Chicago Streetcars In Color

This must be car 3142, which was saved by ERHS and is now in operating condition at the Illinois Railway Museum. In this September 10, 1959 scene, there are still a few PCCs left on the property at South Shops, including car 4400. (Clark Frazier Photo)

This must be car 3142, which was saved by ERHS and is now in operating condition at the Illinois Railway Museum. In this September 10, 1959 scene, there are still a few PCCs left on the property at South Shops, including car 4400. (Clark Frazier Photo)

Following up on our earlier post Chicago Streetcars in Black-and-White, here are nearly 40 more pictures in color.  Because they are in color, they naturally skew towards the last 10 years or so of service, leading up to that fateful morning on June 21, 1958, when the last Chicago streetcar ran:

We hope that you enjoy these glimpses of a bygone era. We have provided what information we have on the locations and circumstances. If you can help fill in some additional details, let us know.

-David Sadowski

Pullman PCC 4090 heads west on Monroe on route 20 - Madison.

Pullman PCC 4090 heads west on Monroe on route 20 – Madison.

Pullman PCC 4063, on route 22 – Clark-Wentworth, meets red car 6118, signed for route 42 at Clark and Halsted.  Route 42 was an incorrect designation for this location, and the sign should read 8 instead.

Pullman PCC 4063, on route 22 – Clark-Wentworth, meets red car 6118, signed for route 42 at Clark and Halsted. Route 42 was an incorrect designation for this location, and the sign should read 8 instead.

“Sedan” 6296 on route 4 – Cottage Grove. The Chicago Surface Lines built one-third of this 100-car order themselves in 1929, not an unusual practice at the time. Bob Lalich says we are “just south of 95th St. The Rock Island, C&WI and BRC elevation can be seen in the background.”

Red Pullman 322 at an unidentified location.

Red Pullman 322 at an unidentified location.

Unless my eyes are failing me, this looks like work car X-3 at South shops.

Unless my eyes are failing me, this looks like work car X-3 at South shops.

An older streetcar being used as a snow sweeper.

An older streetcar being used as a snow sweeper.

Car 3345 by the Illinois Central on route 4 - Cottage Grove.

Car 3345 by the Illinois Central on route 4 – Cottage Grove.

4019 on route 4 - Cottage Grove.

4019 on route 4 – Cottage Grove.

Red Pullman 697 on Roosevelt Road.

Red Pullman 697 on Roosevelt Road.

Car 7217, just prior to being scrapped, at South Shops on September 10, 1959. (Clark Frazier Photo)

Car 7217, just prior to being scrapped, at South Shops on September 10, 1959. (Clark Frazier Photo)

This appears to be the temporary end of the line for route 73 - Armitage, as the bridge is out behind car 3297.

This appears to be the temporary end of the line for route 73 – Armitage, as the bridge is out behind car 3297.

Work car F-305 at South Shops on September 10, 1959. This was purchased by the Electric Railway Historical Society and soon moved to their site in Downers Grove. (Clark Frazier Photo)

Work car F-305 at South Shops on September 10, 1959. This was purchased by the Electric Railway Historical Society and soon moved to their site in Downers Grove. (Clark Frazier Photo)

An 8000-series trailer from the 1920s, being used as a storage shed.

An 8000-series trailer from the 1920s, being used as a storage shed.

Here, we are at about 4600 west 63rd street looking west. Car 4013, heading east, wears the CSL "tiger stripes" introduced in 1945. Bill Shapotkin adds, "That caption is correct. I might add that "is" at 4600 West and the tracks are those of the BRC. By the way, as an aside, if you ride the Rt #63 bus, the stop here is called out as "4600 West." No street name (which would otherwise be Kenton) is given."

Here, we are at about 4600 west 63rd street looking west. Car 4013, heading east, wears the CSL “tiger stripes” introduced in 1945. Bill Shapotkin adds, “That caption is correct. I might add that “is” at 4600 West and the tracks are those of the BRC. By the way, as an aside, if you ride the Rt #63 bus, the stop here is called out as “4600 West.” No street name (which would otherwise be Kenton) is given.”

Although car 4410 appears to be going uphill, this is Chicago and not Pittsburgh. It's the photographer who is tilted in this October 1956 view.

Although car 4410 appears to be going uphill, this is Chicago and not Pittsburgh. It’s the photographer who is tilted in this October 1956 view.

A nice shot of 4388 pulling out of Limits on July 24, 1957.

A nice shot of 4388 pulling out of Limits on July 24, 1957.

7018 heading south on Wabash at Balbo in the early 1950s.

7018 heading south on Wabash at Balbo in the early 1950s.

Car 5105 in the Burnside yard.

Car 5105 in the Burnside yard.

Peter Witt car 6285, built in 1929, on Cottage Grove at 115th. Some called them “Sedans.”

Prewar PCC heads south on route 49 - Western on June 13, 1956, shortly before the line was converted to bus.

Prewar PCC heads south on route 49 – Western on June 13, 1956, shortly before the line was converted to bus.

It appears that car 4406is making a backup move in this October 21, 1956 photo. That may indicate we are at the south end of route 22, where there was a “wye” in traffic.

Car 585 on route 56 - Milwaukee near Downtown. Bill Shapotkin adds, "This pic of a Milwaukee Ave streetcar is at the Milwaukee Ave bridge over the MILW/PRR near Des Plaines St. Believe the view looks N/W. Note the long-standing MILW freight house on the right."

Car 585 on route 56 – Milwaukee near Downtown. Bill Shapotkin adds, “This pic of a Milwaukee Ave streetcar is at the Milwaukee Ave bridge over the MILW/PRR near Des Plaines St. Believe the view looks N/W. Note the long-standing MILW freight house on the right.”

PCC 7175 is southbound at Clark and Glenlake in this wintry scene.

PCC 7175 is southbound at Clark and Glenlake in this wintry scene.

Red Pullman 473, on the famous May 16, 1954 CERA fantrip, turns back at Lake and Austin.

Red Pullman 473, on the famous May 16, 1954 CERA fantrip, turns back at Lake and Austin.

Car 1780 runs under the Lake Street “L” at Karlov on route 16.

Car 3144, a sister of the 3142 preserved at the Illinois Railway Museum, runs parallel to the outer end of the Lake Street “L” where it ran on the ground prior to 1962. Streetcar service on route 16 ended in May 1954. A CTA 4000 is visible at rear. Both cars are using overhead wire.

Prewar PCC 4029 running parallel to the Illinois Central electric on the south end of route 4 (Cottage Grove).

Prewar PCC 4029 running parallel to the Illinois Central electric on the south end of route 4 (Cottage Grove).

Postwar PCC 4377 heads south on Clark in the mid-1950s. The Clark Theatre, the Bamboo Inn, and the Blue Note are visible on the next block.

Postwar PCC 4377 heads south on Clark in the mid-1950s. The Clark Theatre, the Bamboo Inn, and the Blue Note are visible on the next block.

7038 heads south at Western and 14th. A “Qunoset hut” is at left. This is a type of prefabricated building that was in wide use during and after WWII.

Prewar PCC 4029 is shown heading south on a section of Cottage Grove between 33rd and 35th that had already been sold by the city to developers and was already off-limits to car and truck traffic. CTA was given six-month extensions on streetcar service through this area before the route was bussed in June 1955.

Prewar PCC 4029 is shown heading south on a section of Cottage Grove between 33rd and 35th that had already been sold by the city to developers and was already off-limits to car and truck traffic. CTA was given six-month extensions on streetcar service through this area before the route was bussed in June 1955.

From the address on the Edward Don warehouse at rear, we can tell this picture of PCC 4115 was taken on Clark just north of Cermak.

From the address on the Edward Don warehouse at rear, we can tell this picture of PCC 4115 was taken on Clark just north of Cermak.

Prewar PCC 4027 at an unknown location. Likely possibilities are routes 4, 49, or 63. Tony Waller writes, "Image 243 is on 63rd St. Look at the pre-war PCC. It’s door arrangement is that of two-man car. Cottage Grove and Western only had pre-war PCCs in one man operation."

Prewar PCC 4027 at an unknown location. Likely possibilities are routes 4, 49, or 63. Tony Waller writes, “Image 243 is on 63rd St. Look at the pre-war PCC. It’s door arrangement is that of two-man car. Cottage Grove and Western only had pre-war PCCs in one man operation.”

It's not the best slide, and hard to make out, but the signs say car 4406 is chartered and it is signed for Devon and Ravenswood.

It’s not the best slide, and hard to make out, but the signs say car 4406 is chartered and it is signed for Devon and Ravenswood.

6148 at Halsted and Clark. The car is signed for route 42, Halsted-Downtown.

6148 at Halsted and Clark. The car is signed for route 42, Halsted-Downtown.

Postwar PCC 7142 pulls into the Clark-Howard loop in the mid-1950s. The white line indicates the swing of the car.

Postwar PCC 7142 pulls into the Clark-Howard loop in the mid-1950s. The white line indicates the swing of the car.

West Chicago Street Railway #4 was pulled out for pictures on May 25, 1958, the occasion of the final fantrip on Chicago's streetcar system.

West Chicago Street Railway #4 was pulled out for pictures on May 25, 1958, the occasion of the final fantrip on Chicago’s streetcar system.

Car 3220 on the 67th Street line. Bill Shapotkin adds, "This picture is E/B in 67th St, having just x/o under the IC. View looks W-N/W."

Car 3220 on the 67th Street line. Bill Shapotkin adds, “This picture is E/B in 67th St, having just x/o under the IC. View looks W-N/W.”

Not a streetcar, but an old trolley bus being used as a shed at South Shops on September 10, 1959. (Clark Frazier Photo)

Not a streetcar, but an old trolley bus being used as a shed at South Shops on September 10, 1959. (Clark Frazier Photo)

13 thoughts on “Chicago Streetcars In Color

  1. Great photos! I believe that the work car is supply car S3, not work car X3 which was a derrick similar to X4 now at IRM. Neat pre-preservation shots of the 3142 and F305; the latter was chosen for preservation by ERHS in 1959 over Brill experimental car 7001 because it was complete and the 7001 wasn’t.

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    • The CTA video was shot on 16mm by the late Charles Keevil, who appears to have been shadowing PCC 7213 in a car. Interestingly, there was also an official vehicle in front of the streetcar as it made the final run.

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  2. Sedan 6296 on route 4 – Cottage Grove is just south of 95th St. The Rock Island, C&WI and BRC elevation can be seen in the background.

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