Norristown, PA – Then & Now

Hawes Avenue 1957

A Baldwin switcher waits in the clear as an eastbound commuter train of MP54’s stops at the Hawes Avenue Station in Norristownon July 20th, 1957. The street itself passes under the railroad at the bridge in the foreground.

Picture by John Bowman, from TRIUMPH III by David Messer, Baranard Roberts, & Co.Publishers, Baltimore, 2000.

Hawes Avenue 2001

About 44 years later, very little remains of this scene. The rails were torn up many years ago, and the station demolished. The driveway and patterend-brick sidewalk to the depot are still in place, although weeds are encroaching upon them. Even the catenary stanchions have been removed at this point (although east of DeKalb street Station they survive intact). Fortunetly, the railroad has been somewhat preserved as a biking/walking trail.
Photo Copyright ©2001 Anthony R. Tofani.

Dekalb and Lafayette Streets 1925

The intersection of Lafayette & DeKalb streets in Norristown, around 1925. The railroad seems to have a greter presence in the street than the street itself. A grade crossing elimination program, implemented in the early 1930’s, relocated the tracks about 100 feet to the right of the photographer, adjacent to the right-of-way of the Reading Company. Note the Pennsy position-light signal at the right side of the tracks.

Photo part of the collection of the Hagley Museum & Library, from TRIUMPH III by David Messer, Baranard Roberts, & Co.Publishers, Baltimore, 2000.

Dekalb and Lafayette Streets 2001

Today, neither the Pennsy’s old or new alignment through this area are in use, the latter being abandoned by SEPTA in favor of the Reading tracks. The ‘new’ alignment is now a part of the hiking/biking trail to Valley Forge. Note that several buildings present in the first photograph remain in existance today, although perhaps slightly altered.
Photo Copyright ©2001 Anthony R. Tofani.