Peter (Pete) Manley 1895-1979
Born: 09 Nov 1895 Scranton PA
On the right is the actual photograph that accompanied this article. The caption underneath read: READY FOR LAST RUN SOUTH—Peter J. Manley operated street cars and buses for Scranton Transit Company for 53 years. At last finding bus driving rather strenuous, he made his last run Friday afternoon.
Old Street Car Man Remembers Baseball
Fans Riding Car Roofs
Carbondale’s old West Side Field oftentimes was a good revenue producer for the street car lines of the Scranton Transit Company in days of yore. Oftentimes, too, it was a prime headache producer for the two-man crews of the street cars of the day. A Sunday afternoon baseball game at West Side between a down-valley team and a Carbondale team meant that many trolley cars would be placed in service to handle the traffic, but even extra cars did not prevent overcrowding.
The visiting team rode the street cars to Carbondale and the fans rode the trolleys too. The resulting demand for transportation often resulted in the street car roofs being liberally decorated with passengers who couldn’t find seats in the cars. And therein lay headaches for motorman and conductor alike. The passenger overload taxed the capacity of the street car’s power and gave the motorman problems, and the customers on the roof gave the conductor problems—as to how he was to collect all the fares he should. The going home trip down the line produced the same conditions in reverse direction. Sometimes the life of a street car crew was humdrum and sometimes it wasn’t.
These incidentals in the career of a street car crewman were revived by Peter J. Manley, 1431 N. Washington Ave., Scranton, on Friday afternoon of last week as he prepared to make his last run from Carbondale south after 53 years on street cars and buses in the service of the Scranton Transit Company. Mr. Manley had decided that at long last the work of jockeying a big bus was becoming just a little heavy a chore for him. Russell Noble, business agent of Division 168 of the Amalgamated Transit Union, says that Mr. Manley’s union is seeking a lighter job for him with the transit firm. The old street car man does not desire to retire completely.
Mr. Manley began as a street car motorman May 3, 1915. Runs which he held covered the traction route between Forest City and Pittston. He also ran to Duryea. Joseph Dempsey was dispatcher at that time and Frank Gildea was in charge at the Mayfield car yard. One of Mr. Manley’s early duties in winter time was keeping the fire going in his street car’s pot belly stove. Sometimes along the route he would run out of coal and a friendly neighbor would provide a pail. Sometimes in the winter months a passenger would burn his coat by crowding too close to the stove.
Two items which Mr. Manley recalled just before he began his last run out of Carbondale were the street car fares of that day and the brakes with which the cars were equipped. The fare was 25 cents for the Carbondale to Scranton run. The cars had hand brakes and the brake chain had to be wound up before the car would stop. Until 1915 electricity for street car power came from the company power plant in Providence. Later power was purchased from the Scranton Electric Company.
Going over the Simpson viaduct on the north run the trolley crew had to lift the street car fender (cowcatcher) in order to make the turn on the Simpson viaduct. Coming back this maneuver was not necessary. One of the hazards of night time operation was caused by the weak headlights. This condition was especially marked between Simpson and Forest City, where the power supply was very poor, slowing the car and dimming the basically weak lights even more than usual. This poor lighting situation combined with the fact that pedestrians often used the street car route between Forest City and Simpson created another hazard, that of the inebriate who became sleepy on the way home and went to slumberland on the car tracks. This development was known to have fatal results.
The Forest City to Scranton trip via trolley took two and
one half hours. Sometimes on a Sunday afternoon young couples would take
the trolley ride from Carbondale to Forest City for an outing. The Simpson
– Forest City run had special hazards provided by snow in the winter
time. More than once cars became marooned, the worst spot being at Vandling.
Another winter problem for the street car men was caused by the fact that
for many years the street car lines were the only routes cleared of snow
during or immediately after storms. Pedestrians and
drivers of vehicles, horse drawn and otherwise, would make free use of
the route cleared by the big whirling brush of the street car company’s
snowplow. More than once this incidental traffic snarled trolley traffic.
Illness is Fatal
Born in Scranton, son of the late John and Sarah Lally Manley, he was a member of Holy Family Church and was employed as a driver for Scranton Transit Corp. for [over] 50 years before retiring in 1972. He was a member of the Amalgamated Transit Union and of the Knights of Columbus.
Surviving are two sons, John, Scranton, and Joseph, Connecticut; two daughters, Mrs. Clarence Martin, Bethlehem, and Mrs. David Turner, Scranton; two sister, Mrs. Florence Culkin and Mrs. Ann Kimble, both of Scranton; 21 grandchildren and 30 great-grandchildren.
The funeral will be Monday from the Thomas J. Golden Funeral Home, 2004 Delaware St., Dunmore, with mass at 9:30 a.m. in Holy Family Church. Interment, Cathedral Cemetery.