Ross Harano and the Kenwood “L”

Ross Harano as a toddler in 1945, with his uncle Susumu Okamoto, in front of the Kenwood "L" terminal at 42nd Place. (Courtesy of Ross Harano)

Ross Harano as a toddler in 1945, with his uncle Susumu Okamoto, in front of the Kenwood “L” terminal at 42nd Place. (Courtesy of Ross Harano)

I first became interested in Ross Harano and his family’s story when I came across the picture shown above in the article What happened to Chicago’s Japanese neighborhood? by Katherine Nagasawa from WBEZ radio. I wanted to learn more, and found that Mr. Harano is, as they used to say, “in the book.” I wrote him a letter, and we began a correspondence that led to the interview that follows.

Ross Harano writes:

I was born in the Fresno Assembly Center which was at the Fresno County Fair Grounds on September 17,1942. When I was one month old, my family was shipped to the Jerome, Arkansas, internment camp. We were later allowed to relocate to Chicago.

My uncle’s name was Susumu Okamoto (1919-2005) who was married to my mother’s sister. When we settled on Oakenwald from the camp in Arkansas, my parents and my mother’s 3 sisters and their husbands along with my grandparents all lived there.

It was a full house.

During the war, my uncle Susumu served with US Military Intelligence in the Pacific along with two of my mother’s brothers. Another brother served in Europe with the Japanese American 442nd Combat Infantry Battalion. He was seriously wounded in Italy and also lived with us on Oakenwald after he recovered from his wounds.

This is a uniquely American story, and also one that is uniquely Chicago, a slice of history that deserves to be remembered.

-David Sadowski

From 1949 to 1957, the CTA operated the Kenowwd branch of the "L" as a shuttle operation, and here we see three such cars at the Indiana Avenue station. By the mid-1950s, the older gate cars had been replaced by ones formerly used on the Met "L", as those lines were equipped with more modern steel cars. Not sure why there are three cars here-- Kenwood usually used one or two car trains in these days.

From 1949 to 1957, the CTA operated the Kenowwd branch of the “L” as a shuttle operation, and here we see three such cars at the Indiana Avenue station. By the mid-1950s, the older gate cars had been replaced by ones formerly used on the Met “L”, as those lines were equipped with more modern steel cars. Not sure why there are three cars here– Kenwood usually used one or two car trains in these days.

Interview with Ross Harano, July 2, 2020:

Q: Maybe we could start by going back to the beginning of your family’s history, and when they  came to this country, and we can just take it from there?

A: Well, I’m third generation Japanese-American. Both of my grandfathers came to America in 1898. They landed in Hawaii first as laborers in the sugar cane fields and later on the mainland as laborers on the Union Pacific railroad. Prior to the Japanese immigration, the Chinese came to this country as Forty Niners to search for gold and later to build the first transcontinental railroad. As the Chinese began to settle on the west coast, strong anti-Chinese sentiments resulted in the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act. Japan was the next place where the railroads looked for workers and both my grandfathers worked on the railroads and eventually settled in California where my parents were born. My father was born in Berkeley, and my mother was born in Hanford which is just outside of Fresno.

After Pearl Harbor was attacked, President Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066 which authorized the interment of the Japanese community into 10 concentration camps away from the west coast. We evacuated out with my mother’s family because she was pregnant with me and she had three sisters who were not married at the time to care for her. We went from Hanford to the Fresno Assembly Center which was built on the Fresno County Fairgrounds. I was born in September of ’42, and in October we were shipped to Jerome, Arkansas. There were two camps in Arkansas, one at Rohwer and one at Jerome. They were about 25 miles apart and each held 8,500 Japanese internees.

Even though my family was interned behind barbed wire, seven of my uncles volunteered to serve in the US Military. Four of them served in Europe with the Japanese American 442nd Regimental Combat Team – one was wounded in Italy and one was killed in France. Three uncles served in the Pacific in the US military intelligence. This was kept a military secret until the late ‘50s. Japanese Americans were there on the front lines intercepting Japanese messages because the Japanese didn’t know that we had translators so they didn’t speak in code on the battlefield. The Japanese Americans were on the front lines in most of the campaigns in the Pacific including Merrill’s Marauders in Burma.

The house at 4201 S. Oakenwald. (Courtesy of Ross Harano)

The house at 4201 S. Oakenwald. (Courtesy of Ross Harano)

Ross and his maternal grandfather Rihaci Mayewaki (1886-1969) in front of the Kenwood "L" terminal at 42nd Place. (Courtesy of Ross Harano)

Ross and his maternal grandfather Rihaci Mayewaki (1886-1969) in front of the Kenwood “L” terminal at 42nd Place. (Courtesy of Ross Harano)

Ross Harano and a cousin, in front of the Kenwood "L" terminal at 42nd Place. (Courtesy of Ross Harano)

Ross Harano and a cousin, in front of the Kenwood “L” terminal at 42nd Place. (Courtesy of Ross Harano)

Ross and his sled. (Courtesy of Ross Harano)

Ross and his sled. (Courtesy of Ross Harano)

Transfers from the Kenwood "L" and 43rd Street streetcar line. (Courtesy of Ross Harano)

Transfers from the Kenwood “L” and 43rd Street streetcar line. (Courtesy of Ross Harano)

This notice is from before October 1947, when the Chicago Transit Authority took over the "L" system. Fares were, if anything, being held artificially low for many years, while the system gradually deteriorated and the equipment aged. Once the CTA was in charge, they had more legal leeway to raise fares, in order to cover expenses, in the days before government subsidies. As a result, there were several fare increases in the 1950s. (Courtesy of Ross Harano)

This notice is from before October 1947, when the Chicago Transit Authority took over the “L” system. Fares were, if anything, being held artificially low for many years, while the system gradually deteriorated and the equipment aged. Once the CTA was in charge, they had more legal leeway to raise fares, in order to cover expenses, in the days before government subsidies. As a result, there were several fare increases in the 1950s. (Courtesy of Ross Harano)

In 1944 we were able to leave the camp and we eventually settled on the south side of Chicago on Oakenwald. At some point we had my mother’s three sisters and their husbands, two new baby cousins, my grandparents and my mother’s three brothers.

Q: How many people would you say were living in the same house?

A: About 14 (laughs).

Q: Things must have been kinda tight, but I suppose, you probably didn’t think about it too much, because that’s just the way things were.

A: Well it was a relatively large brick building. It was like a rowhouse where the buildings were all built next to each other with brick common walls. The upstairs had four bedrooms and one bathroom. Each bedroom had a family. When my uncle who was a carpenter returned from the Army, he built another bedroom in the basement, so we had five bedrooms. He also built another bathroom down there too, so we had two bathrooms. So, we had quite a few people in the building which was tremendous for me. I was the only child until I was four years old, so I had all my aunties and uncles to take good care of me.

CTA 6180 is at 43rd and Oakenwald on August 8, 1953, the last day of streetcar service on the 43rd-Root Street line. Note the Illinois Central station at rear. (C. Edward Hedstrom Photo)

CTA 6180 is at 43rd and Oakenwald on August 8, 1953, the last day of streetcar service on the 43rd-Root Street line. Note the Illinois Central station at rear. (C. Edward Hedstrom Photo)

And at that time, everybody was working. My mother was working at Hart, Schaffner and Marx, which was on west Van Buren near the Chicago river. And so, she would take the “L” to work every day which was very convenient since we lived across the street from the Kenwood “L” end of the line terminal. There was a 43rd Street Illinois Central stop next to us, and plus, we had the 43rd streetcar. It was a very convenient place to live in terms of getting to work and shopping, and plus, it was an interesting neighborhood.

In those days, Chicago was very segregated and African Americans were not allowed to live east of Cottage Grove. And so, the neighborhood, when we first moved in was all white. Many of our neighbors on Oakenwald were of third or fourth generation German ancestry. When the first African Americans began to move east of Cottage Grove, my neighborhood changed from white to black over the summer – like in two months. Most of my friends ended up moving to Oak Lawn which was basically farmland in those days. Oak Lawn was being developed and a lot of my friends built or bought homes in that area.

Q: What year was this, then, when the segregation ended?

A: Oh, probably about 1953, let’s see, I was in fifth grade. If you look at my grammar school pictures, you can see the change. When I graduated, my class was all black. I still keep in touch with some of my classmates from grammar school.

Q: Are they on Facebook?

A: No, I don’t do Facebook. I do emails. I have a flip phone, I don’t have one of those fancy phones.

The corner of Oakenwald and 42nd Place today.

The corner of Oakenwald and 42nd Place today.

Q: Is the house still there, that you guys lived in?

A: No, what happened is that in 1961, the City of Chicago tore down the whole neighborhood to build projects between Lake Park on the west and the Illinois Central tracks on the east and from 43rd Street north to 40th Street. Unfortunately, the projects were never successful because evidently there were two gangs that got involved and I heard that they were shooting at each other between these two buildings. And sometime in the 90s, those two projects were torn down. Actually, they were blown up and it was a big media event. Now, that whole area has been rebuilt. Oakenwald grammar school was torn down and now there are all new townhouses. So, the whole neighborhood has really changed. All the vacant lots on Oakenwald are now new townhouses.

Q: Wow. What was the address of the house you were living in?

A: 4201 S. Oakenwald. It was on the southeast corner of 42nd and Oakenwald directly across the street from the Kenwood “L” end-of-the-line station there.

Q: Had that been a wealthy neighborhood at one point in the past?

We ran a lo-fi version of this picture in a previous post. The location at first was a real mystery, but turned out to be 42nd Place, the terminal of the CTA Kenwood branch, looking west. The next photo was taken further down the platform. (We ran originally ran this with other pictures that we saw on eBay, but hadn't been able to purchase. It was relisted and we decided to buy it after all.) Ross Harano adds, "The view is looking north rather than west. The building with the chimney is Oakenwald Grammar School at 4071 S. Lake Park that I attended. The tower on the right is the "Kiosk Sphinx" that was on an estate just north of the grammar school. Geoffrey Baer had a segment on his WTTW's "Ask Geoffrey" about the wealthy family that built a Mediterranean style home with a pool and "Eiffel" tower. The property to the west of the station was owned by Nelson Coal. You can see the coal moving equipment in the photo. Nelson Coal stored mountains of coal east of the terminal tracks next to the Illinois Central Tracks. We used to play soldiers on the coal until we would be chased away by Nelson Coal workers."

We ran a lo-fi version of this picture in a previous post. The location at first was a real mystery, but turned out to be 42nd Place, the terminal of the CTA Kenwood branch, looking west. The next photo was taken further down the platform. (We ran originally ran this with other pictures that we saw on eBay, but hadn’t been able to purchase. It was relisted and we decided to buy it after all.) Ross Harano adds, “The view is looking north rather than west. The building with the chimney is Oakenwald Grammar School at 4071 S. Lake Park that I attended. The tower on the right is the “Kiosk Sphinx” that was on an estate just north of the grammar school. Geoffrey Baer had a segment on his WTTW’s “Ask Geoffrey” about the wealthy family that built a Mediterranean style home with a pool and “Eiffel” tower. The property to the west of the station was owned by Nelson Coal. You can see the coal moving equipment in the photo. Nelson Coal stored mountains of coal east of the terminal tracks next to the Illinois Central Tracks. We used to play soldiers on the coal until we would be chased away by Nelson Coal workers.”

A: No, it was sort of middle class, I suspect. The wealthy area was north of us. If you looked at Lake Park, around Oakwood Boulevard there were a lot of mansions there—big, big mansions. I remember as a kid in grammar school they were vacant, and we used to play in them before they were torn down. There was one mansion which was a Mediterranean style with a swimming pool and a replica of the Eiffel Tower which could be seen in one of the CTA pictures that you had.

Q: What happened to this Eiffel Tower replica? Is that still there, or is it gone?

A: There’s a whole long story on Ask Geoffrey (WTTW – Chicago Tonight) about it. (See link at the end of this article.)  The family made a lot of money. They built the home next to some other big mansions. Eventually, it was the last one left standing. The son had it and there was some dispute in the family so that it was eventually torn down to build an annex classroom building for the Oakenwald grammar school in 1955.

Q: Did you say that the grammar school’s not there anymore?

A: That was all torn down.

Q: Until 1949, the Kenwood “L” ran downtown, and wasn’t it such that they had these things called Kenwood-Wilson Expresses, or something like that?

A: Yes, what it was, was that there were three tracks, and so the Kenwood “L” ran as a local, so it would go to Indiana Avenue, then it would stop at I think like maybe 35th, maybe at Cermak, maybe at Roosevelt, it was a local that went around the Loop and came back. I remember riding it with my mother. She would shop at Marshall Field’s and there was an entrance to Marshall Field’s from the “L” platform. She would shop, and I would hang onto her as she walked around Marshall Field’s. And then when it became a local (shuttle) and ended at Indiana, the platform was extended to cover up the track.

Q: Right. And then from that point forward, I think they only used two tracks heading north. They weren’t using the express track anymore.

A: Correct.

Q: Do you know which trains would have used the third track, in the middle, the express track?

A: The Jackson Park and Englewood lines were using it.

Q: And then the Kenwood was the local, it went around the Loop and came back, but I saw some pictures of trains that said Kenwood-Wilson.

A: There might’ve been a Kenwood Express that ran downtown via the subway to Wilson. Maybe during Rush Hour, they ran express, I don’t know.

Q: And then the Stock Yards “L” was always a shuttle?

A: Yeah, it started at Indiana Avenue, went around a circle in the Stock Yards and came back to Indiana.

This postcard, circa 1910, shows one of the single track "L" stations that were a unique feature of the old Stockyards branch.

This postcard, circa 1910, shows one of the single track “L” stations that were a unique feature of the old Stockyards branch.

Gate car #204 at Halsted on the Stock Yards branch.

Gate car #204 at Halsted on the Stock Yards branch.

Q: Did you ever ride the Stock Yards “L”?

A: Once as a kid. I rode every train when I was a kid.

Q: Just to have the experience, you rode every line?

A: What happened was that if you were under 10 or something like that, you rode free with an adult. So, my friends and I would we would follow some adults through the ticket line. We would hop on the trains and ride ‘em. I remember we rode the Ravenswood line when it was one of the first to have the metal cars. So, we took the train up to Belmont and caught the Ravenswood line. We went all the way to the end and came back. I remember that we sat in the front. There was one seat at the front window that sat sideways and was across from the driver’s compartment. There were three of us. I remember that we all sat there making a lot of noise. It’s a wonder we didn’t get kicked off the train.

Q: It must have been quite a thrill to go down into the subway for the first time.

A: Yeah, we would ride the trains all the time just to ride the trains. We got on for nothing and we were never disorderly. During the Christmas season, we’d go downtown to Marshall Field’s and play in the toy department until a salesperson would ask us where our parents were at and we would leave. We would then work our way down to The Fair (department store), Carson Pirie Scott until we got kicked out. We would then get on the train and come home. That was our entertainment during the Christmas season—we’d play in the toy departments (laughs), there was only two or three of us at a time.

Q: You had mentioned that you got to know the people who drove the trains, the Kenwood line, especially, I would imagine, when it was a shuttle operation.

A: There were only one or two drivers at that point. There was a grocery store right next to the terminal. We just called it Fred’s. The owner’s name was Fred Mamet and I worked there from sixth grade as a stock boy, delivery boy and eventually as a butcher. And I made sandwiches for the “L” drivers and conductors so I got to know them, one of them would let me drive the train for just a very short distance.

Q: Do you remember their names?

A: I was trying to remember. This one fellow was named Dillard which was his last name. And then there was our neighbor and I don’t remember his name at all. He lived on Oakenwald. He was a driver and he’s the one who let me drive.

Q: Tell me about the Kenwood line. They had a terminal there, but I suppose there were times when they really didn’t park hardly any trains there, I think they stored them elsewhere for a while, after it became a shuttle.

A: When the trains were running downtown, the whole thing was filled. There had to be maybe ten tracks for storing and repairing the cars. I don’t remember the exact number, but there were always cars up there. But when it became a shuttle, those other tracks were always empty.

Q: And then they just used a couple of trains, going back and forth?

A: One or two at the most. At night, they just had one train running.

Q: They used both tracks, they didn’t just use one of the two tracks?

A: They used both tracks.

Q: And when they got to the ends, they would go down to a single track, just use one of the two tracks?

A: Before it was a shuttle, the tracks on both sides of the terminal platform were used. When it became a shuttle, they would switch into one track on one side of the platform.

Q: That makes sense. The stations themselves were on an embankment and were sort of different than usual “L” stations, because they had been built by some other company. I think that line opened in 1907, and it pretty much stayed the same until 1957, when they got rid of it, and they had some the oldest cars, those wooden cars. That and the Stock Yards were the last two lines to use wooden cars on the whole system.

A: I remember the ones with a platform on each side, with a gate there (laughs).

Chicago "L" car 24 (aka 1024) at the Illinois Railway Museum in 2019.

Chicago “L” car 24 (aka 1024) at the Illinois Railway Museum in 2019.

Q: Those gate cars, there is only one of those that was saved. It’s at the Illinois Railway Museum. It was originally called car 24, later they changed it to 1024, and within the last few years, they have restored that car back to its original appearance and changed it back to being car 24. That one’s out there, whenever the museum is going to open again. You can ride on that one when they have it out. It’s apparently been brought back to the way it was when it was new.

A: They had like straw seats, laminated with some sort of, it wasn’t plastic, looked like straw.

Q: I think it was cane.

A: Cane, it would be, yes. The train would pull in the station, the conductor’s first job was to reverse the seats.

Q: Are you talking about, on the gate cars?

A: Yeah.

Q: What about the other cars? The other cars they had, later, were from the Metropolitan “L”, where they weren’t needed anymore, those ones that had different roofs. Did those have reversible seats too, or not?

A: Gee, I don’t remember. I just remember, it struck me that the conductor would have to change the seats. That was the first thing they did when the train pulled into the station. And the later ones, they may not have had the reversable seats. I don’t remember.

Q: And the gate cars, did they usually use a two-car train?

A: Yeah, two cars at the most.

Q: And then, the conductor, to open and close the doors, had to stand between the two cars?

A: Correct.

Q: You can imagine what that would have been like in the wintertime. Did the conductors ride outside like that, between the two cars? Or did they go between the two cars when it went into the station?

A: They would ride in the car and when they would come to a station, they would go outside and open the gates. There would be a driver and a conductor.

Q: They continued that practice, even on the steel cars that they had from the 1920s, and it wasn’t until the early 1950s that they changed that, and tried to change it around, so the conductor didn’t have to go between the two cars like that.

A: I remember the subway. Every two cars had a conductor that opened and closed the doors. The Kenwood “L” was something when it was running downtown. There would be a lot of people getting off at Oakenwald. In fact, I remember when I was a kid, I used to have a lemonade stand in front of my house and sell lemonade to everybody when they were getting off the train.

Q: At that time, it was a very popular line?

A: The whole neighborhood, whoever worked downtown, there would be a lotta people riding it, as a kid I remember that.

Q: But later, by the time it quit, by 1957, how was the ridership then?

A: Oh, very few. Very, very few.

Q: Because it was a shuttle, or for other reasons?

A: The neighborhood was changing racially and fewer African Americans worked downtown.

My best friend Eddie Moore’s father worked at the Post Office. Another friend across the street, I think her father was a teacher. It was what I call a middle-class neighborhood in those days.

(This and the next picture) Danny Yoshida, Ross Harano and his sister Cathy In March 1951. Ross writes, "Danny is on the left. He lived on Lake Park and 38th and was a classmate at Oakenwald until he moved to 45th and Lake Park." (Both courtesy of Ross Harano)

(This and the next picture) Danny Yoshida, Ross Harano and his sister Cathy In March 1951. Ross writes, “Danny is on the left. He lived on Lake Park and 38th and was a classmate at Oakenwald until he moved to 45th and Lake Park.” (Both courtesy of Ross Harano)

Q: Right. I worked for LaSalle Photo for many years, are you familiar with that company at all? The Yamamoto family. (1700 W. Diversey)

A: Oh sure, I know LaSalle. A lot of my buddies worked there. My good friend Danny Yoshida married the daughter.

Q: Right. Now, he died?

A: Yeah, he died.

Q: What happened to him?

A: I don’t know. I lost track of him. I was at an event and I was talking to someone who turned out to be his cousin. I learned that both Danny and his younger brother, Kenny, died. I believe the sister Carole is still alive. She married a friend of mine, but I lost touch with them. I have a lot of pictures of Danny and me at Oakenwald.

Q: Was he from the neighborhood?

A: He was at Oakenwald Grammar School. Then they moved to 45th and Lake Park, so he might’ve gone to Shakespeare Grammar School after that.

Q: Small world, yeah. What I recall, of course, Bill Yamamoto, he was very much, I would say, patriotic, in the sense that he could have saved a lot of money by using Fuji chemistry and paper, but he would only use Kodak, because it was American.

A: My uncle, Earl Harano, in North Platte, Nebraska, was also in the same business, so they knew each other. My uncle had a photography studio, in North Platte, Nebraska, and he secured all the school photos in Nebraska and southern South Dakota.

If you needed a job, Bill would hire you. If your son needed a job, Bill had a job for you. I had a lot of friends working there.

Q: When they let you drive a Kenwood “L” train for a little while, that must’ve been quite a thrill.

A: Yeah, it was just a brass handled knob on this thing. There was no speed involved. The train couldn’t go that fast. It had a governor on it, anyway (laughs). I think you turned the knob to a certain point, if you wanted it to go fast, you had to do something to get it to go to the next speed. The train had two speeds—slow, and slower (laughs). By the way, each driver would bring his own brass handled knob.

Q: The brake was separate?

A: I don’t remember the brake at all.

Q: On those cars, I think it was separate—probably air brakes.

A: It might have been. I never had to use the brake because I was going so slow (laughs). I didn’t drive it that far… I just drove it between the next to the last station at Lake Park to the terminal. I didn’t drive the whole route. I just drove it a little bit, so I could tell all my buddies, “Hey! I drove the train!”

Q: You’re probably one of the last few people alive who ever did, on that line.

A: (laughs) I never told anybody except my buddies we did it. I didn’t want to get anyone in trouble.

Q: Did they have basically the same two people working there, right up until the time it quit, or did that change?

A: All I remember is that I started working at the grocery store in sixth grade so that would be about 1954. Around that time, I met the drivers and conductors. I knew the ticket-taker in the station… it was a woman. I would just hang on to an adult and go right through. It wasn’t even a turnstyle.

Q: It’s unfortunate there really aren’t a lot of pictures of the interiors of many of these stations.

A: It was a pretty big station. If you look at pictures of the station, it was a pretty big building.

Q: Did they have a newsstand in there, or not?

A: At one point, there was a newsstand but it closed when the “L” became a shuttle. There was a ticket taker in the building where you paid your fare. When you arrived, there was an outside turnstyle cage to exit. You could also exit through the terminal.

Q: There was a short portion of the Kenwood line that was on a steel structure, and it joined up with this other embankment, and also had freight trains on it, right?

A: Right. It joined up at Lake Park.

Q: How far of a distance would that have been?

A: The tracks from the 42nd Place terminal went north to 40th and curved west to join up with the embankment. So it was about two and a half blocks. Along the north side of the embankment was 40th Street.

Q: That must have been fun, to ride some of these lines that don’t exist anymore. What was it like to ride on the Stockyards line?

A: I didn’t ride it that often. It was an adventure just to see everything. You’d get on at Indiana (Avenue), you’d ride, you’d see the Stockyards. I think I was having too much fun with my friends, to pay much close attention. We didn’t get off, that’s for sure. We just stayed on it for the round trip.

Q: I suppose there was quite an odor to the place in those days, wasn’t there?

A: We lived east of there, so yeah, when the wind was blowing, you could smell it. It wasn’t that bad of a smell. But you’d smell it when you went around (on the “L”).

Q: And that was unique, because they had a single-track loop there. They had some stations where there was only one track.

A: Yep. I don’t remember that. I only remember being on a train. I wasn’t paying too much attention to the tracks or anything, and plus there was two other kids, so we were joking around a lot (laughs).

Q: Tell me then, what happened to your family when you moved away from the neighborhood, to the north side. Was that because they shut down the “L”, or were there other factors involved?

A: What happened was that the “L” was shut down in ’57, and they began to tear it down in ’61. I was at Hyde Park High School. I started there in ’56 so I took the Kenwood “L” and transferred to the Jackson Park “L” and went to the end of the line at 63rd and Stony Island. In ’57, I started taking the 43rd Street bus to Drexel, and then I caught the southbound Drexel bus. It was a #1 or #5 Jeffrey Bus which dropped me off right in front of the school on Stony Island.

Q: Your family moved to the north side?

A: In 1961, the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) purchased all the homes in the neighborhood to be torn down to construct the two high rise buildings. The CHA bought our property, which was lucky, otherwise we would’ve had a hard time selling it. We moved to Uptown only two-and-a-half blocks away from the (CTA) Red Line Argyle station. I would take the “L” everywhere. I gave my last car away to my son-in-law in 1990. I was working downtown so I took the subway every day.

Q: They recently completely rebuilt the whole Wilson Avenue station, and all the tracks around it. It was a huge project, and cost about $250m.

A: And now they’re doing a big thing. They’re gonna rebuild all the tracks along the way, get rid of the concrete bridges, and put in a steel structure to eliminate the center thing. They just started on it.

Q: Some of the stations are going to be shut down for a while. But at least they restored the lower portion of that Wilson station, bringing it back to its 1920s appearance. It was nice of them to do that, even though the whole inside is completely brand new.

A: They will have an organic food store there. The Argyle stop, when we first moved up north had two exits, one on the north side and one on the south side of Argyle. And eventually, when they redid the platform, they eliminated the south side exit.

Q: Tell me what happened to you and your family, after you moved north. You moved to Uptown for a few years…

A: We’re still in Uptown. My parents bought a 4 flat building on Argyle and we had our whole family in the building: my parents, my grandparents, my sister, my cousin, and my wife and kids lived there. Then I got wanderlust and I bought a building across the alley on Winnemac. My in-laws lived with us. It felt like a compound, like on The Godfather. We had all of our family around us, all the time, which was tremendous.

Q: What was your career, then?

A: I graduated from the University of Illinois with a degree in finance and worked in the actuarial department at CNA Insurance. And then I went out in the field and sold insurance and later ended up being vice president of the Bank of Chicago on Wilson and Broadway. When that bank was sold, I was vice-president of another community bank in Andersonville and later left banking to run an international trading group. Afterwards, I worked in government for the Attorney General of Illinois, Neil Hartigan, and later Roland Burris. Then I became president of the World Trade Center of Chicago which was at the Merchandise Mart. Then I ended up working for the State again as the Director of Trade for the State of Illinois. I retired in 2005.

Q: And what do you do to keep busy now?

A: I am the principal of a consulting group that specializes in assisting companies to export and import products and services. So I do a lot of consulting work for several companies. I’m trying to retire, but I keep getting new projects all the time.

Q: The internment of Japanese-Americans was a dark chapter in American history, one which unfortunately was affirmed by the Supreme Court, in a kind of notorious decision (Korematsu v. United States), which still, I don’t think, has been overturned since.

A: The internment of Japanese Americans in World War II is still constitutional. Fred Korematsu, Gordon Hirabayashi and Minoru Yasui were the three cases in which the US Supreme Court ruled that the internment was constitutional based upon on the grounds of military necessity.

The Supreme Court decisions have not been overturned. In 1983, however, the US District Court in San Francisco ruled that the US Government had withheld a government report that indicated that there were no cases of espionage or sabotage by the Japanese and that there was no military necessity for the Japanese American interment. The US District Court vacated the three convictions, however, the Supreme Court decisions have not been overturned. (Editor’s note: The Roberts Court essentially disavowed the Korematsu decision in the majority opinion to Trump v. Hawaii (2018), saying it had been wrongly decided.)

Q: Like I say, a dark chapter in American history, and unfortunately, now, our government is not doing good things with immigrants, and separating families, and establishing things that seem almost like concentration camps all over again.

A; Yes, the Japanese-American community has really been actively involved in protesting all of this.

I don’t know if you are aware of it, but in 1950, during the Joe McCarthy period, the Internal Security Act was passed in Congress. Title I of the Internal Security Act set up the Subversive Activity Control Board, which would be like Nazi Germany, they would have somebody on your block to report you, if they thought you were a Commie. Well, the liberals thought that this would pass, so they added Title II, which set up concentration camps in this country to be used in the event of war or insurrection within the US. The liberals thought that would be so revolting that everybody would vote against it.

But the anti-Communist mood was so bad in 1950, that if you didn’t vote for it, you felt like you weren’t coming back to Congress according to Congressman Sid Yates. He was a Northside Chicago Congressman first elected in 1948. So it was passed and vetoed by President Harry Truman. Congress voted to override his veto and ten camps were actually built in the US. Eventually, Title I was ruled unconstitutional and Title II, however, stayed on the books and was never repealed.

The original bill was known as the Nixon-Mundt Bill. We knew that Truman wouldn’t implement it, and the same for both Presidents Eisenhower and Kennedy. Eventually the ten camps were turned over to the Bureau of Prisons. And then in 1968 with all the rioting and everything else going on, the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) said that the Black militants had declared war on the United States and were leading an insurrection and, therefore, the Internal Security Act of 1950 would be used to round them up and herd them into these camps.

So, what happened was, the Japanese American Citizens League led the effort to repeal Title II of the Internal Security Act and in 1973, it was repealed in Congress when there was a big wave of new Democratic Congressmen elected because of President Nixon’s unpopularity just like what took place in 2018. President Nixon signed the repeal legislation in Portland, Oregon, on his way to meet Emperor Hirohito. So the original Nixon-Mundt law’s repeal legislation was signed into law by President Nixon.

Q: That’s one of the ironies of history, I guess.

A: And the true irony is that Allenwood, Pennsylvania, where all of the Watergate conspirators went, was built under the Internal Security Act of 1950.

Q: I remember that when I worked for LaSalle Photo, the government issued some sort of an apology to the people who had been interned and offered them a cash payment.

A: In the mid-1970’s the Japanese American Citizens League began to seek redress and reparations for the Japanese community that were wrongfully interned during World War II. After many years of lobbying with Congressmen and Senators, a Federal Commission was appointed to hold hearings in several cities including Chicago. The Commission reported its findings to Congress and a Redress and Reparations Bill was introduced in both the House and Senate. After several years, it was finally passed in Congress. But it took a while to convince Reagan to sign the repeal legislation in August 1988. The original estimate by the Bank of America that financial losses were $5 billion in 1988 dollars which meant about $40k for every person who was in camp. Well, they didn’t do that. They sent $20k to everyone who was still alive. So, if you were alive in August 1988, you were eligible to get $20k in reparations. Most people felt the apology letter was more important than the money. The checks were finally mailed out when Bush was President. President Bush signed the formal apology letter and there was a check attached to it.

Q: Because you were in the camps, then, you did receive this kind of payment?

A: Oh yeah, I got a check, $20k check. I cashed it. Some folks said they weren’t going to cash it, I said good luck, I cashed mine. I made a copy of it, and I also have the original letter from Bush.

Q: I remember from when I worked at LaSalle Photo, this lady I worked with, said she was going to refuse the payment.

A: Some folks felt that way, I had no problem with that. I think that when the payment was refused, the money was put into a foundation. The foundation funds were spent on educational programs about the camps and the funds were used to take care of the camps. In the camp at Rohwer, Arkansas, there’s a cemetery for the internees who died in the camps that needs to be maintained. And also, the camps are now designated as national monuments.

Q: Well, if we don’t learn from history, we are probably doomed to repeat it.

A: That’s true.

Q: A lesson that unfortunately, many people haven’t learned.

A: Yes, and what is happening today, as you know, and even with this Covid-19 situation, Asians are being picked out. Because it started in China. We’re a visible minority, so in World War II I was a Jap, in the Korean War I was a Chink, in the Vietnam War I was a Gook. People can’t tell us apart, so because of that, and the fact that our existence in the US has never been legitimatized in the history books, we’re always viewed as foreigners. People keep saying to me, “Where did you learn English?”, Hyde Park High School, “Where were you born?”, California, “Where were your parents born?”, California, “Your grandfather?”, Japan, “You’re Japanese.” Now I don’t ask anybody where they’re from. If they’re white, you never ask anybody, are you Lithuanian, Polish, Estonian, or Ukrainian, whatever. We don’t ask that. Although I do ask people, I see your last name, and I say, oh, you have a Polish background, and I’ve been to Poland, and my son-in-law’s Polish. I have a lot of friends who are Lithuanian and Ukrainian. I was very active with the Baltic ethnic groups. We keep in touch with each other.

Q: This book I am working on is going to be called Chicago’s Lost “L”s. The idea is to tell a story through pictures.

A: Frank Kruesi, who was head of the CTA way back, is a hero to me because he eliminated the A/B stops. Argyle was an “A” stop, so if you heard a train coming, you’d run like hell to get up there and sometimes and it turned out to be a “B” train that went right by you. He is a hero to me because if you hear a train coming you know it’s going to stop (laughs).

Q: You know why that came about, because when the CTA, the Rapid Transit and the Surface Lines had been competitors, more or less. The typical thing was that, in some places, they had stations every two blocks on the “L”, and people lived in the neighborhoods and they would walk to the “L”. Things started to change when people got more cars, and the CTA took over, and they were trying to consolidate everything, and develop more of a cooperative system between the buses, streetcars, and the “L”, they closed a lot of stations, to try and speed up the service, because like you say, with those old cars, there were two speeds—slow, and slower. They found that if they speeded things up, they would get more riders. The A/B thing, that started out in Oak Park on the Lake Street “L”, in 1948, and it was credited with saving that line, because otherwise, the service was pretty slow. At first it was a good thing, because there were too many stations, but over the years, they closed so many stations, that by the time they got rid of the A/B thing, it was totally unnecessary. There weren’t that many stations, and now they’ve even put a few of them back. Now maybe in some places, they have too few stations. We’ve gone back to where the trains make all the stops again.

The view from the roof of the house at 4201 S. Oakenwald. In the distance, you can see the 43rd Street station of the Illinois Central Electric commuter trains. (Courtesy of Ross Harano)

The view from the roof of the house at 4201 S. Oakenwald. In the distance, you can see the 43rd Street station of the Illinois Central Electric commuter trains. (Courtesy of Ross Harano)

A: I looked at your web site and I noticed your mentioning the South Shore “Orange” trains. They were fast. I had two friends killed by the Illinois Central trains. We used to cross the tracks, you know, to get to the park.

Q: Was that on a lower level than the rest of the neighborhood?

A: The Illinois Central tracks were slightly below level. And so, there was one kid, we used to play ice hockey together was killed by a local while I was in grammar school, so it probably had to be the early ‘50s. The other friend was hit by the South Shore “Orange” train.

Q: It’s been fascinating talking to you. A lot of your family’s history, it’s very important history, for the City of Chicago, because we value diversity here. And it’s history that I think more people ought to know.

A: I agree.

Q: Thanks so much!

Ross Harano in 2012.

Ross Harano in 2012.

Further Information:

Internment of Japanese Americans

Harano and Mayewacki Family World War II Veterans

Japanese-American Service in World War II

Korematsu v. United States

Mitsuye Endo

Jerome War Relocation Center

The McCarran Internal Security Act

WTTW segment from Chicago Tonight about the Kenwood “L”

WTTW segment from Chicago Tonight about the Kiosk Sphinx (Eiffel Tower replica)

Article about the Kiosk Sphinx

1939 Chicago Surface Lines Training Program

In 2016, we were fortunate to acquire a rare 16″ transcription disc, made in 1939 for the Chicago Surface Lines. This included an audio presentation called “Keeping Pace,” about 20 minutes long, that CSL used for employee training.

We were recently able to find someone who could play such a large disc, and now this program has been digitized and can be heard for the first time in more than 80 years. We have added it as a bonus feature to our Red Arrow Lines 1967 CD, available below and through our Online Store.

Screen Shot 03-16-16 at 06.58 PM.PNGScreen Shot 03-17-16 at 12.44 AM.PNG

RAL
Red Arrow Lines 1967: Straffords and Bullets
# of Discs – 1
Price: $14.99

This disc features rare, long out-of-print audio recordings of two 1967 round trips on the Philadelphia & Western (aka “Red Arrow Lines”) interurban between Philadelphia and Norristown, the famous third rail High-Speed Line.  One trip is by a Strafford car and the other by one of the beloved streamlined Bullets.  The line, about 13 miles long and still in operation today under SEPTA, bears many similarities to another former interurban line, the Chicago Transit Authority‘s Yellow Line (aka the “Skokie Swift”).  We have included two bonus features, audio of an entire ride along that five mile route, which was once part of the North Shore Line, and a 20-minute 1939 Chicago Surface Lines training program (“Keeping Pace”).  This was digitized from a rare original 16″ transcription disc and now can be heard again for the first time in over 80 years.

Total time – 73:32

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. 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!

Bibliographic information:
Title Building Chicago’s Subways
Images of America
Author David Sadowski
Edition illustrated
Publisher Arcadia Publishing (SC), 2018
ISBN 1467129380, 9781467129381
Length 128 pages
Chapter Titles:
01. The River Tunnels
02. The Freight Tunnels
03. Make No Little Plans
04. The State Street Subway
05. The Dearborn-Milwaukee Subway
06. Displaced
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.
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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) 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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Loose Ends, Part Two

Now here is a very unusual view, taken on April 14, 1957 from the wooden trestle used by Garfield Park "L" trains to loop around at Forest Park circa 1953-59. This arrangement was necessary due to the separation of CTA and CA&E tracks, when the latter cut back service due to the Congress Expressway construction project in the city. Interurban trains turned on a loop between the CTA tracks on the east side of the terminal, while CTA trains went up and over the CA&E on the west end. To get this picture, the photographer either had to be inside a train, or on the walkway. This is only the second such picture I have seen, and the view looks to the north. In the background, you can see the Chicago Great Western freight tracks, abandoned in the early 1970s. The terminal area has been redone twice since then, and the buildings at right in the background are where a parking lot is now. The Altenheim retirement home (at left), built in 1886, is still there today at 7824 W. Madison Street. A two-car train of CTA "Baldy" 4000s negotiates the loop.

Now here is a very unusual view, taken on April 14, 1957 from the wooden trestle used by Garfield Park “L” trains to loop around at Forest Park circa 1953-59. This arrangement was necessary due to the separation of CTA and CA&E tracks, when the latter cut back service due to the Congress Expressway construction project in the city. Interurban trains turned on a loop between the CTA tracks on the east side of the terminal, while CTA trains went up and over the CA&E on the west end. To get this picture, the photographer either had to be inside a train, or on the walkway. This is only the second such picture I have seen, and the view looks to the north. In the background, you can see the Chicago Great Western freight tracks, abandoned in the early 1970s. The terminal area has been redone twice since then, and the buildings at right in the background are where a parking lot is now. The Altenheim retirement home (at left), built in 1886, is still there today at 7824 W. Madison Street. A two-car train of CTA “Baldy” 4000s negotiates the loop.

Here are more “loose ends” for your enjoyment. Most of today’s pictures were scanned a year ago as part of a much larger batch, and are from the collections of William Shapotkin, for which we are most grateful. Most of these are classic black-and-white pictures of Chicago Surface Lines streetcars.

If you have questions, comments, or additional information about any of the locations in these pictures, we would love to hear from you. As always, please refer to each image by its file name, which you can find by hovering your computer mouse over it. (For example, the image at the top of this post is rbk501.) As of July 22nd, thanks to our readers, we have updated the captions on 20 of these photos.

Enjoy!

-David Sadowski

Recent Finds

What is known today as the East Troy Electric Railroad survived to the present day due to its continued use as an electric freight line, as this scene from April 16, 1965 shows. Once part of the TMER&L interurban network, there was passenger service between East Troy and Milwaukee from 1907 to 1939. The railroad continued to operated freight for another ten years after that, and starting in 1950, the interchange line was owned and operated by East Troy. Museum operations began to be phased in as early as 1967. Here, we see line car M-15 at Mukwonago. This car is now at the Illinois Railway Museum.

What is known today as the East Troy Electric Railroad survived to the present day due to its continued use as an electric freight line, as this scene from April 16, 1965 shows. Once part of the TMER&L interurban network, there was passenger service between East Troy and Milwaukee from 1907 to 1939. The railroad continued to operated freight for another ten years after that, and starting in 1950, the interchange line was owned and operated by East Troy. Museum operations began to be phased in as early as 1967. Here, we see line car M-15 at Mukwonago. This car is now at the Illinois Railway Museum.

CSL PCC 4062, on its way toward delivery from the Pullman plant in Massachusetts to Chicago in 1946, as the city's first postwar streetcar.

CSL PCC 4062, on its way toward delivery from the Pullman plant in Massachusetts to Chicago in 1946, as the city’s first postwar streetcar.

Through a process of elimination, it can be determined that this is a rare photo of the interior of experimental CSL pre-PCC car 7001, built by Brill in 1934. The Cottage Grove destination sign means we are in Chicago, and the seat configuration is different than the 1936 PCCs. The flat back window means this is not the 4001, so this is the 7001 for sure. Interestingly, the seats looks nearly identical to those found in Washington DC pre-PCC 1053 (see the following picture). The Washington cars were built in 1935 and while the order was split between Brill and St. Louis Car Company, the seats were most likely sourced from a third vendor and were the same in all those cars (and unfortunately, none exist today).

Through a process of elimination, it can be determined that this is a rare photo of the interior of experimental CSL pre-PCC car 7001, built by Brill in 1934. The Cottage Grove destination sign means we are in Chicago, and the seat configuration is different than the 1936 PCCs. The flat back window means this is not the 4001, so this is the 7001 for sure. Interestingly, the seats looks nearly identical to those found in Washington DC pre-PCC 1053 (see the following picture). The Washington cars were built in 1935 and while the order was split between Brill and St. Louis Car Company, the seats were most likely sourced from a third vendor and were the same in all those cars (and unfortunately, none exist today).

Here are some pictures we previously posted of 7001 and 1053:

The experimental Brill-built pre-PCC 7001 as it appeared at 77th and Vincennes on September 10, 1959, shortly before it was scrapped. (Clark Frazier Photo)

The experimental Brill-built pre-PCC 7001 as it appeared at 77th and Vincennes on September 10, 1959, shortly before it was scrapped. (Clark Frazier Photo)

DC Transit pre-PCC streamlined streetcar at the National Capital Trolley Museum in 1993. Part of a 20-car order in 1935, split between Brill and St Louis Car Company. This is a St. Louis Car Company product. Sadly this car was lost to a carbarn fire at the museum in 2003. (John Smatlak Photo)

DC Transit pre-PCC streamlined streetcar at the National Capital Trolley Museum in 1993. Part of a 20-car order in 1935, split between Brill and St Louis Car Company. This is a St. Louis Car Company product. Sadly this car was lost to a carbarn fire at the museum in 2003. (John Smatlak Photo)

1053 interior. (John Smatlak Photo)

1053 interior. (John Smatlak Photo)

1053 interior. (John Smatlak Photo)

1053 interior. (John Smatlak Photo)

From the Collections of William Shapotkin:

CSL 6226 at Damen and 63rd in 1944.

CSL 6226 at Damen and 63rd in 1944.

CSL 6073 at Roosevelt and Wabash.

CSL 6073 at Roosevelt and Wabash.

CSL prewar PCC 4002 at Kedzie Station, pulling in after operating on the Madison-Fifth line.

CSL prewar PCC 4002 at Kedzie Station, pulling in after operating on the Madison-Fifth line.

CSL 6148.

CSL 6148.

CSL 1812, signed for Adams-Downtown.

CSL 1812, signed for Adams-Downtown.

CSL 6122,

CSL 6122,

CSL 1545.

CSL 1545.

CSL 1859 is near a construction site. But the extreme contrast of this picture offers no clue to the location. Andre Kristopans: "1859 at construction site WB on Adams at Clinton." Marty Robinson adds, "This improved view clearly show Adams on the street sign, and the sign on the building to the left says Franklin Bowling."

CSL 1859 is near a construction site. But the extreme contrast of this picture offers no clue to the location. Andre Kristopans: “1859 at construction site WB on Adams at Clinton.” Marty Robinson adds, “This improved view clearly show Adams on the street sign, and the sign on the building to the left says Franklin Bowling.”

CSL 3180.

CSL 3180.

CSL 3123 at Cermak and Prairie, east end of the Cermak route.

CSL 3123 at Cermak and Prairie, east end of the Cermak route.

CSL 2617.

CSL 2617.

CSL 6235 on the South Chicago-Ewing route. Mike adds, "6235 is heading south on Ewing just past 94th. The bar in the background still exists."

CSL 6235 on the South Chicago-Ewing route. Mike adds, “6235 is heading south on Ewing just past 94th. The bar in the background still exists.”

CSL 392 is heading to 74th and Ashland.

CSL 392 is heading to 74th and Ashland.

CSL 6243 on the Pershing Road line.

CSL 6243 on the Pershing Road line.

CSL 6248 is on the South Chicago-Ewing route. Mike adds, "6248 is heading north on Ewing across the 92nd St. Bridge. The tower in the background is visible in the photo of 6235, too. The blast furnaces of Youngstown Sheet & Tube are visible at left."

CSL 6248 is on the South Chicago-Ewing route. Mike adds, “6248 is heading north on Ewing across the 92nd St. Bridge. The tower in the background is visible in the photo of 6235, too. The blast furnaces of Youngstown Sheet & Tube are visible at left.”

CSL 793, signed to go to Damen and Blue Island, is near Diamond Lil's Tavern. Mike adds, "793 is at the corner of 18th & Damen – the Diamond Lil’s building is still standing."

CSL 793, signed to go to Damen and Blue Island, is near Diamond Lil’s Tavern. Mike adds, “793 is at the corner of 18th & Damen – the Diamond Lil’s building is still standing.”

CSL 3120 on a 1940s charter. Mike adds, "3120 is at the corner of 79th & Vincennes. The building in the background recently burned down and was demolished."

CSL 3120 on a 1940s charter. Mike adds, “3120 is at the corner of 79th & Vincennes. The building in the background recently burned down and was demolished.”

CSL 5723,

CSL 5723,

51st and South Park, circa 1929. The Willard Theater was located at 340 E. 51st Street. It closed in the 1950s, and the building is now used as a church and community center.

51st and South Park, circa 1929. The Willard Theater was located at 340 E. 51st Street. It closed in the 1950s, and the building is now used as a church and community center.

South Chicago and 93rd.

CSL 3266, running on the 59th-61st Street route. Mike adds, "3266 is heading south on Blackstone from 60th. The street has been vacated and none of the buildings remain."

CSL 3266, running on the 59th-61st Street route. Mike adds, “3266 is heading south on Blackstone from 60th. The street has been vacated and none of the buildings remain.”

The interior of CSL 1400.

The interior of CSL 1400.

CSL 1616 heads west on Lake Street in the 1940s, with the Lake Street "L" station at Laramie in the background. The "L" went down an inclined ramp and ran on the surface to Forest Park, and paralleled the streetcar line for a few blocks.

CSL 1616 heads west on Lake Street in the 1940s, with the Lake Street “L” station at Laramie in the background. The “L” went down an inclined ramp and ran on the surface to Forest Park, and paralleled the streetcar line for a few blocks.

CSL 4035, in an experimental color scheme, at Madison and Austin circa 1945-46. Several different designs were tried out just prior to the arrival of the 600 postwar PCCs, but the design chosen was not exactly like any of these.

CSL 4035, in an experimental color scheme, at Madison and Austin circa 1945-46. Several different designs were tried out just prior to the arrival of the 600 postwar PCCs, but the design chosen was not exactly like any of these.

State and Randolph, June 18, 1942.

CSL 4018 in an experimental paint scheme circa 1945-46. This is the Madison-Austin loop, west end of Route 20.

CSL 4018 in an experimental paint scheme circa 1945-46. This is the Madison-Austin loop, west end of Route 20.

CSL 6149 is southbound at Halsted and Chicago.

CSL 6149 is southbound at Halsted and Chicago.

CSL 6135 at Pershing and Ashland.

CSL 6135 at Pershing and Ashland.

CSL 3099. Mike: "3099 is at the corner of Leavitt and Coulter. The corner building still stands."

CSL 3099. Mike: “3099 is at the corner of Leavitt and Coulter. The corner building still stands.”

CSL 5733.

CSL 5733.

CSL 5612. Mike adds, "5612 is heading west on 56th from Stony Island. Bret Harte School is at left and in background are both the older and newer wings of the Windermere Hotel."

CSL 5612. Mike adds, “5612 is heading west on 56th from Stony Island. Bret Harte School is at left and in background are both the older and newer wings of the Windermere Hotel.”

CSL 1841. Not sure where Burny's Grill, at right, was located.

CSL 1841. Not sure where Burny’s Grill, at right, was located.

CSL 1836, signed to go to Van Buren and Dearborn.

CSL 1836, signed to go to Van Buren and Dearborn.

The interior of CSL 1218.

The interior of CSL 1218.

Chicago & West Towns 165, signed for Melrose Park. I am wondering if this could be on Lake Street in Maywood.

Chicago & West Towns 165, signed for Melrose Park. I am wondering if this could be on Lake Street in Maywood.

SF Muni double-end PCC 1008.

SF Muni double-end PCC 1008.

Chicago & West Towns 164 is eastbound on Lake Street in Oak Park, near Austin Boulevard.

Chicago & West Towns 164 is eastbound on Lake Street in Oak Park, near Austin Boulevard.

CSL 3286. Is this the interior of Kedzie Station?

CSL 3286. Is this the interior of Kedzie Station?

CSL 6221. Andre Kristopans: "6221 nb on S Chicago at 79th/ Stony Island."

CSL 6221. Andre Kristopans: “6221 nb on S Chicago at 79th/ Stony Island.”

CSL 1875.

CSL 1875.

CSL 5746 in July 1946.

CSL 5746 in July 1946.

CSL 5724 on the South Deering route.

CSL 5724 on the South Deering route.

CSL 5737.

CSL 5737.

CSL 3174, signed for Through Route 8 (Halsted).

CSL 3174, signed for Through Route 8 (Halsted).

CSL 1522.

CSL 1522.

CSL 6143 at Wacker Drive in downtown Chicago, heading north.

CSL 6143 at Wacker Drive in downtown Chicago, heading north.

CSL 5941. S. Terman adds, "5941 is at North/Cicero carbarn."

CSL 5941. S. Terman adds, “5941 is at North/Cicero carbarn.”

CSL 1602 under the "L" (Lake Street... or 63rd?). M.E.: "I thought I read someplace that streetcars on Lake St. had to be narrower than normal because the tracks were closer together than normal because the L support beams were so close to the tracks. That, in turn, meant the auto lanes were outside the L structure. So I suspect this picture shows 63rd St. under the Jackson Park L." On the other hand, Mike writes, "1602 is on Lake near Sangamon (the street sign is half visible at far left). That is most likely the Morgan St. station for the Lake Street elevated train in the background."

CSL 1602 under the “L” (Lake Street… or 63rd?). M.E.: “I thought I read someplace that streetcars on Lake St. had to be narrower than normal because the tracks were closer together than normal because the L support beams were so close to the tracks. That, in turn, meant the auto lanes were outside the L structure. So I suspect this picture shows 63rd St. under the Jackson Park L.” On the other hand, Mike writes, “1602 is on Lake near Sangamon (the street sign is half visible at far left). That is most likely the Morgan St. station for the Lake Street elevated train in the background.”

5243 at Randolph and State. From the looks of things, this might predate the creation of the Chicago Surface Lines.

5243 at Randolph and State. From the looks of things, this might predate the creation of the Chicago Surface Lines.

CSL 5819 at Cottage Grove and 115th.

CSL 5819 at Cottage Grove and 115th.

CSL 3191 at Clark and LaSalle.

CSL 3191 at Clark and LaSalle.

CSL 3041 at Montrose and Milwaukee (west end of the Montrose line). S. Terman adds, "Since 3041 brill is a 2 man car, its looks odd as Montrose is 1 man operation unless its a school trip." Thanks to Steve D. for correcting this location (we had thought it was Montrose and Broadway, which is how the photo was marked, see his Comment.) The view looks northwest. He speculates that there was a delay on Elston, and a two-man car from that line was diverted onto west Montrose.

CSL 3041 at Montrose and Milwaukee (west end of the Montrose line). S. Terman adds, “Since 3041 brill is a 2 man car, its looks odd as Montrose is 1 man operation unless its a school trip.” Thanks to Steve D. for correcting this location (we had thought it was Montrose and Broadway, which is how the photo was marked, see his Comment.) The view looks northwest. He speculates that there was a delay on Elston, and a two-man car from that line was diverted onto west Montrose.

The same location today.

The same location today.

CSL 1415 at Laramie and Lake, near the Lake Street "L".

CSL 1415 at Laramie and Lake, near the Lake Street “L”.

CRT 4069 is, I believe northbound at Chicago Avenue, running as a Ravenswood Express sometime between 1943 and 1949, a period when the Rave was routed through the new State Street Subway. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo) M.E.: "As your caption says, the Ravenswood ran in the State St. subway til 1949. And then it ran through to Englewood. After 1949, when the CTA implemented A and B skip-stop service, Englewood trains went instead to Howard St., and the Ravenswood got its own service using the original L structure into the Loop. As for the destination sign on the front, this style preceded A and B service. I think it's possible this picture was taken prior to 1943. Miles Beitler: "Photo img750 puzzles me. If this was in fact a subway train, the destination sign should read “VIA SUBWAY” and the train would serve the Chicago/State subway station rather than the Chicago Avenue elevated station. Since Ravenswood express trains did use the subway until 1949, and this train obviously did not, I wonder if the photo predates the opening of the subway."

CRT 4069 is, I believe northbound at Chicago Avenue, running as a Ravenswood Express sometime between 1943 and 1949, a period when the Rave was routed through the new State Street Subway. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo) M.E.: “As your caption says, the Ravenswood ran in the State St. subway til 1949. And then it ran through to Englewood. After 1949, when the CTA implemented A and B skip-stop service, Englewood trains went instead to Howard St., and the Ravenswood got its own service using the original L structure into the Loop. As for the destination sign on the front, this style preceded A and B service. I think it’s possible this picture was taken prior to 1943. Miles Beitler: “Photo img750 puzzles me. If this was in fact a subway train, the destination sign should read “VIA SUBWAY” and the train would serve the Chicago/State subway station rather than the Chicago Avenue elevated station. Since Ravenswood express trains did use the subway until 1949, and this train obviously did not, I wonder if the photo predates the opening of the subway.”

Chicago & West Towns 1151, eastbound on Lake Street in Oak Park, a block away from the end of the line at Austin Boulevard. The building to the north is still standing.

Chicago & West Towns 1151, eastbound on Lake Street in Oak Park, a block away from the end of the line at Austin Boulevard. The building to the north is still standing.

The same location today.

The same location today.

This is a somewhat unusual view, taken along the B&OCT tracks, just west of Central Avenue. At left, you can see the CTA's Central Avenue stop on the Congress line, now the Blue Line. The station closed in 1973 due to lack of ridership. The Eisenhower expressway would be to the left of the station, which was not served by buses, and was the only walkup (other than the Forest Park terminal) on this line, which is almost all in an open cut. We are looking mainly to the east and a bit to the north.

This is a somewhat unusual view, taken along the B&OCT tracks, just west of Central Avenue. At left, you can see the CTA’s Central Avenue stop on the Congress line, now the Blue Line. The station closed in 1973 due to lack of ridership. The Eisenhower expressway would be to the left of the station, which was not served by buses, and was the only walkup (other than the Forest Park terminal) on this line, which is almost all in an open cut. We are looking mainly to the east and a bit to the north.

A two-car train of CRT gate cars at Halsted on the Stock Yards branch of the "L". This picture can be dated to about March 1946 from the advertising posters. The Olsen and Johnson comedy team, of Hellzapoppin' fame, were appearing at the Schubert Theater in Laffing Room Only.

A two-car train of CRT gate cars at Halsted on the Stock Yards branch of the “L”. This picture can be dated to about March 1946 from the advertising posters. The Olsen and Johnson comedy team, of Hellzapoppin’ fame, were appearing at the Schubert Theater in Laffing Room Only.

When we see pictures of Western Avenue PCC cars, the question is usually, which terminal is this? Berwyn and 79th had very similar turnaround loops, built around the same time (and still used today by buses). Since the buildings at rear do not match those seen at Berwyn, I am going to say this is Western and 79th. M.E.: "This has to be 79th, for two reasons: (1) Photos I have seen of the Berwyn terminal have more vegetation. (2) In the foreground of this picture are bus lanes. I don't remember any bus service at Berwyn. On the contrary, both the 49A South Western and both lines on 79th St. (route 79 east to the lake, and route 79A west to Cicero) used this terminal."

When we see pictures of Western Avenue PCC cars, the question is usually, which terminal is this? Berwyn and 79th had very similar turnaround loops, built around the same time (and still used today by buses). Since the buildings at rear do not match those seen at Berwyn, I am going to say this is Western and 79th. M.E.: “This has to be 79th, for two reasons: (1) Photos I have seen of the Berwyn terminal have more vegetation. (2) In the foreground of this picture are bus lanes. I don’t remember any bus service at Berwyn. On the contrary, both the 49A South Western and both lines on 79th St. (route 79 east to the lake, and route 79A west to Cicero) used this terminal.”

North Shore Line streetcar 360 is signed for the Naval Station, which makes this Waukegan. Joe Stupar: "The North Shore Line streetcar 360 looks like it might be at the North end of North Av? The house looks a lot like 416 W Greenwood Av, still there."

North Shore Line streetcar 360 is signed for the Naval Station, which makes this Waukegan. Joe Stupar: “The North Shore Line streetcar 360 looks like it might be at the North end of North Av? The house looks a lot like 416 W Greenwood Av, still there.”

Not sure where this rather blurry picture of a CSL car barn is. Andre Kristopans: "The blurry carbarn shot should be Burnside, looking south on Drexel from 93rd." M.E.: "I'll hazard a guess this is the carbarn on 93rd at Drexel (900 east). I say this because I think there are railroad cars in the background. A block or so east of the Drexel barn, the 93rd St. car turned right (on Kenwood, I think) to reach a private right-of-way that crossed the railroad at grade level. Altogether an interesting operation."

Not sure where this rather blurry picture of a CSL car barn is. Andre Kristopans: “The blurry carbarn shot should be Burnside, looking south on Drexel from 93rd.” M.E.: “I’ll hazard a guess this is the carbarn on 93rd at Drexel (900 east). I say this because I think there are railroad cars in the background. A block or so east of the Drexel barn, the 93rd St. car turned right (on Kenwood, I think) to reach a private right-of-way that crossed the railroad at grade level. Altogether an interesting operation.”

A North Shore Line Electroliner is off in the distance, making a stop at... where? Scott Greig: "The southbound Electroliner with the MD car at far left is looking northeast at Downey's-Great Lakes. MD cars were commonly used to move sailors' baggage, even after LCL service ended in 1947." Joe Stupar: "The Electroliner looks like it’s at Great Lakes? Looks like a coach and an MD car in the pocket there."

A North Shore Line Electroliner is off in the distance, making a stop at… where? Scott Greig: “The southbound Electroliner with the MD car at far left is looking northeast at Downey’s-Great Lakes. MD cars were commonly used to move sailors’ baggage, even after LCL service ended in 1947.” Joe Stupar: “The Electroliner looks like it’s at Great Lakes? Looks like a coach and an MD car in the pocket there.”

CSL 3258 on the 59th-61st route. Could this be the east end of the line? M.E.: "This is definitely the east end of the 59th/61st line. It is on Blackstone Ave. (1430 E.) looking north toward the Midway Plaisance (which was between 59th St. to the north and 60th St. to the south).. Across the Midway are some buildings from the University of Chicago. Notice that both trolleys are up, and the destination sign says "Central Park", referring to Central Park Ave. (3600 W.), the line's western terminus. (As I remember, the eastbound terminal sign read "60th - Blackstone".) Google maps shows where 61st St. turned left toward where Blackstone would have been. In Google, Blackstone is labelled farther north."

CSL 3258 on the 59th-61st route. Could this be the east end of the line? M.E.: “This is definitely the east end of the 59th/61st line. It is on Blackstone Ave. (1430 E.) looking north toward the Midway Plaisance (which was between 59th St. to the north and 60th St. to the south).. Across the Midway are some buildings from the University of Chicago. Notice that both trolleys are up, and the destination sign says “Central Park”, referring to Central Park Ave. (3600 W.), the line’s western terminus. (As I remember, the eastbound terminal sign read “60th – Blackstone”.) Google maps shows where 61st St. turned left toward where Blackstone would have been. In Google, Blackstone is labelled farther north.”

A North Shore Line train "at speed," as they used to say. Not sure where this is. Joe Stupar: "The North Shore train at speed looks like it might be at 4 Mile Substation? The building looks similar, and this other photo of the south side shows a similar setup with the high tension wires coming over the building, and a simple tap with no steel structure."

A North Shore Line train “at speed,” as they used to say. Not sure where this is. Joe Stupar: “The North Shore train at speed looks like it might be at 4 Mile Substation? The building looks similar, and this other photo of the south side shows a similar setup with the high tension wires coming over the building, and a simple tap with no steel structure.”

CSL 3219 is at the east end of the 43rd Street line, adjacent to an Illinois Central electric suburban service station. This was also near the end of the line of the Kenwood branch of the "L".

CSL 3219 is at the east end of the 43rd Street line, adjacent to an Illinois Central electric suburban service station. This was also near the end of the line of the Kenwood branch of the “L”.

A pair of CAT wooden "L" cars, shown here, survived into the mid-1960s, as shown by this view of the yard at Logan Square, where 6000s and 2000s are in evidence. This dates the picture to sometime between 1964 and 1970. Andre Kristopans: "The wood work motors at Logan Square hauled the rail grinder sleds until 1965 or so." Scott Greig: "Wood "L" cars at Logan...there were several wood cars (particularly the 1809-1815 group) that lasted in work service as late as 1968, maybe even 1970. Given that there's no crane or flat cars with them, they may be a rail grinder train."

A pair of CAT wooden “L” cars, shown here, survived into the mid-1960s, as shown by this view of the yard at Logan Square, where 6000s and 2000s are in evidence. This dates the picture to sometime between 1964 and 1970. Andre Kristopans: “The wood work motors at Logan Square hauled the rail grinder sleds until 1965 or so.” Scott Greig: “Wood “L” cars at Logan…there were several wood cars (particularly the 1809-1815 group) that lasted in work service as late as 1968, maybe even 1970. Given that there’s no crane or flat cars with them, they may be a rail grinder train.”

I believe this is the Chicago & West Towns car barn, which was located in North Riverside. (Many photos list it as "Berwyn," but it's across the street from that suburb.) The West Towns had two car barns, the other at Lake and Ridgeland in Oak Park. Although both were in the 'burbs, the North Riverside one was often referred to as the "suburban" barn. The area around the Oak Park barn was a lot more built up than this.

I believe this is the Chicago & West Towns car barn, which was located in North Riverside. (Many photos list it as “Berwyn,” but it’s across the street from that suburb.) The West Towns had two car barns, the other at Lake and Ridgeland in Oak Park. Although both were in the ‘burbs, the North Riverside one was often referred to as the “suburban” barn. The area around the Oak Park barn was a lot more built up than this.

1939 Chicago Surface Lines Training Program

In 2016, we were fortunate to acquire a rare 16″ transcription disc, made in 1939 for the Chicago Surface Lines. This included an audio presentation called “Keeping Pace,” about 20 minutes long, that CSL used for employee training.

We were recently able to find someone who could play such a large disc, and now this program has been digitized and can be heard for the first time in more than 80 years. We have added it as a bonus feature to our Red Arrow Lines 1967 CD, available below and through our Online Store.

Screen Shot 03-16-16 at 06.58 PM.PNGScreen Shot 03-17-16 at 12.44 AM.PNG

RAL
Red Arrow Lines 1967: Straffords and Bullets
# of Discs – 1
Price: $14.99

This disc features rare, long out-of-print audio recordings of two 1967 round trips on the Philadelphia & Western (aka “Red Arrow Lines”) interurban between Philadelphia and Norristown, the famous third rail High-Speed Line.  One trip is by a Strafford car and the other by one of the beloved streamlined Bullets.  The line, about 13 miles long and still in operation today under SEPTA, bears many similarities to another former interurban line, the Chicago Transit Authority‘s Yellow Line (aka the “Skokie Swift”).  We have included two bonus features, audio of an entire ride along that five mile route, which was once part of the North Shore Line, and a 20-minute 1939 Chicago Surface Lines training program (“Keeping Pace”).  This was digitized from a rare original 16″ transcription disc and now can be heard again for the first time in over 80 years.

Total time – 73:32

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. 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!

Bibliographic information:
Title Building Chicago’s Subways
Images of America
Author David Sadowski
Edition illustrated
Publisher Arcadia Publishing (SC), 2018
ISBN 1467129380, 9781467129381
Length 128 pages
Chapter Titles:
01. The River Tunnels
02. The Freight Tunnels
03. Make No Little Plans
04. The State Street Subway
05. The Dearborn-Milwaukee Subway
06. Displaced
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.
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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) 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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Loose Ends, Part One

On February 6, 1941, the North Shore Line ran some special trips to introduce its new, streamlined Electroliners. Here we see one of the two sets at the North Water Terminal on Chicago's "L" system.

On February 6, 1941, the North Shore Line ran some special trips to introduce its new, streamlined Electroliners. Here we see one of the two sets at the North Water Terminal on Chicago’s “L” system.

With this, and our next post, we are tying up some loose ends, so to speak. We have collected a great number of images over the last five years, and haven’t always had an opportunity to finish working on them and present them to you here. Just the caption writing alone takes a long time, and there is often research involved.

This is in addition to our usual work in scanning, cropping, straightening, color correction, spot removal, etc., which also takes a considerable effort. There are times when the images pile up, and there are various things that need to be done to them. We recently got around to some of those things.

We hope you enjoy the results, and if you have any questions or comments about these images, be sure to drop us a line. Be sure to refer to each image by its identifying file name. You can generally see what that is by moving your mouse over the image itself.

We also thank our various contributors to today’s post, Jeff Wien of the Wien-Criss Archive, Craig Berndt, and Bill Shapotkin, who have generously shared images from their collections.

I would also be remiss if I failed to note that July 15th was Ray DeGroote’s 90th birthday. Ray is a longtime friend and mentor. He is the dean of Chicago railfans, and has traveled all over, taking unforgettable pictures, sharing his wisdom and experience with others, for a lot longer than most of us have been alive. We wish him all the best.

-David Sadowski

Recent Finds

Through an act of serendipity, at almost the same time that we acquired the Electroliner picture above, we also obtained a souvenir ticket from that same event.

Through an act of serendipity, at almost the same time that we acquired the Electroliner picture above, we also obtained a souvenir ticket from that same event.

After the North Shore Line abandonment in 1963, the two Electroliners were purchased by the Philadelphia Suburban Transportation Company (aka Red Arrow), for use on their 13-mile-long Norristown High Speed Line. Liberty Liner "Valley Forge" at Bryn Mawr in September 1964. (Richard S. Short Photo)

After the North Shore Line abandonment in 1963, the two Electroliners were purchased by the Philadelphia Suburban Transportation Company (aka Red Arrow), for use on their 13-mile-long Norristown High Speed Line. Liberty Liner “Valley Forge” at Bryn Mawr in September 1964. (Richard S. Short Photo)

Although the Chicago Aurora & Elgin had an admirable safety record, I am sure, sometimes there were accidents. Here, we see cars 400 and 318 have collided. 318 must have been repaired, as it did survive the interurban, at least for a while. Don's Rail Photos notes: "318 was built by Jewett Car Co in 1914. It had steel sheating and was modernized in 1944. It was sold to Wisconsin Electric Raiway Historical Society in 1962. It was wrecked in transit and the parts were sold to IRM to restore 321." This picture was taken at Lockwood Yard, just west of Laramie, in June 1945. Not sure if the modernization was actually done prior to the crash, or as a result of it. Dates for these things are sometimes approximate. (Don Mac Bean Photo)

Although the Chicago Aurora & Elgin had an admirable safety record, I am sure, sometimes there were accidents. Here, we see cars 400 and 318 have collided. 318 must have been repaired, as it did survive the interurban, at least for a while. Don’s Rail Photos notes: “318 was built by Jewett Car Co in 1914. It had steel sheating and was modernized in 1944. It was sold to Wisconsin Electric Raiway Historical Society in 1962. It was wrecked in transit and the parts were sold to IRM to restore 321.” This picture was taken at Lockwood Yard, just west of Laramie, in June 1945. Not sure if the modernization was actually done prior to the crash, or as a result of it. Dates for these things are sometimes approximate. (Don Mac Bean Photo)

Here, we see the Chicago, South Shore & South Bend interurban (commonly known as the South Shore Line) running down the street in East Chicago, Indiana, in the late 1920s.

Here, we see the Chicago, South Shore & South Bend interurban (commonly known as the South Shore Line) running down the street in East Chicago, Indiana, in the late 1920s.

This is a Chicago & West Towns Railway streetcar, signed for the La Grange line, circa 1915.

This is a Chicago & West Towns Railway streetcar, signed for the La Grange line, circa 1915.

The names of the two C&WT employees shown in the previous photograph.

The names of the two C&WT employees shown in the previous photograph.

Here is a mystery photo, It was identified as Chicago "L" workers, but Andre Kristopans doubts that this is actually Chicago. Such vintage pictures usually have the employees wearing darker uniforms than this, and where would there have been such a structure as is shown here?

Here is a mystery photo, It was identified as Chicago “L” workers, but Andre Kristopans doubts that this is actually Chicago. Such vintage pictures usually have the employees wearing darker uniforms than this, and where would there have been such a structure as is shown here?

The lone gate car we see in this picture is identified as work car S-2, and the date is September 9, 1957. Can this be 61st Yard?

The lone gate car we see in this picture is identified as work car S-2, and the date is September 9, 1957. Can this be 61st Yard?

Our resident south side expert M.E. writes:

You might be correct that this is the 61st St. yard on the Jackson Park line. I didn’t ride that line very much, because I lived along the Englewood line, so I can’t be sure. If it is 61st St., the view looks southeast.

In the 61st St. yard, I recall the long diagonal track in your picture. I also remember this track seemed to cleave the yard into two parts, such that the trains stored in the northern part would first have to move to the southern part, then onto the diagonal track to reach the mainline. That was rather clumsy.

I tried to recollect the big building in the background on the right. Or maybe there are more than one building. Either way, I think the building(s) could have been low-income project buildings that showed up on the South Side in the 1950s. The building(s) in this picture would be located south of 63rd and west of South Park Way (now King Drive).

The most convincing reason this might be 61st St. yard is, believe it or not, the way the switch is set in the lower right. That switch is set for mainline operation, in particular the northbound track. With this in mind, everything else in this picture falls into place correctly.

UPDATE: After writing all the above, I consulted my Central Electric Railfans Association (CERA) bulletin 115, dated June 1976, which covers the L system between 1947 and 1976. In the back of that book are numerous trackage layouts, including — yes — the 61st St. yard. And that trackage looks exactly like what is in your picture.

You might wonder where the connection between the southbound mainline track and the yard is. According to CERA 115, it is right where the camera is. It is a switch from southbound to northbound mainline track. In fact, you can see part of that switch precisely where your trolleydodger label (watermark) starts.

Thanks for figuring that out.

From 1949 to 1957, the CTA operated the Kenwood branch of the "L" as a shuttle operation, and here we see three such cars at the Indiana Avenue station. By the mid-1950s, the older gate cars had been replaced by ones formerly used on the Met "L", as those lines were equipped with more modern steel cars. Not sure why there are three cars here-- Kenwood usually used one or two car trains in these days.

From 1949 to 1957, the CTA operated the Kenwood branch of the “L” as a shuttle operation, and here we see three such cars at the Indiana Avenue station. By the mid-1950s, the older gate cars had been replaced by ones formerly used on the Met “L”, as those lines were equipped with more modern steel cars. Not sure why there are three cars here– Kenwood usually used one or two car trains in these days.

M.E. writes:
I learned from this picture that the Kenwood stub at Indiana Ave. had room for three cars. I thought it was just two. I guess I never saw a third (idle) car sitting in that space, because the presence of an idle car meant the passengers had to walk farther to connect between Kenwood and mainline trains. (And if Kenwood passengers wanted to connect to southbound mainline trains, they also had to use the overhead bridge between the two mainline platforms.)

I also learned from CERA 115 that the Stock Yards line did have its own yard, east of the Halsted St. station, but that was way back in 1913. No wonder I never saw it.

There is some speculation that the Stock Yards yard from 1913 was never actually used.

Regarding three cars in the Kenwood stub, it’s possible that a portion of the rear car went past the platform, and they didn’t open the rear door, as was the practice at other stations, where the trains ended up being longer than the platforms. (This could also be done with the front door on the head car in other places, but not here.)

M.E. again:

More about your Kenwood stub picture:

Judging by the space between the two cars at the left, I’d have to say the leftmost car was not connected to the other two, and was in fact sitting idle. And, as you mentioned, perhaps the rightmost car isn’t fully next to the platform.

I’d have to agree with that, for another reason: I don’t know whether old wooden cars were ever upgraded to enable a single conductor (or maybe the motorman) to control all doors. If the old cars were not upgraded, then a three-car Kenwood train would need two conductors. The amount of business the Kenwood shuttle did would never justify two conductors. This fortifies my recollection that the Kenwood shuttle never ran with more than two cars, and ran most of the time with just one car.

This picture was taken from the old Halsted "L" station on the Met main line, which was just north of the Congress Expressway footprint. That station remained open until 1958, when the CTA Congress median line opened. I believe this picture was taken in 1954, but after the end of May, when buses replaced streetcars on Route 8 - Halsted. This section of highway opened in 1955. The two subway portals at right are used by the CTA Blue Line today, but the ones at left were never used. They were intended for use by Lake Street "L" trains, if that line had been re-routed onto the highway, and would have connected to a Clinton Street Subway, forming an underground "loop" along with the Lake, Dearborn, and Congress legs.

This picture was taken from the old Halsted “L” station on the Met main line, which was just north of the Congress Expressway footprint. That station remained open until 1958, when the CTA Congress median line opened. I believe this picture was taken in 1954, but after the end of May, when buses replaced streetcars on Route 8 – Halsted. This section of highway opened in 1955. The two subway portals at right are used by the CTA Blue Line today, but the ones at left were never used. They were intended for use by Lake Street “L” trains, if that line had been re-routed onto the highway, and would have connected to a Clinton Street Subway, forming an underground “loop” along with the Lake, Dearborn, and Congress legs. Steve D. points out that the sign has Richard J. Daley on it as mayor, which means it can’t be prior to April 20, 1955.

The old Cicero Avenue station on the Garfield Park "L" stood at regular height, but to the west, Laramie was at ground level, and to the east, the Kilbourn station was at a higher level, as the "L" crossed other railroads. Here, we are looking east around July 1, 1957. Kilbourn closed in 1953 to help speed up service on the rest of the line, which was slowed down once it started using temporary trackage in Van Buren Street, between Sacramento Avenue and Aberdeen, a distance of about two-and-a-half miles.

The old Cicero Avenue station on the Garfield Park “L” stood at regular height, but to the west, Laramie was at ground level, and to the east, the Kilbourn station was at a higher level, as the “L” crossed other railroads. Here, we are looking east around July 1, 1957. Kilbourn closed in 1953 to help speed up service on the rest of the line, which was slowed down once it started using temporary trackage in Van Buren Street, between Sacramento Avenue and Aberdeen, a distance of about two-and-a-half miles.

In this view, taken around July 1, 1957, we see a westbound Garfield Park train at the Kedzie station, which was not in the direct path of the Congress Expressway. The tall smokestack in the distance belonged to the old Garden City Laundry at 3333 W. Harrison. Here, the "L" was south of the expressway, and at other points, it was north of the highway. The station off in the distance is St. Louis (3500 W.). Both stations remained open until 1958.

In this view, taken around July 1, 1957, we see a westbound Garfield Park train at the Kedzie station, which was not in the direct path of the Congress Expressway. The tall smokestack in the distance belonged to the old Garden City Laundry at 3333 W. Harrison. Here, the “L” was south of the expressway, and at other points, it was north of the highway. The station off in the distance is St. Louis (3500 W.). Both stations remained open until 1958.

The former Garden City Laundry building today.

The former Garden City Laundry building today.

This picture, and the next one, were taken around July 1, 1957 from the Kedzie Avenue bridge over the then-Congress Expressway, looking east towards Sacramento Boulvard. Tracks are in place for the Congress median line, and in the distance, we can also see where the Garfield Park "L" crossed the highway. East of Sacramento, there was a ramp, leading down to Van Buren, where there was a temporary right-of-way at ground level. Tracks were in place for the new line at this time, but as you can see, there was no third rail yet. There is still a crossover at this location. Notice that there were support columns for the "L" right in the middle of the highway. It is inconceivable that this would be done today.

This picture, and the next one, were taken around July 1, 1957 from the Kedzie Avenue bridge over the then-Congress Expressway, looking east towards Sacramento Boulvard. Tracks are in place for the Congress median line, and in the distance, we can also see where the Garfield Park “L” crossed the highway. East of Sacramento, there was a ramp, leading down to Van Buren, where there was a temporary right-of-way at ground level. Tracks were in place for the new line at this time, but as you can see, there was no third rail yet. There is still a crossover at this location. Notice that there were support columns for the “L” right in the middle of the highway. It is inconceivable that this would be done today.

Around July 1, 1957, a westbound CTA Garfield Park "L" train is westbound on the Van Buren temporary trackage. I believe the cross street is California Avenue (2800 W.).

Around July 1, 1957, a westbound CTA Garfield Park “L” train is westbound on the Van Buren temporary trackage. I believe the cross street is California Avenue (2800 W.).

This is mid-1950s view of the then-Congress Expressway, looking east from Kedzie. We see the new CTA rapid transit line in the median, then under construction, and the old Garfield Park "L" in the distance. This portion of the highway opened in 1955 as far west as Laramie. I think this picture may have been taken before the other one in this post.

This is mid-1950s view of the then-Congress Expressway, looking east from Kedzie. We see the new CTA rapid transit line in the median, then under construction, and the old Garfield Park “L” in the distance. This portion of the highway opened in 1955 as far west as Laramie. I think this picture may have been taken before the other one in this post.

This view of the Congress Expressway looks east from Central Park (3600 W.) towards Homan (3400 W.). On the right, the smokestack closest to the highway belongs to the Garden City Laundry, which was located at 3333 W. Harrison Street, and is mentioned elsewhere in this post. This may be circa 1956, as the highway is open here, but tracks appear to only recently have been added to the median.

This view of the Congress Expressway looks east from Central Park (3600 W.) towards Homan (3400 W.). On the right, the smokestack closest to the highway belongs to the Garden City Laundry, which was located at 3333 W. Harrison Street, and is mentioned elsewhere in this post. This may be circa 1956, as the highway is open here, but tracks appear to only recently have been added to the median.

Chicago Surface Lines 3294 near the Ravenswood 'L' station at Montrose (today's CTA Brown Line)

Chicago Surface Lines 3294 near the Ravenswood ‘L’ station at Montrose (today’s CTA Brown Line)

From the Collections of Craig Berndt

Craig Berndt shared these really nice images, which he purchased from the estate of the late Ken Luttenbacher, who may be the photographer. All were taken on the north side, and many of these pictures were shot from the front of a train, looking out the window (which was most likely opened, since this was in the days before air conditioned rapid transit cars).

While we don’t see a lot of “L” cars, what we do see are some excellent shots of the rights-of-way on the Howard and Evanston lines (today’s Red and Purple Lines).

He adds:

I wrote a book about the Toledo & Chicago Interurban that operated the Ft. Wayne-Garrett-Kendallville-Waterloo line, part of which operated in freight service until May 1945. I made presentations about it at Hoosier Traction Meet a few years ago.

All the pictures in this section are from the Craig Berndt Collection.

This August 1963 view is just south of Lawrence, looking north. The overhead wire at left was used by CTA electric locomotives, a holdover from the days when the Milwaukee Road had service here, prior to this line being electrified and put up on an embankment. Apparently, North Shore Line trains sometimes used the overhead and switched over to third rail further south.

This August 1963 view is just south of Lawrence, looking north. The overhead wire at left was used by CTA electric locomotives, a holdover from the days when the Milwaukee Road had service here, prior to this line being electrified and put up on an embankment. Apparently, North Shore Line trains sometimes used the overhead and switched over to third rail further south.

Loyola, looking north, in August 1963.

North of Loyola, looking north, August 1963.

North of Loyola, looking north, August 1963.

Linden Terminal, Wilmette, in August 1963.

Linden Terminal, Wilmette, in August 1963.

Here, in August 1963, we are just north of the Berwyn station on the North-South main line. Off to the left, there was Lill Coal and Oil, which used freight service on the 'L' until 1973. In this photo, you can see part of their siding heading off from the freight track, which has overhead wire. Lill was the last freight customer the CTA had. Once they stopped using the service, the CTA was able to eliminate freight. This was a carryover from the days when this portion of the route started out as part of the Milwaukee Road. That railroad interchanged with the rapid transit just north of Irving Park Road. Freight cars were hauled by electric locomotives using overhead wire. There was a ramp up to the 'L' structure near Montrose.

Here, in August 1963, we are just north of the Berwyn station on the North-South main line. Off to the left, there was Lill Coal and Oil, which used freight service on the ‘L’ until 1973. In this photo, you can see part of their siding heading off from the freight track, which has overhead wire. Lill was the last freight customer the CTA had. Once they stopped using the service, the CTA was able to eliminate freight. This was a carryover from the days when this portion of the route started out as part of the Milwaukee Road. That railroad interchanged with the rapid transit just north of Irving Park Road. Freight cars were hauled by electric locomotives using overhead wire. There was a ramp up to the ‘L’ structure near Montrose.

The same location today.

The same location today.

Fullerton, looking north, in August 1963.

Fullerton, looking north, in August 1963.

Just south of Belmont, looking north, in August 1963.

Just south of Belmont, looking north, in August 1963.

Approaching Wilson, looking north . in August 1963. Wilson shops are visible.

Approaching Wilson, looking north . in August 1963. Wilson shops are visible.

Just south of Addison, looking north, in August 1963. You can see the Wrigley Field scoreboard at left.

Just south of Addison, looking north, in August 1963. You can see the Wrigley Field scoreboard at left.

Howard Terminal, August 1963. This station was completely redone in the early 2000s.

Howard Terminal, August 1963. This station was completely redone in the early 2000s.

Morse, looking north, in August 1963. The old No Exit Cafe, a Beatnik coffehouse established in 1958, was located not far from here, starting in 1967.

Morse, looking north, in August 1963. The old No Exit Cafe, a Beatnik coffehouse established in 1958, was located not far from here, starting in 1967.

Just north of Sheridan, looking north towards Wilson, in August 1963.

Just north of Sheridan, looking north towards Wilson, in August 1963.

We are looking south off the rear of a northbound Evanston train at Foster Station in August 1963. The station in the distance is Davis Street.

We are looking south off the rear of a northbound Evanston train at Foster Station in August 1963. The station in the distance is Davis Street.

Looking south from the old Isabella station on the Evanston line in August 1963. The bridge in the distance goes over the North Shore Channel.

Looking south from the old Isabella station on the Evanston line in August 1963. The bridge in the distance goes over the North Shore Channel.

The old Wilson Avenue Upper Yard in August 1963. The shops building burned in 1996 and was removed.

The old Wilson Avenue Upper Yard in August 1963. The shops building burned in 1996 and was removed.

This August 1963 shot shows the yard at Linden Avenue in Wilmette, at the north end of the Evanston branch. There are overhead wires at left because this branch did not use third rail until 1973 (although the yard did). The station was behind the photographer, since moved to the left (east), I believe. To the left was also where the North Shore Line continued north on its own tracks for about a block, before heading west on Greenleaf Avenue.

This August 1963 shot shows the yard at Linden Avenue in Wilmette, at the north end of the Evanston branch. There are overhead wires at left because this branch did not use third rail until 1973 (although the yard did). The station was behind the photographer, since moved to the left (east), I believe. To the left was also where the North Shore Line continued north on its own tracks for about a block, before heading west on Greenleaf Avenue.

DePaul University is near Fullerton Avenue on the North-South main line. There were four tracks north of Chicago Avenue on this line, with a few gaps between there and Howard Street, where the Evanston and Skokie branches begin. This August 1963 view, taken from out the window of a northbound train (as are some of the others) looks north to the Fullerton "L" station.

DePaul University is near Fullerton Avenue on the North-South main line. There were four tracks north of Chicago Avenue on this line, with a few gaps between there and Howard Street, where the Evanston and Skokie branches begin. This August 1963 view, taken from out the window of a northbound train (as are some of the others) looks north to the Fullerton “L” station.

The Sheridan Road CTA station in August 1963. It still looks much like this today.

The Sheridan Road CTA station in August 1963. It still looks much like this today.

The Ravenswood (today's Brown Line) terminal at Lawrence and Kimball, looking north, in January 1960.

The Ravenswood (today’s Brown Line) terminal at Lawrence and Kimball, looking north, in January 1960.

All the trains I see here in this July 1964 scene are Douglas Park ones, leading me to think this is the old Pulaski road yard on that line. This route is now called the Pink Line, but that yard has been removed. The configuration of tracks from a map I have looks like it fits what I see in the picture. On the other hand, Steve D. says this is Logan Square, due to the building in the back with a sign for the Hollander Storage & Moving Company, which is still there on Fullerton Avenue.

All the trains I see here in this July 1964 scene are Douglas Park ones, leading me to think this is the old Pulaski road yard on that line. This route is now called the Pink Line, but that yard has been removed. The configuration of tracks from a map I have looks like it fits what I see in the picture. On the other hand, Steve D. says this is Logan Square, due to the building in the back with a sign for the Hollander Storage & Moving Company, which is still there on Fullerton Avenue.

This is the bridge over the North Shore Channel on the Evanston route in August 1963. We are looking south, and the station in the distance is Central Street.

This is the bridge over the North Shore Channel on the Evanston route in August 1963. We are looking south, and the station in the distance is Central Street.

From the Wien-Criss Archive

All the images in this section were taken by the late Charles L. Tauscher, and are shared by Jeff Wien, of the Wien-Criss Archive. These pictures show Kenosha buses, most on a fantrip held by the Omnibus Society of America. Bill Shapotkin notes, “OSA Fantrip 33 operated on July 9, 1967. The carrier was then known as Lake Shore Transit/Kenosha. Two different buses where used during the trip- #705 and 709.”

I recognize the former Kenosha North Shore Line station, four years after abandonment. The building still exists, but has been altered. It served as a restaurant for many years, and is now a day car center.

There are also two pictures taken in Racine, with the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Johnson Wax Building in the background.

The large Pepsi bottlecap ad on the front of one bus reminds me of the streetcars in Johnstown, Pennsylvania that had these too, in pictures taken near the end of service there in 1960.

If anyone can help identify the other locations, that would be greatly appreciated. Again, please refer to each image by file name, thanks.

Bill Shapotkin: "This photo looks east on 6th Street across Park Avenue in Racine, WI. Note that the Greyhound station is located on S/E corner of intersection. Aside from Greyhound, Wisconsin Coach (which operates a suburban bus service between Milwaukee and Kenosha) also served this station."

Bill Shapotkin: “This photo looks east on 6th Street across Park Avenue in Racine, WI. Note that the Greyhound station is located on S/E corner of intersection. Aside from Greyhound, Wisconsin Coach (which operates a suburban bus service between Milwaukee and Kenosha) also served this station.”

How this area looks today.

How this area looks today.

Bill Shapotkin: "This photo was taken in Racine, WI facing N/B on Main JUST NORTH of 5th Street. The view looks east."

Bill Shapotkin: “This photo was taken in Racine, WI facing N/B on Main JUST NORTH of 5th Street. The view looks east.”

Bill Shapotkin: "This photo was taken in ILLINOIS -- on SW corner of State Line (aka Russell) Road and Sheridan Road in Winthrop Harbor. View looks south (that is Sheridan Road at left)."

Bill Shapotkin: “This photo was taken in ILLINOIS — on SW corner of State Line (aka Russell) Road and Sheridan Road in Winthrop Harbor. View looks south (that is Sheridan Road at left).”

Bill Shapotkin: "This photo was taken in Kenosha, WI facing east in 57th Street between 6th and 7th Streets. The building behind the bus is still standing today!" On the other hand, Russ Schultz says this is 56th Street.

Bill Shapotkin: “This photo was taken in Kenosha, WI facing east in 57th Street between 6th and 7th Streets. The building behind the bus is still standing today!” On the other hand, Russ Schultz says this is 56th Street.

A contemporary view.

A contemporary view.

From the Collections of William Shapotkin

We will round out today’s post with four excellent images shared by Bill Shapotkin. More will follow in our next post, Loose Ends, Part Two.

This and the next image: Joseph Canfield took this picture of CTA PCCs at Western and Berwyn, the north end of Route 49, on June 13, 1956, just a few days before buses replaced streetcars on this line.

This and the next image: Joseph Canfield took this picture of CTA PCCs at Western and Berwyn, the north end of Route 49, on June 13, 1956, just a few days before buses replaced streetcars on this line.

CTA trolley bus 9300 at Grand and Nordica (west terminal of Route 65) in July 1969.

CTA trolley bus 9300 at Grand and Nordica (west terminal of Route 65) in July 1969.

CTA trolley buses 9300 and 9588 at Grand and Nordica in July 1969. This was my neighborhood, and I boarded buses here all the time back then. There was a supermarket next door (I think it was a national). In recent years this is now a resale shop.

CTA trolley buses 9300 and 9588 at Grand and Nordica in July 1969. This was my neighborhood, and I boarded buses here all the time back then. There was a supermarket next door (I think it was a national). In recent years this is now a resale shop.

Recent Correspondence

Barry S. writes:

With reference to your material on the launch of the Electroliner, I am passing along this contemporaneous promo /faux ticket. It’s about 30″ high. Due to my inept photo skills, it took three images to capture at least some details. Use and enjoy at your discretion. If any of your readers are interested, the item is for sale. It can be removed from its frame for easier/cheaper shipping.

I will make note of that, and if anyone wants to contact you, I will be sure to forward their info your way, thanks (using my ‘good offices,’ as opposed to my bad ones I guess).

Martin Baumann writes:

I recently discovered your very interesting website. In one post you said you are not sure what happened to Aurora Fox River and Elgin 305.

According to Cleveland’s Transit Vehicles: Equipment and Technology by James A. Toman and Blaine S. Hays it went to Cleveland with the rest of the batch and was retired in 1954 after its motors burned out during a blizzard at Thanksgiving.

That’s good to know, thanks!

Steve De Rose writes:

I am (still) Steve De Rose. If I did not previously mention this, I am also a member of the _American Breweriana Association_, which *just merged* with the East Coast Breweriana Association. Issue 226 of its journal arrived here very recently. John Warnik, of the sub-organization Chicagoland Breweriana Society has a fascinating story about the Yusay Brewery (formerly of 26th St. & Albany Ave). Yusay was one Chicago brewery which did a bunch of ads on transit vehicles. J. Warnik met someone who had seven medium-sized ads and he obtained them. Then came the questions of when these were used and where they appeared?

An ad for Dodge automobiles had Dodge’s 1953 slogan, “You’ve Got To Drive It To Believe It! 1953 Dodge”. This dated the signs to late 1952. He specifically focused on an ad for Yusay which illustrated its character ‘Local Boy’ at a banquet welcoming convention delegates to Chicago. As both the Democratic & Republican 1952 Presidential nomination conventions were held at the International Amphitheatre in Chicago, ‘Local Boy’ was seated between an elephant and a donkey on the dais. This more precisely identified the time frame. From your ‘Trolley Dodger’ weblog, he discerned a route 4 Cottage Grove streetcar, converted to one-man service (4056) with this ad in one of the outside slots near the front of the streetcar. He credits it to all three authors of *_Chicago Streetcar Pictorial, the PCC Car Era 1936-1958_*, including you. But the photograph he identifies and reproduces in this journal article is not the one on page 57 in the book. It looks like it is running southbound in downtown on Wabash between Wacker and Lake. (He shrewdly placed the top of the Yusay ad over the lower right corner of the photograph.)

What this informs us of is that 4056, converted to one-man service in May 1952, made many (if not all) of its runs on Cottage Grove. {Did Madison & Madison-Fifth CTA routes use one-man PCC Cars?}

Thanks for writing.

Looks like we have run two pictures of PCC 4056 with this ad, which probably dates both to the summer of 1952.

Madison and Madison-Fifth did not use one-man PCCs (and I do mean that literally, female bus operators weren’t hired until the 1970s). But after buses replaced streetcars on Madison in 1953, the branch on Fifth was operated briefly as a shuttle, using older red cars (1700-series) that were one-man.

Two-man cars, in any event, were required on any streetcar lines that crossed a railroad. The car would stop and the conductor would get out and look both ways before the car crossed the tracks.

CTA wanted to use one-man cars on 63rd Street, but first held two public hearings, and at one of them (the one on the west portion of the line), there was opposition to the plan, so the line was converted to buses instead. The one-man cars were used on Cottage Grove from 1952-55, and after that became a bus route, Western Avenue got them from 1955-56.

Another thing that CTA did was to substitute buses for PCCs on weekends. This had been a recommendation of a 1951 consultant report.

Keep those cards and letters coming in, folks.

-David Sadowski

St. Louis-built PCC 4056, signed for route 4 - Cottage Grove, has just crossed the Chicago River. While the iconic Wrigley Building and Tribune Tower are at rear, the Sun-Times building (1958) had not yet been built when this picture was taken. Note a Chicago Motor Coach bus at rear. CTA purchased Motor Coach's assets as of October 1, 1952, probably not too long after this picture was taken. In the 1950s, some Cottage Grove cars (usually signed as Route 38) went north of the river and terminated at Grand and Navy Pier. (Railway Negative Exchange Photo)

St. Louis-built PCC 4056, signed for route 4 – Cottage Grove, has just crossed the Chicago River. While the iconic Wrigley Building and Tribune Tower are at rear, the Sun-Times building (1958) had not yet been built when this picture was taken. Note a Chicago Motor Coach bus at rear. CTA purchased Motor Coach’s assets as of October 1, 1952, probably not too long after this picture was taken. In the 1950s, some Cottage Grove cars (usually signed as Route 38) went north of the river and terminated at Grand and Navy Pier. (Railway Negative Exchange Photo)

CTA 4056 is running on Route 4 - Cottage Grove in 1953. This is one of the postwar PCCs that was converted to one-man operation.

CTA 4056 is running on Route 4 – Cottage Grove in 1953. This is one of the postwar PCCs that was converted to one-man operation.

1939 Chicago Surface Lines Training Program

In 2016, we were fortunate to acquire a rare 16″ transcription disc, made in 1939 for the Chicago Surface Lines. This included an audio presentation called “Keeping Pace,” about 20 minutes long, that CSL used for employee training.

We were recently able to find someone who could play such a large disc, and now this program has been digitized and can be heard for the first time in more than 80 years. We have added it as a bonus feature to our Red Arrow Lines 1967 CD, available below and through our Online Store.

Screen Shot 03-16-16 at 06.58 PM.PNGScreen Shot 03-17-16 at 12.44 AM.PNG

RAL
Red Arrow Lines 1967: Straffords and Bullets
# of Discs – 1
Price: $14.99

This disc features rare, long out-of-print audio recordings of two 1967 round trips on the Philadelphia & Western (aka “Red Arrow Lines”) interurban between Philadelphia and Norristown, the famous third rail High-Speed Line.  One trip is by a Strafford car and the other by one of the beloved streamlined Bullets.  The line, about 13 miles long and still in operation today under SEPTA, bears many similarities to another former interurban line, the Chicago Transit Authority‘s Yellow Line (aka the “Skokie Swift”).  We have included two bonus features, audio of an entire ride along that five mile route, which was once part of the North Shore Line, and a 20-minute 1939 Chicago Surface Lines training program (“Keeping Pace”).  This was digitized from a rare original 16″ transcription disc and now can be heard again for the first time in over 80 years.

Total time – 73:32


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. 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!

Bibliographic information:
Title Building Chicago’s Subways
Images of America
Author David Sadowski
Edition illustrated
Publisher Arcadia Publishing (SC), 2018
ISBN 1467129380, 9781467129381
Length 128 pages
Chapter Titles:
01. The River Tunnels
02. The Freight Tunnels
03. Make No Little Plans
04. The State Street Subway
05. The Dearborn-Milwaukee Subway
06. Displaced
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.
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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) 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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