This photo struck me because it is the first one I can remember on this site with someone actually driving a car with the top down. The majority of the cars when this picture was taken were convertibles but you don’t see them with the top down in Port;land. Even though it is only a two lane street, today they would have four lanes in the same space.
I think It was quite a job to activate a convertible in those days and once in place they probably had to stay that way even though most didn’t have windows anyway. Looks like same elm trees today – great shot!
Yeah, I agree with Brian there, that was a pretty benign post as far as rants go. I’ve seen much more politicized, way more off-topic posts from all sides of those arguments in the year or so I’ve been visiting this site. In fact Reza, I know you and I had one of those several months ago and I’ve seen you interject anti-freeway posts into conversations several times in the past.
But anyway, love the picture. I had no idea there used to be righthand cars like that in the States, at any time. Makes me wonder why we went with left as a standard instead of right actually.
The right-hand drive car might be a Pierce-Arrow touring car from the late teens. They didn’t switch to left-hand drive until around 1920, long after most other manufacturers. The position of the headlamps would be consistent with Pierce’s distinctive fender/headlamp style. The radiator shape looks right, too. It’s hard to tell with the straight-on photo, though.
30 minute parking, heh. Out here in Newberg they’re repaving one of the streets next to our library, reducing by half the parking in front; I noticed a somewhat amusing sign in the public parking lot we’re having to use at the moment: “12 Hour Parking.” ;) I mean, that basically means park any time, right?
Were US auto manufacturers really cranking out cars back then with the controls on the right side? That doesn’t make sense to me since we’ve been driving on the right side since the beginning of the 19th century, from what I gather. It is apparently currently legal to own a right-side-drive vehicle in the US, which would mean it wouldn’t be a problem back in the 20s either, from a legal standpoint; but having the controls on the curb side of the road like that isn’t as optimal as having them closer to the center. My guess is that car is a UK import, or a mail carrier – although it seems a bit snazzy for that, and I doubt motorized local delivery of mail was done much before the 80s, or 90s? It seems like a recent phenomenon to me, anyway.
KLR: Yes, US manufacturers really did make and sell lots of RHD cars. From Wikipedia: “Early American motor vehicles, however, were right-hand drive, following the practice established by horse-drawn buggies. This changed in the early years of the 20th century: Ford changed to LHD production in 1908 with the Model T and Cadillac in 1916.”
Jim: What can I say? I own a Pierce-Arrow (handed down from my grandfather) so I’ve got an excuse to be biased. You don’t see them often in old photos, and I get a little overly-excited. :-)
I wonder if this is the library we went to as family in DT Portlan
when I was little (69 now) We watched documentaries and my
father told me many years later ” those were the only movies
we could afford to attend! I remember stopping by in the daytime
somewhere downtown to watch newsreels also, mostly about
The “street car” tracks are actually those of the Oregon Electric Railway, an electric interurban line that ran from Portland to Eugene (51 trains a day in 1913). The tracks in this photo turn east (left) out of view on Salmon Street, then south again on Front Avenue, to stations south including Garden Home (a junction there to Beaverton, Hillsboro and Forrest Grove), Tualatin, Salem, Albany, Corvallis, Junction City and Eugene. The OERy featured parlor car service and overnite sleeping cars on it’s “Owl” runs until 1924, when competition from automobiles and buses forced cut backs. Passenger service was discontinued in 1933.