Mae's Real Stories

Memories for Miriam, Alice, Theo, Delia, Tessa and anyone else who would like to be here

Friday, September 22, 2006



Streetcar lines went from downtown St.Louis past our apartment on Clemens and on out into the county. One line went all the way to Creve Coeur, a park not far from the Missouri River. Before we had a car, we often took the streetcar to get to our aunts' houses. A streetcar is like a modern metro train, except that the tracks were not fenced off. Above the tracks were electric wires, and the streetcar had a big metal antenna that touched the wires and got electric power to make the streetcar move.

If you wanted to take a streetcar, you waited at a streetcar stop, often in the middle of a street, and the driver would open the door so that you could get on. You could hear the streetcar a long way off because its metal wheels made a noise on the metal tracks, and its brakes made a squealing sound.

Sometimes the tracks were in people's back yards, but most streetcars went down the middle of busy streets. People walking and drivers in cars had to watch for the streetcars. My mother warned us so often that we had to be very very careful of streetcars, that for a while when I was a little girl I was afraid to even go near the tracks, and I begged not to ride the streetcar from our house to Aunt Sadie's house. We had to take the bus instead.

Someone posted these photos of streetcars in the Delmar Loop. The top one shows the streetcar going right past Delmar-Harvard school where I was a pupil. The Loop was right across the street from the school.

The Delmar Loop was named for the loop of streetcar track where the Delmar Line looped back from its westward trip to its eastward return towards downtown. Our house in University City was a few blocks from the Loop area. The Dime Store, two grocery stores, a small school-supply and stationery store, a drugstore with a lunch counter, and several other businesses were in the block where the streetcar tracks made their loop. In the second picture the streetcar is going past Kresge's Dime Store.

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