It’s August 28, 1936 on north Ashland Avenue, and time for a parade. One week earlier, streetcar service had been extended north of Cortland in one of the final extensions under CSL. Prior to this time, this portion of the route had run on Southport, two blocks to the east. North Chicago Street Railroad “Bombay roof” horsecar 8 is ahead of the experimental 1934 Brill pre-PCC car 7001. Ironically, the older car survives at the Illinois Railway Museum, while 7001 was scrapped in 1959. On the other hand, Mike Franklin writes: “Dave, the top photo is taken at 8537 S. Commercial, Chicago. Schmidt Cleaning and Dying. It is not Ashland Ave. Do Google Earth and it all makes sense.” If you are correct, then this picture was probably misidentified, and the parade actually took place around May 2, 1937, when the east and west portions of the 87th Street route were connected via a through route. Thanks for your detective work.
Our earlier feature Chicago Streetcars in Black-and-White has been very popular, so here is another heaping helping of classic photos by some of the greatest railfan photographers of all time. As always, clicking on each picture will bring up a larger version in your browser.
If you can share some interesting tidbits of information about these views, we look forward to hearing from you.
It’s February 22, 1950, looking south on State Street. “Chicago’s famed State Street gleams with all its brilliance before half of the lights were turned off to save fuel as the Coal strike cuts Illinois’s output of coal 95 per cent. The State Street Lighting association began a 50 per cent voluntary dim-out of the street to save meager fuel supplies. The PCC is on route 36 – Broadway-State, while the Peter Witt is on route 4 – Cottage Grove.
CSL 5533 is eastbound on 63rd Street at Cicero, passing Midway Airport.
Roy Benedict writes, “Chicago City Railway car 5232 is on 51st St. at Grand Blvd. (now King Dr.) as evidenced by the distant building, which appears in later photos. The car tracks ended at the boulevard then and for a couple of decades later.” This photo must predate 1914, when the Chicago Surface Lines came into being. According to Don’s Rail Photos, “1st 5201 thru 5250 were built by Brill-American Car Co in 1906, (Order) #15365, for CCRy as 5201 thru 5250, but it was shipped to United Railroads of San Francisco due to the earthquake. 2nd 5201 thru 5250 were built by Brill-American Car Co in 1906, (Order) #15365, to replace the orignal order. They were rebuilt in 1909 to bring them up to the standard of the later cars.”
CSL 5554 is eastbound on 79th, turning into Emerald, east of Halsted. Bill Shapotkin says it is turning into the carbarn. (Joe L. Diaz Photo) Jon Habermaas writes: “This is a southbound Halsted 8 car turning into Emerald to reach the terminal located south of 79th on Halsted. When PCCs came to Halsted, this became the south end of Halsted 8.”
Roy Benedict says, “(CSL) car 5663 faces south on the northbound track of Ashland Ave. south of Pershing Rd. waiting to begin a trip that will soon pick up a full load of industrial workers. The camera looks toward the northeast. The fans knew that they could often find unusual cars that would perhaps make just one trip from the carbarn at 69th to here, then to the south end of the line and back to the barn.” (Route 9 – Ashland.) (Joe L. Diaz Photo)
It must be cold, since CSL 3201 is covered in icicles. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)
CSL 3093 is southbound on Morgan at 35th Street. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)
CTA red car 859 and prewar PCC 7024 are on hand at the 70th Street end of 69th Carhouse.
CSL 2755 at Eggleston and 74th. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)
Bob Lalich says, “The photo of SB 2619 was taken near 130th St. The Brandon-Brainard line crossed two steam railroads near 130th St, the Calumet Western and the PRR-Calumet River line. The crossings were very close to each other as the junction between the Calumet Western and the Calumet River RR was a very short distance to the east. If you zoom in on the photo of 2619 in this blog you can see both crossings.” (Joe L. Diaz Photo)
Car 2721 crosses the Illinois Central Electric at 79th Street and Exchange Avenue. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)
79th and Exchange today.
CSL 1775, recruiting for the Navy, is southbound at LaSalle and Randolph in October 1942.
Whether a “Sedan,” a “Peter Witt,” or both, car 3359 is southbound on Cottage Grove at 105th. (Robert V. Mehlenbeck Photo)
CTA 3163 is westbound on route 72 – North Avenue in 1949, having just passed Halsted, on the first day of one-man operation. The “L” at rear is now known as the Ravenswood Connector. (William C. Janssen Photo)
North and Halsted as it looks today. The “L” makes a “triple curve” here.
Car 5790 circa 1918-20. Roy Benedict says that while this cannot be Burnside, “it might be looking toward the south along the Cottage Grove Ave. side of Cottage Grove carhouse and maybe it is, but I cannot confirm it with evidence which I have at hand.” CSL did not paint their streetcars red until the early 1920s, when it was done to make them more visible to motorists. Before that, the standard CSL color was a dark green.
Peter Witt 3327 heads out from the south end of route 4 – Cottage Grove. (William C. Janssen Photo)
In this slushy winter scene, car 3266 is southbound on State below 59th, passing under the “L”. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)
Car 1821 passing under the Sacramento station on the old Garfield Park “L”. The curve in the tracks is quite apparent here. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)
An inbound Milwaukee Avenue car meets a southbound Damen car. The third cross street is North Avenue. A drug store now occupies the bank building at center. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)
Southbound car 3096 passes under the Metropolitan “L” main line at Racine and Tilden. Marshfield Junction would be a few blocks west of here. The Eisenhower expressway runs through here now. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)
Car 1677 is most likely being used for training in the Van Buren tunnel under the Chicago River in this scene. The Met “L” is in the background. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)
Dearborn Station as it appeared in the mid-1920s. This picture was most likely taken on a glass plate negative.
According to Andre Kristopans, “The #5 with 3376 is looking SE on South Chicago at Commercial. Note the railroad lift bridges in the distance, past 95th. Also, the bus behind the car is a Chicago & Calumet District bus running on the route that partially replaced the joint CSL/HWEC carlines to Hammond and East Chicago, though the bus route ended up going thru Whiting and then east to Gary, with connections at 119th and Indianapolis for Hammond and East Chicago.” (Joe L. Diaz Collection)
CSL 1776, in patriotic garb, at West Shops in 1944. Those 17-year-olds who decided to study electronic engineering would be 88 years old today.