April Blizzard Ripples Chicago Traffic (April 7, 1938): Chicago- Passengers, bystanders and a policeman pushing a Chicago trolley bus so it could get traction on a slippery street, after the city suffered a record April snowfall of more than 7 inches of wet snow that crippled traffic. (Editor’s note: This picture was taken on Central Avenue, where CSL route 85 crossed the CRT’s Lake Street “L” at ground level. You can see several CRT cars in the background. As far as I know, this was the only place in Chicago where a trolley bus crossed a trolley “L”. The bus was heading south.)
2016 in Review
We finished our second year with 127,545 page views, and increase of more than 20,000 (18%) over 2015. There were 35,315 individual visitors, up from 30,743 the year before.
Amazingly, this was done with fewer posts (63 vs. 108). This means the average number of page views per post more than doubled, to just over 2000.
What does that tell us? To me, it shows there is an avid and growing audience for this type of material, if you know how to connect with them.
To successfully reach this audience takes a lot of work. As 2017 begins, we make a renewed commitment to keep this going and do our very best. We are committed to excellence.
But of course, we are not really doing this alone, because all of you are an essential part of our success. As we have shared our material and information with our readers, you in turn have shared more and more with us.
To present this kind of original research does cost money, however. Right now, we are less than 30 days away from the expiration of our WordPress subscription, which costs $300 per year. Yes, $300 per year is a lot of money, but this includes not only an unlimited amount of online storage space for the more than 22gb of image files we have posted, but our domain registration as well.
$300 per year works out to about 82 cents per day during the course of one year, and that is for all our more than 35,000 readers. Of course, the great majority of people pay nothing, and we want to do our best to keep this site free of annoying third-party advertising and such.
Last year, our readers generously paid for half of the $300 subscription amount. Every dollar that you contribute is one more dollar that we will have available for our original research. Help us continue to provide uninterrupted service.
Your help is greatly appreciated as we look forward to another successful year. Here are more great classic photos for your enjoyment.
Happy New Year!
PS- The new Bob Selle photos have been added to our post Love For Selle (June 8, 2016).
Over-Age Streetcar Becomes Family’s Home (April 16, 1946): Chicago- Mrs. Edith Sands prepares dinner on the small stove in the over-age streetcar where she and her husband, Arthur, and their five-months-old son, Jimmy, have just moved. The trolley car, which has seen nearly 50 years of service on Chicago streets, was purchased by the Sands at a recent public sale and propped up on a 5-acre site near Chicago’s southern edge. The car is lighted by gasoline lamps. (Editor’s Note: You can see the car number (1384) in this picture. This was part of the same series as the “Matchbox” 1374 that has been restored to running condition at the Illinois Railway Museum. The bodies of a couple other cars in this series have been found over the years and saved.)
On January 23, 1965, the operator of CTA Marmon trolley bus 9572 has to get out at Grand and State and put the poles back on the wires. This was an occasional occurrence that CTA riders of a certain age will probably remember.
CTA 7260 is turning from westbound Devon onto northbound Ravenswood in the mid-1950s.
CTA Pullman 144 is heading southwest on Archer approaching Wentworth on June 15, 1958. This was four years after red cars were retired from active service, and less than a week before the end of all Chicago streetcars. The occasion was a fantrip sponsored by the Electric Railway Historical Society (ERHS). Car 144 now operates at the Illinois Railway Museum. (Bob Selle Photo)
On Sunday, September 13, 1953, CTA one-man shuttle car 3175 is on Fifth Avenue at Pulaski (Crawford), the west end of the Fifth Avenue line. This had been a branch line from route 20 – Madison. From this point, the cars looped via Pulaski and Harrison before going back NE on Fifth. The photographer was on the Garfield Park “L” at Pulaski. The “L” was heading east and west at this point, just south of where the Eisenhower expressway is today. This “L” station remained in use until June 1958. Streetcar service on Fifth Avenue continued into early 1954. The Fifth Avenue line used gauntlet track on Pulaski, so as not to interfere with Pulaski streetcars. This is confirmed by studying the 1948 supervisor’s track map. Danny Joseph adds, “As a child I lived near this triangle when both Pulaski and Fifth still operated street cars and Harrison did not. I was very fascinated by the gauntlet on Pulaski which was the first time I saw such construction.” (Bob Selle Photo)
An overview of the Fifth-Pulaski-Harrison area as it appears today. When the Congress (now Eisenhower) expressway was built, Fifth Avenue was cut off at this point just out of the right of the picture. The Garfield Park “L”, which ran east and west at this point, was replaced by the Congress median rapid transit line in 1958.
On August 9, 1955 CTA wooden “L” car 345 is at the front of a northbound Ravenswood “A” train at Chicago Avenue. (Bob Selle Photo)
Here, we see the lineup at 71st and Ashland on May 23, 1953. From left to rigth, we have CTA 572, sprinklers D-210, D-212, D-203 and 504. (Bob Selle Photo)
CTA 4247 is southbound at Clark just north of Irving Park in March 1953.
Clark just north of Irving today. The building at right, shown in the 1953 photo, is still there.
CTA 4297 at Clark and Madison in the early 1950s. The PCC is on Clark. This must be winter, as some women are wearing fur coats. Back then, a fur coat was a real status symbol, mink especially. Clark was still a two-way street at this point. In the early 1950s, it was converted to one-way southbound, and Dearborn to northbound.
Clark and Madison today, looking north.
CTA Sedan (Peter Witt) 6296 at Cottage Grove and 93rd on December 10, 1949. This was a short turn– the usual end of route 4 was at 115th.
CSL 5639 on the Stony Island route, May 17, 1938.
CTA Small Brill 5201 on May 27, 1950. Andre Kristopans: “5201 is at 111th and Sacramento. That is the Grand Trunk Western in the background, not the Illinois Central.”
CSL 5324 is a southbound Ashland car on Southport at Lincoln on August 17, 1947. The building at right was a funeral home.
Southport and Lincoln today.
CTA 4283 is southbound on Halsted at Cermak (22nd Street) in May 1954.
Halsted and Cermak today. We are looking north.
Here, CTA 4232 is entering the loop at 80th and Vincennes in May 1953.
CSL 5530 at 63rd Pace and Oak Park Avenue in December 1946. This was the west end of route 63 before PCCs took over the line in 1948. At that point, a turnback loop was built a half mile east of here at Narragansett. As you can see, the area was largely undeveloped at this point, but you could transfer here for service going farther west.
The motorman of CTA 4051 poses with the prewar PCC at 63rd and Narragansett on May 5, 1950. This was the west end of route 63.
CSL 1858 on North Avenue on July 3, 1940. Michael D. Franklin writes: “There’s enough here to say that this is North & Narragansett. The trolley bus wires are above the building to the right and angled onto Narragansett. The bus would have turned into the alley, gone around the bar with (Schlitz sign) and then make a left back onto North Ave heading east. Historical Aerials confirms all of this.” The North Avenue cars turned back on the west side of Narragansett. Between Narragansett and Cicero Avenue, there was two miles of shared wire between streetcars and trolley buses, unusual in Chicago. That was to permit Narragansett trolley buses access to the garage at North and Cicero.
North and Narragansett today.
CSL 3010 is westbound on Randolph in Chicago’s Loop. The film Holiday, starring Katherine Hepburn and Cary Grant, is on one of the theater marquees, which dates this picture to 1938. Besides the Hotel Sherman, we can see the Oriental, United Artists, and Woods theaters, plus Henrici’s restaurant.
CTA 3381 is one of the few Sedans that got repainted green. This is on Cottage Grove, probably near 103rd.
This picture shows a Logan Square train on the Met main line at Peoria, prior to the February 1951 opening of the Dearborn-Milwaukee subway.
The same location today. The Met “L”, at this point, ran just to the north of the expressway footprint.
CTA 7145 on route 36 – Broadway-State. (Chicagoland Hobby Collection)
Broadway and Irving Park Road looking NW in 1948. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)
Broadway, Sheridan Road, and Montrose looking north in 1955. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)
Irving Park and Broadway looking east in 1948. Car 888 is at the east end of route 80 – Irving Park. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)
CSL PCC 4067 is southbound on Clark just north of Belmont circa 1946-47. Note the standee windows on this car are in their original livery, which was soon changed. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)
Clark and Belmont today, looking north.
Here, CSL 5558 is northbound at the intersection of Clark, Diversey, and Broadway. The southbound car is on Broadway. The time period is probably circa 1940. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)
The intersection of Clark, Diversey, and Broadway in the 1930s. That’s the Century Theater on Clark. Behold My Wife was a 1934 film starring Sylvia Sidney and Gene Raymond. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)
CSL 6152 is southbound at Clark and Division in the 1930s. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)
CSL 299 at Clark and Halsted in 1935. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)
CSL Sedan 6306 is southbound at Clark and Wrightwood in the 1930s. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)
Clark and Wrightwood today.
CSL 5589 is northbound at Clark and Wrightwood in the 1930s. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)
Clark (left) and Halsted (right) in 1948. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)
Red Arrow 66 and 7t6 at St. Albans Siding in Newtown Square on June 6, 1954.
Here, we see Red Arrow car 66 heading up a two-car train on May 6, 1962. This is the Clifton-Aldan stop on the Sharon Hill line.
The same location today.
Red Arrow car 21 on the private right-of-way section of the Ardmore line. Since Ardmore was converted to bus at the end of 1966, this area has been paved over to create a dedicated busway.
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13 thoughts on “A New Beginning– A Renewed Commitment”
Went through Southport, Lincoln, and Wellington just today. The funeral parlor is long gone, and as you can see, the building is being reworked for other uses.
5201 is at 111th and Sacramento. That is the GTW in the background, not the IC.
“Some have said” tries to cast doubt on the presence of gauntlet track on Pulaski between Fifth and Harrison. Magnify the photo twice, the second time focus on the upper left quadrant. The four rails on Pulaski are evident. Remember the Pulaski rails were no longer in use when the photo was taken. As far as I know, this was the only stretch of gauntlet track in Chicago outside of car stations. Also, examine the 1948 track map using a magnifying glass, confirming the non-connection in that stretch.
OK, after studying the 1948 CTA supervisor’s track map, you have convinced me that the Fifth Avenue turnback track did not interfere with the Pulaski tracks. I got the impression that the tracks merged from the photo, but the angle is not the best. Perhaps there are other photos out there with a better viewpoint, thanks.
I am having a hard time placing the photo of car 6296 on Route #4. The street doesn’t look like Cottage Grove. If it is on 93rd St, how far east would a car running this route go? Most of the houses on 93rd St faced 93rd St. I’m having trouble placing the switch also. According to CSL and CTA maps, the only switches diverging off 93rd St were in the vicinity of the Burnside car barn. The background doesn’t match that location.
It is a bit of a mystery. Hopefully one that our keen-eyed readers can help clear up, thanks.
Does anyone know when the trolley poles of Chicago streetcars were changed over from trolley wheels to graphite inserts “sliders” or carbon/graphite ‘skids’. Growing up in Milwaukee in the 40s and 50s the streetcars used only graphite sliders until the end of service in 1958. Milwaukee’s conversion to ‘sliders’ began in 1929.
I spent a couple years in Philadelphia in the early 60s and was surprised to see PCC cars with trolley-pole wheels which often squeeled and sparked almost continuously it seemed. (they converted to sliders on the remaining lines in ’78)
Here is what one of our regular readers says:
FYI, it appears that CSL changed over the prewar PCCs to carbon inserts in the late 1930s, according to Surface Service magazine.
More on trolley wheels and carbon insert ‘sliders’. Chicago’s first generation of trackless trolleys* used trolley wheels that rolled along the overhead wire just as the streetcar trolley wheels did. The TT*trolley wheels, however had to swivel as well to allow the TTs to pull up to the curb and move around slower vehicles in traffic. Per Mr. Lind in his CSL An Illustrated History the trolley wheels on the TTs wore the round overhead wire at an alarming rate. Because of the way round trolley wire had to be suspended from the supporting ears, made the underside path of the wire unsuitable for use with carbon inserts. Central Avenue was re wired with grooved trolley wire which provided a far smoother path for the carbon insert to follow and the buses serving the Central line were equipped with carbon inserts dramatically reduced wire wear from alarming to negligible. The other northwest side TT routes were soon rewired and the whole original trackless trolley fleet was converted to carbon inserts.
The image dave586.jpg shows a Logan Square wood train. So this places it before the Dearborn subway opened in late February 1951. (The wood cars are 2772-1.)
I speculate the white papers in the car windows herald inauguration of the subway, or at least the arrival of new cars for the route (the flat door 6000s).
(clarkhalsted35.jpg’s caption misspells "Clark".)
Thanks for the corrections. I fixed the typo (my “l” key has been sticking lately).
I also updated the caption in question. You may very well be correct about the white papers in the car windows. It would make sense as the routing of Logan Square cars was very much changed with the opening of the subway, which took a more direct path to the Loop than had the old Met “L”.
However, as the wooden “L” cars were not married pairs, I don’t think they have consecutive numbers. Each could operate independently as a single unit. The rear car looks like 2771 but the car in front, while from the same series, looks more like 2722 to me.