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Saturday Street Scenes From St Louis, Missouri

The circa-1932 lead image today containing one of the Goodyear Buick “Air Wheel” cars and a 1932 Chevrolet was taken at Manchester Blvd and Southwest Ave in Maplewood, Missouri, a suburb of St Louis. Goodyear had the Flxible Co. of Loudonville, Ohio, construct two stretched four-door sedan bodies on lengthened 1929 Buick chassis’ to promote its new line of “balloon” tires for passenger cars.

Two of these rigs crisscrossed the US and visited Goodyear dealers while on the publicity tour. Learn the complete story and view more photos at: “The World’s Largest Airwheels Tour the Nation for Goodyear.”

Please share with us what you find of interest in these photos courtesy of the Route 66 Association of Missouri.

  • A view of the intersection of 12th and Chestnut Streets in 1935.

  • A post-war view of Route 66 at the intersection of Market and Spruce Streets. 

21 responses to “Saturday Street Scenes From St Louis, Missouri

  1. Looks like Santa pushing Camels on the truck billboard last photo, be even cooler if they showed him smoking them just like in the billboard in Times Square .

  2. E.J. Tire & Battery was across the street from Reller Chevrolet which is seen in the background. It’s hard to tell from this photo, but the Goodyear Buick is actually parked in front of the E.J. Tire & Battery building. The company sat on a piece of property called “The Wedge” because of its shape. The Reller dealership building exists in a highly modified form today.

    You can read a lot more about this location at the following link. Replace the word “dot” with a period to view the link.

    40southnews dot com/maplewood-history-the-wedge-route-66-and-reller-chevrolet/

    • I have a 1931 Buick Stretch Limo that looks like Goodyear Tire Company’s twin. Do any other of these commercial Buick limos exist?

  3. Another group of great photos! The signage of yesteryear are works of art never to be seen again. Sign painters were in huge demand and they WERE artists in their own right.
    My father-in-law was a sign painter and he also made neon signs. I would help him occasionally and I was always fascinated watching him heat the glass tubes and bend them against a pattern he had drawn (freehand). He would then seal one end and pour invisible gas from tubes that were labelled with different colors into the sign or picture he had created. After that he inserted an electrical charger to seal the other end. When he hooked his transformer to the wires the sign would come alive in a brilliant color. I was amazed.
    The digital cookie cutter signs of today will never match the magic of the lost art of sign-making.

    • Amen! I remember as a little kid, I loved a neon sign at a small grocery store (with wooden floor) called “The cat and the fiddle” in Danville VA. That sign must have been 10 feet tall, and a cat moved a bow across a bass fiddle. Union Park Pontiac in Wilmington DE had a neon sign: the Pontiac Indian. You saw the complete indian head, then parts of it disappeared one at a time. Then it all came back together. Nothing like it today.

  4. The street scene in the second photo intrigues me, not only from the graphic standpoint but photographically, too. Given the sharpness, it must have been shot using a 4×5 camera, probably on a tripod (the buildings are sharp, but the cars not so much). The flattened appearance makes me think the photographer used a telephoto lens to”compress” the image, which would have required the tripod.

    Is this 12th & Chestnut in Philadelphia?

    • No, 12th & Chestnut in St. Louis (12th is now Tucker Boulevard). There are a couple indicators in the buildings that are definitely St. Louis. The Union May-Stern building in the background was at 12th & Olive and burned in 1962. The other indicator is the ad for Scruggs, Vandevoort and Barney, which was a department store dating back to 1850 in St. Louis.

    • Wollensak tele-Raptar? Wait, it would have been the Raptar’s uncoated ancestor which I disremember the name of – Velostigmat?. Could also be a 240-250 long focus lens, but the Speeders didn’t have very much bellows.

  5. Newest car in the last photo is a 1951 Ford, followed by a 1950 Plymouth, and a 1950 Ford. The 1939 Dodge has Whitewall tires, and a aftermarket visor.

  6. The Railway Express truck is a ’48-’50 Ford F6 COE. ( they didn’t change to “C” designation until ’53) Railway Express, or REA, was the pre-UPS/FedEx of the day. Packages would come in on a rail car, and loaded on trucks like this, then to a warehouse where panel vans took it to the customer. Pretty much the same deal today, except we use planes instead of trains.

  7. Obviously the giant GoodYear tire didn’t visit Westwood Massachusetts (low bridge) or Attleboro, Massachusetts (low arches), both famous for customizing vans.

    • The Goodyear Airwheel wouldn’t clear railroad underpasses either. Here in Rowlett, Texas, we have an underpass on the old Bankhead Highway, dated 1921, that has clearance of 11′-4″. The February 22, 2018 Old Motor article shows a photo of the Flxible bus and Airwheel combo with lettering on the bus that claims the tire diameter is 12 feet. It looks to be every bit of that. Our underpass, from time to time, also removes the top off of trucks and semi-trailers.

    • When I was young and rode in my aunt’s car through one of those Attleboro low arches, I used to fire my pop gun out the window to hear the echo.

    • Hi JB, funny story circulated around Chicago, home of the low bridge, when I was trucking. It seems, someone ran a semi trailer under a low overpass, as the police and towing company hemmed and hawed about the best way to remove it, a young boy rides up on a bicycle, looks at the situation, and says, why not just let the air out of the tires?

  8. In the lead picture, the car in front to the tire truck is a 1932 Chevrolet roadster. The verticle vent doors on the side of the hood were used in 32. Part of the roadster side top opening is blocked off almost making it look like a cabriolet. A cabriolet would have had landou control arms on the sides of the top.

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