CTA 3182 and 660 at Cottage Grove and 115th in December 1951. This was the south end of route 4. The Illinois Central Electric is up on the embankment.
For our latest post, we have a collection of nice color images of classic Chicago streetcars, both red cars and PCCs. We have spent many, many hours working to improve the quality of these images, including both color correction and restoration, plus quite a bit of tedious “spot removal.” We feel the results, while not always perfect, are a great improvement compared to how they looked when we got them.
We hope that you too will enjoy our efforts. As always, if you can have anything interesting to say about these pictures, don’t hesitate to either leave a Comment on this post, or drop us a line at:
PS- To see earlier posts in this series, type Chicago streetcars in color in the search window at the top of the page.
CTA 7116 on the Museum Loop trackage near Soldier Field in January 1954. This would have been a short-turn on route 22 – Clark-Wentworth. These tracks were built in the early 1930s to serve the Century of Progress World’s Fair. In CERA Bulletin 146, there is another picture of this same car on the Museum Loop in 1951. It’s dark, but you can just make out an Illinois Central Electric train at right.
CTA PCC 7058 crossing the Congress Expressway construction site on Halsted in May 1952.
A Pullman-built PCC at the same location. Here, the bridge has been completed.
In the latter days of streetcar service on Halsted (1953-54), PCCs were replaced by older red Pullman streetcars such as this one. More progress has been made building the highway, as compared with the previous pictures.
CTA 4387 heading north on Clark, just north of Devon. On page 241 in CERA Bulletin 146, there is a different picture taken near this location.
The same location today.
This picture of CTA 528 was taken in January 1952 on Roosevelt Road near Ashland, where route 9 took a jog from Ashland to Paulina. There was a portion of Ashland where streetcars were not permitted to operate. One of our readers asks, “Why is there a gauntlet track in the foreground?” This is a picture of Roosevelt and Ashland (the north side of the street), where two different tracks converged into one. First, there was the Ashland car line turning onto Roosevelt towards Paulina. The other track would have been for Roosevelt, since at this point the line took a jog, and went off onto a sort of “service drive” on the sides of the street. In general, Roosevelt ran in the main part of the street, except for the section between Ogden and Ashland, which used this arrangement. (This arrangement is no longer used here, and the area where streetcars ran is now covered with grass.) So the two tracks, coming from different directions, could have converged into one at this spot. This is shown on the supervisor’s track maps. Lending credence to my theory, you can see the “L” on Paulina in the background.
The same view today, looking west from Roosevelt and Ashland.
This is an enlargement from the 1948 CTA supervisor’s track map, which can be found in our E-book Chicago’s PCC Streetcars: The Rest of the Story, available through our Online Store. Roosevelt is the street between Taylor and 14th.
CTA Pullman 136 on Roosevelt near Ashland. This is an Ashland car, making the jog between Paulina and Ashland, while the bus is serving Roosevelt. Daniel Joseph adds, “The 5000 series Twin Coach propane buses were not being delivered to Chicago until December 1950 according to the data in Andre Kristopans’ book.” So the picture cannot be earlier than that date. The marquee of the Joy Theater, located at 1611 W. Roosevelt Road, provides another clue. According to Cinema Treasures, “Located on the Near West Side, on Roosevelt Road at the intersection of Ashland Avenue, the Orpheus Theatre opened in 1913. The movie house was later operated by the Marks Brothers circuit, and still later, by the Essaness circuit. By the 1940’s, the theatre was renamed the Joy Theatre. In 1952, the Joy Theatre was acquired by the Gomez family, who renamed it the Cine Tampico, for their home town in Mexico. It was still in operation as a Spanish-language movie house by the mid-1970’s. A drive-up bank is located today where this movie theatre once stood.” That would make 1952 the latest date this photo could have been taken.
The same location today. We are looking to the southwest. The bus is heading east, as was the streetcar in the preceding picture.
CSL 1786 under the Lake Street “L” on November 23, 1952. Note the Chicago Motor Coach yard at right. CMC’s assets had been purchased by CTA a few months earlier, and were gradually being integrated into regular CTA operations. Bill Shapotkin adds, “This pic is actually at Lake/Kenton (not Cicero). The car is E/B. This is the only such photo I have ever seen at this location.”
CTA 1745 is westbound at Lake and Long in June 1952 on route 16. Here, it ran parallel to the ground-level portion of the Lake Street “L”, also under wire.
Lake and Long today. We are looking east. The CTA Green Line (formerly the Lake Street “L”) has run on the embankment since 1962 and connects with the steel “L” structure at Laramie.
Here, we see CTA 1745 at Lake and Austin, the west end of route 16, on June 15, 1952. In this view, looking east from suburban Oak Park, the Park Theatre is still in business. By the time streetcar service ended here in 1954, it had closed.
The same location today.
This view of CTA 1751 looks west from the Chicago side of Lake and Austin in December 1953. The movie theater has closed, and was eventually demolished. Riders heading west from here could take a Chicago & West Towns bus across the street. The Lake Street “L”, just to the south, continued west for another 1.5 miles.
CSL Pullman 786 on Van Buren in February 1952.
Among these red cars at 77th and Vincennes, we see CTA Pullman 142 at left in November 1949.
CTA 3277 heads north on Cicero Avenue near Cermak in October 1951, crossing the Douglas Park “L”.
The same location today.
CTA 370 in the old Van Buren streetcar tunnel that ran under the Chicago River. This picture is dated October 1953.
CTA Pullman 812 crossing the Illinois Central Electric suburban service in August 1948. Not sure which line this is. Bill Shapotkin: “As for the “line” (presume you mean the IC, not CSL/CTA line), the one in the next photo is the IC South Chicago line. The carline is Stony Island.” M. E. writes, “I blew up this photo to read the destination sign. It seems to say 28 Stony Island, 93rd. If so, then this view is at 71st and Stony Island, and the streetcar is heading south. It was probably just south of 71st St. that Stony Island became very wide, with a private right-of-way for streetcars right down the middle of the street, then grassy swales on either side of the streetcar path, then one-way auto traffic on each side of the swales. I’m pretty sure this separation existed at 75th St. You see this private right-of-way in your photo here. Confirmation is at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_Shore,_Chicago where one paragraph states: Before the community came to be known as South Shore in the 1920s, it was a collection of settlements in southern Hyde Park Township. The names of these settlements—Essex, Bryn Mawr, Parkside, Cheltenham Beach, and Windsor Park—indicate the British heritage of the Illinois Central Railroad and steel mill workers who had come to inhabit them. Most of these settlements were already in place when the Illinois Central built the South Kenwood Station in 1881 at what is now 71st and Jeffrey Boulevard.” Tony Waller: “The photo at 71st & Stony Island could have been of a Stony Island car or a Windsor Park car, as the latter line diverged from Stony Island at 73rd St.” David Vartanoff: “pic of 812 might well be Stony Island and 71st. clues are, median streetcar ROW, and the name Parkside on the corner building. Parkside was the original name of the IC station at Stony Island.” Bob Lalich: “I agree. The view is NW.”
71st and Stony Island today. We are looking north.
Several CTA Sedans (aka Peter Witts) in the scrap yard on December 26, 1952. These cars were part of an order of 100 built in 1929 and potentially could have provided many more years of good service. Unfortunately, none were saved.
In 1953, the City of Chicago sold part of Cottage Grove Avenue (between 31st and 35th) to developers, who eventually built the Lake Meadows Apartments. This portion of street was closed to traffic, except for the route 4 streetcar, which received a series of reprieves from the City Council until buses replaced the PCCs in June 1955. If we can identify the church at left, we should be able to determine if we are facing north or south. This car is 4032. M. E. adds: “The destination sign seems to read 4 Cottage Grove, then either 93rd or 115th. Either way, the view is north, the streetcar is heading south. Confirming this are all the tall buildings at the right side, which must be near downtown.” Frank Hicks: “The photo on Cottage Grove is facing north, probably at 33rd; the church in the left background is Olivet Baptist at 31st & King Drive.” Eugene King: “The church in the pic with southbound Blue Goose 4032 is the Olivet Baptist Church. It is located at the south east corner of 31st Street and King Dr (South Parkway at the time of the photo). I am a member and know at least one other member who attends regularly lived in the neighborhood prior to the construction of the Lake Meadows and Prairie Shores apartments.”
Olivet Baptist Church today, with the Lake Meadows Apartments in the background. (This view is from a different vantage point than the preceding photo. Here we are north of the church on Martin Luther King Drive.)
CTA 4011 and other PCCs at the west end of the 63rd Street line in December 1951.
CTA 4047 crossing the Chicago River at State Street on December 7, 1953. This is a route 4 – Cottage Grove car.
CTA Pullman 252 in the early 1950s at an unknown location. One of regular readers thinks this is “Van Buren, one block east of Ashland, with the car heading east.” If so, the date can’t be later than 1951. Streetcar service on Van Buren ended then to allow for construction of the temporary Garfield Park “L” right-of-way at ground level, which opened in September 1953.
The same location today. We are looking west on Van Buren, just east of Ashland.
CTA 6204 on 93rd at Stony Island Avenue in 1949.
CTA 7197 is southbound at Clark and Thome. There is a similar picture taken at this location on page 155 of CERA Bulletin 146.
CTA D-304, a sprinkler converted into a snow plow, shown at 77th and Vincennes in September 1951.
CTA 3122 and 1764 at the east end of the Chicago Avenue line on March 29, 1952. A few of the older streetcars were painted green, but I don’t know of anyone who preferred this to CSL red.
New From Trolley Dodger Press
VIDEOS ON DVD:
The Guy Wicksall Traction Collection (1963-1975)
Our latest release, by special arrangement with Guy Wicksall, features video transfers of rare, high quality 16mm color films of electric railroads taken across the country between 1963 and 1975. These are much better quality than the more typical 8mm films railfans used back then. If you like classic railfan videos, you are sure to enjoy this collection, which features narration by the photographer. Mr. Wicksall receives a royalty on each disc sold.
Disc 1: 38 Chicago and New York Commuter Trains, 1963-1964 (18:24)
Includes Illinois Central Electric, South Shore Line, Chicago Transit Authority “L” trains in the Loop, on Lake Street, Howard, and Evanston lines, Chicago & North Western and Milwaukee Road commuters, Pennsylvania Railroad, New York Central, Long Island Rail Road, New Haven, and New York elevated trains.
Disc 2: 48 Commuter Trains, 1968-1975 (57:22)
Includes San Francisco Municipal Railway (Muni) PCCs (some double-ended), trolley buses, and cable cars, Philadelphia Suburban (Red Arrow Lines), including Straffords and Bullets), Penn Central, New Haven, Erie Lackawanna, South Shore Line, Illinois Central Electric, and more.
Total time – 75:46
# of Discs – 2
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