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Busy Richmond Roundabout Services Four Thoroughfares

The time was June of 1950, and this image contains a view of the old Westwood Circle on the North Side of Richmond, VA. The rotary was at the intersection of North Boulevard, Hermitage Road and Westwood Avenue. It was in place until 1961 when the circle was removed, and a conventional intersection with signal lights replaced it. Check out a present-day street view of the junction.

Please share with us what you find of interest in the enlargeable photograph (below) found via courtesy of the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

29 responses to “Busy Richmond Roundabout Services Four Thoroughfares

    • There’s a second Frazer (no visor) about 5 cars behind the one with the visor.
      The Dodge panel truck caught my eye.
      I’m still not sure about the Roundabout concept. Some were built in Omaha Neb, and the city promoted them as “Calming Circles ” 🙁

      • There seems to be a coordinated effort to convince municipalities that Roundabouts are the solution to the traffic problem. It’s an idea that has shown up here in the Bay area lately. My reaction is “meh”.

        • Come to the UK where we have traffic circles by the hundred, and they all work very well. The rule is to give way to traffic approaching from the right so that once you have entered the circle you have the right of way while on the circle until you leave it. Adam Savage of Mythbusters fame, did a programme where it was proven that a traffic circle could handle about 3 times as many vehicles as a four way stop street! Now, imagine a four way intersection governed by traffic lights measured against a traffic circle where the cars never stop and you can see why they work. For visitors they do take a bit of getting used to but once mastered you realise that they are the right answer to congestion.

    • Some of these cars were in good shape post-war because they were up on blocks ‘for the duration’ due to tire and gas rationing – or the owner being in the services.

  1. I see two ’49 or ’50 Frazer Manhattans…the one up front spotted by AML and another at the 11 o’clock position on the rotary with a ’49 or ’50 Chevy ahead of it and a 50 Mercury sedan behind. Of further interest up front, a ’42 Plymouth with a ’49 Pontiac and ’46-’48 Plymouth following a bit behind.
    Under the “Lubrication” sign at the ESSO station might be a ’48-50 Packard.

  2. I’m probably bending the space/time continuum here but I wonder if that Bendix truck is delivering one of their Duomatic washer-and-dryer-in-one machines? Not the stacked combo type we might see today, this one did the whole job, start to finish, right in one front loading unit.

  3. Is that a Nash 600 at about 2 o’clock ahead of the Dodge panel and ’40 Chevy in the roundabout ? And, can anyone identify the larger black 4dr sedan, first in line of the parked cars on the right side of the photo, possibly a ’41 Olds? Also there is a clean looking ’48 Oldsmobile “78” series club sedan just behind the ’49 Pontiac.

    • I’m glad that you were able to identify that car as a ’48 Olds “78” as I wasn’t sure what type of car it was besides a GM built car. I was thinking maybe Chevrolet, or maybe Pontiac, but yes in looking closely at its grill its an Olds alright and built just before they switched over to their new Futuramic models later that year.

      • Ahead of the Dodge panel van is a ’40 Olds, series 60. I am in favor of roundabouts as the traffic always moves faster. I’m sure that those people who do not like them don understand the concept. I have stood at stop signs for up to 15 minutes. This is because many drivers don’t realize that two cars facing each other can move together. I hope Michigan never pull up their round-a bouts.

    • Ironers were advertised in Life as “coming soon” in February 1947 and available for sale in December of that year, along with the Bendix Dryer.

    • Picture two rollers, not unlike the wringer on an old washer or mop bucket, but wider, larger diameter, heated and covered with padded fabric and powered. You feed the clothing or linens in one side, it comes out pressed the other side. I think there was a foot switch to clamp/release (or maybe reverse) the two rollers and maybe they were “open” on one end. I believe they’re still in use in commercial laundries but there was an attempt to sell them to the home market about then. Took up too much space and too complicated to use. It seems like the big selling point in ads was the housewife could do the ironing sitting down. I remember them being advertised as “mangles,” technically the correct term but unfortunate in its connotation, I can see why the tried ironer.

      • Here in western PA, we take mangles apart and use the slow turning output to run 10 foot spits for cooking. 75 pounds of chickens or whatever you want to cook long and slow.

      • Mangles is the correct term for the Ironwrite brand. They were sold by Utility companies here in SE Michigan. Deliveries included a woman who taught the operator the fine points of operation . How do I know, we had 2 over the years. Permanent press put ironwrite out of business.

  4. I once heard of an old man who had a very demanding girlfriend back in 1948. He was moneyed and he wanted to treat her to a new car. So the story goes:

    He bought her a Kaiser…..to surprise her.

    and then a Frazer…..to amaze her.

    and then a Tucker…….well ya know, with a motor in the back!

  5. Interesting to see both the ’42 Plymouth and its postwar successor in the same image – let alone two later-model Frazers…

    What’s curious about the Plymouth is that it alone didn’t receive a front end revise, unlike Dodge, DeSoto, and Chrysler, who got flowing fenders and the headlamps mounted over the tires – they were all “pinched” like the Plymouth’s in ’42, the DeSoto’s behind covers of course.

  6. I did not know America ever had any roundabouts. Of course they were always common enough in Europe, just think of l’Arc de Triomphe in Paris or Hyde Park Corner in London, both as good as any fairground ride for an adrenalin rush. Two of my favorites are real puzzles though and not for the faint-hearted or those who are from out of town. In Hemel Hempstead town center, about 20 miles north of London there is a major roundabout with six smaller ‘satellite’ roundabouts around it at the western end of St. Albans Road; as with Paris, you do not have time to argue who has ‘right of way’ rather it is better just to keep moving, I moved from UK to Australia twenty years ago, and soon found a real gem of roundabout over here. At the intersection of Flemington Road and Elizabeth Street in North Melbourne is a big wide roundabout with about eight or nine entries or exits….BUT….there are also two tram lines that run through the middle of it and in Melbourne the trams always have ‘right of way’ and will not be stopping to give way to lost motorists. American readers may not be too worried by Paris or Rome, but remember also in Britain and Australia everything happens in the opposite direction, so on entering a roundabout you give way to traffic coming from the right – excpet in Melbourne where you give way to trams coming from either side.

    • They’ve existed in the United States at least since 1821 (when Governor’s Circle was built in Indianapolis), but they were pretty rare until the 90s or so. I saw only a few in Florida, typically when traffic increases meant perpendicular intersections without signals weren’t safe but the city didn’t want to add signals and the requisite wiring in historic areas. They seem to be more common in densely populated areas further north.

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