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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Is this Trolley Line Support Pole 120 Years Old?

This photo was taken off Google Maps and shows the intersection of Church Avenue and Schenectady Avenue in East Flatbush section of Brooklyn.  If you look at the light pole and mast to the left of the bakery, you can see the metallic pole with a horizontal attachment to support the power cables.  According to Forgotten New York, this is at the South West corner of Schenectady Avenue and Church Avenues.  As a child, I was able to see the end of electric surface operation in Brooklyn and I noticed that generally speaking, for the few lines that had intact overhead, such as the Church Avenue, McDonald Avenue, Coney Island Avenue and some of the trolleybus lines such as Cortelyou Road, the thick power cables ( not the trolley wire itself) was generally on the eastbound side the street.  If this was the case, this pole which supported the power cables (because of the horizontal attachment with insulators) would have been on the eastbound/southern side of the street, not the SW intersection, but I may be wrong.  It is interesting to note that 39th Street, between 5th Avenue and Ninth Avenues, had power cables on both side of the street:  one set for the Culver Line and one set for power for the Church Avenue Line.  Other cities, from the pictures that I saw, specially Philadelphia, did not "display "its power feeder cables alone the trolley support poles, unlike some lines in Brooklyn.  At any rate, along this stretch of Church Avenue, which may have been called "East Broadway",  received electric trolley service on June 1, 1896.  If this pole was there from the start, which is not easy to tell, because the pole may be a replacement or the original poles were wood in this then rural part of Brooklyn, this pole would have to be 120 years old (1896-2015) and it would span three different centuries.  Of course, the pole did its job for holding the span cables and power supply for trolley operation from 1896 to 1956 or 61 years.  I remember passing through the area in 1970 or so and I remember a similar solitary pole in the same location, but it was in middle of  a block, not at the corner, as far as I remember.

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