Cleveland Circle-A Moment in Time.

In March 1982, I exposed these photographs of MBTA Green Line PCCs taking the corner at Boston’s Cleveland Circle.

The relative proximity of three Green Line trolley routes at Cleveland Circle made this an ideal place to photograph streetcars since there was lots of trackage and variety of action.

The streetcars pictured had just finished their run and were turning into the storage/staging area at the end of Green Line’s ‘C’ route.

By this time MBTA’s old PCC cars were nearing the end of their regular service on Green Line routes, which made them an added attraction for me. The cars were tired and battered from decades of hard service yet soldiered on.

A tired old Presidents’ Conference Committee car has just finished its outbound run.
Check out the ad at the back of the trolley.

Today, it’s the period signs that make the photos interesting. Look at the ad for ‘Peoples Express’ on the back of one of the streetcars. Also, the cinema is advertising ‘Chariots of Fire’ among other films from 35 years ago.

Here’s an enlargement of the above photo that better shows the cinema sign.

I exposed these images on Ilford HP5 using my Leica 3A with 50mm Summitar. Unfortunately, I processed the film in Kodak Microdol-X. This developer offered very fine grain, but at the expense of tonality. It was tricky to get the timing right, and in this case I left the film in the developer too long. The result is that negatives display excessive contrast and blocked up highlights.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily.

5 thoughts on “Cleveland Circle-A Moment in Time.”

  1. I like how you get the overhead wiring in the photos.

    Now there’s constant tension wiring in most places and 100% pantographs instead of trolley poles. The Circle Cinema and The Ground Round (formerly Howard Johnson’s) are no more. The site is currently a busy construction zone for a hotel, stores/restaurants, and housing.

    The track layout is the same with interesting connections to all 3 lines (B, C, D) and the shops. The switches in the street are still changed manually with a pole that can usually be found on the sidewalk, meaning that traffic often is blocked at the location of the lead PCC in the photo where the trains continue around the building into the yard. The traffic facing the trains waits for the operator to climb out, change the switch, and then further waits for the entire train to move into the yard.

    A great photo opportunity: 3 am when the pavement’s wet from the middle of the street about 20 feet in front of the lead PCC in the photo. You’ll be facing the network of tracks leading to the shop all glistening with the reflection of lights of various colors. Nowadays, it’s probably prudent to check in with any cops in the Dunkin Donuts behind the PCC in the vertical photo above (formerly a gas station). Or maybe not necessary with a high-ISO camera not needing a tripod. This is a safe area.

  2. Whatever about the developer, the picture of two cars apparently in multiple unit operation is fascinating.

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