A line of shiny buses brought up the end of the parade, the taste of diesel smoke on the lips of over 400,000 observers signaled the coming of a new era.
The internal combustion engine finally achieved supremacy after several decades of battle for their place on the streets.
By the mid-1950s, streetcars not shipped off to Toronto’s growing city rail system met the welding torch in scrap yards around the city.
Streetcar City is the first of three episodes for the Moving Places series which investigates three transportation epochs (streetcars, highways, and bikes) that have shaped the course of Cleveland life in dramatically different ways.
Streetcar City takes you through the epic rise and fall of Cleveland’s streetcars and how those ghost rails lingering under Cleveland's roads and medians still subtly direct life today.
What was life in the Streetcar City like? Enter a ghost streetcar district depicted through the comics of Harvey Pekar, who pioneered the auto-biographical comic in the 1970’s. Many of his comics depict the chance encounters and slow conversations that accompany the pedestrian life of a streetcar suburb- a contrast from the far-flung motorcar suburbs of today.
Streetcar City immerses you in an entirely different Cleveland than we know today through a unique blend of archival footage, historic photographs, and illustrations by Gary Dumm and J.T. Waldman- two comic artists that worked with Harvey Pekar.
Photos courtesy of Cleveland Memory Project of Cleveland State University, the Cleveland Public Library, and Brad Masi