This week on Now and and Long Time Ago, GM stops by Wisconsin and P St. When researching last week’s post, he came across a site with old DC streetcar photos. One of which shows the “pit” that was once on Wisconsin Ave. at P St. The old Photo is from the Ed Havens collection.
Last week commenter Nemo explained the purpose of the pit:
In fact, if I’m not mistaken, the Wisconsin Avenue streetcars changed over from underground “plows” to overhead wires and catenaries at the intersection of Wisconsin and “Q” Streets, just south of the West Georgetown School. Back when Metro first opened in the mid 70s, The Post carried a fascinating profile of one of the first class of subway motormen, who was probably in his 60s at the time. He had worked his way up in the old Capital Traction/DC Transit system, where one of his first jobs had been as a “pit boy” assigned to Wisconsin and “Q.” He sat in a hole in the street, and when a streetcar came to his station, his job was to unhitch the underground connection to the electric cable while the car’s motorman was ratcheting up the catenary to connect w/ the overhead wire. Must have been a h***ish job during the summer months.
According to the DC Trolley Museum website, there were pits across town. The other Georgetown pit was on the campus of Georgetown University, approximately where the south parking lot is.