Roll #55 (Part I): The Day the Streetcar Died

In 1963 Baltimore gave up on streetcars.


Before we begin, let's go back further.


The year was 1885. Streetcars were the pride of Baltimore---the first city in the United states to figure out how to operate a commercial electric streetcar. In subsequent years, streetcars remained the preferred mode of transportation for city dwellers. They were reliable, faster than walking, and affordable. With time however, they fell from favor. Alternate means of transportation eventually flooded the scene (i.e. automobiles, buses), marginalizing the once loved and prided streetcar.


While most of the streetcars were shipped elsewhere or scrapped for metal and parts, some never left. They lay in decay in the heart of Baltimore, reminiscing on the glory days when they ran the streets.

Few still stand---surrounded by the entrails of their mutilated brethren. Now just boards and beams and cogs. Missing pieces to what once was a beautiful puzzle.

Some, like a carcass on a butcher's block, are a work in progress. With time, it will disappear.

Their insides a mix of machinery, trash, broken glass, and better days.

The roof, like the broken spirits of the Baltimore streetcar, has fallen. The afternoon sun bleeds through, obstructed only by the occasional beam or shingle still waiting to give up the fight.

What once was pride is now a rug for vandals to tread on. To add insult to injury, their work is lacking in finesse and inspiration.

Running parallel to the tracks and depot is a road. On the road, humans zoom by in the creation that killed the streetcar. Sunglasses on, top down---they show no remorse.

As the sun lowers, shadows are cast across a variety of textures and remnants from yesteryear. Despite the hard-knock life they've led, they've aged well. It's as if nothing and everything had changed all at once.

Camera: Canon AE-1

Film: Ilford HP5 Plus

When: May 2020 Where: Baltimore, MD

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Washington, D.C., USA 

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©2019 by Taylor Mackay