Chicago’s Lost “L”s

Our new book Chicago's Lost "L"s is now in stock and we expect to have all the pre-orders filled this weekend.

Our new book Chicago’s Lost “L”s is now in stock and we expect to have all the pre-orders filled this weekend.

We are pleased to report that our new book Chicago’s Lost “L”s is now in stock and ready for shipment. We are sending out all the books that were pre-ordered this week, and expect to be completely caught up with that by the weekend.

Following up on our previous post Outtakes From Chicago’s Lost “L”s (Part One) (May 30, 2021), today we are featuring another selection of photos that were considered for the book, but ultimately not used. Some of these captions would have been rewritten, had those pictures been selected for Chicago’s Lost “L”s.

-David Sadowski

Outtakes From Chicago’s Lost “L”s (Part Two):

CTA car 1754 heads up an eastbound train of woods on South Boulevard and Home Avenue in Oak Park in the early 1950s. The Chicago & North Western train station on the embankment was shifted slightly to the north when the “L” was relocated there in 1962. 1754 was built by Jewett Car Company in 1903 for the Northwestern Elevated Railway. It became a work car in 1958 and went to the Illinois Railway Museum in 1971.

CTA car 1754 heads up an eastbound train of woods on South Boulevard and Home Avenue in Oak Park in the early 1950s. The Chicago & North Western train station on the embankment was shifted slightly to the north when the “L” was relocated there in 1962. 1754 was built by Jewett Car Company in 1903 for the Northwestern Elevated Railway. It became a work car in 1958 and went to the Illinois Railway Museum in 1971.

We are looking east from the north platform at the Exchange Avenue station on the Stock Yards "L". The once bustling Union Stock Yards gradually faded away as the meatpacking industry decentralized, and closed for good in 1971, 14 years after this branch of the “L” was abandoned.

We are looking east from the north platform at the Exchange Avenue station on the Stock Yards “L”. The once bustling Union Stock Yards gradually faded away as the meatpacking industry decentralized, and closed for good in 1971, 14 years after this branch of the “L” was abandoned.

July 30, 1953: "North Shore Line northbound train leaving Randolph St. station on Wabash, from Marshall Field's window." (Photo by Glenn S. Moe)

July 30, 1953: “North Shore Line northbound train leaving Randolph St. station on Wabash, from Marshall Field’s window.” (Photo by Glenn S. Moe)

A downtown-bound train at the old Logan Square "L" station on May 10, 1958, about 6 weeks before service on the Milwaukee-Dearborn subway was connected up with the Congress and Douglas branches. (Laurence H. Boehuring Photo)

A downtown-bound train at the old Logan Square “L” station on May 10, 1958, about 6 weeks before service on the Milwaukee-Dearborn subway was connected up with the Congress and Douglas branches. (Laurence H. Boehuring Photo)

Car 1821 passing under the Sacramento station on the old Garfield Park "L". The curve in the tracks is quite apparent here. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

Car 1821 passing under the Sacramento station on the old Garfield Park “L”. The curve in the tracks is quite apparent here. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

Howard Terminal looking west in 1959. Ultimately, this picture did not make it into the book.

Howard Terminal looking west in 1959. Ultimately, this picture did not make it into the book.

The same location on June 6, 2020.

The same location on June 6, 2020.

The old Lake Street "L" bridge over the Chicago River. (George Trapp Collection)

The old Lake Street “L” bridge over the Chicago River. (George Trapp Collection)

Here, we have the old four-track Canal Street station on the Met "L" main line, which served Union Station. We are looking east. The tracks took a jog slightly to the north at this point. Behind the station, tracks continued straight east to the old Wells Street terminal, with a separate connection to the Loop "L". This station continued in use until June 22, 1958 and therefore was not affected by expressway construction. (George Trapp Collection)

Here, we have the old four-track Canal Street station on the Met “L” main line, which served Union Station. We are looking east. The tracks took a jog slightly to the north at this point. Behind the station, tracks continued straight east to the old Wells Street terminal, with a separate connection to the Loop “L”. This station continued in use until June 22, 1958 and therefore was not affected by expressway construction. (George Trapp Collection)

A two-car Garfield Park train, including car 2848, on the Loop "L". (George Snyder Photo)

A two-car Garfield Park train, including car 2848, on the Loop “L”. (George Snyder Photo)

Chicago's first "L"s used beefed-up versions of the same type of small steam locomotives used by New York's elevated lines.

Chicago’s first “L”s used beefed-up versions of the same type of small steam locomotives used by New York’s elevated lines.

A view of the Wells Street Terminal looking west, shortly before it closed in September 1953. CTA trains stopped using the terminal in December 1951, so these are all Chicago Aurora & Elgin interurban cars.

A view of the Wells Street Terminal looking west, shortly before it closed in September 1953. CTA trains stopped using the terminal in December 1951, so these are all Chicago Aurora & Elgin interurban cars.

The CA&E Wells Terminal north track, looking east. (Jack Bejna Collection)

The CA&E Wells Terminal north track, looking east. (Jack Bejna Collection)

The façade of Wells Street Terminal, after it was renovated in the late 1920s, with the addition of two levels. It was designed by Chicago Rapid Transit Company staff architect Arthur U. Gerber. (Jack Bejna Collection)

The façade of Wells Street Terminal, after it was renovated in the late 1920s, with the addition of two levels. It was designed by Chicago Rapid Transit Company staff architect Arthur U. Gerber. (Jack Bejna Collection)

The Wells Street Terminal, prior to its 1920s renovation.

The Wells Street Terminal, prior to its 1920s renovation.

Here, the old Market Street Stub, formerly used by Lake Street "L" trains, is being dismantled in 1948. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

Here, the old Market Street Stub, formerly used by Lake Street “L” trains, is being dismantled in 1948. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

A rare photo of the old Market Street stub terminal, where some Lake Street "L" trains terminated in the days before A/B "skip stop" service. It was torn down in the late 1940s. (George Trapp Collection)

A rare photo of the old Market Street stub terminal, where some Lake Street “L” trains terminated in the days before A/B “skip stop” service. It was torn down in the late 1940s. (George Trapp Collection)

CA&E 424 loops at DesPlaines Avenue circa 1953-57, with a Chicago Great Western freight train in the background. We are looking north.

CA&E 424 loops at DesPlaines Avenue circa 1953-57, with a Chicago Great Western freight train in the background. We are looking north.

CA&E 427 (right) at the Wheaton Shops.

CA&E 427 (right) at the Wheaton Shops.

For this negative, photographer Bob Selle wrote, "CERA fan trip, Sunday afternoon, August 8, 1954. Chicago Aurora & Elgin cars 406 and 418, Aurora, Illinois. (#406 our special.)" The off-street terminal here was put into service at the end of 1939, and was therefore only used for about 18 years.

For this negative, photographer Bob Selle wrote, “CERA fan trip, Sunday afternoon, August 8, 1954. Chicago Aurora & Elgin cars 406 and 418, Aurora, Illinois. (#406 our special.)” The off-street terminal here was put into service at the end of 1939, and was therefore only used for about 18 years.

The Chicago Aurora & Elgin running on the street in downtown Aurora. The end of the line was shifted to an off-street terminal in 1939.

The Chicago Aurora & Elgin running on the street in downtown Aurora. The end of the line was shifted to an off-street terminal in 1939.

The CTA's 2200-series "L" cars were nicely designed, and were the last ones that used "blinker" doors.

The CTA’s 2200-series “L” cars were nicely designed, and were the last ones that used “blinker” doors.

The original "L" station at State and Van Buren Streets circa 1970.

The original “L” station at State and Van Buren Streets circa 1970.

CTA Met car 2821 at Randolph and Wabash, circa 1949. It is a Douglas Park local, signed to go only as far as Lawndale.

CTA Met car 2821 at Randolph and Wabash, circa 1949. It is a Douglas Park local, signed to go only as far as Lawndale.

This picture looks south from Randolph and Wells on the Loop "L". The date is not known, but the construction of the building at right may provide a clue. Andre Kristopans writes, "The overhead shot on Wells showing platform construction is early 20’s, when platforms were extended to accommodate longer trains. For instance Randolph/Wells and Madison/Wells were once separate platforms, after the early 20’s they were a continuous platform. Also at that time, LaSalle/Van Buren and State/Van Buren were connected and the separate station at Dearborn/Van Buren became an auxiliary entrance to State, until a building next to it blew up in the very early 60’s and destroyed the Outer Loop side."

This picture looks south from Randolph and Wells on the Loop “L”. The date is not known, but the construction of the building at right may provide a clue. Andre Kristopans writes, “The overhead shot on Wells showing platform construction is early 20’s, when platforms were extended to accommodate longer trains. For instance Randolph/Wells and Madison/Wells were once separate platforms, after the early 20’s they were a continuous platform. Also at that time, LaSalle/Van Buren and State/Van Buren were connected and the separate station at Dearborn/Van Buren became an auxiliary entrance to State, until a building next to it blew up in the very early 60’s and destroyed the Outer Loop side.”

George Trapp: "The pair of South Side gate cars are at Lake between State and Wabash on a Wilson Ave. Local, probably originating on the Kenwood Branch." (Joe L. Diaz Photo, George Trapp Collection)

George Trapp: “The pair of South Side gate cars are at Lake between State and Wabash on a Wilson Ave. Local, probably originating on the Kenwood Branch.” (Joe L. Diaz Photo, George Trapp Collection)

CRT 1149 is in the lead on a Howard-bound train that was also destined for the Niles Center (Skokie) branch. That probably dates this photo to the 1940s, prior to 1948 when the CTA abandoned the Niles Center branch. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

CRT 1149 is in the lead on a Howard-bound train that was also destined for the Niles Center (Skokie) branch. That probably dates this photo to the 1940s, prior to 1948 when the CTA abandoned the Niles Center branch. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

A two-car Lake Street "A" train (one car is numbered 1708) on the Loop "L". Not sure of the exact location, but as you can see in back, this is an area where there was a continuous platform connection stations. This allowed for more trains to stop at the same time, and was likely the inspiration for the continuous platforms in Chicago's downtown subways. Myron Moyano adds, "Car 1708 under the Lake Street section is at Madison and Wells." (George Trapp Collection)

A two-car Lake Street “A” train (one car is numbered 1708) on the Loop “L”. Not sure of the exact location, but as you can see in back, this is an area where there was a continuous platform connection stations. This allowed for more trains to stop at the same time, and was likely the inspiration for the continuous platforms in Chicago’s downtown subways. Myron Moyano adds, “Car 1708 under the Lake Street section is at Madison and Wells.” (George Trapp Collection)

A single-car CTA Skokie Swift train leaves Howard Street in June 1977.

A single-car CTA Skokie Swift train leaves Howard Street in June 1977.

The Swift strikes a dramatic post on May 10, 1965.  The slide identifies this as Main Street.

The Swift strikes a dramatic post on May 10, 1965. The slide identifies this as Main Street.

The Skokie Swift on April 20, 1964.  Note the old tower at right near Dempster, which had been used when "L" service ran on the Niles Center branch here from 1925-48.  This tower remained standing for many years.

The Skokie Swift on April 20, 1964. Note the old tower at right near Dempster, which had been used when “L” service ran on the Niles Center branch here from 1925-48. This tower remained standing for many years.

The CTA Historic 4000s are southbound at Oakton in 2015.

The CTA Historic 4000s are southbound at Oakton in 2015.

The former Linden Avenue station was preserved when the terminal was redone.  It is no longer the entrance and has been repurposed.  This is how it looked in June 2020.

The former Linden Avenue station was preserved when the terminal was redone. It is no longer the entrance and has been repurposed. This is how it looked in June 2020.

Linden Avenue in the early 1950s.  (Chicago Transit Authority Historical Collection)

Linden Avenue in the early 1950s. (Chicago Transit Authority Historical Collection)

Chicago Transit Authority's Evanston Shuttle at Isabella station in Evanston, IL on May 26, 1962.  (Roger Puta Photo)

Chicago Transit Authority’s Evanston Shuttle at Isabella station in Evanston, IL on May 26, 1962. (Roger Puta Photo)

The new Uptown Union Station in 1923, designed by Arthur U. Gerber.  (Chicago Transit Authority Historical Collection)

The new Uptown Union Station in 1923, designed by Arthur U. Gerber. (Chicago Transit Authority Historical Collection)

The view looking the other way from the platform at Wilson that opened around 1960 (this picture taken in April 1973).

The view looking the other way from the platform at Wilson that opened around 1960 (this picture taken in April 1973).

Wilson Avenue in the early 1920s.  This shows the McJunkin Building under construction. We are looking north.  (George Trapp Collection)

Wilson Avenue in the early 1920s. This shows the McJunkin Building under construction. We are looking north. (George Trapp Collection)

This view looks north towards the Wilson "L" yard and shops. You can see the interlocking tower, and at left, part of the ramp down to Buena Yard, which was used for freight. Dan Cluley writes, "Looking at the Wilson Shops photo, am I correct that those are some of the piggyback flat cars in between the grass and the L structure?" I asked an expert. Here’s what J. J. Sedelmaier says: “It’s absolutely the NSL Ferry-Truck equipment! That’s the old Wilson Shops building in the background and that’s the north end of Montrose Yards and transfer station.” Bill Shapotkin says this is Montrose Tower.

This view looks north towards the Wilson “L” yard and shops. You can see the interlocking tower, and at left, part of the ramp down to Buena Yard, which was used for freight. Dan Cluley writes, “Looking at the Wilson Shops photo, am I correct that those are some of the piggyback flat cars in between the grass and the L structure?” I asked an expert. Here’s what J. J. Sedelmaier says: “It’s absolutely the NSL Ferry-Truck equipment! That’s the old Wilson Shops building in the background and that’s the north end of Montrose Yards and transfer station.” Bill Shapotkin says this is Montrose Tower.

The Wilson Lower Terminal, which opened in 1907.  I used a better quality image in the book.

The Wilson Lower Terminal, which opened in 1907. I used a better quality image in the book.

This picture is identified as Ashland north of Roscoe on January 23, 1929. This would be the Ravenswood "L" (today's Brown Line), and the "L" station one block west is Paulina. We are looking north.

This picture is identified as Ashland north of Roscoe on January 23, 1929. This would be the Ravenswood “L” (today’s Brown Line), and the “L” station one block west is Paulina. We are looking north.

A pair of CTA high-speed cars at the Merchandise Mart.  Fans nicknamed them "circus wagons."

A pair of CTA high-speed cars at the Merchandise Mart. Fans nicknamed them “circus wagons.”

CTA 6000s at Logan Square.

CTA 6000s at Logan Square.

A two-car train of wooden "L" cars at Logan Square.

A two-car train of wooden “L” cars at Logan Square.

In August 1963, a four-car Douglas-Milwaukee "B" train prepares to leave Logan Square terminal.  Until 1970, this was as far into the northwest side of the city that "L" service went.  By 1984, the "L" had been extended all the way to O'Hare airport.  This train sports a fire extinguisher on its front, a practice that did not last, apparently because some of them were stolen.  While this elevated station was replaced by a nearby subway, the building underneath the "L" actually still exists, although it has been so heavily modified that you would never know it is the same structure.  The Logan Square terminal was always my favorite "L" station when I was a kid.

In August 1963, a four-car Douglas-Milwaukee “B” train prepares to leave Logan Square terminal. Until 1970, this was as far into the northwest side of the city that “L” service went. By 1984, the “L” had been extended all the way to O’Hare airport. This train sports a fire extinguisher on its front, a practice that did not last, apparently because some of them were stolen. While this elevated station was replaced by a nearby subway, the building underneath the “L” actually still exists, although it has been so heavily modified that you would never know it is the same structure. The Logan Square terminal was always my favorite “L” station when I was a kid.

CTA wooden "L" cars in storage at Laramie Yard in 1957.  The view looks west.  (Robert Selle Photo)

CTA wooden “L” cars in storage at Laramie Yard in 1957. The view looks west. (Robert Selle Photo)

A two-car train of CTA 2000s at Harlem Avenue on the Lake Street "L" (today's Green Line) on November 11, 1966.  Until 1962, this line ran on the ground next to the Chicago & North Western embankment.

A two-car train of CTA 2000s at Harlem Avenue on the Lake Street “L” (today’s Green Line) on November 11, 1966. Until 1962, this line ran on the ground next to the Chicago & North Western embankment.

A Kenwood shuttle train at Indiana Avenue in the 1950s.

A Kenwood shuttle train at Indiana Avenue in the 1950s.

A two-car Kenwood train in the pocket track at Indiana Avenue, probably in the early 1950s.

A two-car Kenwood train in the pocket track at Indiana Avenue, probably in the early 1950s.

A Stock Yards train at Indiana Avenue station.

A Stock Yards train at Indiana Avenue station.

CTA 7616 63rd-Stony Island (east terminal of the Jackson Park "L") in 1974.

CTA 7616 63rd-Stony Island (east terminal of the Jackson Park “L”) in 1974.

Caption: "Chicago El showing curve at Harrison and Wabash, taken from Congress Street station, April 2, 1939." This curve has since been straightened out. The view looks south. (Duncan L. Bryant Photo)

Caption: “Chicago El showing curve at Harrison and Wabash, taken from Congress Street station, April 2, 1939.” This curve has since been straightened out. The view looks south. (Duncan L. Bryant Photo)

Our Latest Book, Now Available:

Chicago’s Lost “L”s

From the back cover:

Chicago’s system of elevated railways, known locally as the “L,” has run continuously since 1892 and, like the city, has never stood still. It helped neighborhoods grow, brought their increasingly diverse populations together, and gave the famous Loop its name. But today’s system has changed radically over the years. Chicago’s Lost “L”s tells the story of former lines such as Garfield Park, Humboldt Park, Kenwood, Stockyards, Normal Park, Westchester, and Niles Center. It was once possible to take high-speed trains on the L directly to Aurora, Elgin, and Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The L started out as four different companies, two starting out using steam engines instead of electricity. Eventually, all four came together via the Union Loop. The L is more than a way of getting around. Its trains are a place where people meet and interact. Some say the best way to experience the city is via the L, with its second-story view. Chicago’s Lost “L”s is virtually a “secret history” of Chicago, and this is your ticket. David Sadowski grew up riding the L all over the city. He is the author of Chicago Trolleys and Building Chicago’s Subways and runs the online Trolley Dodger blog.

The Images of America series celebrates the history of neighborhoods, towns, and cities across the country. Using archival photographs, each title presents the distinctive stories from the past that shape the character of the community today. Arcadia is proud to play a part in the preservation of local heritage, making history available to all.

Title Chicago’s Lost “L”s
Images of America
Author David Sadowski
Edition illustrated
Publisher Arcadia Publishing (SC), 2021
ISBN 1467100007, 9781467100007
Length 128 pages

Chapters:
01. The South Side “L”
02. The Lake Street “L”
03. The Metropolitan “L”
04. The Northwestern “L”
05. The Union Loop
06. Lost Equipment
07. Lost Interurbans
08. Lost Terminals
09. Lost… and Found

Each copy purchased here will be signed by the author, and you will also receive a bonus facsimile of a 1926 Chicago Rapid Transit Company map, with interesting facts about the “L” on the reverse side.

The price of $23.99 includes shipping within the United States.

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NEW DVD:

A Tribute to the North Shore Line

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the demise of the fabled North Shore Line interurban in January 2013, Jeffrey L. Wien and Bradley Criss made a very thorough and professional video presentation, covering the entire route between Chicago and Milwaukee and then some. Sadly, both men are gone now, but their work remains, making this video a tribute to them, as much as it is a tribute to the Chicago North Shore & Milwaukee.

Jeff drew on his own vast collections of movie films, both his own and others such as the late William C. Hoffman, wrote and gave the narration. Bradley acted as video editor, and added authentic sound effects from archival recordings of the North Shore Line.

It was always Jeff’s intention to make this video available to the public, but unfortunately, this did not happen in his lifetime. Now, as the caretakers of Jeff’s railfan legacy, we are proud to offer this excellent two-hour program to you for the first time.  The result is a fitting tribute to what Jeff called his “Perpetual Adoration,” which was the name of a stop on the interurban.

Jeff was a wholehearted supporter of our activities, and the proceeds from the sale of this disc will help defray some of the expenses of keeping the Trolley Dodger web site going.

Total time – 121:22

# of Discs – 1
Price: $19.99 (Includes shipping within the United States)

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6 thoughts on “Chicago’s Lost “L”s

  1. I hope the book is a success. However, you have an error on your front cover. The Ravenswood Line is still a very extant part of the Chicago L system. Granted, it’s now called the Brown Line, and the woodies that ran on the line have almost all gone on to that great big kindling pile in the sky, but the line is still there, though one of its most recognizable features is on the endangered species list…when the NB flyover is completed, Brown Line trains will be able to access the Ravenswood branch without crossing the paths of SB trains. Perhaps that interlocking should have had a picture taken of it.

    • While the line is still there, the “L” cars and the train crew are not, and this station has been completely rebuilt. My book is about those things as well.

  2. I also noticed the picture of the 2201-2350 L car, built by the Budd Company in far NE Philadelphia. At least two of those cars got road tests late at night at some point in 1969 on Philadelphia’s Broad Street Subway. Aside from getting the cars to the Erie Station, where they used the express tracks for speed testing, they were never in the way of the late night and overnight service, though passengers on any Broad Street trains must have wished for such trains…at that time, the newest Broad Street Subway car dated to 1938, and most of the cars on the line dated to 1927.(Car 55, at IRM, was one of that fleet…at IRM, it hasn’t been restored, but it does run under its own power on occasion…its original power collection was by 3rd rail, of the type used in Toronto and New York City). Anyway, those cars got to Chicago, where they missed 44 years in service by a few weeks, retired in August of 2013.

  3. I have long been fascinated by Scherzer rolling-lift bridges and this occasion (Chicago’s Lost “L”s) is as good as any to ask if any motion pictures exist, in color or black-and-white, of the pair of Scherzer bridges the Met “L” used in operation, being raised or lowered?

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