ROCHESTER STREETCARSNo. 19 in a series
by Charles R. Lowe
Late on mid-summer afternoons, Monroe loop at Highland Avenue was a favorite spot of railfans for practicing their craft. Bright sun would illuminate the right side and front of cars when they stopped on the loop, allowing photography with the slow film and shutter speeds of the era. This photo was made in 1937 using 50-speed Verichrome - Pan film; note the "V" in the upper margin. The square corners of the frame indicate that a box camera with a 1/30-second shutter speed was probably used, requiring a steady hand by the photographer. The real story here is the carís survival. Remaining in service until the end of surface streetcar operations in 1941 (last full day, March 31), car 1213 was scrapped soon thereafter. Motors and other high-value scrap would have been removed at East Main Station, and the carbody would have then been towed by wrecker 0461 to Blossom Road Yard. Fate then intervened. Rather than being broken up, the 1213 carbody was sold intact for use as a shed in nearby Webster where it reposed until the mid-1980ís.
In 1985, seeking an early "Peter Witt" car for their "National Collection of Streetcars," Seashore Trolley Museum of Kennebunkport, Maine, moved the remains of 1213 to STM. With the car badly rusted and weakened, the harrowing ride ended with 1213 reaching STM mostly intact. For nearly 40 years, 1213 sat outside and largely unprotected from the harsh and salty coastal Maine climate. Finally, generous funding for the car became available, mostly from the late Lloyd Klos of Rochester. 1213 was moved into the STM shop about 1995, and progress since then has been slow but steady. Nearly the entire body below the windows is being built new using original all-riveted steel construction. Currently, the surviving roof section is positioned over the reconstructed floor and frame, ready to be attached. Plans call for rebuilding the car to its original 2-man "Peter Witt" configuration (front entrance, center exit) of 1917. Much remains to be done and funding remains regrettably tentative. One day, though, this last surviving steel Rochester surface streetcar may be in routine service on STMís Seashore Electric Railway.