Legends and Legacies

All in all, I would have to say this is an amazing photograph. It shows Five Mile Beach Electric Railway car 22 on June 30, 1943, in the middle of World War II, and just two years before streetcars were abandoned in this coastal town (Wildwood) in New Jersey. From what I have read, the war and the resulting nightly blackouts negatively affected tourism and contributed to the demise of the streetcars here. With such an early abandonment, color photos of this operation are very rare, indeed, and the colors on this Red Border Kodachrome have held up quite well. A sign on the car advertises Marty Bohn and His Floor Show at the "Nut Club." The blackouts were not without reason, as German submarines were just offshore, and sometimes crew members would sneak ashore.

All in all, I would have to say this is an amazing photograph. It shows Five Mile Beach Electric Railway car 22 on June 30, 1943, in the middle of World War II, and just two years before streetcars were abandoned in this coastal town (Wildwood) in New Jersey. From what I have read, the war and the resulting nightly blackouts negatively affected tourism and contributed to the demise of the streetcars here. With such an early abandonment, color photos of this operation are very rare, indeed, and the colors on this Red Border Kodachrome have held up quite well. A sign on the car advertises Marty Bohn and His Floor Show at the “Nut Club.” The blackouts were not without reason, as German submarines were just offshore, and sometimes crew members would sneak ashore.

I am both humbled and grateful beyond measure that my late friend Jeffrey Wien made me the beneficiary of his extensive photographic collection (except for his motion picture films, which he donated to the Chicago Film Archives).

Naturally, I would rather that he still be around to enjoy his collection, comment on my posts, and point out where I got something wrong, or help identify some locations. But unfortunately, we don’t get to choose in these matters.

I think the best way I can honor his memory is to keep up the work of historic preservation and education that meant so much to him.

While this post may not have an overall theme, it is full of legends and legacies. It is thanks to the hard work and sacrifice of many people, Jeff included, that anything at all has been saved from the electric railways of the past. Some of the photos here were taken after the North Shore Line quit, and show various railcars sitting around, waiting to be saved or scrapped. There are also pictures of the fledgling and somewhat ramshackle early days of the Illinois Electric Railway Museum, at its original and temporary home in North Chicago.

You if had told one of the founders of what is now IRM back then all the progress that has been made since at Union, they hardly could have believed it possible. Institutions like IRM are saving this history and preserving it for future generations, while also making it possible to have some of the same experiences riding the equipment in the collection, that people enjoyed in the past.

If we can maintain the same spirit, all this important history will be our legacy to those who come after us. I am intent on doing my part.

-David Sadowski

PS- We thank Jack Bejna, Andre Kristopans, William Shapotkin, and Colin Wisner for contributing to this post.

We also have a Facebook auxiliary for The Trolley Dodger where you can participate further. It is a private group, so unfortunately you won’t be able to see the content unless you join. It is free. As of this writing, we have 183 members.

From Jeff Wien’s Collection

The North Shore Line ticket cabinet from the Dempster Street station in Skokie. It still has the tickets in it.

The North Shore Line ticket cabinet from the Dempster Street station in Skokie. It still has the tickets in it.

I will have to straighten this out, as the tickets were jostled when the cabinet was moved. The balls were apparently placed behind the tickets.

I will have to straighten this out, as the tickets were jostled when the cabinet was moved. The balls were apparently placed behind the tickets.

This metal route sign hung on the side of a wooden Metropolitan "L" car, and was of a type in use for a half-century prior to the opening of the Dearborn-Milwaukee Subway in 1951. Remarkably, it has survived for 70 years since it last could have been used in service. The sign was reversible, and the other side says Humboldt Park.

This metal route sign hung on the side of a wooden Metropolitan “L” car, and was of a type in use for a half-century prior to the opening of the Dearborn-Milwaukee Subway in 1951. Remarkably, it has survived for 70 years since it last could have been used in service. The sign was reversible, and the other side says Humboldt Park.

A fare counter from a Chicago streetcar. There was a Chicago streetcar 3351, a Peter Witt that was scrapped around 1952, but I am not certain that these didn't have their own numbers.

A fare counter from a Chicago streetcar. There was a Chicago streetcar 3351, a Peter Witt that was scrapped around 1952, but I am not certain that these didn’t have their own numbers.

This metal sign appears to show the original version of the CTA's "Metropolitan Transit" logo, first introduced in 1958. By then, the agency wanted the public to know that it served more than just Chicago.

This metal sign appears to show the original version of the CTA’s “Metropolitan Transit” logo, first introduced in 1958. By then, the agency wanted the public to know that it served more than just Chicago.

The North Shore Line eventually joined the Insull Empire that, by the mid-1920s, included all three major Chicago interurbans and the "L". So it should not be too much of a surprise that the North Shore had its own rider publication for a few years, with leaflet holders presumably made by the same firm as the "L"s. The North Shore Line version is said to be rare, as many were melted down for scrap during WWII.

The North Shore Line eventually joined the Insull Empire that, by the mid-1920s, included all three major Chicago interurbans and the “L”. So it should not be too much of a surprise that the North Shore had its own rider publication for a few years, with leaflet holders presumably made by the same firm as the “L”s. The North Shore Line version is said to be rare, as many were melted down for scrap during WWII.

Leaflet holders from 4000-series "L" cars. The Elevated News was published by the Chicago Elevated Railways Collateral Trust, formed in 1913 as a voluntary association by the four independent (or at least they started that way) "L" firms. The 4000-series, which eventually ran to 455 cars, was the first designed for use on all the various "L" lines. The title of their rider publication was changed to Rapid Transit News in 1924, coincident with the formation of the Chicago Rapid Transit Company. The Chicago Transit Authority had its own publication, the Rider's Reader, for a few years starting in 1948.

Leaflet holders from 4000-series “L” cars. The Elevated News was published by the Chicago Elevated Railways Collateral Trust, formed in 1913 as a voluntary association by the four independent (or at least they started that way) “L” firms. The 4000-series, which eventually ran to 455 cars, was the first designed for use on all the various “L” lines. The title of their rider publication was changed to Rapid Transit News in 1924, coincident with the formation of the Chicago Rapid Transit Company. The Chicago Transit Authority had its own publication, the Rider’s Reader, for a few years starting in 1948.

This leaflet holder is marked as having come from CTA PCC 7213, the last Chicago streetcar that ran on June 21, 1958.

This leaflet holder is marked as having come from CTA PCC 7213, the last Chicago streetcar that ran on June 21, 1958.

Although Chicago had a total of 600 postwar PCC streetcars, this was too much for a single manufacturer to produce in the immediate postwar era, so the order was divided between Pullman (310) and St. Louis Car Company (290). The "Read As You Ride" leaflet holder at left came from a St. Louis PCC (7213), while the one at right may have come from a Pullman. Their interiors were painted different colors.

Although Chicago had a total of 600 postwar PCC streetcars, this was too much for a single manufacturer to produce in the immediate postwar era, so the order was divided between Pullman (310) and St. Louis Car Company (290). The “Read As You Ride” leaflet holder at left came from a St. Louis PCC (7213), while the one at right may have come from a Pullman. Their interiors were painted different colors.

Jeff's collection included a leaflet holder from another city. Several cities had "Public Service" in their streetcar operator's names, so offhand, I am not sure which city this came from. (Frank J. Flörianz Jr. says it is from New Jersey.)

Jeff’s collection included a leaflet holder from another city. Several cities had “Public Service” in their streetcar operator’s names, so offhand, I am not sure which city this came from. (Frank J. Flörianz Jr. says it is from New Jersey.)

I found this clipping that Jeff cut out of the Chicago Tribune in 1978 inside the "Read As You Ride" leaflet holder from PCC 7213, the last Chicago streetcar.

I found this clipping that Jeff cut out of the Chicago Tribune in 1978 inside the “Read As You Ride” leaflet holder from PCC 7213, the last Chicago streetcar.

Recent Finds

There were a few cities besides New York, Chicago, Boston, and Philadelphia to have some sort of elevated electric railways, and Kansas City was among them. Here, Kansas City Public Service car 785 is descending from the 8th Street "L" at Baltimore Avenue on September 3, 1952. I was fortunate to win this original Red Border Kodachrome slide, because I had lost an auction for it once before when someone sold it. Kansas City abandoned streetcars in 1957, but has since reopened a modern streetcar line. (Edward S. Miller Photo)

There were a few cities besides New York, Chicago, Boston, and Philadelphia to have some sort of elevated electric railways, and Kansas City was among them. Here, Kansas City Public Service car 785 is descending from the 8th Street “L” at Baltimore Avenue on September 3, 1952. I was fortunate to win this original Red Border Kodachrome slide, because I had lost an auction for it once before when someone sold it. Kansas City abandoned streetcars in 1957, but has since reopened a modern streetcar line. (Edward S. Miller Photo)

A single CRT wooden "L" car is at the Dempster Street terminal in Skokie, probably in the 1940s. This "L" branch was replaced by buses in 1948, but returned in 1964 in the form of the Skokie Swift (today's Yellow Line), a year after the North Shore Line (who owned these tracks) ended all service.

A single CRT wooden “L” car is at the Dempster Street terminal in Skokie, probably in the 1940s. This “L” branch was replaced by buses in 1948, but returned in 1964 in the form of the Skokie Swift (today’s Yellow Line), a year after the North Shore Line (who owned these tracks) ended all service.

This is one of the experimental "Bluebird" articulated compartment car trains (probably the prototype) being tested on the Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit system circa 1939. BMT ordered 50 of these units from the Clark Equipment Company, intended to be "fast locals" to mix with slower express trains on El lines. But when the City of New York purchased BMT in 1940, they cancelled the order, except for five units that had already been built. They lived out the rest of their days as oddball equipment before being scrapped in 1956. But the Bluebirds were the first rapid transit cars to use PCC technology, and were a major influence on the four articulated 5000s that CRT ordered at the end of World War II.

This is one of the experimental “Bluebird” articulated compartment car trains (probably the prototype) being tested on the Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit system circa 1939. BMT ordered 50 of these units from the Clark Equipment Company, intended to be “fast locals” to mix with slower express trains on El lines. But when the City of New York purchased BMT in 1940, they cancelled the order, except for five units that had already been built. They lived out the rest of their days as oddball equipment before being scrapped in 1956. But the Bluebirds were the first rapid transit cars to use PCC technology, and were a major influence on the four articulated 5000s that CRT ordered at the end of World War II.

The former Chicago Aurora & Elgin station in Villa Park still exists and is a local landmark. But here we see it under construction in 1929. The Ovaltine plant at left has since been converted to residential.

The former Chicago Aurora & Elgin station in Villa Park still exists and is a local landmark. But here we see it under construction in 1929. The Ovaltine plant at left has since been converted to residential.

I spent some time cleaning up this image, which was part of a stereo pair meant to be viewed in 3-D using a handheld device called a "stereopticon." It shows Chicago's Loop "L" circa 1905, and this is the original left-hand running, bi-directional configuration, before it was changed in 1913. So the train at right is moving towards us, while the train at left is moving away from us. The view looks west along Van Buren Street, and that is the old Tower 12 at left. A Metropolitan "L" train is on the inner Loop, while a Lake Street train trails a Northwestern "L" train on the outer Loop. At this stage, only the Lake trains would have needed trolley poles. The station at Van Buren and State is visible in the distance.

I spent some time cleaning up this image, which was part of a stereo pair meant to be viewed in 3-D using a handheld device called a “stereopticon.” It shows Chicago’s Loop “L” circa 1905, and this is the original left-hand running, bi-directional configuration, before it was changed in 1913. So the train at right is moving towards us, while the train at left is moving away from us. The view looks west along Van Buren Street, and that is the old Tower 12 at left. A Metropolitan “L” train is on the inner Loop, while a Lake Street train trails a Northwestern “L” train on the outer Loop. At this stage, only the Lake trains would have needed trolley poles. The station at Van Buren and State is visible in the distance.

A Stereopticon viewer.

A Stereopticon viewer.

Chicago Surface Lines car 2802 is on a charter trip on June 12, 1940. This was apparently a fan favorite, as we have previously published a photo of the same car on a 1941 fantrip.

Chicago Surface Lines car 2802 is on a charter trip on June 12, 1940. This was apparently a fan favorite, as we have previously published a photo of the same car on a 1941 fantrip.

North Shore Line car 709 at the Branford Trolley Museum in Connecticut in October 30, 1966, just three and a half years after the interurban quit. The location given is Farm River Road. Don's Rail Photos: "709 was built by Cincinnati Car Co in 1924, #2725. It was sold to Branford Trolley Museum in 1963."

North Shore Line car 709 at the Branford Trolley Museum in Connecticut in October 30, 1966, just three and a half years after the interurban quit. The location given is Farm River Road. Don’s Rail Photos: “709 was built by Cincinnati Car Co in 1924, #2725. It was sold to Branford Trolley Museum in 1963.”

This is another remarkable photograph, showing Monongahela West Penn car 320 at night in June 1946. Such night shots were very difficult to achieve back then, due to the slow film speed of the time (this is Kodachrome 10, as in ASA/ISO 10). About the only way to take such a picture would have been with a very long exposure, with the camera resting on a tripod. (Dr. H. Blackbunn Photo)

This is another remarkable photograph, showing Monongahela West Penn car 320 at night in June 1946. Such night shots were very difficult to achieve back then, due to the slow film speed of the time (this is Kodachrome 10, as in ASA/ISO 10). About the only way to take such a picture would have been with a very long exposure, with the camera resting on a tripod. (Dr. H. Blackbunn Photo)

South Shore Line cars 105 and 1 in April 1963.

South Shore Line cars 105 and 1 in April 1963.

Another great night shot, this time it's Illinois Terminal 473 on the line that ran from St. Louis to Granite City in the 1950s. This was IT's final passenger line and was abandoned in June 1958, on the same weekend that the last Chicago streetcar ran.

Another great night shot, this time it’s Illinois Terminal 473 on the line that ran from St. Louis to Granite City in the 1950s. This was IT’s final passenger line and was abandoned in June 1958, on the same weekend that the last Chicago streetcar ran.

CTA PCC 4406, a product of the St. Louis Car Company, at Clark and Archer in April 1954. (William Shapotkin Collection)

CTA PCC 4406, a product of the St. Louis Car Company, at Clark and Archer in April 1954. (William Shapotkin Collection)

This is DesPlaines Avenue in Forest Park, the end of the CTA Congress rapid transit line. The license plates would indicate a date of 1961, perhaps in the Fall since that is a 1962 Chevy in the parking lot. The various signs on the Leyden Motor Coach bus might confuse you, but on the side, it is marked "OSA" meaning this is a fantrip. (William Shapotkin Collection) Bill Shapotkin writes: "Unable to read the bus number, bus OSA operated trips on 06/17/61 (trip #2) using Leyden bus #95 and on 03/18/62 (trip #10) using Leyden buses #90, 157 and 164. If you can identify the fleet number, that would cement down the details." This is bus #90, so that makes the date March 18, 1962.

This is DesPlaines Avenue in Forest Park, the end of the CTA Congress rapid transit line. The license plates would indicate a date of 1961, perhaps in the Fall since that is a 1962 Chevy in the parking lot. The various signs on the Leyden Motor Coach bus might confuse you, but on the side, it is marked “OSA” meaning this is a fantrip. (William Shapotkin Collection) Bill Shapotkin writes: “Unable to read the bus number, bus OSA operated trips on 06/17/61 (trip #2) using Leyden bus #95 and on 03/18/62 (trip #10) using Leyden buses #90, 157 and 164. If you can identify the fleet number, that would cement down the details.” This is bus #90, so that makes the date March 18, 1962.

CTA 6053 is at the rear of a northbound Ravenswood All-Stop train approaching Armitage in August 1986. The two center tracks lead down to the State Street Subway. (William Shapotkin Collection)

CTA 6053 is at the rear of a northbound Ravenswood All-Stop train approaching Armitage in August 1986. The two center tracks lead down to the State Street Subway. (William Shapotkin Collection)

A southbound CTA Englewood train (lead car: 2033) has met a northbound Howard train at Armitage station in April 1985, and is descending into the State Street Subway. (William Shapotkin Collection)

A southbound CTA Englewood train (lead car: 2033) has met a northbound Howard train at Armitage station in April 1985, and is descending into the State Street Subway. (William Shapotkin Collection)

North Shore Line former merchandise dispatch car 215 at the Harrison Shops in Milwaukee on July 7, 1953. Don's Rail Photos: "215 was built by Cincinnati Car in October 1922, #2605. The loading doors (were moved) from the ends to the center. It was demotorized and used as a tool car."

North Shore Line former merchandise dispatch car 215 at the Harrison Shops in Milwaukee on July 7, 1953. Don’s Rail Photos: “215 was built by Cincinnati Car in October 1922, #2605. The loading doors (were moved) from the ends to the center. It was demotorized and used as a tool car.”

On May 22, 1944, Illinois Governor Dwight H. Green (1897-1958) poses with officials from the Illinois State Militia, next to a 1700-series Chicago Surface Lines car promoting that branch of the military during World War II. Green served two terms as governor from 1941-49 before his defeat by Democrat Adlai Stevenson.

On May 22, 1944, Illinois Governor Dwight H. Green (1897-1958) poses with officials from the Illinois State Militia, next to a 1700-series Chicago Surface Lines car promoting that branch of the military during World War II. Green served two terms as governor from 1941-49 before his defeat by Democrat Adlai Stevenson.

While I don't have the negative that goes with this Chicago Sun photo file slip, it does at least identify some of the notables in the negative I do have. The Chicago Sun was a morning newspaper, started in 1941 by the Field family. It bought the Chicago Times in 1948 and the paper has been the Chicago Sun-Times ever since (although no longer owned by Field Enterprises).

While I don’t have the negative that goes with this Chicago Sun photo file slip, it does at least identify some of the notables in the negative I do have. The Chicago Sun was a morning newspaper, started in 1941 by the Field family. It bought the Chicago Times in 1948 and the paper has been the Chicago Sun-Times ever since (although no longer owned by Field Enterprises).

North Shore Line cars 192 and 187 at Highwood in September 1963, looking much worse the wear, nine months after abandonment. But in actuality, these cars had been retired some years earlier. Don's Rail Photos: "187 was built by Cincinnati Car in August 1920, (order) #2450. It was retired on December 31, 1955. It was scrapped at Rondout on January 29, 1964. 192 was built by Cincinnati Car in August 1920, #2450. It was retired on December 31, 1955. It was scrapped at Rondout on January 29, 1964." Apparently these cars were considered surplus after the abandonment of the Shore Line Route in 1955.

North Shore Line cars 192 and 187 at Highwood in September 1963, looking much worse the wear, nine months after abandonment. But in actuality, these cars had been retired some years earlier. Don’s Rail Photos: “187 was built by Cincinnati Car in August 1920, (order) #2450. It was retired on December 31, 1955. It was scrapped at Rondout on January 29, 1964. 192 was built by Cincinnati Car in August 1920, #2450. It was retired on December 31, 1955. It was scrapped at Rondout on January 29, 1964.” Apparently these cars were considered surplus after the abandonment of the Shore Line Route in 1955.

This photo is a bit of a mystery. It is dated September 1963, which means these are probably North Shore Line cars in dead storage at Highwood, awaiting disposition. However, that doesn't explain the Shore Line Route sign, as that portion of the Interurban had been abandoned in 1955. And after the 1963 abandonment, a lot of these signs were scarfed up by fans and were missing from the trains that were scrapped. Don's Rail Photos: "(Combine) 256 was built by Jewett in 1917. It seems to be the only one which retained its original configuration." It did not survive. The fate of the Silverliner at right is not known.

This photo is a bit of a mystery. It is dated September 1963, which means these are probably North Shore Line cars in dead storage at Highwood, awaiting disposition. However, that doesn’t explain the Shore Line Route sign, as that portion of the Interurban had been abandoned in 1955. And after the 1963 abandonment, a lot of these signs were scarfed up by fans and were missing from the trains that were scrapped. Don’s Rail Photos: “(Combine) 256 was built by Jewett in 1917. It seems to be the only one which retained its original configuration.” It did not survive. The fate of the Silverliner at right is not known.

On June 16, 1962, the late Maury Klebolt talks to the North Shore Line train crew during a fantrip at Harrison Street in Milwaukee. This must have been an Illini Railroad Club excursion. There were many such trips during the last year of the interurban's existence. (Richard H. Young Photo)

On June 16, 1962, the late Maury Klebolt talks to the North Shore Line train crew during a fantrip at Harrison Street in Milwaukee. This must have been an Illini Railroad Club excursion. There were many such trips during the last year of the interurban’s existence. (Richard H. Young Photo)

A close-up of Maury Klebolt (1930-1988). Not sure who is at left.

A close-up of Maury Klebolt (1930-1988). Not sure who is at left.

CTA Pullman PCC 4077 heads southbound at 2600 N. Clark Street in the early 1950s. It may be running on either Route 22 or 36. The Pullmans had almost entirely disappeared from service by the end of 1954, for the so-called "PCC Conversion Program."

CTA Pullman PCC 4077 heads southbound at 2600 N. Clark Street in the early 1950s. It may be running on either Route 22 or 36. The Pullmans had almost entirely disappeared from service by the end of 1954, for the so-called “PCC Conversion Program.”

The same location today.

The same location today.

The Illinois Electric Railway Museum in North Chicago in September 1963, shortly before the collection was moved to its permanent location in Union. From left to right, we see Milwaukee streetcar 966, a Milwaukee Electric interurban car (either 1129 or 1135), and Indiana Railroad car 65.

The Illinois Electric Railway Museum in North Chicago in September 1963, shortly before the collection was moved to its permanent location in Union. From left to right, we see Milwaukee streetcar 966, a Milwaukee Electric interurban car (either 1129 or 1135), and Indiana Railroad car 65.

This September 1963 (or at least, that's when the film was processed) view of the Illinois Electric Railway Museum is not the sharpest, but it does show, from left to right, CTA snow sweeper E223, Illinois Terminal 101, one of the Chicago Aurora & Elgin interurbans, and a Milwaukee Electric car.

This September 1963 (or at least, that’s when the film was processed) view of the Illinois Electric Railway Museum is not the sharpest, but it does show, from left to right, CTA snow sweeper E223, Illinois Terminal 101, one of the Chicago Aurora & Elgin interurbans, and a Milwaukee Electric car.

North Shore Line Silverliner 409 at Roosevelt Road on august 4, 1956. Don's Rail Photos: "409 was built by Cincinnati Car in May 1923, #2465, as a dining car motor. In 1942 it was rebuilt as a coach and rebuilt as a Silverliner on March 30, 1955. Since it had no bulkhead between smoking and non-smoking sections, it was our favorite car to be used for meetings of the Milwaukee Division of the Electric Railroaders Association in Milwaukee. The North Shore was very cooperative in making sure that the car was in the location shown on meeting nights." The 409 is now at the Illinois Railway Museum. (C. G. Parsons Photo)

North Shore Line Silverliner 409 at Roosevelt Road on august 4, 1956. Don’s Rail Photos: “409 was built by Cincinnati Car in May 1923, #2465, as a dining car motor. In 1942 it was rebuilt as a coach and rebuilt as a Silverliner on March 30, 1955. Since it had no bulkhead between smoking and non-smoking sections, it was our favorite car to be used for meetings of the Milwaukee Division of the Electric Railroaders Association in Milwaukee. The North Shore was very cooperative in making sure that the car was in the location shown on meeting nights.” The 409 is now at the Illinois Railway Museum. (C. G. Parsons Photo)

This amazing real photo postcard sold on eBay for $77.89. I unfortunately was not aware of the auction. It shows the Ridgeland "L" station on South Boulevard in Oak Park. The postcard was mailed in 1909 and hence can't be any later than that. Work is already underway to elevate the Chicago & North Western tracks at left. The Lake Street "L" itself would join it on the embankment in 1962.

This amazing real photo postcard sold on eBay for $77.89. I unfortunately was not aware of the auction. It shows the Ridgeland “L” station on South Boulevard in Oak Park. The postcard was mailed in 1909 and hence can’t be any later than that. Work is already underway to elevate the Chicago & North Western tracks at left. The Lake Street “L” itself would join it on the embankment in 1962.

NYCTA Brooklyn PCC 1049 is running on the 72 Smith Line to the Brooklyn Bridge in this undated photo, taken between 1946 and 1956. According to the information on the half frame slide mount, this is on 10th Avenue at 17th Street, at the 9th Avenue Depot. Half frame had a brief vogue in the early 1950s, as a way to double the number of pictures on a 35mm roll, while still maintaining some level of quality. But most photographers back then didn't need twice as many pictures on a roll. In the long run, it Kodak downsized their film over time, from sizes 126 to 110 and Disc, in order to make bigger profits. But sharpness was reduced in turn, and full-frame 25mm is still with us today. These 1950s Brooklyn PCCs appear to have had about as many dents as their Chicago cousins. (R. Fillman Photo)

NYCTA Brooklyn PCC 1049 is running on the 72 Smith Line to the Brooklyn Bridge in this undated photo, taken between 1946 and 1956. According to the information on the half frame slide mount, this is on 10th Avenue at 17th Street, at the 9th Avenue Depot. Half frame had a brief vogue in the early 1950s, as a way to double the number of pictures on a 35mm roll, while still maintaining some level of quality. But most photographers back then didn’t need twice as many pictures on a roll. In the long run, it Kodak downsized their film over time, from sizes 126 to 110 and Disc, in order to make bigger profits. But sharpness was reduced in turn, and full-frame 25mm is still with us today. These 1950s Brooklyn PCCs appear to have had about as many dents as their Chicago cousins. (R. Fillman Photo)

The Magic of Clark Frazier

Clark Frazier is an excellent photographer who has been active since around 1956. Among the first 35mm slides that I took home from Jeff’s collection were over 100 that he had purchased from Mr. Frazier over the last few years. Even better, Mr. Frazier did a lot of traveling, so his work covers many different cities. In his retired years, Jeff loved purchasing excellent slides that not only reflected his own type of shooting, but filled in gaps in his collection– views that he was unable to capture himself, or places he couldn’t get to before something ceased operating. For example, in this representative sampling, I am not certain that Jeff was able to visit Washington D.C. prior to the abandonment of streetcars there in 1962, and I don’t think he could get to San Francisco in time to ride the “Iron Monsters” before they were all taken out of service around 1957. So here they are.

All the photos in this section are © by Clark Frazier.

DC Transit 1572 on Route 70 at Georgia and Alaska on February 7, 1959. (Clark Frazier Photo)

DC Transit 1572 on Route 70 at Georgia and Alaska on February 7, 1959. (Clark Frazier Photo)

DC Transit 1566 inbound on Route 82 at Riverdale on September 1, 1958. (Clark Frazier Photo)

DC Transit 1566 inbound on Route 82 at Riverdale on September 1, 1958. (Clark Frazier Photo)

SF Muni 77 turn back meets 130 on Geary Boulevard in 1956. Hope that dog made it across the street safely. (Clark Frazier Photo)

SF Muni 77 turn back meets 130 on Geary Boulevard in 1956. Hope that dog made it across the street safely. (Clark Frazier Photo)

DC Transit 1322 at the Department of the Interior on Route 82, on September 2, 1958. (Clark Frazier Photo)

DC Transit 1322 at the Department of the Interior on Route 82, on September 2, 1958. (Clark Frazier Photo)

DC Transit 1567 on Route 82 on Rhode Island Avenue, September 1, 1958. (Clark Frazier Photo)

DC Transit 1567 on Route 82 on Rhode Island Avenue, September 1, 1958. (Clark Frazier Photo)

Boston MTA 3311 and 3305 are stuck in the snow at Riverside after a "Noreaster" on March 4, 1960. (Clark Frazier Photo)

Boston MTA 3311 and 3305 are stuck in the snow at Riverside after a “Noreaster” on March 4, 1960. (Clark Frazier Photo)

SF Muni 139 turns left from Geary onto 33rd Avenue in 1956. (Clark Frazier Photo)

SF Muni 139 turns left from Geary onto 33rd Avenue in 1956. (Clark Frazier Photo)

St. Louis Public Service PCC 1628 arrives at South Broadway carhouse on August 23, 1958. (Clark Frazier Photo)

St. Louis Public Service PCC 1628 arrives at South Broadway carhouse on August 23, 1958. (Clark Frazier Photo)

DC Transit 1555 from Cabin John in Brookmont on June 7, 1959. (Clark Frazier Photo)

DC Transit 1555 from Cabin John in Brookmont on June 7, 1959. (Clark Frazier Photo)

SF Muni 195 on the C Line at Geary and Van Ness in January 1957. (Clark Frazier Photo)

SF Muni 195 on the C Line at Geary and Van Ness in January 1957. (Clark Frazier Photo)

SF Muni 205 and 1014 at the end of the N Line in 1957. (Clark Frazier Photo)

SF Muni 205 and 1014 at the end of the N Line in 1957. (Clark Frazier Photo)

SF Muni 176 outbound on the N Line to the beach in 1957. (Clark Frazier Photo)

SF Muni 176 outbound on the N Line to the beach in 1957. (Clark Frazier Photo)

DC Transit 1469 is on Rhode Island Avenue (Route 82) in Maryland, August 11, 1958. (Clark Frazier Photo)

DC Transit 1469 is on Rhode Island Avenue (Route 82) in Maryland, August 11, 1958. (Clark Frazier Photo)

SF Muni 199 at 46th and Vicente on the L line on September 9, 1957. (Clark Frazier Photo)

SF Muni 199 at 46th and Vicente on the L line on September 9, 1957. (Clark Frazier Photo)

El Paso 1500 backs up at the Cotton Street Carbarn on June 12, 1959. (Clark Frazier Photo)

El Paso 1500 backs up at the Cotton Street Carbarn on June 12, 1959. (Clark Frazier Photo)

DC Transit 1321 at the Soldier's Home end of Route 74 on February 7, 1959. (Clark Frazier Photo)

DC Transit 1321 at the Soldier’s Home end of Route 74 on February 7, 1959. (Clark Frazier Photo)

SF Muni 156 is an inbound J Line car at Market and Duboce in 1957. (Clark Frazier Photo)

SF Muni 156 is an inbound J Line car at Market and Duboce in 1957. (Clark Frazier Photo)

SF Muni 178 is heading to the beach on Carl Street (N Line) in 1957. Don's Rail Photos: "178, K Type, was built by Bethlehem Shipbuilding Co in 1923." From wrm.org: "The Bay Area Electric Railway Association purchased the 178 from the Muni in February of 1959, and moved it to Marysville, California, for storage on a Sacramento Northern spur for occasional operation on the electrified trackage in the Marysville-Yuba City area. It was moved to Rio Vista Junction in August, 1964 to join the rest of the BAERA collection. 178 returned to San Francisco in 1982 to be part of the Trolley Festival on Market Street while the City rebuilt it’s cable cars lines. In 1983 the 178 returned to the Western Railway Museum and still operates today." (Clark Frazier Photo)

SF Muni 178 is heading to the beach on Carl Street (N Line) in 1957. Don’s Rail Photos: “178, K Type, was built by Bethlehem Shipbuilding Co in 1923.” From wrm.org: “The Bay Area Electric Railway Association purchased the 178 from the Muni in February of 1959, and moved it to Marysville, California, for storage on a Sacramento Northern spur for occasional operation on the electrified trackage in the Marysville-Yuba City area. It was moved to Rio Vista Junction in August, 1964 to join the rest of the BAERA collection. 178 returned to San Francisco in 1982 to be part of the Trolley Festival on Market Street while the City rebuilt it’s cable cars lines. In 1983 the 178 returned to the Western Railway Museum and still operates today.” (Clark Frazier Photo)

SF Muni 105 on the B (Geary) Line at Leavenworth Street in 1956. (Clark Frazier Photo)

SF Muni 105 on the B (Geary) Line at Leavenworth Street in 1956. (Clark Frazier Photo)

DC Transit (ex-Capital Traction) 303 at the Mt. Rainier Loop on September 1, 1958. Don's Rail Photos: "303 was built by American Car Co in 1898 as Capital Traction Co 303. It is now at the Smithsonian (National Museum of American History)." The 303 was retired from regular service in 1913 but was kept for charter use until the end of DC streetcar service in 1962. (Clark Frazier Photo)

DC Transit (ex-Capital Traction) 303 at the Mt. Rainier Loop on September 1, 1958. Don’s Rail Photos: “303 was built by American Car Co in 1898 as Capital Traction Co 303. It is now at the Smithsonian (National Museum of American History).” The 303 was retired from regular service in 1913 but was kept for charter use until the end of DC streetcar service in 1962. (Clark Frazier Photo)

SF Muni 206 is on the C Line at 2nd Avenue and Cornwall in 1956. (Clark Frazier Photo)

SF Muni 206 is on the C Line at 2nd Avenue and Cornwall in 1956. (Clark Frazier Photo)

SF Muni 188 is running on the K Line on Market Street between 5th and 6th in 1957. (Clark Frazier Photo)

SF Muni 188 is running on the K Line on Market Street between 5th and 6th in 1957. (Clark Frazier Photo)

DC Transit 1399 on Route 90, at Pennsylvania Avenue SE, on June 7, 1959. (Clark Frazier Photo)

DC Transit 1399 on Route 90, at Pennsylvania Avenue SE, on June 7, 1959. (Clark Frazier Photo)

DC Transit 1288 at Friendship Heights, running on Route 30, on June 7, 1959. (Clark Frazier Photo)

DC Transit 1288 at Friendship Heights, running on Route 30, on June 7, 1959. (Clark Frazier Photo)

Chicago Rapid Transit Route Descriptions

“L” operations were rather complex prior to the October 1, 1947 takeover by the Chicago Transit Authority, so much so that Chicago Rapid Transit Company maps typically made no attempt to explain them. There were pocket guides published over the years by third parties that included explanations, but often these were considerably out of date by the time of publication.

Here, courtesy of Andre Kristopans, are the various CRT route descriptions that describe the service in place at the time when CTA assumed control. The dates vary from 1940 to 1946 because service hadn’t been altered on those lines by October 1, 1947.

“L” service “grew like Topsy” in the early years, as the saying goes, reflecting its origins as four separate companies, operating independently. There were expresses and locals, and by 1913, some trains through-routed from the north and south sides, some trains ending or originating at the four downtown stub-end terminals, and the several branch lines. Trains were split at some locations, with one part going one way, the other part a different way.

Powering the Metropolitan West Side Elevated

We recently acquired the August, 1895 edition of Power magazine, which featured a three-page article describing the then-new Metropolitan West Side Elevated‘s Loomis Street power plant. The Met was the first of Chicago’s four “L”s to operate exclusively with electricity. The South Side and Lake Street “L”s began life with steam locomotives. The Met was greatly influenced by the success of the experimental Columbian Intramural Railway at the World’s Columbian Exposition in 1893.

In 1895, there was no such thing as commercially available electricity on this kind of scale. You had to make your own.

You can read the entire article here.

Recent Correspondence

Colin Wisner writes:

I spent the morning talking to a friend over zoom and doodling this, Indiana Railroad Car 65. I showed the drawing to him and he was kind of impressed.

Thanks! In case you don’t know him, Colin is a very talented young man who enjoys searching the former Chicago, Aurora & Elgin right-of-way in search of artifacts that have until now been overlooked. He has found, among many other things, a small section of third rail.

Jack Bejna writes:

I enjoyed the latest post as I always do. I really like the shot of the Highwood Shops and since I have some time this morning I decided to help out the image by getting rid of the bad portion. Hope you like it!

ps: I never took the time to get over to the shops and get some pictures, so I rely on you for keeping the memories of the North Shore alive! Thanks for your great work.

Thanks! Our regular readers are probably familiar with Jack’s great work, which has graced these pages many times in the past, and will hopefully do so in the future.

From our resident South Side expert M.E.:

First, Happy New Year, a bit late because your last few postings were so heavily weighted toward the north side, I had nothing to comment on. But I have a few things today.

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This is the schedule sheet for south side service. At the bottom of the page is “Stock Yard Services”. Notice the heading “Jackson Pk.” and its associated train times. According to the route description, two morning trains ran from Jackson Park to Indiana Av., then onto the Stock Yards tracks. And two evening trains ran from the Stock Yards to Indiana Ave., then to Jackson Park. This is the first time I have heard of any trains doing that.

I had always thought the switches west of Indiana made it difficult to get between the main line and the Stock Yards line. But this schedule sheet piqued my curiosity, so I dug out my CERA Bulletin 115, which has great trackage maps toward the back. Plate 8, Detail 15, page 235, illustrating the trackage at Indiana Ave. in 1914, shows there were usable switches between the Stock Yards and main lines. Those switches could have still existed in April 1946 — the date of this schedule — because Plate 8 also shows the switch arrangement starting in 1949 (the one I remember), which would not have worked well to switch between the two lines.

The date April 1946 is after World War II, so even if this route was put in place during the war, it continued after the war. Interesting.

Thanks very much!

https://thetrolleydodger.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/cci10302016_0017.jpg

This sheet verifies that Englewood trains ran to Ravenswood. That is the route I first rode on the Rapid Transit Lines.

For Further Reading

Several issues of The Elevated News and Rapid Transit News from the 1920s can be read here via Google Books. You can even download the entire book.

These publications include important historical information that might not be available otherwise. To cite a couple of examples, here are excerpts from the May 1, 1926 issue of Rapid Transit News.

First, we had a recent discussion here (see Our Sixth Anniversary, January 21, 2021) that mentioned an underground passageway that connected Union Station to the Canal Street “L” station on the Met main line. Well, this is not only mentioned in Rapid Transit News, but there is both a map and a photo. We also learn that it was used by 8,000 people per day.

Second, there is a progress report on the new “L” service to Bellwood and Westchester, then set to open, including a picture of the tower that controlled movements on this branch off the Chicago, Aurora & Elgin main line.

Keep those cards and letters coming in, folks.

-David Sadowski

PS- We have added the two nocturnal shots to our previous post Night Beat (June 21, 2016). If you like this style of photography, you might want to check it out.

New Steam Audio CD:

FYI, we have digitally remastered another classic steam railroad audio LP to Compact Disc. Many additional titles, including the complete output of the Railroad Record Club, in our Online Store.

misc676-001

STEAM CDs:

RGTS
Rio Grande to Silverton:
A Sound Portrait of Mountain Railroading
Price: $14.99

These are vintage 1960 narrow gauge steam train recordings, in true stereo, and originally released on LP in 1961.  It is long out of print.
Includes:
01. Riding The Train To Silverton
02. Photo Run At Elk Park
03. Arriving At Silverton
04. Train Time At La Jara
05. Illini Special At Cumbres Pass
06. Doubleheader Starting At Monero
07. Eastbound Freight
08. Arriving At Chama
09. Whistles At Coxo
10. Freight With Pusher At Coxo

Gone are the nostalgic sounds of steam echoes and thundering exhausts, but the memory is immortal. May they live on in the locomotive lexicon, as a monument to the era when trains were pulled by STEAM POWER.

As with all of our recordings, this CD comes with the complete, original liner notes.

Total time – 45:49

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.
For Shipping to US Addresses:

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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)
Help Support The Trolley Dodger

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18 thoughts on “Legends and Legacies

  1. The Five Mile Beach Railway was based in Wildwood, a shore town in deep South Jersey, a popular place with working class Philadelphians, and folks from Quebec. The main attraction here is the relatively wide beach, along with closing time of 5:00 AM for the local servers of adult beverages. The trolley actually had 2+ more years to go…it was replaced by buses after the beach season ended in September of 1945. There’s still transit today in Wildwood-rather amazing because during the off-season, the population of the area is less than 10,000, and traffic lights are left on flash. On some summer weekends, it can become the 2nd largest city in New Jersey

  2. The “Public Service” correspondence holder pictured along with the Chicago ones carries the triangular insignea of Public Service of New Jersey, the forerunner of the government-run New Jersey Transit.

    • That’s good to know, thanks. But also note that the picture of a St. Louis Public Service PCC in this post shows a triangular symbol on the side. Apparently, a triangular logo was not unique to Public Service of New Jersey.

  3. A casual glance at Five Mile Beach Electric Railway car 22 might lead one to believe that the curved side of the car would make it an early prototype of a Cincinnati Curved-Side. Not so! Available information shows that it was built by Brill in 1898 for Union Railway in New York as a 12 bench open car, later sold to the Five Mile Beach line. The car was enclosed for one-man operation with a front entrance only during World War II because of the shortage of manpower. Note that there are no side windows! A sister car from Wildwood is currently on display at the Electric City Trolley Museum in Scranton, PA as Third Avenue Railway 651, one of the many guises it ran under in New York.

  4. Fantastic post! One question regarding the schedules, was Sunday service basically local from terminal to terminal or did special services exist as well?

    • I’m not sure we have all the pages here (where, for instance, is Sunday service described for Garfield?) but things were sufficiently complicated that there were still some nuances on Sundays. If you will note, there were still through-routed trains and expresses on some lines, while lightly-used branch lines like Stock Yards and Westchester did not use their entire route. Stock Yards ran only to Halsted, not around the Stock Yards loop, while Westchester seems only to have gone as far as Roosevelt Road.

  5. David-

    Thanks for your email.

    The Public Service holder is from New Jersey (used in Newark).

    What has become of Jeff’s books, pictures, models, etc.?

    Russ

    >

    • Per the terms of Jeff’s will, his motion picture collection is going to the Chicago Film Archives. His model collection went to his friend Jose. The rest goes to me. Why do you ask?

  6. I am enjoying reading an article about leaflet holders. I have seen leaflet holders in CTA 6000 series rapid transit cars. They were identical to those in postwar Chicago Green Hornet streetcars. I am wondering if leaflet holders in the 6000 series cars were among components salvaged from the streetcars to be used for building the 6000 series cars.

    • Yes, they were. Along with windows, window cranks, motors, seats, etc. Some of these parts got around. As I understand it, some of the Kenosha PCCs are riding on trucks that were sourced from CTA 6000s, which in turn came from Chicago PCCs. That is because they came from Toronto, which uses broad gauge. So they had to be re-gauged for the conventional width.

  7. I am pleased to know that much of Jeff’s extensive holdings of photos and railroad stuff is now in good hands. All too often relatives, who have no clue end up disposing of this sort of stuff and junk.

  8. Great post, Dave! The CRT service descriptions are interesting. I was under the impression that on the south side, the center express track was “reversible” with inbound express service in the morning and outbound service in the evening. But if I am reading the South Side Division descriptions correctly, they indicate that expresses were run in both directions throughout the day. That must have required some fancy scheduling to prevent head-on collisions. Or did some express runs use the local tracks?

  9. David, the CRT service descriptions are fascinating. Another surprise was the presence of trains from Linden to Jackson Park which used the subway. My understanding was that Linden was all wood cars until the mid-1950s and subway service was all 4000s, meaning CRT was running service from Linden with steel cars stabled at Howard? If anyone has any idea of this unicorn service, please chime in.

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