The online selections from the Robert G. Pflaum Slide Collection include 373 images focusing on streetcar routes through downtown Pittsburgh, its neighborhoods, and surrounding areas, including the South Hills, Dormont, and Castle Shannon. Railroad views of other parts of western Pennsylvania, such as the Horseshoe Curve in Altoona, Johnstown, and Colliers, West Virginia were also chosen because of their significance. All items that appear online have been attributed to Pflaum.
What's in the entire collection
The Robert G. Pflaum Slide Collection, held by the Archives Service Center (ASC) at the University of Pittsburgh, includes 35mm slides and manuscript material in the form of maps, news articles, and ephemera. Titles of files have been left as created by the donor. Inventories created by Pflaum are available to some slide files.
The collection documents railroads and streetcar transit systems. While there is a focus on Pittsburgh, content documenting railroads or streetcars can be found for Ohio, West Virginia, Maryland, Colorado, Michigan, and Canada. Even though Pflaum was an avid rail and streetcar photographer, like many rail fans, he purchased collections of slides for his own reference. The original photographer is noted where known.
Several abbreviations can be found in the collection descriptions. These abbreviations and their meanings are as follows: PCC (President's Conference Committee), D & RGW (Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad), C & S (Colorado and Southern Railroad), B & O (Baltimore and Ohio Railroad), and M & NF (Moorehead and North Fork Railroad).
About Robery G. Plaum
Robert G. Pflaum had a life-long fascination with streetcars. According to his son, "... as a very young boy [Robert Pflaum] once took a trolley token from a dish in his grandparents. living room, boarded the first trolley that passed by, and rode that trolley all day long until it returned in front of the house later that day where his grandfather met him at the curb and walked him home." Pflaum lived in many places including Denver, Chicago, and Columbus, but often returned to Pittsburgh in the summers. Even during the 43 years he owned his hobby shop in Columbus, he returned to Pittsburgh on weekends to ride and photograph streetcars. Robert G. Pflaum died on May 9, 2007.