Last Day on the Monrovia-Glendora Line
By Charles Wherry
The two photos on this page are from my collection and depict PE publicity and news accounts of the final day of service on the Monrovia-Glendora line: September 30, 1951. Interestingly, Pacific Electric publicity people tracked down and found two couples who had ridden the line on its opening day in April 1903, and had them re-create their ride on the final cars from 6th and Main Street Station in Los Angeles to mark the event.
The next day, interurban service would be replaced by General Motors buses.
The first photo is a newspaper article in the Los Angeles Examiner that was published on September 29, 1951. Note the text of the article mis-names the Pasadena Short Line as the ‘Pasadena Pacific Electric short line’.
The next image was scanned from an 8×10 glossy print that my dad William Wherry, a PE employee, obtained from the Director of Public Relations of the PE. On the reverse side of the print is the following caption:
These two couples were passengers on the first electric interurban car to leave Monrovia, California for Los Angeles which service was inaugurated in 1903.
Left— Mr. & Mrs. Ben Overturf, Right—Mr. & Mrs. Harry Good. G.F. Squires, Vice Pres. P.E. Railway presenting corsage.
Picture taken Sept 29, 1951, last day of rail service for passengers, at 6th & Main station.
Motor coach at right one of fleet replacing rail cars.
It appears the car in the newspaper photo is a 400 class blimp. I believe that service to Monrovia was provided exclusively by 600 class or 5050 class cars at the very end although blimps had operated to Monrovia from time to time previously. It may have been more convenient or dramatic for photos at Main Street Station to have been made from a blimp than from a 600. Of non-Pacific Electric interest, one of the people featured in the newspaper article was named Ben Overturff. There is a trail in Monrovia Canyon (in the San Gabriel Mountains) named the “Ben Overturff Trail”. I assumed it is the same person.
Duncan, you have hit upon a bit of trivia in that the caption on the back of the print apparently mis-spelled the surname Overturf. With a name like that, I agree that it is probably the same person. I’d be interested
in researching the history of Mr. Overturff and his connection with southern California outdoor life. I bet it’s interesting. Thanks for the response.
looks like it could be car #407.
I believe the car is #307 since it does not
have the train number indicator box that the 400’s had right through renumbering by LAMTA and on to the scrapper. The ex-NWP 300’s had
their indicators mounted inside the left window.
Charles, you have a sharp eye. I think you are correct.
I have vivid memories of riding the PE when we lived in Duarte. We would get off at the Monrovia station to shop, or go to the theater. I remember being disappointed that buses took over. As an aside, Charles, you remember me from Temple City.
Today, for the first time since 1951, an electric railway car ran between Monrovia and Duarte on overhead electric power. LA Metro 731 is the test car for the Gold Line Foothill Extension. It was brought to Monrovia from the present end of service by a HiRail truck, and has been propelled by the same truck for the past week for clearance testing, but today the pantograph was up and the car was running on its own.