“Snowy December for Peter Witt”
oil on gessobord™ (24” x 12”)Today when we saw some snow flurries while Christmas shopping, I immediately thought about streetcars carrying an over-abundance of riders at the height of the holiday season. I for one really miss the hustle and bustle of the crowds jammed into the buses and streetcars. During the month of December the regular riders were competing for seats with the package-laden shoppers who had spent their day buying gifts in all the stores and shops downtown. The big four department stores, Hutzler’s, Hochschild’s, Stewart’s and Hecht’s anchored the mobbed intersection of Howard and Lexington Streets. A white-gloved policeman was there to keep the pedestrians, cars and streetcars from colliding into each other. But at the end of the day which was perhaps punctuated by a lunch in Hutzler’s Quixie or the counter at Read’s Drugstore, weary men, women and children boarded their homeward bound streetcar hoping for a seat to rest their tired feet. It was a long ride with many stops but at this time of year there was always a view of holiday decorations and lights.
Some readers here may be wondering who the heck is Peter Witt? Well according to my fellow members at the Baltimore Streetcar Museum he was a Cleveland citizen who designed this forward thinking streetcar which was named after him. Its original purpose was to keep the streetcars running on time by using the center door as an exit only. An additional conductor sat near the center door until the depression came and that position was eliminated. But nevertheless these gorgeous cars kept on carrying passengers in all kinds of weather around Baltimore. But I think that the Peter Witt looks its best in the snow.