Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Birmingham Photo of the Day (75): Electric Trolley Car

One thing I might be found doing during a pandemic--or any time, really--is wandering through the riches at Alabama Mosaic. On a recent visit I came across this photo of some trolley cars in Birmingham. 

In 1921 the Birmingham Electric Company was formed to generate electricity for the public and operate a streetcar system. The company replaced the Birmingham Railway, Light and Power Company that had closed in 1918. The BEC's company headquarters was the old Railway, Light and Power building constructed in 1915. Located at the corner of 1st Avenue North and 21st Street North, the building is now known as the Landmark Center

The trolley cars below were part of BEC's rolling stock and used sometime before 1951. Streetcar operations ended in Birmingham as in the rest of North America in the early 1950's. Toronto is the only city with a streetcar system essentially unchanged. The St. Charles Streetcar Line in New Orleans is considered the world's oldest continuously operating line. 

The destination plate visible on the car in the photo below says "Woodward". Could that have been a location associated with the Woodward Iron Company in Bessemer? Or Woodward Park near Elmwood Cemetery? Or....?

This book published in 1976 is a history of the city's streetcars from the 1880's until the early 1950's. 

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