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Legacies Project Oral History: Wanda Capps

Wanda Capps was born in 1926 in Chicago, Illinois to Polish immigrant parents. As a young woman, Capps worked as a bank clerk and saved money to go to Illinois College, where she met her husband. After stints in Nebraska, Alabama, and Detroit, they settled in Ann Arbor with their three children. Her husband worked in a pharmaceutical laboratory. The family enjoyed traveling and spent summers in Grand Traverse Bay. She enjoys quilting and volunteering in the library at Glacier Hills Senior Living Community.

Wanda Capps was interviewed as part of an internship at Applied Safety and Ergonomics in Ann Arbor in 2008 as part of the Legacies Project.

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Legacies Project Oral History: Lomas Shaw

Lomas Shaw was born in 1915 in Laurens County, South Carolina. He attended Sterling High School in Greenville, SC, where he played football and baseball. He sang in a quartet at Friendship College in Rock Hill, South Carolina. After moving to Detroit in 1943, Shaw was a streetcar and bus driver for many years. He was married to his wife for over 70 years, and they had seven children. He was a dedicated member of Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church. He passed away on Saturday, February 18, 2017.

Lomas Shaw was interviewed in partnership with the Museum of African American History of Detroit and Y Arts Detroit in 2010 as part of the Legacies Project.

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Martin Bandyke Under Covers for May 2019: Martin Bandyke interviews Kenneth C. Springirth, author of Detroit’s Streetcar Heritage

Kenneth Charles Springirth (born 1939) is a United States author, activist, politician, guest-speaker, photographer, and railroad historian. Detroit's Streetcar Heritage is Ken’s photographic essay of the Detroit, Michigan, streetcar system.

Replacement of slow moving horsecar service began with the opening of an electric street railway by the Detroit Citizens Street Railway in 1892. By 1900, all of the Detroit streetcar systems were consolidated into the Detroit United Railway (DUR). Following voter approval, the City of Detroit purchased DUR in 1922, becoming the first large United States city to own and operate public transit under Detroit Department of Street Railways (DSR). Between 1921 and 1930, DSR purchased 781 Peter Witt type streetcars. Although DSR purchased 186 modern Presidents' Conference Committee (PCC) cars between 1945 and 1949, many streetcar lines were converted to bus operation. The last streetcar line on Woodward Avenue was converted to bus operation in 1956 with 183 PCC cars sold to Mexico City. Detroit's Streetcar Heritage documents the city's streetcar era plus scenes of the PCC cars in Mexico City, the Washington Boulevard Line which operated from 1976 to 2003, and the QLINE streetcar which opened in 2017 on Woodward Avenue linking Grand Boulevard with downtown Detroit.

Scrap Drive: Removal of Rails from Catherine St. for Steel, May 1942 Photographer: Eck Stanger

Scrap Drive: Removal of Rails from Catherine St. for Steel, May 1942 image
Published In:
Ann Arbor News, May 26, 1942
SCRAP FOR GUNS, BATTLESHIPS, TANKS: Long unused street car rails in Ann Arbor are going into the nation's war effort as scrap iron. A group of WPA workers is shown tearing up the rails on Catherine St., starting the job of salvaging between five and six hundred tons of the rails from Ann Arbor streets. The labor cost will be met by the WPA--the city contributing the value of the scrap iron as its share--and the WPA will repair the pavement damaged in the process.

State Street, 1870s

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