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Ninety-Eight Year Old Pittsburgh “Golden Triangle” Street Scene

Today’s featured image taken on August 6, 1921 contains a view of a section of the three and one half mile long Boulevard of the Allies that runs eastward from the downtown “Golden Triangle” section of Pittsburgh, PA, to the Oakland neighborhoods located about two and one half miles east of the City and it ends a mile later at Schenley Park. The Boulevard was originally intended to be a thoroughfare for automobiles in the City which was clogged with trolley cars at that time.

Share with us what you find of interest in this picture by the Pittsburgh City Photographer courtesy of the University of Pittsburgh Library.

16 responses to “Ninety-Eight Year Old Pittsburgh “Golden Triangle” Street Scene

    • A trolley car has a trolley wheel on a boom at the top to capture electricity from an overhead wire. Street cars can be trolley cars if they have the trolley wheel.

    • This is the best I can find:

      “Trams and streetcars are essentially the old fashioned words for light rail. Trolley is a multi use word and can be a shortened version of trolleybus. However, in the USA trolley usually refers to a streetcar and trolleybuses are often referred to as trackless trolleys.”

  1. Great find!

    So this is 2nd Avenue east of Grant Street, before the Boulevard of the Allies was built in 1921-23, but after this section of 2nd Ave was widened in preparation. A ramp begins at Grant Street to clear the Pennsylvania RR Monongehela Branch overpass you can see in the distance as 2nd Ave drops down to the river. That overpass and related Mon River bridge are used by today’s PAT subway (The “T”) to access Downtown Pittsburgh.

    The tall building on the left was the Jones & Laughlin Steel Company headquarters, now the Civic Building. The multi-story factory on the right housed the Caloric Corporation, makers of electric stove elements. This section of Grant Street was once Pittsburgh’s small Chinatown, and a few Chinese themed buildings remain.

    The 2nd Avenue streetcars of the Pittsburgh Railways Company, which served several Mon Valley steel towns including my home town of McKeesport, were shifted to 3rd and 4th streets beyond Grant Street once the Boulevard was completed.

    • By the way, there’s a good chance some of those Model T’s were assembled by my dad’s father at the still-standing Pittsburgh Ford assembly plant on Centre Avenue, and sold by my mom’s grandfather at his still-standing Standard Auto Company building on Walnut Street in McKeesport…

    • The mushroom cap on the roof of the streetcar suggests it’s an old St. Louis Car Company “box car.” They were Pittsburgh’s first electrified trolley, introduced in 1902 and made of wood with a steel skin. Pittsburgh Railways started replacing them in 1915 with steel-framed Jones Cars from the Pressed Steel Company in McKees Rocks, but the wooden cars weren’t fully replaced until the mid-20s.

  2. Nice photo! Thank you David G !
    Several Ford model Ts, a couple Buicks, but not much else with enough view or detail to identify. I do see three model T coupes! The nearest car, on the end of the row in the center of the street, I think is a ’20ish Overland, the small model made to compete with Ford (I never remember the model number for those, although I have known several people that had nice ones and toured with them quite a bit). Right next to it, just on the other side, is a rare 1917/’18 Ford coupelet with removable pillars on the door and body to leave a nice open side for fresh air on warm days. The removable pillar coupes were built and sold by quite a few marques in the late teens. Not many survive, I did see an Oakland with that feature, and have heard of a few others. The style was short-lived for all of them, and there were at least three significant variations in the Ford removable pillar coupelets in 1917 and ’18. Those not counting the early ’17 (also called a coupelet) with a folding top). This one has the rounded padded top. Two distinctly different flat top versions were also built. Bodies were supplied by outside coach builders (like most Ford bodies those years) and varied quite a bit. Only a handful of ’17 and ’18 Ford couplets survive today, and most of them are one of the flat top styles.

    I probably shouldn’t stick my neck out like this. But as I look at the row of cars parked against the curb. I see a T touring, Buick roadster, T touring, T touring, T coupe, unknown. Then showing up behind the horse-drawn carriage, I want to say an early Jewett touring car. I can’t be sure, just not enough detail, and I may well be wrong. But having a Paige, and looking at so many Paige and Jewett photos? It just looks like a solid maybe.

    Again, thank you David G for another great look in the past.

  3. Front to back : Overland, Ford, Buick, Ford, Chevrolet, Ford….. I think the car with the exposed gas tank is a Chevrolet circa 1915 and probably the most desirable today. Very sporty.

    • Not Pierce (or Locomobile Junior 8 or Durant 48): may be Hudson.

      Compare before/after photos at whitepost/project/1923-hudson/

      May be a “P-car class” car at end of the lineup of curb-parked cars.

      It’s too far away (if not too long ago) to identify.

      And for those who like streetcars, rail cars, etc.

      (“The New Olympian” referenced the “Olympian Hiawatha” since no “New Olympian” replaced old “Olympian” and “The Olympic Hotel” was two years old in 1926.)





  4. Two things for me stand out in this picture. First, it seems that the awning supplier to the various shops along the street only deals in striped canvas, and second, since power steering hasn’t made its appearance known yet, it’s striking to see how few drivers take the trouble to aligh their front wheels parallel to the curb.

  5. Of all the autos shown, The Touring parked at the curb next to the three men on the sidewalk intrigues me the most. Has it been identified ?

  6. What sticks me is there are only about a half dozen automobiles having solid roofs; the vast majority are either roadsters or touring cars. But this was just before the Essex was introduced, so that makes sense.

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