Historical Map: Trolley Map of Portland, Oregon, 1943
It’s been a while since Transit Maps featured an historical map, so here’s one from my city of Portland, Oregon. This charming map was produced by the Portland Traction Company in 1943: check out their nifty monogram in the photo set.
While it’s labelled as a “trolley map” of Portland, it actually marks a point in time where streetcars and trolley buses were being replaced with cheaper to operate buses, and transit as a whole was on the decline, being replaced by the all-powerful automobile. In the early 20th Century, almost all of the routes shown on this map were streetcars, and many of them now correspond directly to TriMet bus routes. And now streetcar is on the rise again, with the east side loop almost completed and a network extending into the suburbs in the planning stage.
I’ve used this map as a basis for this poster, which overlays rail transit in Portland in the years 1912, 1943 and in 2015 (when the PMLRT is finished) - a fascinating view of the changing attitudes towards transit in the Rose City.
Have we been there? Home sweet home!
What we like: A comprehensive overview of services. The use of different symbols for each transit mode allows routes to be overlaid on each other quite clearly. Amusing and delightful little illustrations dot the map. Great fun to be had spotting changes to the city over the years: Union Avenue on the map is now MLK Avenue, the Morrison Bridge shown here is the predecessor to the current one, there’s an ironworks where the lower OHSU campus is now… and more!
What we don’t like: Downtown is a confusing jumble of crosses, dots, lines and numbers all crammed into a very small space with no idea given of route termini.
Our rating: Charming and breezy. Historically interesting. 4 stars.
(Source: Vintage Portland)