Pacific Electric Railway Historical Society

Pacific Electric Railway Historical Society The Pacific Electric Railway Historical Society (PERyHS) is a non-profit association dedicated to the preservation of the memory of the Pacific Electric Railway. The goals of the PERYHS are: to preserve and maintain historical documents, visual images.
The Pacific Electric Railway Historical Society (PERYHS) is a non-profit association dedicated to the preservation of the memory of the Pacific Electric Railway and Los Angeles Railway.

Formed in 1999, the Pacific Electric Railway Historical Society was founded by Jack Finn (above in 1979 at Orange Empire Railway Museum, Perris, California), Walter Abbenseth, Craig Rasmussen and Jed Hughes. Eventually Jeffery Moreau and Michael Patris were added to the board. Sadly, in July of 2006, Jack Finn passed away following a prolonged illness. According to long time friend Alan Weeks, Jack lived very close to the Pacific Electric Railway Glendale Line and it is here where his love of the system began. Also, according to Weeks, they both operated rail cars at the Orange Empire Railway Museum (OERM) for many years. Alan was badge #54 and Jack was badge #74. Jack Finn conducted several interviews of many people who rode on or worked for the Pacific Electric Railway and published eight monographs which contained these interviews and images to enhance the text. Eventually, we would like to reprint those monographs and make them available via this website. Please see our monograph page. Also, according to Alan Weeks, speaking of Jack, "His research and knowledge of the P.E. was quite extraordinary in my opinion. He was a stickler for accuracy. But, in the long run, I will remember Jack for being the kind and caring person who looked after many ill people who had no one else to help them. He did this quietly and without fanfare." Upon Jack's passing, the archives of the Pacific Electric Railway Historical Society were bequeathed to the Mount Lowe Preservation Society, Inc. The goal has been to expand the MLPSI archives to include the PERYHS collection and further enhance the sharing of history, images, text and artifacts of these operations. Also, to further make available the monographs already produced as well as assemble from notes and tapes the monographs that were in the works at the time of Jack's passing. Here is the original Mission Statement for the PERYHS: The Pacific Electric Railway Historical Society (PERYHS) is a non-profit association dedicated to the preservation of the memory of the Pacific Electric Railway. The goals of the PERYHS are: to preserve and maintain historical documents, visual images, oral histories, and historical studies; to make these materials available to the general public via publications (monographs), presentations and displays to non-profit groups and organizations and to assist other non-profit organizations in their efforts to preserve the legacy of the Pacific Electric Railway. Our goal is to keep Jack Finn's dream alive and continue his work for all to enjoy. The Pacific Electric Railway Historical Society will operate under the 501 (c) 3 non-profit educational foundation of the Mount Lowe Preservation Society, Inc. Michael Patris President, MLPSI

Mission: The goals of the PERYHS are: to preserve and maintain historical documents, visual images, oral histories, and historical studies; to make these materials available to the general public via publications (monographs), presentations and displays to non-profit groups and organizations and to assist other non-profit organizations in their efforts to preserve the legacy of the Pacific Electric Railway.

Check out this nifty image from the Steve Crise Collection! https://www.pacificelectric.org/collections/steve-crise-coll...
06/10/2019
Pacific Electric Trailer - Pacific Electric Railway Historical Society

Check out this nifty image from the Steve Crise Collection! https://www.pacificelectric.org/collections/steve-crise-collection/pacific-electric-trailer/

A truck trailer lettered for Pacific Electric is pictured here in an undated, unidentified location. Except for the round P.E. logo in the upper left area of the trailer, it seems to be identical to the Southern Pacific and the Northwestern Pacific truck trailers. The Northwestern Pacific was also a...

Ralph Cantos is back with "PE Cars on Hollywood Boulevard." Click through to see the article! https://www.pacificelectri...
05/27/2019
PE Cars on Hollywood Boulevard - Pacific Electric Railway Historical Society

Ralph Cantos is back with "PE Cars on Hollywood Boulevard." Click through to see the article! https://www.pacificelectric.org/collections/ralph-cantos-collection/pe-cars-on-hollywood-boulevard/

  PE Cars on Hollywood Boulevard 0 By Ralph Cantos PE’s “Hollywood Cars” were the dominant class of cars that operated along the famous boulevard until September of 1954. But in this remarkable photograph taken around 1927, among the Hollywood cars is a lone 950, taking on passengers at Highl...

Mount Lowe Railway above Pasadena, CA. (1893-1936). Extensive trails and hiking. Crown jewel of the Pacific Electric "Re...
05/19/2019

Mount Lowe Railway above Pasadena, CA. (1893-1936). Extensive trails and hiking. Crown jewel of the Pacific Electric "Red Car" System.

MOUNT LOWE TRAIL TRIPS:
Even people who have lived in Southern California most of their lives don’t quite grasp the full extent and complexity of Thaddeus Lowe’s mountain railway. The cars from the city came into Rubio Canyon, as in the lower right of this image, where passengers changed to the incline cars to reach the peak of Echo Mountain, and then transferred to a third car to complete the Alpine Division, which terminated at Alpine Tavern. Note the listing of the trail trips available to hikers. Michael Patris Collection, C. T. American Art Company of Chicago, Illinois produced this unused, divided-back card in 1913.
http://www.mountlowe.org/mlpsi-collection/brochures/mount-lowe-trail-trips-of-fascinating-beauty/

Check out this neat new post from John Maguire whose ancestors worked for the Mount Lowe Railway! https://www.pacificele...
05/12/2019
The Maguire Family and Mount Lowe - Pacific Electric Railway Historical Society

Check out this neat new post from John Maguire whose ancestors worked for the Mount Lowe Railway! https://www.pacificelectric.org/collections/john-maguire-collection/the-maguire-family-and-mount-lowe/

  The Maguire Family and Mount Lowe 0 From John Maguire comes this fascinating bit of family history and imagery from his personal collection. Read on from his correspondence with us: Hello, I have a photo taken of one of the Mt Lowe cars taken by my Grandfather. Two of my Great Uncles were Mt Lowe...

05/12/2019
Restoring the Soldiers' Home of Los Angeles

Check out this wonderful short film about the 1887 Fund, which is raising money to restore the historic buildings the West LA VA - also known as the Soldier's Home, and a former stop on the Los Angeles Pacific / PE. In fact, one of the structures to be restored is the trolley depot. https://youtu.be/jyZ_P38kG98

The Soldiers' Home in Los Angeles, known as the West LA Veterans Affairs campus, has been a home for all veterans since 1887. Learn about this sacred land an...

Red flares light the somber early morning at Morgan Yard in Long Beach on the final run, April 9, 1961.
04/16/2019
April 9, 1961: Morgan Yard - Pacific Electric Railway Historical Society

Red flares light the somber early morning at Morgan Yard in Long Beach on the final run, April 9, 1961.

This scene from April 9, 1961 is next to Morgan Yard in Long Beach after the special train from Los Angeles had arrived. This was not only the last passenger train to Long Beach, but the last pass was once the vast Pacific Electric system. In a prior post on this PERYHS site, Ralph Cantos …

Steve Dudley was on the final runs to Long Beach and back, and captured this scene at 6th and Main before the final car ...
04/16/2019
April 9, 1961: Main Street Station - Pacific Electric Railway Historical Society

Steve Dudley was on the final runs to Long Beach and back, and captured this scene at 6th and Main before the final car departed.

The number of people at Main Street Station in Los Angeles continued to grow in the early morning hours of April 9, 1961. A scheduled train to Long Beach (single car barely visible on the left) was set to leave at 2:16am. A special train awaited on the track to the right for what would …

Steve Dudley is back with more photos from the end of the Long Beach Line in April of 1961. Be prepared for some serious...
04/16/2019
April 8, 1961: Sunset at Fairbanks Yard - Pacific Electric Railway Historical Society

Steve Dudley is back with more photos from the end of the Long Beach Line in April of 1961. Be prepared for some seriously sad imagery.

On April 8, 1961, the sun was setting not only over Fairbanks Yard, but for the last time on the Long Beach line. A few rail cars still on the line were completing the remaining scheduled runs, however these cars are dark as their useful lives had come to an end. The reflection on the …

Pacific Electric Railway and the WII workers.
04/12/2019

Pacific Electric Railway and the WII workers.

Pacific Electric Railway, CalShip and a Liberty Ship named Thaddeus SC Lowe
During World War II, the United States Maritime Commission used some of the Pacific Electric Railway rolling stock to get workers and ship builders from their homes to the CalShip yards. The first cars would leave from 6th and Main Streets in downtown Los Angeles a bit after 6:00 am and run until midnight. If one lived in an outlying area, such as Pasadena, the trip would have to begin even earlier. Liberty ships were being turned out in large numbers (about 2,700 total production) and only two of them survive today; the SS John Brown and the SS Jeremiah O’Brien. One little known Liberty Ship was the Thaddeus SC Lowe (hull #168), launched March 17th, 1943. Obviously named for Civil War balloonist, Thaddeus SC Lowe. Lowe served as Chief Aeronaut of the Union Army and built seven balloons to spy on the Confederates. Lowe was also an overnight guest of President Abraham Lincoln at the White House, did a tethered ascent from the White House lawn and launched balloons off barges on the Potomac, thus creating the first “aircraft carrier.” The Liberty Ship Thaddeus SC Lowe survived until 1959, at which point she was scrapped in the San Francisco Bay area. Thaddeus Lowe’s great grandson, John Rowland Haug, saw her awaiting her fate while he was serving as an officer in the US Navy. There are no known images of this ship. Michael Patris Collection, Mount Lowe Preservation Society, www.mountlowe.org and Pacific Electric Railway Historical Society Archives, www.peryhs.org

Pasadena and Los Angeles Electric RailwayBefore Southern California knew there would be a company called the Pacific Ele...
04/11/2019
Mount Lowe Preservation Society

Pasadena and Los Angeles Electric Railway
Before Southern California knew there would be a company called the Pacific Electric Railway, Henry Huntington and his uncle Collis were quietly buying up small electric railways and horse-car lines to expand the holdings of the Southern Pacific Railroad. In 1898 the Los Angeles and Pasadena Electric Railway was bought by the Huntington’s, which they thought would be key to future expansion throughout Southern California. When the line opened four years earlier, it was considered the first “Interurban” line, or one that ran between large cities. Following this purchase, the name was changed to the Los Angeles and Pasadena Electric Railway Company and would eventually become part of the Pacific Electric Railway, following the Great Merger of 1911. This image of the Colorado, Los Robles, Hill and Lake Avenue car #45 was one of our local cars up until that time. On January 14, 1944, railfan Ray Younghans shot this image of PE motorman David Gillespie and conductor A. F. Wilson at the North Fair Oaks car house in Pasadena. The las image is of an original Oak Knoll Pacific Electric Railway dash sign, donated to the Mount Lowe Preservation Society by the late Frank Q. Newton. Photos donated by Larry Gillespie. Mount Lowe Preservation Society Collection, www.mountlowe.org Pacific Electric Railway Historical Society Archives, www.peryhs.org

Pasadena and Los Angeles Electric Railway
Before Southern California knew there would be a company called the Pacific Electric Railway, Henry Huntington and his uncle Collis were quietly buying up small electric railways and horse-car lines to expand the holdings of the Southern Pacific Railroad. In 1898 the Los Angeles and Pasadena Electric Railway was bought by the Huntington’s, which they thought would be key to future expansion throughout Southern California. When the line opened four years earlier, it was considered the first “Interurban” line, or one that ran between large cities. Following this purchase, the name was changed to the Los Angeles and Pasadena Electric Railway Company and would eventually become part of the Pacific Electric Railway, following the Great Merger of 1911. This image of the Colorado, Los Robles, Hill and Lake Avenue car #45 was one of our local cars up until that time. On January 14, 1944, railfan Ray Younghans shot this image of PE motorman David Gillespie and conductor A. F. Wilson at the North Fair Oaks car house in Pasadena. The las image is of an original Oak Knoll Pacific Electric Railway dash sign, donated to the Mount Lowe Preservation Society by the late Frank Q. Newton. Photos donated by Larry Gillespie. Mount Lowe Preservation Society Collection, www.mountlowe.org Pacific Electric Railway Historical Society Archives, www.peryhs.org

Mission Special Trip
04/10/2019

Mission Special Trip

Pacific Electric Railway and the Mission Trolley Trip

The San Gabriel Mission has been an attraction for decades and the Pacific Electric Railway made it more accessible to thousands of folks over the years. The Mission Trolley Trip could be taken from Sixth and Main Streets in downtown Los Angeles, or picked up in Pasadena at the south-west corner of Fair Oaks and Colorado Boulevard, among other places. This was also one of the few spots the El Camino Real could be visited by trolley and signage from the Automobile Club of Los Angeles put it on the maps of motorists and visitors in hundreds of locations from San Diego to San Francisco. There were once tracks on Mission Street in front of the San Gabriel Mission and bleachers for souvenir photos. George Tilton (Tilton’s Trolley Trips) was one of the first to rent entire trolley cars for his passengers to take them “from the ocean to orange groves to snow” at the reasonable rate of 100 miles for $1.00. Once at the mission, miniature replica souvenir bells could be purchased in the gift store. The California Bell Company in Alhambra made the souvenirs and roadside bells, designed by Mrs. A. S. C. Forbes in 1906. Perhaps most of us have seen these souvenirs; less common, however, are the table-top lamps fashioned in the same manner. Michael Patris Collection, Mount Lowe Preservation Society and Pacific Electric Railway Historical Society Archives. www.mountlowe.org and www.peryhs.org

Donald Duke's Birthday, April 1929.
04/02/2019

Donald Duke's Birthday, April 1929.

Donald Duke’s 90th Birthday - 4-1-29

Today, April 1, 2019, marks the 90th anniversary of the birth of Donald Norman Duke; a life-long rail enthusiast, photographer, author, publisher and founder of Golden West Books.

Since Duke’s passing in 2010, Golden West Books has become part of the non-profit Mount Lowe Preservation Society. We have published three monographs from our numerous collections; one of which is the Pacific Electric Railway Historical Society Collection. This collection, launched by the late Jack Finn, has been published as the “Remembrances of the Pacific Electric Railway” series with
layout and design by Jim Bunte and archival photography digitized and enhanced by Steve Crise. They are Monograph No. 2 by John L. (Jack) Whitmeyer,
Monograph No. 9 by Alan Weeks and Monograph No. 10 by Harvey Laner.

The most recent work is Huntington Tracks by Paul Smedley; a 35 year research project defining the origins of the Pacific Electric Railway by the actions of Collis
and Henry Huntington.

Duke would be proud of the work being carried on by our foundation and we are equally proud to continue his legacy. R. I. P., Duke! --- Michael Patris, President.

Henry E. Huntington’s office at the Jonathan Club, 1907.  The Jonathan Club is a Gentleman's club in Los Angeles which...
03/30/2019

Henry E. Huntington’s office at the Jonathan Club, 1907. The Jonathan Club is a Gentleman's club in Los Angeles which was housed for a time in the Pacific Electric Building. Henry E. Huntington was president of the Club at one time. "Copyright. 1907, Chas. H. Baker" and "No. 26." --- https://hdl.huntington.org/digital/collection/p15150coll8/id/439/rec/6

The Summit of Mount Lowe.  Mount Lowe Railway, part of the Pacific Electric Railway, in the San Gabriel Mountains above ...
03/29/2019
www.mountlowe.org

The Summit of Mount Lowe. Mount Lowe Railway, part of the Pacific Electric Railway, in the San Gabriel Mountains above Pasadena / Altadena, CA (1893-1936). By the volunteers at the Mount Lowe Preservation Society Inc.

Check out these pins in our collection.  Michael Patris Collection, Mount Lowe Preservation Society.  www.mountlowe.org
03/20/2019

Check out these pins in our collection. Michael Patris Collection, Mount Lowe Preservation Society. www.mountlowe.org

After Henry Huntington and the Pacific Electric Railway took over the Mount Lowe line, passengers to all parts of the southland looked for and purchased souvenirs. These three celluloid pin-back buttons were made up for the P.E. by L. A. Badge and Manufacturing Company, located at 342 S. Broadway in Los Angeles. They not only made celluloid buttons like these, but also pennants, name and company badges, class pins and "advertising novelties." Starting from the left, the first pin dates from 1910 for a special employee trip to Long Beach. The middle one is from the Pacific Electric Mechanical Department's 4th Annual Picnic and the one on the right is from an outing to Redondo Beach and the once-famous Hotel Redondo. Michael Patris Collection, Mount Lowe Preservation Society. www.mountlowe.org

One more Stephen Dudley image from last-day operations on the Long Beach Line and the Bay Area Electric Railway Associat...
03/10/2019
Last-Day Charter Northbound at Cota - Pacific Electric Railway Historical Society

One more Stephen Dudley image from last-day operations on the Long Beach Line and the Bay Area Electric Railway Association excursion aboard 1706.

Saturday, April 8, 1961, was the last full day of service on the Long Beach line and the Bay Area Electric Railroad Association charter running northbound had to pause for a red signal at Cota to await the clearance of an eastbound Union Pacific freight coming from the harbor. Any time a Long Beach....

This Geo. Mehl wide format image from last-day excursions on the Long Beach Line is a classic! Courtesy Stephen Dudley C...
03/10/2019
Last-Day Charter Wide Format - Pacific Electric Railway Historical Society

This Geo. Mehl wide format image from last-day excursions on the Long Beach Line is a classic! Courtesy Stephen Dudley Collection.

Saturday, April 8, 1961, was the last full day of service on the Long Beach line and the Bay Area Electric Railroad Association charter was positioned in the then-unused Morgan yard in Long Beach and sporting a “Via Oak Knoll” destination sign. While there, a professional photographer set up a l...

Stephen Dudley is back with more last-day images and memories from April 8, 1961. Have a look!
03/10/2019
1706 Last-Day Charter - Pacific Electric Railway Historical Society

Stephen Dudley is back with more last-day images and memories from April 8, 1961. Have a look!

Saturday April 8, 1961 was the last full day of service on the Long Beach line and the Bay Area Electric Railroad Association ran a charter during the day. Car 1706 is shown southbound paused not far north of Watts for a photo on the four-track main. White flags are flying and the Catalina Special ....

Another from Stephen Dudley: April 7, 1961, at Los Cerritos.
02/24/2019
April 7, 1961: Los Cerritos - Pacific Electric Railway Historical Society

Another from Stephen Dudley: April 7, 1961, at Los Cerritos.

By Stephen Dudley It’s later afternoon on April 7, 1961, as one of the last Limited trains to Long Beach rolls to a stop at Los Cerritos. This stop was well-patronized during the morning and evening rush hour as many who lived in the adjacent neighborhood worked in downtown Los Angeles. The stop n...

A new image from the Stephen Dudley collection taken on April 6, 1961 at 6th and Main, before abandonment on the Long Be...
02/24/2019
April 6, 1961: Just Before Abandonment - Pacific Electric Railway Historical Society

A new image from the Stephen Dudley collection taken on April 6, 1961 at 6th and Main, before abandonment on the Long Beach Line.

By Stephen Dudley This picture taken April 6, 1961 at the Main Street Station. The day was the Thursday before abandonment. In preparation for the run to Long Beach, the motorman had just installed a Limited dash sign and obligingly paused for the photographer. Stephen Dudley Photo and Collection

Ralph Cantos is back with a great General Electric promotional image of LARY 3060 in Hancock Park, with a bonus contempo...
02/24/2019
LARY 3060 in Affluent Hancock Park - Pacific Electric Railway Historical Society

Ralph Cantos is back with a great General Electric promotional image of LARY 3060 in Hancock Park, with a bonus contemporary street view of the same location.

By Ralph Cantos This 1938 photo from an General Electric advertisement shows Los Angeles Railway car no. 3060 on W. 3rd Street at Windsor Blvd. in LA’s “well-to-do” Hancock Park area. The General Electric Company was very proud of LA’s GE-equipped PCCs and milked that fact for all it was wor...

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