St. Louis Car Company - 1887-1960s - St. Louis, Missouri


The St. Louis Car Company was founded 1887 at St. Louis, MO. It quickly grew into one of America's leading builders of rolling stock for electric street car and interurban systems.

Unique among interurbans was the Washington-Virginia's parlor car Mount Vernon, aboard which countless thousands rode in princely splendor to view the Washington estate and tomb. Built by the St. Louis Car Company in 1904 as the Mabel, the car was originally owned by the Lewis Publishing Company, publishers of Woman's Magazine and Woman's Farm Journal, and was employed for the entertainment of company friends and visitors during the 1904 St. Louis Louisiana Purchase Exposition. One compartment was furnished as a parlor, with a handsomely carved settee in the center, tastefully upholstered in a fine yellow fabric harmonizing with the ceiling, curtains, and portieres, which were pea green. Upholstered chairs and an inlaid mahogany desk completed the parlor furnishings. A smoker section and a completely equipped buffet were installed in the opposite end of the car. The elegant Mount Vernon posed for this photograph outside the railway's Four Mile Run carhouse in 1923.


ST. LOUIS (ii) (US) 1921-1922; 1930-1951

St. Louis Car Co., St. Louis, Missouri

An established maker of streetcars and railroad passenger cars, St. Louis was building double-deck bus bodies by 1914, when a sizable fleet of open-top double­-deckers with St. Louis bodies on Mack or Kelly-­Springfield chassis was placed in operation in San Francisco to convey visitors to the Panama-Pacific Exposition. St. Louis Car also built the bodies for the original fleet of Chicago double-deckers in 1917 (see American Motor Bus). Two experimental trolley-coaches and a fleet of four for Windsor were constructed in the early 1920's. The company never got deeply involved in buses, though small orders for bodies were accepted during the 1920's. With the revival of U.S. interest in trolley-coaches after 1928, St. Louis entered that market, doing moderately well before the war and quite well after 1945. Atlanta, New Orleans and Cleveland had large fleets of St. Louis trolley-coaches, over 1,100 of which were ultimately produced. St. Louis Car built a sample six-­wheel gas-electric bus in 1929 and a few other prototypes of different kinds later, but never brought any complete buses to market.


    For more information please read:

Cars of the St. Louis Car Company - Electric Railway Historic Society Bulletin #18

Harold E. Cox - The Birney Car. (Wilkes-Barre, PA: Byrne Printing Co., circa 1965)

Alan R. Lind - From Horsecars to Streamliners - An Illustrated History of the St. Louis Car Company

Andrew D Young & Eugene F. Provenzo, Jr. The History of the St. Louis Car Company

Andrew D. Young - St. Louis Car Company - A Photographic Album. Glendale, CA

St. Louis Car Company Collection. Washington University Libraries. Catalog of the libraries’ holdings.

Ed Strauss & Karen Strauss - The Bus World Encyclopedia of Buses

G.N. Georgano & G. Marshall Naul - The Complete Encyclopedia of Commercial Vehicles

Albert Mroz - Illustrated Encyclopedia of American Trucks & Commercial Vehicles

Donald F. Wood - American Buses

Denis Miller - The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Trucks and Buses

Susan Meikle Mandell - A Historical Survey of Transit Buses in the United States

David Jacobs - American Buses, Greyhound, Trailways and Urban Transportation

William A. Luke & Linda L. Metler - Highway Buses of the 20th Century: A Photo Gallery 

William A. Luke & Brian Grams - Buses of Motorcoach Industries 1932-2000 Photo Archive

William A. Luke - Greyhound Buses 1914-2000 Photo Archive

William A. Luke - Prevost Buses 1924-2002 Photo Archive

William A. Luke - Flxible Intercity Buses 1924-1970 Photo Archive

William A. Luke - Buses of ACF Photo Archive (including ACF-Brill & CCF-Brill)

William A. Luke - Trailways Buses 1936-2001 Photo Archive

William A. Luke - Fageol & Twin Coach Buses 1922-1956 Photo Archive

William A. Luke - Yellow Coach Buses 1923 Through 1943: Photo Archive

William A. Luke - Trolley Buses: 1913 Through 2001 Photo Archive

Harvey Eckart - Mack Buses: 1900 Through 1960 Photo Archive

Brian Grams & Andrew Gold - GM Intercity Coaches 1944-1980 Photo Archive

Robert R. Ebert  - Flxible: A History of the Bus and the Company

John McKane - Flxible Transit Buses: 1953 Through 1995 Photo Archive

Bill Vossler - Cars, Trucks and Buses Made by Tractor Companies

Lyndon W Rowe - Municipal buses of the 1960s

Edward S. Kaminsky - American Car & Foundry Company 1899-1999

Dylan Frautschi - Greyhound in Postcards: Buses, Depots and Post Houses


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