A paving contractor rebuilding a section of Eastern Avenue NW just west of Georgia Avenue uncovered a bit of urban archeology recently. A crew, digging into the old pavement, found the buried tracks leading to the old Georgia and Alaska avenues streetcar terminal loop.
Those tracks were last used on Jan. 3, 1960. While they represent a major era of local transit history, they themselves weren't really as historic as one might suspect. The loop was built sometime in World War II -- perhaps as late as 1945 -- to accommodate new streetcars, which had to turn around at the end of the line, according to Alfred E. Savage, the now-retired maintenance director for the old Capital Transit Co. and later for Metro.
Previously, the Georgia Avenue car line had a stub end in the middle of Georgia Avenue. Crews of the older cars simply pulled down the trolley pole at one end of the car, raised the one at the other end, and reversed direction. The Georgia Avenue car line, incidentally, was one of the last in Washington with overhead trolley wires outside the central city. Underground conduits were used in the central area.
Savage also recalled that, sometime in the postwar period, a trolley car was parked on a side track at the Georgia and Alaska loop and used as a mobile movie theater for a local premiere of a Hedy Lamarr-Clark Gable movie. The movie's plot featured Lamarr as a Russian streetcar operator and Gable as her western suitor. Any movie buff recall the name of the film? A Big Assignment A member of the U.S. Park Police in Washington since 1945, Maj. Robert E. Langston, must have the farthest-flung command of any uniformed police officer in the land. He's just been named deputy chief of the field offices division of the Park Police, which puts him in charge of the force's operations at urban-area national parks at New York City and San Francisco. In addition, he'll supervise Park Police captains assigned to nine National Park Service regional offices across the country.
Langston, who formerly headed the Park Police central district in Washington, will maintain his headquarters here. He is a native who attended St. John's and Wilson high schools and is president of the board of the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Rescue Squad. The family home is in Potomac.