This photo is taken on Somerset Street in front of the Plant Pool, looking east up the hill into the heart of the Little Italy district which is now Chinatown.
Preston runs left – right across the photo. The Rainbow grill on the corner of Preston and Somerset is now May’s Chinese restaurant. The Atlas tire billboard is now Frisby tires. The buildings on the far left corner of the intersection houses Azar Signs amongst other businesses. The buildings burned down in the late 60’s I think. At that time, my elderly Italian neighbor once told me, one of them housed a topless shoeshine parlour, which were popular venues back then. Further up the hill, beyond the Atlas sign, was the Vendome bar, which became a strip club and All Star Hotel before it burned down.
I note that the streets do not have a painted centre line, stop lines, crosswalks…
The lamppost in the right foreground is a streetcar rail on end. It was removed only about 10 or 12 years ago when the posts were moved back behind the sidewalk. All of the traffic control signals and signs are mounted on telephone poles, none had their own posts that so clutter or enivronment today.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GbqoBnhiak4 is a link to a short movie that shows the streetcars moving around this intersection at minute 7.35. There are shots at 4.20 and 6.10 showing the streetcars on Elm street leaving the Champagne Streetcar Barn.