(Editor’s Note- Now that the contest has ended, you can find the same pictures with descriptive information added to the captions here. We thank everyone who participated.)
The Trolley Dodger has reached a milestone, with 20,000 page views in our first 90 days. To help celebrate that, we present 20 mystery photos, showing some very rare Chicago Rapid Transit scenes.
Over the next four days, we invite our readers to tell us some interesting things about these photos– where they were taken, what they show, and whatever tidbits of information you have to share.
The contest ends at midnight Central Time on April 25, 2015. Send your answers to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will update the captions with the best submissions once the contest has ended.
The photo at top is not part of the contest. When referring to individual photos, please use the image numbers provided in the captions. As always, clicking on each image will bring up a larger view in your browser.
We thank you in advance for your participating. Have fun figuring all this out.
PS- I’ll give you a clue. Chances are the pictures that have a piece of fuzz at the top of the frame were most likely taken around the same time, by the same unknown photographer.
You can read most of the submissions in the Comments section below. Here are some that were sent via e-mail:
Bill Wasik writes:
Congratulations on your successful launch, and thanks for posting hi-res jpegs that give us a better chance to ID these vintage shots. With the help of Google Maps, here are my guesses:
#800 – Garfield L – view west toward Pulaski?
#801 – ?
#802 – Jackson L – 63rd & S. Harvard Ave, view southwest toward 63rd St. No buildings shown here remain standing.
#803 – Douglas L –
#804 – Loop, Wabash & Randolph, view south.
#805 – Stock Yards line and Swift slaughterhouse, birthplace of the “disassembly line” and inspiration to Henry Ford to invent the automobile assembly line.
#806 – more Stock Yards
#807 – Ravenswood L – view east at N. Rockwell. A faded trackside sign on the upholstering shop in this photo reads “Canton Hand Laundry.” Remarkably, this sign remains visible today, 70 years after this vintage shot was taken, demonstrating the durability of lead paint and linseed oil.
#808 – Humboldt L – view northwest at Damen & Milwaukee. Riding this line could mean a nice afternoon in the park and visit to the soda fountain at Mid-City? Dairy on North Avenue, or, more likely, a visit to Dr. Orloff, the family dentist on North & California, across from Walgreens and the Crystal Theater.
#809 – Lake St. L – Oak Park.
#810 – Jackson L, south at 62nd St.
#811 – 63rd & Harvard, southwest.
#812 – 63rd, near Harvard, northeast.
#813 – Garfield L, west.
#814 – Lake near Wells, looking east.
#815 – Ravenswood L terminus, Lawrence & Kimball.
#816 – Loop, Wabash, next to Field’s.
#817 – 63rd & S. Harvard.
#818 – Logan Square terminal in 1950, with new cars to test in the final months of the Milwaukee-Van Buren run along Paulina.
#819 – not shown
#820 – Garfield L running at grade on Van Buren, view east, maybe near Western. Probably late 1953, just after the L structure was closed.
Anyway, thanks again for your great site. Keep up the good work.
David Streeter writes:
I’m sure you figured out for yourselves that 805 and 806 are on the Stock
Yards branch and 809 is on the Lake Street line. 804 and 817 are
self-evident. I think 802 and 811 are at the same location (and therefore
probably the same date) as 817.
I also think 807 is on the Ravenswood at Rockwell; the two buildings
across the street appear to still be there today. I suspect 815 is at
Kimball, at the end of the Ravenswood.
I’m going to hazard a guess that 820 is the Garfield running on the ground
while the Congress Expressway is being built. Someone more knowledgeable
(or older) than I will probably recognize the water tank on the far right
I’d be very interested to know where some of the others are.
William Shapotkin writes:
Here are my tries at locating the ‘L’ photos. In identifying these locations, I did NOT use a map (figuring that if I knew it as well as I thought I did, no map was needed). That said, here are my offerings:
800 — Marshfield Ave looking west. That’s a W/B CA&E train of North Shore woods. This is before clearing for the expressway started.
801 — Kimball Yard looking north. (The bus is working a S/B trip on Rt # 82 — Kimball-Homan).
802 — Englewood ‘L’ looking west from Harvard station.
803 — Douglas Pk ‘L’ looking east from Oak Park Ave.
804 — Randolph/Wabash looking south.
805 — Stock Yards (looking west from Halsted?)
806 — Stock Yards (looking east from Halsted?).
807 — Ravenswood looking east from Kedzie Station.
808 — North/Dament looking north off S/B platform.
809 — Lake St (somewhere betw Central Ave and Oak Pk Ave).
810 — Indiana Ave — that is a Kenwood shuttle sitting in the pocket. View looks east.
811 — Same as image #802 (but with a N/B Normal Pk trn approaching).
812 — Kenwood ‘L’ — a S/B train is heading off to 42nd Pl terminal.
813 — Same as Image 800, but with a S/B Logan Square (or Humbolt Pk) train at right.
814 — Adams/Wabash looking south.
815 — Kimball/Lawrence terminal.
816 — Somewhere on the Loop (not sure of location).
817 — 63rd/Harvard on Englewood. Is that a N/B Normal Pk train in the station?
818 — Logan Square terminal.
820 — W/B Garfield Pk train (which will connect with CA&E’s 6:12 out of Des Plaines Ave). This, of course on the Van Buren St trackage. Location uncertian.
Ok, how good/bad did I do?
Kind of easy actually.
#800 looking west at the CA&E platform at Marshfield with ex NS equipment.
#801 looking towards Kimball shops and terminal on the Ravenswood (the ACF Brill C44 bus really gives it away)
#802 from the outbound platform at Harvard on the Englewood
#803 Oak Park ave on the Douglas branch.
#804 Randolph on the east side of the loop (read the station sign)
#805 looking west from the Exchange station on the Stock Yards branch
#806 looking east from the Halsted station on the Stock Yards branch
#807 on the Rave I think Rockwell.
#808 Damen on the Logan Square.
#809 reasonably sure that’s the west end of the Austin station on the Lake St.
#810 looking east @ Indiana Ave.
#811 see # 802
#812 looking SE from the Ellis & Lake Park station on the Kenwood
#813 see #800
#814 Clark/Lake on the loop.
#816 few clues here unless you know your buildings, guess on the Wabash side of the loop.
#817 Harvard on the Englewood.
#818 Logan Square terminal
#819 on Van Buren surface tracks. At Ashland? Certainly not west of there!
Cliff Burnstein writes:
805-806 Stockyards branch.
807- Francisco station on the Ravenswood.
810 42d and Indiana
815 Kimball station (Kimball and Lawrence), end of the line on the Ravenswood.
818 Logan Square end of the line, Milwaukee Av and Kedzie.c. 1951.
820 harrison and Ashland on the garfield, c. 1954.