4051 at the Imlay loop at the outer end of route 56 – Milwaukee, during the 1940-41 experiment with door arrangement. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)
This is our fourth and last blog post featuring Chicago PCC pictures from the collections of George Trapp. To see the previous three posts, and another featuring Mr. Trapp’s pictures of historic Chicago buses, just type “George Trapp” in the search window on this page. Links to these various posts should come up.
Since this is our 86th post, you can also use the search window to find other topics that interest you.
Today’s photos are mostly comprised of the 83 prewar Chicago PCCs delivered in 1936-37 and retired in 1956. Of these, all were scrapped except for car 4021, which is preserved on static display at the Illinois Railway Museum.
In addition, there are pictures of the two 1934 experimental pre-PCC cars (4001 and 7001), plus the PCC Model B. That car was built by Pullman-Standard and was tested in Chicago during 1934. It later went to Brooklyn, where its brakes failed and it was involved in an accident with a truck. Although the body damage was repaired, the car never ran again and was eventually scrapped in the 1950s.
Both 4001 and 7001 were taken out of service in the 1940s and were used as sheds at South Shops. 7001 was scrapped in 1959, but the aluminum body shell of 4001 is now at IRM.
Interestingly, we have several early photos of PCC 7002, the first prewar car delivered to Chicago Surface Lines in 1936. In addition, there are various photos of car 4051 taken circa 1940-41 when it was tested on route 56 – Milwaukee Avenue, with an experimental door arrangement that was adopted for use on the 600 postwar cars. The design for these cars was finalized by 1941 but they were not ordered until 1945 due to outbreak of World War II.
Thanks to Mr. Trapp’s generosity, we now have at least another 150 additional images of Chicago PCC streetcars. Nearly all of these are previously unknown to me. Mr. Trapp has been collecting these type of pictures for nearly the last 50 years, and has let us borrow some of them so that we might feature them here and add them to our electronic book Chicago’s PCC Streetcars: The Rest of the Story, available through our Online Store.
In the near future, we will post some of Mr. Trapp’s red car pictures of Chicago streetcars, so watch this space.
We also wish to thank the great photographers who took these pictures originally. We have provided attribution for each photo where we have the information.
Of course, the deluxe hardcover book Chicago Streetcar Pictorial: The PCC Car Era 1936-1958, published in June by Central Electric Railfans’ Association, is the premier volume covering the rise and fall of the modern streetcar in the Windy City. That book contains hundreds of great color photos and is a must-have for anyone who is interested in the subject, or even anyone who is interested in knowing what Chicago’s disparate neighborhoods looked like in a bygone era. While I am proud to be a co-author of that work, B-146 is available directly from the publisher. I would be remiss if I did not mention that Trolley Dodger Press is not affiliated with CERA.
In my humble opinion, B-146 is a fantastic bargain and a great value for the money, and I urge you to get a copy if you have not already done so.
My more recent E-book, available on a data disc in PDF format, is intended as a very unofficial supplement and companion to that noble work. One advantage that an electronic book has over a printed one is that more information can be added to it as things become available. We have already added numerous photos, maps, etc. to it, and the material from the Trapp Collection is a tremendous addition, which we are very grateful to have.
On top of that, we are adding another section of photographs to the book covering Chicago’s rapid transit system as it appeared early in the CTA era. That will give the reader a very clear idea of how badly the system was in need of improvement and modernization, a factor in the process by which CTA ultimately decided to eliminate streetcars.
With the E-book, we are not attempting to duplicate anything covered in B-146, which mainly showcases color photography. But there are still lots of great black-and-white photos that deserve to be seen, and lots of other information which could not be included even in a 448-page book. Chicago once had the largest streetcar system in the world, and chances are it will be a long time, if ever, before anyone has the “last word” about it.
If you have already purchased our E-book, and wish to get an updated copy with the additional information, this can be done at little or no cost to you. We always intended that it would be improved over time and offer an upgrade service to our purchasers on an ongoing basis.
As always, clicking on each photo with your mouse should bring up a larger version of the picture in your browser. You may be able to magnify this if you then see a “+” on your screen.
Finally, if you have any interesting tidbits of information to share about the photos you see here, don’t hesitate to let us know, either by making a comment on this post, or by dropping us a line to:
PS- One of the photos in today’s post features the old Lindy Theatre. For more information, go here.
I think it’s a safe guess that the Lindy was named after Charles Lindbergh (1902-1974), who became an international celebrity with his 1927 solo flight from New York to Paris.
The marquee in this circa-1937 photo advertises the film Hell’s Angels (1930) starring Jean Harlow. She died from kidney failure on June 7, 1937 aged 26, which may explain why the film was being revived here.
Dick Tracy is also mentioned on the marquee, and this would have been the 1937 Republic serial starring Ralph Byrd.
Thanks to the generosity of George Trapp, all of the photos in today’s post are being added to our E-book Chicago’s PCC Streetcars: The Rest of the Story.
4051 with experimental door arrangement (1940-41), stopped at Washington and Clark, on route 56 – Milwaukee. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)
CSL 4051 southbound at Milwaukee and Thomas, during the 1940-41 door experiment that led to the configuration used on the postwar cars. Note the West Chicago Street Railway Company building at left. Perhaps the photographer wanted to contrast the old with the new. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)
Milwaukee and Thomas as it appears today.
CSL 4051 at Kedzie Station circa 1940-41. (CSL Photo)
4051 on route 56 – Milwaukee. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)
4050, in experimental garb, at Madison and Austin circa 1945-46. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)
CTA 4050, with advertising signs on its side, at Kedzie Station (car house). John Marshall High School, located at 3250 West Adams, is visible in the background. (CTA Photo)
4041 eastbound on Madison. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)
4038 at Madison and Austin. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)
CSL 4021, the only prewar Chicago PCC saved, prepares to leave the Madison and Austin loop on August 27, 1940. This car is now at the Illinois Railway Museum. (Chicago Surface Lines Photo, Chicago Historical Society)
CSL 4006 in charter service, possibly on Western. (Krambles-Peterson Archive)
4018 in experimental colors, circa 1945-46, at Madison and Austin. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)
CSL 4005, eastbound on Madison. Perhaps it is July 4th. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)
CSL 4030 at the Madison-Austin loop. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)
CSL 7007 on Madison along Garfield Park in 1937. (St. Louis Car Company Photo)
PCC 7026, fitted with experimental roof-mounted forced air ventilation, of a type that was used in Boston, but did not find favor in Chicago. (Krambles-Peterson Archive)
CSL 7002 at Kedzie Station (car house) as new. (CSL Photo)
Prewar car 7004 and postwar 7148 rub shoulders at Devon Station (car barn) circa 1955. (Charlie Preston Photo)
Prewar car 7002, as new, at South Shops. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)
CSL 7002, possibly on a 1936 inspection trip prior to being put into service. Note the 1934 Ford. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)
A builder’s photo of CSL PCC 7002, the first car delivered in 1936.
CSL 7002 at the St. Louis Car Company plant.
The interior of PCC 7002 as delivered. (St. Louis Car Company Photo)
The interior of PCC 7002. (St. Louis Car Company Photo)
CSL 4001 at South Shops. (CSL Photo)
CSL 4001 at the Vincennes and 80th loop. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)
CSL 7001 on Schreiber alongside Devon Station (car barn). (CSL Photo)
CSL 7001 at Clark and North Avenues, with the Chicago Historical Society building at rear (now the Chicago History Museum). (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)
CSL 7001 at the Brill plant in Philadelphia. (Historical Society of Pennsylvania Photo)
CSL 4001 may be on non-revenue trackage at the north end of South Shops. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)
Red car 5549 and a couple of PCCs are on Clark and Armitage. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)
Red car 967 and a postwar PCC are at Lawrence and Clark. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)
CTA salt spreader AA90, flanked by prewar and postwar PCCs. This work car, originally #1504, was scrapped on September 27, 1956.
CSL cars 5324 and 4008 on 64th just west of Stony Island in the 1940s. This was the east end of the 63rd Street line. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)
CSL cars 4008 and 6202 on 64th just west of Stony Island in the 1940s. This was the east end of the 63rd Street line. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)
There were three experimental streetcars built during the development of the PCC car, the CSL 4001 and 7001 and this car, the PCC Model B, shown here being tested in Chicago. The destination sign says South Chicago and 93rd. (Railway Negative Exchange Photo)
Red Pullman 225, with a postwar PCC follwing behind, on a circa 1956-57 fantrip on State Street. That looks like a 1953 Cadillac at left. The building at rear with the flags is Marshall Field’s. (Railway Negative Exchange Photo)
CSL 7018 eastbound on the west end of Madison, where the street was wider and diagonal parking was allowed. (Heier Industrial Photo)
Postwar PCC 7102 southbound on Clark along Lincoln Park. (Heier Industrial Photo)
A mid-1940s lineup of cars at Kedzie Station (car house) includes prewar PCC 7019 (in “tiger stripes”), some “Sedans,” and other red cars. (Robert V. Mehlenbeck Photo, Joe L. Diaz Collection)
The general consensus is this PCC, towed northbound at Kedzie and Harrison in 1947, may be going to West Shops for repairs. Note that the Kedzie “L” station on the Garfield Park line also served Chicago, Aurora & Elgin interurban trains. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)
Red Pullman 144 (or, perhaps, 225 masquerading as 144) on a fantrip, followed by postwar PCC 7236. Maurice Klebolt of the Illini Railroad Club promised fans that 144 would be used on a December 1956 fantrip, and 225 was substituted instead, with a piece of red olicloth used to change its number to 144. (Charlie Preston Photo)
Big Pullman 225 is shown here on an October 21, 1956 fantrip, followed by postwar PCC 4406. By this time, red cars ddi not run in regular service, and PCCs were only used on weekdays on routes like Clark-Wentworth. Car 225 is preserved at the Seashore Trolley Museum in Maine.
In this view of Kedzie Station (car house), CSL Peter Witt “Sedan” 3368, at left, was built by Cummings Car Company in 1929. At right we see prewar PCC 4006. When delivered in 1936-37, the first 83 PCCs were not enough to run the busy Madison route. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)
Prewar PCC 4016, circa 1951, may very well be the first of the one-man conversions. The rear door here is completely blocked off, but soon the City of Chicago insisted on the addition of a rear emergency exit door. This was only a year after the terrible accident where a PCC collided with a gas truck and 33 people were killed. Notice how the middle door (for exit only) has been narrowed to try and keep people from sneaking on without paying. The location is Kedzie Station (car house). (Chicago Transit Authority Photo)
Andre Kristopans writes, “The last shot is indeed looking east on Madison from the Madison station of the Logan Square L. The big building in the background is in the triangle of Ogden-Ashland-Madison and later had the Turtle Wax Turtle on top of it.” This is apparently a different Lindy Theatre than the one the Cinema Treasures web site says was located at 3437 West Odgen Avenue between 1930 and 1950. Must have been two Lindy Theatres. The various films advertised on the marquee, and the automobiles, date this picture to circa 1937. The prewar PCC, heading east, may be car 4012. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)