Thanks, And because of malicious and mean-spirited individuals it is getting harder and more frustrating to run a website every day, and you should see the nasty comments some people leave. Maybe we should run a monthly “the best of the most acidic comments” feature.

  4. Research on Wikipedia found that the locomotives on the hill up behind the parking lot appear to be Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR) class GG1 electrics. The website states that “…the GG1 entered service with the PRR in 1935 and later ran on successor railroads Penn Central, Conrail and Amtrak. The last GG1 was retired…in 1983. Most were scrapped, but sixteen are in museums. These engines had an apparatus mounted on the roof to collect power through contact with an overhead line. Great photo, David, thanks for sharing it!

    • The apparatus mounted on the roof of the trains to collect power from overhead lines was I believe called cantenary.

    • According to the roster on The GG-1 Homepage, the locomotive #4823 was built in 1935 (production ran from #s 4800 to 4938) and retired in 1967 and subsequently scrapped. Only of few of the 100+ listed have comments, mostly mundane regarding paint schemes or special equipment. 4823 has the tantalizingly brief and cryptic comment “jinx GG-1.” Sure sounds like there’s an interesting story there but I’ve not been able to find it.

      • Raymond Loewy was involved in the design of the GG1s and they were extremely successful and distinctive engines. The overhead wires are catenary (so called for the curved top cable that carries the lower power wire) and the pickup apparatus on the locomotive roof is a pantograph.

  5. In the lead photograph, in the lot behind the “P.M.” sign and near the “Mobilgas” sign, is a light colored four-door 1949 or ’50 NASH [there’s a similar one in the front lot, 3 rows back].

  6. First of all, 22nd and 23rd Streets are both north-south streets, and necessarily run parallel. At no point do they intersect–especially not at right angles. Second, the combination of the date, the trio of GG1 locomotives , and the width of that masonry structure suggest strongly that the photographer faced northeast and took in a section of the (in)famous so-called “Chinese Wall”, a ten track wide viaduct that connected the main line of the Pennsylvania Railroad at 30th Street Station with the older Broad Street Station, near City Hall. That in turn indicates the street running from right center to bottom center in the photo (with two sets of streetcar tracks and overhead) is Market Street. The cross street is likely 23rd, given that the streetcar tracks are offset somewhat to the curb side, indicating northbound-only traffic–and the odd-numbered streets in center city Philadelphia are northbound one way. The tracks shown would have been used by streetcar routes 7 and 18, both discontinued as streetcars in 1955.

    • It is 23rd and Market street. 23rd runs to the left side of the photo, market to the right.

      The buildings in the upper left and upper right are both still there. The tall building in the center of the photo is still there, but has new neighbors. The left of center building with the water tower is there as well minus the water tower. The domed church in the distance is also in the correct place relative to the intersection. The railroad tracks and wall at the back of the parking lot are obscured by a bridge approach but also still there. The property is still a parking lot.

      • It is remarkable how much is still there in fact. Streetview images confirms; I would post the link but don’t want to step on any rules. Just search on maps for 23rd and Market.

        David, like others here I am sorry to hear your site was been targeted by what can only be described as miserable people. Thank you for persevering and all you do for us on this site.

  7. In the lead picture, in the front parking lot, in the 2nd row & 3rd car from the right is a CROSLEY convertible.

    Parked to the left of this CROSLEY is a ’46 CHEVROLET and four cars to the left of the CROSLEY looks like a 1935 PACKARD Twelve Sedan or Limousine [there’s a “newer” pre -war PACKARD four cars to the left of this PACKARD].

  8. Sorry about all the trouble you are experiencing, hope this’ll be the end of that. Hate when good folks get messed with by others just for kicks.
    I scarcely saw the automobiles here, with all those lovely Pennsy GG1 locomotives sitting just above them. Good photo for a train buff and car freak like me.

  9. In the 1st pic, just to the right of the “PM” sign, is a Federal or Diamond T semi pulling an open top trailer. The cabover is a ’48-’50 Ford F500, and a smaller Ford step van that belongs to the “Philadelphia Bulletin”, an evening newspaper that ran from 1847 to 1982.
    2nd pic has some cool trucks agin that wall, from left, looks like a late ’30’s Autocar cabover stake bed, then a Dodge, looks like an AD GMC pulling the open top trailer, and an AD Chevy cabover next to it.
    Good luck with the ” innernet gremlins”. Who is still hacking websites nowadays?

  10. Sorry to read about your hack. I wonder if some fans of this site have the right skills and can offer help to avoid this happening again.

  11. This is more how I remember the ’50s. Enough ’49/’50 cars to know it isn’t earlier, but there must be nearly thirty pre-WWII cars in there! I see a few Packards, a ’40ish Cadillac, several Fords or pre-war Mercurys , GM products and a Studebaker or two.
    A very interesting photo! So much to look at.

    David G, Thank you for what you do here. It is appreciated by a lot of people with interests in cars and history from the early 1900s into the ’70s. Do not worry about “inconveniencing ” us. Just take a deep breath, do what you need to do. Even if it means putting things off for a few days. We will survive. You do need to take care of you also.
    I sometimes like to say that “my fingerprints are all over the foundation of the internet”. I was one of the million or more engineer/technicians that helped to build what became the internet. Eventually, I got out of that business because I so disliked the gamer/computer programmer and marketing mentalities. Real engineers design things to WORK! They try to make them do a job, do it well, be reliable, and be useful to people that are NOT engineers. Gamers? Everything is a “game” to them. Throw out moving targets, shoot down the opponent. They leave back doors so they can sneak in and sabotage. Hacking is part of their game.

    Again David G, THANK YOU! If you wish to delete any or all of my comments? Feel free to do so.

  12. And if you could ask them why they did it they would say”Because we can”

    Anyway my favorite locomotive the GG1. I once had a beautiful pen and ink sketch of one which I had bought-where else-at Penn Station.Styling by Raymond Loewy who also designed the Lucky Strike cigarette package. He also designed for Studebaker,Hupmobile,Int’l Harvester….

  13. The small singular “Bell Tower” is a rather odd architectural detail for a parking lot.
    And good ol’ PYRO-KING Anti-freeze.
    Those Nash’s sure must have turned heads when they first hit the streets!

  14. Hey, Dave. Man, you are doing such a great thing! I so look forward to this blog. It’s the 1st thing I look at on my computer in the AM, yes-even before checking emails. Please don’t stop! Always some JERKS (I really want to use a stronger word) wanting to vandalize something. Wish I could help you in some way, man.
    Those GG1 locomotives were something! When I worked for Amtrak, I saw that they were always dependable workhorses.

  15. I’m sure what you’re doing isn’t free, yet we click on here free of charge for some of the neatest images of the past. If there’s anything I can do to contribute, by all means, let me (us?) know. It was that photo of my hometown McDonalds that pushed OM to the front. 🙂

    • Thanks for the offer Howard, there isn’t much any of you can do to help out right now, although progress on getting the site back in order is going better than expected. You can thank our sponsors who advertise on the website for supporting it.

  16. As mentioned above, “Apologize for any inconvenience”. David????

    We are all indebted to you for hours and hours of great entertainment. Thank you.

  17. As usual, a great job with wonderful representation of the past – Hackers seem to be people that could use their skills to contribute, but decide on destruction instead – a shame, but just another speed bump – keep up the good work – we all appreciate it!!!

  18. Surprising are the number of 1946-’48 Lincolns, which are usually conspicuous by their absence. There seems to have been an successful Nash dealer in the area too. By the date of this photo, that ’37 Packard would have been considered just an old ‘bus’ of little value. With the end of the Depression and then wartime shortages, the population was hungry for every new and plenty of it.

    Thanks Dave for all your good work to keep this an informative and civil place to which we can repair for a respite from the insanity.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *