PE 335: Alone and Abandoned!
By Ralph Cantos
Heavy rains in 1938 caused havoc all over Los Angeles and Southern California.
Here, Pacific Electric Birney no. 335 sits in traction motor-high rain water on Franklin Avenue in Hollywood. The door is open, the trolley pole is pulled down and the motorman is nowhere to be seen. The high rain water was just to much for the little car. The 335 was working the WESTERN – FRANKLIN Line, known to PE crews as “The merry go round.”
Time was running out for PE’s fleet of Birney cars by this time. The 335 is listed as being sold for scrap in 1939, so this may have been the “end of the line” for the hapless little fellow.
Most of PE’s Birney’s were built between 1918 and 1920. By 1941, all of PE Birneys were all out of service and sold off for a variety of uses such as storage sheds, chicken coops and in the case of Birneys 331, 332, and 337 as movie props.
Sadly, most of the little cars were scrapped. Thankfully, both the 331 and 332 are alive and well at OERM, more than 90 years after they were built. Sadly, 337 was cut down the middle length-wise for interior shots and later “disposed with.”
Ralph Cantos Collection
The photo is on Franklin Avenue west of Bronson Avenue, looking west. The multi-story apartment building in the background is still there today on Tamarind Avenue.
Behind us and on the northwest corner, an episode of Highway Patrol had Broderick Crawford go into a Pharmacy with soda fountain. The view from inside looks out across Franklin toward the southeast where a small old gas station stood (a friend’s father ran this before taking over the old Flying A/Philips 66 conversion down at Hollywood). I believe the site of the fountain became part of the parking lot of a supermarket.
Some 1919 info. on Hollywood lines including Franklin shuttle services: https://books.google.com/books?id=1MxRAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA17&lpg=PA17&dq=pacific+electric+hollywood+%26+franklin&source=bl&ots=0ZK1gmYb38&sig=ACfU3U3QuMl5w-l04IW8nzImDnWeVk0AWA&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwibwc3hoZnpAhXCl54KHfRpC2wQ6AEwB3oECAYQAQ#v=onepage&q=pacific%20electric%20hollywood%20%26%20franklin&f=false