In the mid 1920’s motor buses were the coming thing, running over the place bound tracks of Tacoma’s elaborate electric streetcar system and leaving in the dust the horse drawn notion of wagons and stages. Here’s a group portrait on C Street in September 1925 that tells the story with the Municipal stables and wagon barn in the far distance and the City Light Nisqually Power Station just behind. Underfoot and overhead are the tracks and catenary lines of the streetcars that would be abandoned in a little more than a decade, as fleets of buses like these followed the exploding paved road system into the suburbs and beyond. More miles of roads were built in Washington State during the 1920’s than any decade before or since thanks to cheap gas and a gas tax for road building. This streetscape is amazingly unchanged over the last 90 years. Today, word is that a brewery will be installed in the power plant where massive transformers once whined and the nearby Prairie Line is being transformed into a linear public space. Ghosts of the past crashing into dreams of the future. About all that’s missing are a row of buses and a line of dapper bus drivers.
Tacoma Public Library Boland Collection-B13291 Unique 37396.
RecapturedCity by Andy Cox
Black and white, close oblique angle cellulose nitrate negative image of a Sixth Avenue passenger bus, built by the Kenworth Motor Truck Co., on a dirt road in Tacoma, Pierce County, WA, March 23, 1925. The road appears to be elevated. The Tacoma tideflats are in the lower background.