Flashback Friday: Berkeley Streetcar Line’s Last DayReturn to Blog
Did you guess what year our Flashback Friday photo was taken in?
If you guessed February 1948, you are right. This is just for fun so you don’t get a prize or but you do get the satisfaction of knowing you are correct! This week’s Flashback Friday was taken on February 21, 1948.
In this photo from Andrew Young’s Streets & Streetcars of St. Louis: A Sentimental Journey, we see Ferguson Junction. The car on the left was running on the 02 Berkeley shuttle. The car on the right had come up from Ferguson and would have continued its trip to Wellston and Maplewood, according to Young. The photo was taken on the last day the Berkeley streetcar line ran.
Wait, it gets cooler! This next photograph, also from Streets & Streetcars of St. Louis, was taken a few minutes after the previous photo.
Young points out that you can see Snow Sweeper 127 on the Berkeley tracks just north of the junction.
Did you guess the right year the picture was taken?
11 thoughts on “Flashback Friday: Berkeley Streetcar Line’s Last Day”
This first picture was taken at what appears to be the intersection of what is now the intersection of Hanley road and Case Ave. just outside of I-170 and the airport. The area has changed a bit thanks to the airport, but the nearby Suburban Ave. used to be the trackage for the 16 it seems.
I rode that streetcar line and my dad was a motorman on it! The junction is at what is now Hanley but not at Case. There’s no street junction where the streetcar junction was. The closest street is Suburban Avenue to the east. The tracks made a wide turn at the junction through Kinloch and that junction was always the site of a lot of activity. Suburban Avenue originated as the Ferguson streetcar branch, the road and homes coming later. When Suburban was constructed it ended just short of Carson Road, east of the present Hanley, and Kinloch residents could not drive to Ferguson to shop. When the tracks reached Florissant road the north track came from Florissant in a wide turn, the south track turned into Florissant with a sharp turn and the tracks joined into a single track because there wasn’t room on Florissant Road for double tracks. The streetcars then headed to a loop at the Wabash Railroad overpass, at Wesley Avenue. At the loop a second track emerged as a siding. How did motormen know if a trolley was not coming up Florissant? Facing the loop outside the Ferguson Department Store was a traffic signal. If it showed white it signaled a streetcar was on the tracks. A similar light face the tracks at the east end of the streetcar rail from Kinloch. The Ferguson line originally went to Kirkwood. In the early 1940s the southern destination was changed to Maplewood. On Skinker, from Delmar to Wydown, the Ferguson line shared trackage with the Clayton line. Between Etzel and Suburban Garden at Hodiamont an Kennerly it shared trackage with the Hodiamont line. The Page line also ran on the track for a block making a loop at Etzel. In the summer the Ferguson junction was in rich forest but I’ve never seen a photo of that. Its original name was Ramona Junction, a reference to Lake Ramona to the east, still there. There also was a loop at the lake.
I have a photo of that. Hanley Road from I-70 to Airport Road is on the right-of-way of the Ferguson and Berkeley lines, which originally was the Florissant line. An entire thriving community north of I-70 along Springdale Avenue was obliterated when airport runways were extended, said to be because no one could live with the airplane racket. I stay at the Hilton Garden Inn on Lake Ramona frequently; it was placed in the valley next to the Lake and I’m not even conscious of the planes going overhead. I could not find Lake Ramona for 60 years until the Hilton Inn was built, I stayed there and to my surprise there was the lake, which I immediately recognized.
Wayne, what an interesting story! Thank you so much for sharing your streetcar story with us. If you’d like, I’m always looking for customers to talk to for our Passenger Profile blog series. If you’re interested, please let me know. Email me at [email protected].
Mr. Brasler, do you know what streetcar line would have been the closest to Shrewsbury – the area that is near what is now Laclede Station Road and Hwy. 44? Thank you very much! Pat
Possibly the Brentwood line, known as the Brentwood dinkey because the streetcars were double-ended. The route is still easily traced. When the streetcars were replaced by buses it was not the same and ridership swiftly plunged. If you are a streetcar buff I did a big feature on streetcars serving the Normandy area and would be happy to send you a copy. Lotsa photos too. Write me at [email protected] and give me an address so I can mail it to you.
I’m interested in knowing what line would have served as a stop for people working at Wagner Electric on Plymouth Ave in Wellston. I see a reference to the Etzel Loop? Or did the Wabash Line serve this in the area of the Wellston Station location today?
Just to the east of the photos, there is a creek that runs north/south. I found the remnants of a bridge that carried the street cars over the creek.
I am nearly 86 years old and have lived all over the Midwest from Webster Groves to Marshall and Kansas City MO and Omaha NE to Wichita, KS, but my earliest memories of Webster and traveling all over St. Louis and St. Louis County via street cars are still imprinted indelibly in my mind. When I was 8, 9, and 10 years old I traveled alone on street cars. It was safe for kids to do that then.
From 1934 to 1947 my sisters and I lived with our paternal grandparents, just off Oak Street on Poplar, between Rockhill Road and Cherry St. (although, I believe, the streets now are called avenues). We lived between two street car lines; the Kirkwood-Ferguson and the Manchester lines (55 & 56). I have been hard-pressed to locate a map showing those two street car lines. If if anyone can help me I’d sure appreciate it.
Unfortunately, we don’t have any information or maps available about those streetcar lines. Please consider reaching out to the National Museum of Transportation here in St. Louis. They have much better records than we do, and may be able to point you in the right direction: (314) 965-6212.
I am working on finishing a map of the streetcar lines of St. Louis, overlayed on Google maps. Take a look, as I just finished the Manchester lines:
Wow! Thats awesome! Hard to follow all those old routes. My friend Gary and I in 1996 walked the entire route of the Mo Pac Creve Couer Lake branch in 3 days. Very cool. Im reading the Streets n Streetcars of St Louis by Andrew Young, its amazing.
You ever wanna explore some of these old right-of- ways, let me know.