ROCHESTER STREETCARS................................ No. 49 in a series

Rochester Transit Corp. 1206
photo by Steve Maguire

by Charles R. Lowe

Steve Maguire had a talent for recording interesting streetcar scenes that other railfan photographers seemed to miss. Take, for instance, our scene of RTC Peter Witt 1206 leaving Ontario Beach Park for a run south on Lake Avenue, through downtown Rochester and out to Parsells Avenue. It is 1939, during Maguire’s late November—early December visit to Rochester. Probably riding 1206 north, he seems to have jumped off the car, run across the street and awaited his quarry. It must have been a hurried photo since Maguire rarely would leave odd objects such as the fuzzy post in the foreground.

In the background can be seen lake Ontario. In the years before the World War, as WWI was still known in 1939, a vast amusement park had been located here. The waiting shelter, seen at the extreme left with its “Board Cars Here” sign, had been built in 1921 with fences and even water traps at the streetcar tracks so that the only way to enter the park was by paying a trolley fare or an entrance fee. By the late 1930s, however, the park had been shorn of many of its former attractions and largely resembled what we know today.

Once his shot was made, Maguire might have had to wait the hour or so until the next off-season Charlotte car reached the lake. Perhaps, though, Maguire had made an arrangement with the motorman to stop for him so he could press on with his camera at top speed. We are lucky today that Maguire made his dash across the street and snapped his photo, since about a year and a half later, this scene would be replaced forever by one with buses.