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Grand Rapids in 1856

Scene of early Grand Rapids viewed from the...

Street Railway Co. Conductors & Motormen

Street Railway Co. Conductors & Motormen


A group of conductors and motormen of the Grand Rapids Street Railway Company stand in front of the Hall Street car barns. All the the men, save one, are in their uniforms, consisting of a vest with brass buttons, a jacket with brass buttons, and a visored cap with a number on the front. It is said that one can tell the motorman from the conductor as the conductor has a coin changer at his waist. It appears possible that the third man from the left in the front row could have a coin changer under his jacket, as well as the third and fourth man from the right, in the front row. The only man identified is Elra Purdun, second from the left in the back row, the great grandfather of the contributor. If you can identify other members of the group please contact us.


Full Details

TitleStreet Railway Co. Conductors & Motormen
FormatPhotograph: Posted June 1, 2014

Streetcars of the day usually had a crew of two: the conductor and the motorman. The role of the conductor was to collect fares and to signal the motorman when it was safe to depart after stopping. He also attended to the needs of passengers and helped to change the trolley pole. The motorman handled the driving of electrically powered streetcars.

There are two ink blots on the photo, one at the bottom edge and a small on on the hat of the man at the far left in the front row. There is a small tear in the upper left corner.

Location In PhotoGrand Rapids, MI
CollectionNick Purdun

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