Saturday, June 4, 2011

1939 Aerial Photos of Hobart: Streetcar Line

BFJ-04-066
(Click on image to enlarge)
Image courtesy of the Indiana Geological Survey, I.U. Bloomington.


Well, this is embarrassing. I just realized that if I'd been paying attention when I looked at the 1939 Plat Book, and if it had registered in my brain that "Gary-Hobart Interurban R.R." refers to the streetcar line, I wouldn't have had to schlep my aerial prints over to an old-timer's house to ask if this photo really does show the streetcar line, because according to the plat book, it does. (However, it was a pleasant visit, as always, so I'm not complaining … just embarrassed.)

1939HobTwpEaststreetcarline
(Click on image to enlarge)

This image from the 1939 Plat Book shows the streetcar line, aka the Gary-Hobart Interurban R.R., running through Hobart. By this time its Hobart terminus was at the northwest corner of Third and Main. From there it ran along the north side of Third Street until it crossed the bridge; then it ran down the center of Third Street. Around Ash Street it moved away from Third Street to cross Connecticut and Pennsylvania diagonally. At First Street (now West Cleveland Ave.) it joined up with Washington and ran down the center of that street up to the Pennsy R.R. There it made a turn and ran along the south side of the railroad tracks until they crossed 37th Avenue, at which point the streetcar line turned west to run along the north side of 37th Avenue straight to Broadway in Gary, where it probably met up with the Gary streetcars, which (I am told) ran up and down Broadway.

If you go to Google maps or Mapquest for a present-day satellite image, it looks to me as if that paved alley moving diagonally northwest from Ash Street is a vestige of the streetcar line, as far as it's diagonal — it soon turns straight north and leaves the path of the streetcar. And maybe I'm seeing things, but there seems to be a slight imprint of the streetcar line left in people's yards on either side of Connecticut, mid-way between Second and Third Streets.


Here's that aerial photo decorated with colored labels. You know how I love doing that. Also a few guesses at what's what.

BFJ-04-066decorated
(Click on image to enlarge)

I've got 6 or 7 more aerial photos that I'll get up here eventually, but this is the most interesting one.

6 comments:

Janice said...

I enjoy all your posts but this was a especially fun one! I really enjoyed searching for the landmarks I was familiar with. I remember the "soccer field under water" as a clay pit dug for the brick works. It was used as the city dump after that--I remember it overflowing. Can you imagine that so close to downtown? Looks great these days . . .

Ainsworthiana said...

Good heavens, I had no idea that used to be a dump! Downtown must have been pretty fragrant on hot summer days!

Anonymous said...

I love the aerial photo! It's interesting to see how much the city had changed to the point when I grew up in Hobart (1970s-1990). Thanks!

dlb945 said...

We moved from Gary to Hobart in 1941 and at that time, there was a diving pier on a small beach in the same location today's Lakefront Park. Check the little square in the photo at that location! I was three at the time and learned to swim there after a time.

Kristen Moncada said...

I used to live right off of Ash Street and I always thought that angled alley was odd. But now that I think about it, I remember walking down 2nd Street to a friends house on Washington Street, and seeing those diagonal tracks at the Pennsylvania Street intersection. That intersection has been re-paved since then so you can see them now, but it's a cool afterthought. Assuming that they just paved over them, they will eventually be visible again as the road wears.

Kristen Moncada said...

That should've said "you can't see them now."