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Why the Class 1s were named San Diego Landmark #339

Based on their combined historic fabric, the three San Diego Class 1 trolley car bodies are eligible for placement on the California Register of Historic Resources as historic structures because they yield important information concerning the following criterion:


These three 1912-built electric streetcar bodies represent the evolution of San Diego's electric transit system from horse-drawn, cable, and electric-powered single-truck wooden cars to a larger, faster, and more-efficient dual-truck, steel-reinforced wooden car body. Built exclusively for the SDERy by noted American car makers, the St. Louis Car Company, from plans submitted by the former's own master car builders, these unique "San Diego Style" cars are associated with the introduction of twenty-four of the first Center-Entrance Pay-As-You-Enter trolley cars in the United States. As such, they represent SDERy's attempts to modernize its operations in time for the upcoming and locally significant 1915 Panama-California Exposition in Balboa Park. The cars' front entry and exit arrangement due to changing operational and economical demands, and their post-1937 conversion into a private residence.


The three surviving SDERy's San Diego Style Class 1 Car bodies are associated with the lives of noted San Diegans who played an important role in their design, development and operation:

1. Capitalist and SDERy director John D. Spreckels
2. Pioneer electric street railroad developer and SDERy's directing manager William Clayton
3. Pioneer electric streetcar designer Homer MacNutt
4. Master trolley car builder, Abel A. Butterworth
5. Pioneer electric street railroad supervisor Minard J. Perrin


Although their components may lack individual distinction due to alterations or removal, the car bodies contain enough combined historic resource: extremely rare surviving examples of a type of early 20th century steel-reinforced, all-wood-bodied dual electric motor-powered streetcar. They represent the combined work of pioneer master SDERy electric streetcar designers and craftsmen Abel A. Butterworth, Homer MacNutt, and Minard J. Perrin, materialized by the nationally significant St. Louis Car Company. Originally a semi-enclosed, center-entry and exit body design, the car bodies' current configuration reflects their 1924-era conversion to a front entry and exit operation, and 1937 adaptation to a single-family residence.


As the only surviving examples of pre-World War I steel-reinforced, all-wood body electric trolleys built by the St. Louis Car Company exclusively for San Diego, all three car bodies shoudl be considered as important historical artifacts from San Diego's golden age of electric streetcars taht have yielded, or have the porential to yield important information for interpreting and answering the following historic themes and research questions:

1. Transportation
a. Can the car bodies be studied to understand 20th century electric trolley car design, construction and operation in San Diego, California, and the United States?
b. Can the car bodies be used to understand and interpret the process and technology of conveying passengers throughout San Diego's once-extensive pre-World War II electric streetcar network?

2. Invention
a. Can the car bodies be used to understand and interpret a case of local ingenuity in designing an original Semi-Open Center-Entrance P.A.Y.E.-type electric streetcar used exclusively in San Diego?
b. How does their design, construction and layout compare to other surviving P.A.Y.E.-type electric streetcar bodies in the United States?
c. While their motive power and other mechanical equipmentare no longer extant, what information can be learned about their historical placement through careful study and analysis of the cars' underchassis?
d. What can the cars' present configuration tell researchers about important social and economic solutions to local transportation problems and adaptive housing concerns?

3. Restoration
a. How can the surviving historic fabric be used to restore the car bodies to their original 1912 or modified 1924-era designs?
b. If one or all three cars are going to be restored, which era should the restoration project reflect?
c. Should there be an example of a completely restored 1912 and 1924 version to illustrate the car bodies' historic evolution and adaptation?




Historic Landmark Status

Time & Cost Estimates from Gomaco Trolley Corp

North Park Traffic Calming Study