See 1920’s New Bedford Like Never Before
NEW BEDFORD — A moving picture showing a celebration of New Bedford's electric streetcars in May 1921 has recently been restored and colorized, showing the bustling city in all its glory.
The reel depicts a Union Street Railway trolley ride through the crowded streets of downtown New Bedford and scenes from Fairhaven's Fort Phoenix.
Formerly low quality, black and white, and silent, the video has been sharpened and brought to life with added color and background sounds.
A YouTuber called NASS posted the restored video to their channel on April 25, stating that they boosted the resolution and increased the frame rate as well as brightening, sharpening, stabilizing and colorizing the images.
NASS wrote in the channel description that they restore and upscale old videos using modern tools like neural networks and artificial intelligence.
Video viewers can see smiling faces with mustaches and bowler hats and hear the murmur of traffic, the clop of hooves, and bicycle bells as the trolleys move through the city.
The trolley moves past old New Bedford landmarks like the Olympia Theater, Browne's Pharmacy, and Trull Shoes in the video.
The footage even includes an appearance by then-mayor and local legend Charles Ashley.
People can be seen waving to the camera, bicycling, clambering over the cannons at Fort Phoenix, and posing in bathing costumes — just like they would do today, except the video footage was shot more than 100 years ago.
At one point near the four minute mark, a group of kids can be seen popping a balloon for the cameras — an action reminiscent of today's TikTok challenges.
Union Street Railway Company introduced the electric streetcars to replace those drawn by horses with a celebration almost exactly 102 years ago, on National Electric Day, May 4, 1921.
Watch the full video: