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Morning Traffic on Broad Street in Lower North Philadelphia

Today’s featured image was taken in Lower North Philadelphia, PA, looking northward from the Pennsylvania Railroad Station overpass. The scene in the photo is located at the intersection of North Broad St. (PA 611) and Indiana Ave.; it contains “new traffic lanes” and Philadelphia Police Traffic Officers assisting motorists get acquainted with the extra (fourth) southbound lane in use during in the morning rush hour on December 15, 1954.

For the most part, not much has changed in the neighborhood, and it appears much the same today. The historic North Philadelphia Train Station is located nearby at 2900 North Broad St. 

Please share with us what you find of interest in this photograph by Frederick A. Meyer courtesy of the Temple University Libraries.

29 responses to “Morning Traffic on Broad Street in Lower North Philadelphia

  1. The “New Engines” in the Chevrolet billboard to the left must be the short block V-8, introduced in the ’55 model year.

    • Good eye AML of being able to spot that ’39 Buick driving away on the right hand side. But what is the car driving forward on the left hand side in the middle lane right behind the big Cadillac? I figured that Pat W would correctly identify the make but he skipped over it for some reason. Any ideas?

      • MP,

        Thanks for your comment.

        If we are looking at the same vehicle. Driving toward the camera, following the dark ’52 CADILLAC with a visor [in the foreground], is a 1948 PONTIAC DeLuxe Torpedo Convertible with fog lamps [in the intersection & two cars to the left from the ’39 BUICK]. Rereading Pat W’s comment below, this ’48 PONTIAC is mentioned in the 1st sentence.


        • The 1948 Pontiac convertible is the car that is behind the Cadillac on the right lane, I was referring to the car in the middle lane behind the Cadillac, that is next lane over, it can’t possibly be a 1948 and I have no clue as to its make do you?

          • MP,

            Sorry about the mix up.

            It looks like a four-door 1940 CHEVROLET Sedan. The running lamps are on the tops of the front fenders outbound from the head lights. The car has a few extras; fog-lamps, spot-light, and “flairs” to the ends of the front bumper. The car also could have a two-tone paint job.


      • I suggest it’s a late post-war Pontiac convertible, pretty rare today.

        Having graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1966, at the height of the Vietnam War, I recall nervously going for a draft physical on North Broad Street. The docs there told me one leg was 3″ longer than the other and rejected me. I did not argue.

        Wasn’t there a Mercedes-Benz dealer on North Broad, Keanan Motors?

        • Yes, after doubling checking on the internet that car does appear to be a 1940 Chevrolet sedan. I am not that proficient in being able to identify American cars from the late 30’s to the early 40’s as there were so many different style changes back then – I’m still learning- but that’s what makes them so interesting. Thanks AML for the correct I.D.

          • MP,

            Glad was able to help.

            Going to classiccarcatalogueDOTcom might be of interest to identify world-wide automobiles from 1930 through 1979. Replace “DOT” with “.” and you should get to the site.


    • Thanks for the reference to the classiccarcataloguedotcom website. I’ve already put it in my files and am sure that I will refer to it from time to time. I’ll enjoy looking at those old advertisements which are hard to find by just using the internet. Yours – with much appreciation – MP

  2. On the left up front, a ’50 Buick Super Tourback Model 52 with the 4” stretch and ’52 Cadillac Series 62 followed by a ’48 Pontiac Torpedo convertible.
    Entering from the left, a ’49 or ’50 Chevy followed by a ’53 Ford Customline Fordor and maybe a Cadillac Coupe. A ’54 Chevy Bel Air sedan, a ’49 Ford Tudor and a ’52 Chevy Styleline Deluxe Sedan.

    In the two lanes headed away, about four cars up are a white ’54 Senior Buick and ’49 or ’50 non-Cosmo Lincoln….headed this way just beside them is a ’51 Ford that’s been nosed.

    I think that ’55 Plymouth Keith spotted may be the only Chrysler product anywhere close to us…unless that’s rear of a ’53 Dodge peeking out from the alley on the right.

  3. i lived in Philadelphia briefly and got a graduate degree at Temple University nearly 50 years ago. i’m no expert but i never heard this area called lower North Philadelphia. this is pretty much the center of North Philadelphia. the areas of the city further north had other names like Tioga and Frankfurt and Olney, and the vast area to the north of Frankfort, (nearly half the square miles of the city) was generally referred to as the Northeast.

  4. The ’51-’52 Cadillac was a Fleetwood 75 long-wheelbase sedan. Most think of them as only in chauffeured private limousine service but half the annual production was employed as livery service: funeral homes, airport and railroad livery, upscale hotel chauffeur courtesy cars and sightseeing operations.

    • On the Fleetwood 75 the rear door handle is just ahead of the vertical chrome on the side…in the photo it appears to be behind that chrome, as it is on the 130” w/b Fleetwood 60 Special and the 126” w/b Series 62 Sedan. With such a minor variation in w/b it’s had to say which one…maybe I see the 60 Special’s hash marks ahead of the rear wheel…maybe not.

      • Zooming up on the Cadillac, the three separate windows divided by dark-painted frames are visible which lead me to conclude its a 75. The windshield visor suggest it might have been a livery car, the visor attached by the operator or for the convenience of the drivers. Sullying a chauffeured limousine with a visor would be so declasse!

  5. “Motoramic” was Chevrolet’s ad tagline for the 1955 line refresh, and was supposed to be “a new concept in low-cost motoring.” According to their late 1954 print ads, they had new engines (a V8 and the Blue-Flame V6s in 136 and 123 c.i. sizes), “outrigger rear springs” outside the frame, optional overdrive or Powerglide, more glass around the cabin to improve visibility, and top-mounted pedals.

  6. I see a few pre-war cars in that scene. Always a plus for me.
    Also a few post-war convertibles which I wouldn’t so much expect for an Eastern city, however they certainly can also enjoy the nice air.
    One car that intrigues me a bit, I am sure a few of our post-war hobbyists will enlighten us (maybe they already have bu not cleared for posting yet?). The Cadillac, front and center, appears to be a limousine, with a visor over the windshield. A combination I haven’t seen often in post-war cars

    Thank you David G.

  7. The 1st big truck looks like a late 40’s Mack, too far away for the other ones. It appears, they use that center lane for either way traffic, a good idea. I always wonder why in traffic jams, the lanes going the way are deserted, especially in evacuation situations.

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