It’s been more than a month since our last post, but that’s not for lack of effort. We have been hard at work on the images in this post. I have put it many, many hours with these pictures in Photoshop to make them look their best, or least, better than how I found them.
Sometimes, it seems that if something can go wrong, it will go wrong. I was up late last night writing more than 50 captions, and somehow they all vanished, and I had to rewrite them. But that’s okay, since the new versions you see here are better.
It’s been our experience that hard work often pays off. You be the judge.
We have also been hard at work on a new book– Chicago’s Lost “L”s, which will focus on those aspects of the system that either no longer exist, or have been completely changed. Work on this book is pretty far along. All the photo selections have been made, and the cover is finished.
We are excited about this new project, and hope you will be too. More information will be forthcoming as things progress.
PS- Our thanks go out to Jeff Wien for sharing some fantastic images from the Wien-Criss Archive.
Wooje Song writes:
I’m looking for the copyright holder who took attached photos. Attached are the photos I’m looking for.
I’m working in Chopin Theatre as an intern and my boss wants to use those pictures.
The surrounding streets in the first photo are Division and Milwaukee Avenue. The two cars pictured are No. 3208 and No. 3256.
The second one was taken at Ashland (left-right) and Milwaukee (up-down) at the Polish Triangle.
I googled to find out and finally reached you. I hope you have any ideas about this.
Chances are these pictures, circa 1930, are in the public domain. Back then, you had to individually copyright photos. There wasn’t the sort of automatic protection we have today.
Also, any new claim of copyright would depend, today, on their having been unpublished until now. Obviously, that is not the case. These pictures have likely been circulating for a long time.
They don’t look familiar, but I can also ask my readers if they might know who took these.
Hope this helps.
From Our Resident South Side Expert M.E.:
Let me start off by saying your hard work is much appreciated. The CNS&M pictures in particular are dazzling.
Now, on to my commentary for today.
I have a lot to say about this photo.
First: Your caption says “The photo says this is a Kenwood train, but I am
wondering if this is Stock Yards instead.” The answer is: neither. These cars are just sitting idle in storage. But they are probably assigned to the Stock Yards line.
Second: Judging by the water tower in front of the stored cars, and seeing the barrier along the rear of the platform at the right, I conclude this view looks west. The barrier convinced me there is no Stock Yards stub track on the other side of that platform. Ergo, the Stock Yards stub track is off the left side of the picture. And the Stock Yards train went west from Indiana. So the view is west.
Third: The 4000-series steel train is a through train from the north side to either Englewood or Jackson Park. That train, heading east through the station but on its way south, was on either the Howard-Jackson Park line or the Ravenwood-Englewood line. The corresponding westbound/northbound track used the track farthest from the camera.
I tried reading the destination sign on the 4000-series front car, but it is too faint. As I recall, it would have said either
Howard St.- or Ravenswood-
Jackson Park Englewood
via subway via subway
and the signs in the opposite direction would have said either
Jackson Park- or Englewood-
Howard St. Ravenswood
via subway via subway
The three-track setup through the station means the picture was taken before several major system revisions were made on 1 August 1949:
— the northern terminus of the Englewood line became Howard St.
— Ravenwood got its own separate line into downtown.
— Englewood/Howard A and Jackson Park/Howard B skip-stop service started.
— the Kenwood-to-Wilson line was cut back to a shuttle from Indiana Ave. to 42nd Place.
At that time, the trackage and platforms at Indiana Ave. also changed:
— the track at the right was almost totally covered over by extending the west/northbound platform out over the track.
— the remaining (uncovered) portion of that track became the stub terminal for the Kenwood shuttle.
— what was the middle track became the west/northbound track.
Third: The three tracks continued in both directions out of the station. From the east end of the station, the north/south service turned south, and all three tracks continued to just north of the 43rd St. station. From the west end of the station, the north/south service turned north, and all three tracks continued all the way past 18th St. to where the subway began.
This meant the middle track was available for car storage, even through the station. And that is what you see in the picture.
Fourth: Were these stored cars used on the Kenwood or Stock Yards line? I’m going with the Stock Yards line, for four reasons:
— The Kenwood line, at its eastern end at 42nd Place, had storage tracks. The Stock Yards line never had a place on its own trackage to store cars.
— As your photo in
illustrates, Kenwood cars could also be stored around the curve east/south of Indiana.
— West of the Indiana station, there were five tracks — two for the Stock Yards line and three for the north/south lines. And there were lots and lots of switches between the five tracks. In order to keep the switches clear, Stock Yards cars had to be stored someplace else, such as right there in the station.
— I tried reading the sign on the closest stored car (next to the car’s number), and I think the first word says “Stock”.
Your next three photos,
further illustrate the setup at Indiana Ave. post-1949 change.
https://thetrolleydodger.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/rbk327.jpg Your caption says “…the station in the rear is Congress and Wabash, which was closed in 1949 and removed soon after, as Congress was widened for the expressway project.” I contend it was closed on 1 August 1949 when the Kenwood line no longer ran downtown and then up to Wilson. Furthermore, this station could not have been closed due to Congress Xwy construction because, given the timeline in https://thetrolleydodger.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/rbk315.jpg ,
construction didn’t begin until 1952 or 1953.
Several other stations south of downtown were also closed on 1 August 1949: 18th, 26th, 29th, 33rd, and Pershing (leaving Cermak and 35th). Those stations also served the north/south line, but with the new skip/stop service, the stations were closed, and customers had to use surface routes. Here is a list of all closed L stations:
Thanks very much as always for your insightful comments.
The idea of a Congress Parkway highway goes back to the Burnham Plan at least, but was kicked around locally through the 20s and 30s before being pushed by Harold Ickes, FDR’s Secretary of the Interior, who came from the northern suburbs. This was his favored alternative to the plan Mayor Kelly was pushing, starting in 1937, which would have converted several of the “L” lines into elevated highways. (A plan which, if realized, would have been a disaster IMHO.)
Congress was not a wide street downtown. It had to be widened for the highway project, and from Dearborn to the west, there was also additional subway construction. The first phase of subway work only brought the Dearborn line as far as Congress, where it stopped.
This work was quite complicated near LaSalle Street Station, as the subway was built, and the street widened, at the same time that trains had to be kept running there.
Work on widening Congress as far east as Michigan Avenue was already happening in 1949, and it was around this time that buildings on the north and south sides of Congress were altered, and new sidewalks were carved out of those structures (including the Auditorium Theater building) so the street could be made wider. In other areas further west, some buildings were actually demolished.
Likewise, work on creating the lower level of Wacker Drive, the section running north and south along what had been Market Street, also began in 1949. The old Market Street Stub was in the way and was torn down. Work proceeded at the rate of about one block per year on that major project, which I think had reached Madison Street by about 1953. A bit further south, this also resulted in the old Met “L” connection to the Loop being rerouted through the former Wells Street Terminal. This took place in 1955 and then a section of “L”, including the station at Franklin and Van Buren, was removed.
All this was taking place, even though many parts of the expressway itself did not open until later– 1955, I believe. Once it was decided to build a highway that would end downtown, the question of how traffic would be distributed there was a major concern, and one which had to be addressed fully even before the highway itself was opened.
We recently acquired some documents that have been scanned, and added to our E-Book The “New Look” in Chicago Transit: 1938-1973, available as a DVD data disc in our Online Store. The first is a brochure detailing (as of 1953) the reasons for the creation of the Chicago Transit Authority, and their accomplishments up to that time.
The second is the Report of the Committee on Signals and Interlocking for the Chicago Subway, dated June 1941. This committee was made up of representatives from the Department of Subways and Superhighways (City of Chicago), the Committee on Local Transporation (City of Chicago), the Illinois Commerce Commission, Chicago Surface Lines, and Chicago Rapid Transit Company.
Faced with answering the question of what type of signals and interlocking equipment should be used in the subway, which opened in October 1943, the committee did research and made recommendations, as well as presenting their rationale for their particular choices and the reasoning behind certain policies and practices.
Keep those cards and letters coming in, folks!
Now Available On Compact Disc
Railroad Record Club – North Shore Line Rarities 1955-1963
# of Discs – 1
Railroad Record Club – North Shore Line Rarities 1955-1963
Newly rediscovered and digitized after 60 years, most of these audio recordings of Chicago, North Shore and Milwaukee interurban trains are previously unheard, and include on-train recordings, run-bys, and switching. Includes both Electroliners, standard cars, and locomotives. Recorded between 1955 and 1963 on the Skokie Valley Route and Mundelein branch. We are donating $5 from the sale of each disc to Kenneth Gear, who saved these and many other original Railroad Record Club master tapes from oblivion.
Total time – 73:14
Railroad Record Club Traction Rarities – 1951-58
From the Original Master Tapes
# of Discs- 3
Railroad Record Club Traction Rarities – 1951-58
From the Original Master Tapes
Our friend Kenneth Gear recently acquired the original Railroad Record Club master tapes. These have been digitized, and we are now offering over three hours of 1950s traction audio recordings that have not been heard in 60 years.
Properties covered include:
Potomac Edison (Hagerstown & Frederick), Capital Transit, Altoona & Logan Valley, Shaker Heights Rapid Transit, Pennsylvania Railroad, Illinois Terminal, Baltimore Transit, Niagara St. Catharines & Toronto, St. Louis Public Transit, Queensboro Bridge, Third Avenue El, Southern Iowa Railway, IND Subway (NYC), Johnstown Traction, Cincinnati Street Railway, and the Toledo & Eastern
$5 from the sale of each set will go to Kenneth Gear, who has invested thousands of dollars to purchase all the remaining artifacts relating to William A. Steventon’s Railroad Record Club of Hawkins, WI. It is very unlikely that he will ever be able to recoup his investment, but we support his efforts at preserving this important history, and sharing it with railfans everywhere.
Potomac Edison (Hagerstown & Frederick):
01. 3:45 Box motor #5
02. 3:32 Box motor #5, May 24, 1953
03. 4:53 Engine whistle signals, loco #12, January 17, 1954
04. 4:13 Loco #12
05. 0:56 PCC car 1557, Route 20 – Cabin John line, July 19, 1953
Altoona & Logan Valley:
07. 4:00 Master Unit car #74, August 8, 1953
Shaker Heights Rapid Transit:
08. 4:17 Car 306 (ex-AE&FRE), September 27, 1953
Pennsylvania Railroad GG-1s:
11. 4:35 August 27, 1954
13. 5:02 Streamliner #300, northward from Edwardsville, February 14, 1955
14. 12:40 Car #202 (ex-1202), between Springfield and Decatur, February 1955
15. 4:56 Car 5706, January 16, 1954
16. 4:45 Car 5727, January 16, 1954
Niagara, St. Catharines & Toronto:
17. 4:19 Interurbans #83 and #80, October 1954
18. 5:20 #80, October 1954
Total time: 79:30
St. Louis Public Service:
01. 4:34 PCCs #1708, 1752, 1727, 1739, December 6, 1953
Queensboro Bridge Company (New York City):
02. 5:37 Cars #606, 605, and 601, December 31, 1954
Third Avenue El (New York City):
04. 5:07 December 31. 1954
05. 4:47 Cars #1797, 1759, and 1784 at 59th Street, December 31, 1954
Southern Iowa Railway:
06. 4:46 Loco #400, August 17, 1955
07. 5:09 Passenger interurban #9
IND Subway (New York City):
08. 8:40 Queens Plaza station, December 31, 1954
Last Run of the Hagerstown & Frederick:
09. 17:34 Car #172, February 20, 1954 – as broadcast on WJEJ, February 21, 1954, with host Carroll James, Sr.
Total time: 61:31
Altoona & Logan Valley/Johnstown Traction:
01. 29:34 (Johnstown Traction recordings were made August 9, 1953)
Cincinnati Street Railway:
02. 17:25 (Car 187, Brighton Car House, December 13, 1951– regular service abandoned April 29, 1951)
Toledo & Eastern:
03. 10:36 (recorded May 3-7, 1958– line abandoned July 1958)
04. 16:26 sounds recorded on board a PCC (early 1950s)
Total time: 74:02
Total time (3 discs) – 215:03
The Trolley Dodger On the Air
We appeared on WGN radio in Chicago in November 2018, discussing our book Building Chicago’s Subways on the Dave Plier Show. You can hear our 19-minute conversation here.
Chicago, Illinois, December 17, 1938– Secretary Harold Ickes, left, and Mayor Edward J. Kelly turn the first spadeful of earth to start the new $40,000,000 subway project. Many thousands gathered to celebrate the starting of work on the subway.
Order Our New Book Building Chicago’s Subways
There were three subway anniversaries in 2018 in Chicago:
60 years since the West Side Subway opened (June 22, 1958)
75 years since the State Street Subway opened (October 17, 1943)
80 years since subway construction started (December 17, 1938)
To commemorate these anniversaries, we have written a new book, Building Chicago’s Subways.
While the elevated Chicago Loop is justly famous as a symbol of the city, the fascinating history of its subways is less well known. The City of Chicago broke ground on what would become the “Initial System of Subways” during the Great Depression and finished 20 years later. This gigantic construction project, a part of the New Deal, would overcome many obstacles while tunneling through Chicago’s soft blue clay, under congested downtown streets, and even beneath the mighty Chicago River. Chicago’s first rapid transit subway opened in 1943 after decades of wrangling over routes, financing, and logistics. It grew to encompass the State Street, Dearborn-Milwaukee, and West Side Subways, with the latter modernizing the old Garfield Park “L” into the median of Chicago’s first expressway. Take a trip underground and see how Chicago’s “I Will” spirit overcame challenges and persevered to help with the successful building of the subways that move millions. Building Chicago’s subways was national news and a matter of considerable civic pride–making it a “Second City” no more!
Title Building Chicago’s Subways
Images of America
Author David Sadowski
Publisher Arcadia Publishing (SC), 2018
ISBN 1467129380, 9781467129381
Length 128 pages
01. The River Tunnels
02. The Freight Tunnels
03. Make No Little Plans
04. The State Street Subway
05. The Dearborn-Milwaukee Subway
07. Death of an Interurban
08. The Last Street Railway
09. Subways and Superhighways
10. Subways Since 1960
Building Chicago’s Subways is in stock and now available for immediate shipment. Order your copy today! All copies purchased through The Trolley Dodger will be signed by the author.
The price of $23.99 includes shipping within the United States.
For Shipping to US Addresses:
For Shipping to Canada:
For Shipping Elsewhere:
Redone tile at the Monroe and Dearborn CTA Blue Line subway station, showing how an original sign was incorporated into a newer design, May 25, 2018. (David Sadowski Photo)
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14 thoughts on “Hard Work”
As always a very nice collection. However, you made a mistake in your caption of the NSL trains at North Chicago Junction. The fan trip train on the left, is coming off the Shore Line Route. The train on the right, is the mainline to Chicago, which will split at Upton Junction, with the main line continuing on the Skokie Valley Route and the other branch heading to Libertyville and Mundelein.
Thanks for the correction. I will fix the caption.
Wreck was at Lake/Wells with 6047-48. Took W to N curve way too fast. This was probably last wreck cleaned up with only Rail derricks, S363 and S367. No rubber tired cranes used.
The location of RBK374 is Lake and Wells near Tower 18. I’m not sure about RBK321, but it may have been taken during the elevation of the north end of the Evanston line from University Place to just north of Central Street. That project was completed in 1931. There would have been a bridge over the North Shore Channel long before then, as the channel was completed in 1910 and was crossed by a steam railroad at that point, but perhaps the elevation of the line required replacement or reconstruction of the existing bridge.
The top Polish Triangle photo posted by Wooje Song likely was taken before 1920. The Klee Brothers Department Store building at the left was demolished around 1928, during a time that Ashland Avenue was being widened and the massive Home Savings Bank was under construction at the northwest corner of Division and Ashland. The oddly-shaped lot once occupied by the Klee Bros. building was kept open as park space in the center of the Triangle.
As noted, the view on the bottom photo is facing northwest on Milwaukee Avenue as it crosses Ashland. This was taken around 1930. If this shot had been framed slightly to the left, it likely would show the open space of the Triangle as well as the new Home Savings Bank. The “Local Loan Co.” building at the left of this image replaced the four-story Edelweiss Gardens at the southwest corner of Milwaukee and Ashland sometime around 1928-32.
Also as noted, these photos have been shown for years without credits. They may have been used as postcard art.
2020/06/rbk363.jpg The St. Louis Car pre PPC 1053 signed for Rt. 30 Wisconsin Ave. & Harrison NW is traveling west northwest on lower SE Pennsylvania Ave. This paved conduit trackage ran in the median from Independence Ave SE near the library of Congress and the Supreme Court 1.4 miles ESE to the Barney Circle loop where a PCC car can be seen laying over at the end of the line.
Those are wonderful photos! Thanks for your time and effort in sharing these as well as the many other posts! The scene at Grange Ave makes me wonder how many local trains the North Shore ran between Milwaukee and Chicago that would stop at the country flag stops. My CNS&M timetable doesn’t show these local stops. Thanks again, Verne Brummel
Hi David, Thanks for your latest trolley dodger photos. I am still enjoying the past ones but this new bunch are great. I especially like the first one of the 6000s on the curve, and the Electroliner photos. I remember as I was growing up in the 50s as the 6000s were being introduced, and remember them so well. Glad I became a fan early enough to ride on the 4000s before retirement, first on Ravenswood, and then the Evanston line. I hope you have more success and an easier time with future photos. I was amused (altho you were not!) to see that you had your captions all suddenly disappear! That is the kind of thing that happens often to we computer illiterates, not a skilled techy like you! So the same can happen to you! Well, we take comfort! I look forward to your coming book on lost Chicago L: lines. I find it fascinating to read about the Stock Yards ( love that photo of the cattle grazing under the L structure!!—watch your step!!) Kenwood (why the huge storage yard at the end of the line??), Humboldt Pk. (I recall that little curve from the structure of the L that showed where Normal Pk. line once curved off, got a photo before it was torn down), and the crazy Normal Pk,. branch that went three blocks or so and ended right over the street, almost! And then there is the Westchester and NIles Center line to Dempster, two lines that were built with great expectations, but retired early for lack of area development. Imagine if that had happened to the Skokie Valley Rt. of the North Shore!! Why, the NSL would have ended years earlier with all money spent on that failed experiment line! ( I recall that much of that line was built before there was any development out there at that time, which was the case for those mentioned two failed lines.) And all four of the original L lines having their own private downtown terminals! Maybe down town land prices were not too high then?? Anyway, will be a very interesting book. Arcadia again? You deserve fancier, but the cost is nice and photo reproduction not bad to me. Just some musings. Don’t lose those captions now! Thanks much David. Keep your pole on the wire! Dan Frizane
On Thu, Jun 25, 2020 at 7:22 PM The Trolley Dodger wrote:
> David Sadowski posted: ” It’s been more than a month since our last post, > but that’s not for lack of effort. We have been hard at work on the images > in this post. I have put it many, many hours with these pictures in > Photoshop to make them look their best, or least, better t” >
/2020/06/jeff2019005.jpg This PCC car was one of 28 first-generation single-ended PCCs purchased by the San Diego Electric Railway in 1936-1937 to modernize San Diego’s relatively small streetcar system. The first order was 25 cars in 1936, followed in 1937 by a second order for 3 more cars from the St. Louis Car Co.
In 1936, San Diego was the smallest and probably the least likely of US cities to order PCCs which attests to a good fare box recovery and a streetcar oriented management at that time.
San Diego was among the first cities in the nation to order the PCC car and the first city on the Pacific coast to begin operating PCCs about one month before Los Angeles began operating its first PCCs fitted with specially designed narrow gauge trucks for the 3’ 6” gauge Los Angeles Railways.
The San Diego PCCs operated for 12 years before the system was completely bused in April 1949.
In 1950, 20 of the PCCs were sold to the El Paso system to upgrade its remaining international carline loop between downtown El Paso and Ciudad Juarez.
A pre condition before shipment to El Paso was installation of full length longitudinal seating to facilitate ID/Green Card verification at the border. Also stipulated was the installation of front trolley poles for a long backing maneuver to and from the carbarn to the international loop carline between downtown El Paso and Ciuadad Juarez.
Regarding photo rbk335 (is it a Kenwood or a Stock Yards train?), the answer may be both. At least before the CTA era, some Kenwood trains operated between 42nd Place and the Stock Yards.
Maybe my eyesight is a little better, and I know the trick of how to gradually expand the dimensions of your photographs. For rbk310.jpg, the car just off the right edge of the photo‘s first three digits are 635. Looking left then, if the cars were delivered in numerical order (not always a safe guess), I believe those cars are 6359 and 6360.