CSL 7001 northbound at State and Washington, 1934. This experimental pre-PCC car transported visitors back and forth to A Century of Progress. Note that there are only three stars on the Chicago flag. The fourth star, symbolizing Fort Dearborn, was added in 1939. (CSL Photo)
Chicago’s last streetcar ran in 1958, but while they lasted, they were a popular subject for railfan photographers. Today, they are artifacts of a time gone by, of neighborhoods, people, and fashions that were once so commonplace that few people took any special notice of them at the time.
Pictures like these are still coming out of the “woodwork,” and we have taken the opportunity to compile a sampling of them here for your enjoyment. Perhaps they will stimulate your memory if you are old enough to recall some of these times and places firsthand. If you are younger than that, we hope they will pique your curiosity.
If you can help us out with some of the missing locations, information or other trivia about what you see, we look forward to hearing from you with your comments.
PS- Clicking on each picture will bring up a larger version in your browser.
CTA 6127 on Kedzie at Catalpa. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)
Bob Lalich writes, “CTA 6305 is turning north about to leave the private right of way just south of 94th St and enter the median of Stony Island. The water tank in the right distance was located on the BRC near their South Chicago engine house.” (Joe L. Diaz Photo)
(Joe L. Diaz Photo)
(Joe L. Diaz Photo)
CSL 840 on Ravenswood Avenue at Rose Hill Cemetery on the Lincoln route circa 1947.
CSL 6200. Bill Shaptokin: “There appears to be an IC suburban station off to the left. This would indicate that the pic is on 75th, 79th, 87th or the east end of 95th.” (Joe L. Diaz Photo)
CSL 5722 on South Chicago northbound at 94th Street. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)
CSL 282 crossing the Illinois Central right-of-way in 1940.
CTA 684 at the “Museum Loop,” the eastern terminal of Route 12. Lake Shore Drive and the Field Museum are to the right, with the Illinois Central tracks at left.
CSL 5731 at 95th and Ewing on Route 5. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)
CSL 3231 on State Street, turning westbound onto 59th. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)
CSL 1775 in yet another patriotic paint scheme, this time at West Shops in October, 1943. (CSL Photo)
CSL 1775 in 1942, sporting the first of three patriotic paint schemes for this car.
CSL 3226 on 67th Street between Oglesby and Stony Island, on the 67-69-71st Street route. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)
CSL 1781 in patriotic garb. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)
CSL 2589 on 134th Street westbound of Indiana. Bob Lalich adds, “CSL 2589 is about to cross a track that led from IC’s Wildwood Yard to the B&OCT and PRR at Riverdale.” (Joe L. Diaz Photo)
CSL 536 eastbound on Washington at Franklin in the 1940s, emerging from the tunnel that took streetcars under the Chicago River.
Bill Shapotkin says, “This is a W/B car on Harrison St. between Canal and Clinton (that is the main Post Office building in the background). View looks east.” (Joe L. Diaz Photo)
CTA 78 is shown at the east end of the Madison-Fifth shuttle in February, 1954. But wait– wouldn’t car 78 be on the Hammond, Whiting, and East Chicago? In actuality, I think this is car 1781. Perhaps part of the number has fallen off. At left in the background you can see Fohrman Motors, a Chicago car dealer from 1912 to 1979. Three people were killed at the dealership by a disgruntled customer on January 7, 1966. The neighborhood, not far from the construction site for the Congress (now Eisenhower) expressway, is already showing signs of urban decay. We discuss this in our post Some Thoughts on “Displaced” (August 30, 2016).
CTA 7013 on Wabash Avenue at 14th on August 6, 1954.
CTA 4402 at the Western-Berwyn loop.
CTA 4340 southbound on State Street in 1947.
CTA 7143 on Clark Street near Lincoln Park. (Chicago Transit Authority Photo)
CSL 4051 is shown with an experimental door arrangement, which was tested on the busy Milwaukee Avenue car line.
For many years, the Englewood “L” ended at 63rd and Loomis. In 1969, the CTA sensibly extended it a couple blocks west to Ashland, a more logical transfer point.
A prewar PCC on 63rd Street heading eastbound.
From the subway entrance, we must be somewhere along the path of either the State or Dearborn-Milwaukee subways,
My guess is this would be 63rd street.
Even after the CSL and CRT were merged to from the Chicago Transit Authority in 1947, there remained another privately owned bus operator, the Chicago Motor Coach Company, who operated double-decker buses on some of their routes. CTA purchased the Motor Coach operations in 1952.
In 1933, the Roosevelt Road streetcar was extended over the Illinois Central right-of-way in order to reach the “A Century of Progress” World’s Fair and what we now call the Museum Campus.
Chicago had three streetcar tunnels Downtown over the years, but which one is this? Bill Shapotkin: “This pic is the Van Buren St Tunnel — view looks west across Franklin St. Note the “Met” train in the background:”