Thankful

This is a beautiful shot, showing a six-car CTA train of 6000s heading northwest on the Logan Square "L" at Damen Avenue on August 21, 1970. The photographer identified the first four cars as 6629-30 and 6657-58. Sometimes the angles work out just right.

This is a beautiful shot, showing a six-car CTA train of 6000s heading northwest on the Logan Square “L” at Damen Avenue on August 21, 1970. The photographer identified the first four cars as 6629-30 and 6657-58. Sometimes the angles work out just right.

It’s the time of year when we all take stock of all the good things in our lives, the things we are thankful for, and share our abundance of good fortune with our loved ones. The Trolley Dodger is no exception to this, and we have a plateful of classic traction photos for you, a feast for the eyes. We are very thankful for our readers, and hope you all have a safe and enjoyable Thanksgiving holiday.

This is our first post in a while, but we have been very busy the whole time. First, I worked 25 straight days as an election judge during the recent presidential contest, 16 days at polling places, and an additional 9 days processing mail ballots.

Second, proofs were ready to go over for our next book, Chicago’s Lost “L”s. This is our third traction book as sole author, and a tremendous amount of work goes into making each one as factual, informative, and entertaining as possible. When I post pictures here, and get something wrong, the error can be corrected later, but once a book is published, it’s done. We strive for 100% accuracy.

Furthermore, in our books we always strive to include pictures that our readers have not seen before. During the course of working on this book, we made numerous photo substitutions. Even after we had chosen what we thought were the right pictures, we ended up swapping out about one-third of these later, for even better ones.

A great deal of time and resources are involved. For example, during the proofing stage, we changed out seven photos. These, combined, cost us nearly $500. Naturally we have drawn largely from our own collections, and from those kindly shared with the permission of our contributors. But even so, we often have to seek our those missing pieces of the jigsaw puzzle that is a book such as this, and have to compete for those images in the marketplace, along with everyone else.

At any rate, we are very pleased with how Chicago’s Lost “L”s is turning out, and we look forward to seeing it in print sometime next year. Now we are on to the stage where our changes and corrections are incorporated into the layout, and we expect to soon have the final proofs to look over.

Thirdly, since we find there is often much more to talk about than can be shared in these occasional blog posts, we have started a Facebook auxiliary for The Trolley Dodger. This is an add-on, and takes nothing away from what you see here. It’s a private group, meaning the posts are not public and can only be seen by those who join the group. But if Facebook is not your thing, it can be safely ignored.

Some of the discussions we have had on Facebook have actually been beneficial to this post, and to my new book.

For this post, we have lots of recent photo finds, plus some more pictures that escaped our grasp.

Keep those cards and letters coming in, folks!

-David Sadowski

Melvin Bernero

Posted on Facebook:

It is with great sadness that I pass along information about the death of our friend, Melvin Bernero.

Melvin had been a director of Omnibus Society of America for decades, and has played a key role in keeping the organization going as the editor and publisher of the newsletter and the annual calendar… there will not be a funeral. Maybe there will be a memorial service in a few months.

Apparently this was Covid-related. He thought that he had the flu, and had picked something up while waiting in line for early voting. His neighbors brought him coffee, and discovered that he had passed away at home. That is all the information I have.

Mel was an excellent photographer, and posted over 34,000 pictures to Flickr. He leaves a rich and remarkable legacy and will be truly missed.

Recent Finds

North Shore Line combine car 256 in Milwaukee in November 1962. Don's Rail Photos: "256 was built by Jewett in 1917. It seems to be the only one which retained its original configuration." There is a very similar photo on Don Ross's web site attributed to Joe Testagrose, but it doesn't seem quite identical to this one. If not taken by him, it was probably someone standing next to him, which happens more often than you might think.

North Shore Line combine car 256 in Milwaukee in November 1962. Don’s Rail Photos: “256 was built by Jewett in 1917. It seems to be the only one which retained its original configuration.” There is a very similar photo on Don Ross’s web site attributed to Joe Testagrose, but it doesn’t seem quite identical to this one. If not taken by him, it was probably someone standing next to him, which happens more often than you might think.

This is an improved version of an image we previously posted with the following caption: CSL 1786 under the Lake Street "L" on November 23, 1952. Note the Chicago Motor Coach yard at right. CMC's assets had been purchased by CTA a few months earlier, and were gradually being integrated into regular CTA operations. Bill Shapotkin adds, "This pic is actually at Lake/Kenton (not Cicero). The car is E/B. This is the only such photo I have ever seen at this location."

This is an improved version of an image we previously posted with the following caption: CSL 1786 under the Lake Street “L” on November 23, 1952. Note the Chicago Motor Coach yard at right. CMC’s assets had been purchased by CTA a few months earlier, and were gradually being integrated into regular CTA operations. Bill Shapotkin adds, “This pic is actually at Lake/Kenton (not Cicero). The car is E/B. This is the only such photo I have ever seen at this location.”

The former Ridge station on what had been the Niles Center "L" branch, as it appeared in July 1970. The station entrances to both Ridge and Asbury looked nearly identical, but as J. J. Sedelmaier points out, Asbury was being used as a convenience store during this time. This is along the current path (in Evanston) of the CTA Yellow Line, which began life as part of the North Shore Line's Skokie Valley Route in the mid-1920s. Both stations have long since been removed, except for a few traces at track level.

The former Ridge station on what had been the Niles Center “L” branch, as it appeared in July 1970. The station entrances to both Ridge and Asbury looked nearly identical, but as J. J. Sedelmaier points out, Asbury was being used as a convenience store during this time. This is along the current path (in Evanston) of the CTA Yellow Line, which began life as part of the North Shore Line’s Skokie Valley Route in the mid-1920s. Both stations have long since been removed, except for a few traces at track level.

We have featured the work of photographer Richard H. Young before, going back to some of our earliest posts in 2015. Here, on June 2, 1960, we see a four-car North Shore Line train, headed up by car 175, at the Mundelein station. He notes, "Train just arrived and standing on departure track but poles not reversed yet."

We have featured the work of photographer Richard H. Young before, going back to some of our earliest posts in 2015. Here, on June 2, 1960, we see a four-car North Shore Line train, headed up by car 175, at the Mundelein station. He notes, “Train just arrived and standing on departure track but poles not reversed yet.”

North Shore Line Electroliner set 801-802 has just pulled out from the Milwaukee terminal at 6th and Clybourn on October 31, 1948. (Richard H. Young Photo)

North Shore Line Electroliner set 801-802 has just pulled out from the Milwaukee terminal at 6th and Clybourn on October 31, 1948. (Richard H. Young Photo)

Chicago, Aurora & Elgin express motor 7 at the Wheaton shops. I was going to speculate that this might have been after abandonment, but apparently not, as the car was later repainted with stripes. So this could be circa 1950. Don's Rail Photos; "7 was built by Jewett Car in 1906. In 1941 it was rebuilt as a tool car."

Chicago, Aurora & Elgin express motor 7 at the Wheaton shops. I was going to speculate that this might have been after abandonment, but apparently not, as the car was later repainted with stripes. So this could be circa 1950. Don’s Rail Photos; “7 was built by Jewett Car in 1906. In 1941 it was rebuilt as a tool car.”

Illinois Terminal electric loco 1596, a Class "C", at Granite City on September 12, 1955. Note car 101 is next to it, now at the Illinois Railway Museum. Don's Rail Photos: "1596, Class C, was built at Decatur in December 1929. It was sold for scrap to Hyman Michaels on March 25, 1956." (Bob Selle Photo)

Illinois Terminal electric loco 1596, a Class “C”, at Granite City on September 12, 1955. Note car 101 is next to it, now at the Illinois Railway Museum. Don’s Rail Photos: “1596, Class C, was built at Decatur in December 1929. It was sold for scrap to Hyman Michaels on March 25, 1956.” (Bob Selle Photo)

From left to right, at the Illinois Electric Railway Museum on October 25, 1958, we see Illinois Terminal line car 1702, CRT/CTA "L" car 1024, and Milwaukee streetcar 972. This is when the museum was at North Chicago. Don's Rail Photos: "1702 was built by Danville Ry & Light Co in 1903 as 1507, a pull car. It was rebuilt as a line car in 1922 and renumbered 1702 in August 1925. It was purchased by Illinois Electric Ry Museum on October 11, 1958. 1024 was built by Pullman in 1899 as NWERy 24. It was renumbered 1024 in 1913 and became CRT 1024 in 1923. It was rebuilt as 1st S-111 on March 19, 1955, and sold to Illinois Railway Museum as 1024 in 1958. 972 was built by St Louis Car Co in 1927, #1466. It was purchased by IRM in 1958 and was operated frequently." (Bob Selle Photo)

From left to right, at the Illinois Electric Railway Museum on October 25, 1958, we see Illinois Terminal line car 1702, CRT/CTA “L” car 1024, and Milwaukee streetcar 972. This is when the museum was at North Chicago. Don’s Rail Photos: “1702 was built by Danville Ry & Light Co in 1903 as 1507, a pull car. It was rebuilt as a line car in 1922 and renumbered 1702 in August 1925. It was purchased by Illinois Electric Ry Museum on October 11, 1958. 1024 was built by Pullman in 1899 as NWERy 24. It was renumbered 1024 in 1913 and became CRT 1024 in 1923. It was rebuilt as 1st S-111 on March 19, 1955, and sold to Illinois Railway Museum as 1024 in 1958. 972 was built by St Louis Car Co in 1927, #1466. It was purchased by IRM in 1958 and was operated frequently.” (Bob Selle Photo)

Another view at IERM on October 25, 1958. Illinois Terminal line car 1702 is in front of TM 1129, with CRT/CTA gate car 1024 at right. (Bob Selle Photo)

Another view at IERM on October 25, 1958. Illinois Terminal line car 1702 is in front of TM 1129, with CRT/CTA gate car 1024 at right. (Bob Selle Photo)

CTA red Pullman 440 is southbound at Kedzie and Van Buren on July 1, 1953, passing by Kedzie Station. (Bob Selle Photo)

CTA red Pullman 440 is southbound at Kedzie and Van Buren on July 1, 1953, passing by Kedzie Station. (Bob Selle Photo)

This appears to be an Omnibus Society of America trolley bus fantrip, using CTA 9193, on March 2, 1958. I think part of the idea was to use this bus on parts of the system where this type of bus had not previously been in use. I have posted three other pictures from this same trip in the past on my blog. One shows the TB at the back of Kedzie garage, another at Kedzie and the Congress Expressway, and the third at Kedzie and 33rd. This being a fantrip would help explain why the TB is on Homer, a short-turn path for the Armitage route. It was billed as the first-ever trackless fantrip in Chicago. Looks like the photographer got lucky, and there just happened to be a work train overhead on the Logan Square "L". That could be S-337. If so, Don's Rail Photos notes, "S-337 was a trailer built by American Car & Foundry in 1907 as NWERy 273. It was renumbered 1273 in 1913 and because CRT 1273. It was rebuilt as 1812 and rebuilt as S-337. It was scrapped in November 1968." The street in the background is Milwaukee Avenue.

This appears to be an Omnibus Society of America trolley bus fantrip, using CTA 9193, on March 2, 1958. I think part of the idea was to use this bus on parts of the system where this type of bus had not previously been in use. I have posted three other pictures from this same trip in the past on my blog. One shows the TB at the back of Kedzie garage, another at Kedzie and the Congress Expressway, and the third at Kedzie and 33rd. This being a fantrip would help explain why the TB is on Homer, a short-turn path for the Armitage route. It was billed as the first-ever trackless fantrip in Chicago. Looks like the photographer got lucky, and there just happened to be a work train overhead on the Logan Square “L”. That could be S-337. If so, Don’s Rail Photos notes, “S-337 was a trailer built by American Car & Foundry in 1907 as NWERy 273. It was renumbered 1273 in 1913 and because CRT 1273. It was rebuilt as 1812 and rebuilt as S-337. It was scrapped in November 1968.” The street in the background is Milwaukee Avenue.

The same location today. Homer is located a block south of Armitage.

The same location today. Homer is located a block south of Armitage.

CTA gate car 1024 and an unidentified work car are heading south at Isabella in Evanston, on an April 1958 fantrip sponsored by the Illinois Electric Railway Museum. By then, wood cars were no longer being used in regular passenger service. The museum purchased the 1024 and it headed up to North Chicago once this fantrip was over. The lightly-used station at Isabella closed in 1973, and all traces of it were removed shortly after.

CTA gate car 1024 and an unidentified work car are heading south at Isabella in Evanston, on an April 1958 fantrip sponsored by the Illinois Electric Railway Museum. By then, wood cars were no longer being used in regular passenger service. The museum purchased the 1024 and it headed up to North Chicago once this fantrip was over. The lightly-used station at Isabella closed in 1973, and all traces of it were removed shortly after.

This is a view I recall seeing many times growing up. A two-car train of CTA 2000s prepares to depart the Lake Street "L" terminal at Harlem Avenue on November 11, 1966. We are looking mainly to the east. The street at right is South Boulevard in Oak Park. These "L" cars were but two years old at this point, having replaced 4000s.

This is a view I recall seeing many times growing up. A two-car train of CTA 2000s prepares to depart the Lake Street “L” terminal at Harlem Avenue on November 11, 1966. We are looking mainly to the east. The street at right is South Boulevard in Oak Park. These “L” cars were but two years old at this point, having replaced 4000s.

CTA work car S-200 at Homan Avenue (Lake Street "L") in March 1962. Don's Rail Photos: "S-200 was built by Barney & Smith in 1901 at M-WSER 783. It was renumbered in 1913 as 2783. In 1916 it was rebuilt as a work motor and numbered S-200. It became CRT S-200 in 1923."

CTA work car S-200 at Homan Avenue (Lake Street “L”) in March 1962. Don’s Rail Photos: “S-200 was built by Barney & Smith in 1901 at M-WSER 783. It was renumbered in 1913 as 2783. In 1916 it was rebuilt as a work motor and numbered S-200. It became CRT S-200 in 1923.”

A rare view looking north along the Wilson Avenue Lower Yard in August 1956. Perhaps the final use for these tracks, which were apparently removed in the late 1950s, was to store some old wood cars prior to scrapping. Note some of the cars have broken windows. The back of the McJunkin Building is visible at right. The tracks ended at Wilson Avenue.

A rare view looking north along the Wilson Avenue Lower Yard in August 1956. Perhaps the final use for these tracks, which were apparently removed in the late 1950s, was to store some old wood cars prior to scrapping. Note some of the cars have broken windows. The back of the McJunkin Building is visible at right. The tracks ended at Wilson Avenue.

North Shore Line 253 at the Milwaukee Terminal. Don's Rail Photos: "253 was built by Jewett in 1917. It dropped seating to 28 on June 17, 1924, and was acquired by IRM in 1963."

North Shore Line 253 at the Milwaukee Terminal. Don’s Rail Photos: “253 was built by Jewett in 1917. It dropped seating to 28 on June 17, 1924, and was acquired by IRM in 1963.”

Red Arrow (Philadelphia Suburban Transportation Company) Bullet car 207 at 69th Street on June 7, 1964.

Red Arrow (Philadelphia Suburban Transportation Company) Bullet car 207 at 69th Street on June 7, 1964.

CTA 2332 and train at Laramie on the Douglas Park "L" (now the CTA Pink Line) on February 8, 1991. (Peter Ehrlich Photo, © 2020 Peter Ehrlich)

CTA 2332 and train at Laramie on the Douglas Park “L” (now the CTA Pink Line) on February 8, 1991. (Peter Ehrlich Photo, © 2020 Peter Ehrlich)

A two-car train of North Shore Line Silverliners at 6th and Walker in Milwaukee (probably in the late 1950s). We are apparently looking south.

A two-car train of North Shore Line Silverliners at 6th and Walker in Milwaukee (probably in the late 1950s). We are apparently looking south.

The same location today, looking south. The direction was partly determined by where the manhole cover is in the older picture. An expressway is now just to the right, truncating the cross street.

The same location today, looking south. The direction was partly determined by where the manhole cover is in the older picture. An expressway is now just to the right, truncating the cross street.

CA&E 433 and 426 at DesPlaines Avenue in Forest Park, sometime between 1953 and 1957.

CA&E 433 and 426 at DesPlaines Avenue in Forest Park, sometime between 1953 and 1957.

More That Got Away

We can’t buy all the nice pictures, but we can still share some of them with you.

A nice view of CTA Historic cars 4271-4272 by the old Wilson Shops.

A nice view of CTA Historic cars 4271-4272 by the old Wilson Shops.

The Loop "L" in 1900, looking north from Adams and Wabash. In the distance, you can see Madison and Wabash in the distance, and what appears to be a direct entrance into a building. Graham Garfield adds, "Yup—it’s the Louis Sullivan-designed bridge to the Schlesinger and Mayer (later Carson Pirie Scott) department store!"

The Loop “L” in 1900, looking north from Adams and Wabash. In the distance, you can see Madison and Wabash in the distance, and what appears to be a direct entrance into a building. Graham Garfield adds, “Yup—it’s the Louis Sullivan-designed bridge to the Schlesinger and Mayer (later Carson Pirie Scott) department store!”

According to this 1924 ad, the platform canopies on all 207 Chicago "L" stations were being re-roofed with Armco Ingot Iron.

According to this 1924 ad, the platform canopies on all 207 Chicago “L” stations were being re-roofed with Armco Ingot Iron.

A westbound CTA trolley bus passes the Luna theatre, which was located at 4743 W. Belmont, circa 1968.

A westbound CTA trolley bus passes the Luna theatre, which was located at 4743 W. Belmont, circa 1968.

Recently, there were nine rare postcard photos up for auction, all relating to the Metropolitan West Side “L”. We were fortunate to win four of these, which will appear in our upcoming book Chicago’s Lost “L”s. Here are the others we did not win:

This shows where the Met crossed over the Lake Street "L". This picture was taken prior to the construction of the Lake Street Transfer station in 1913, made possible once the four competing "L" companies came under joint operation.

This shows where the Met crossed over the Lake Street “L”. This picture was taken prior to the construction of the Lake Street Transfer station in 1913, made possible once the four competing “L” companies came under joint operation.

A close-up view of part of the last picture, with somewhat better resolution.

A close-up view of part of the last picture, with somewhat better resolution.

It's been suggested this view may look west from the Kedzie station on the Humboldt Park branch.

It’s been suggested this view may look west from the Kedzie station on the Humboldt Park branch.

A two-car CTA train of 6000s at Kedzie on the new Congress median line in 1958.

A two-car CTA train of 6000s at Kedzie on the new Congress median line in 1958.

Along the Douglas Park "L" in July 1963.

Along the Douglas Park “L” in July 1963.

Looking north from Granville in 1966.

Looking north from Granville in 1966.

CSL 5041, signed for Archer Downtown.

CSL 5041, signed for Archer Downtown.

Chicago & North Western EMD E7A #5012B with passenger train at the Oak Park station in September 1965. The view looks west, and a two-car CTA Lake Street "L" train is visible.

Chicago & North Western EMD E7A #5012B with passenger train at the Oak Park station in September 1965. The view looks west, and a two-car CTA Lake Street “L” train is visible.

Andre Kristopans says this is the north end of the Western station on the CTA Logan Square "L", looking north.

Andre Kristopans says this is the north end of the Western station on the CTA Logan Square “L”, looking north.

CTA single-car unit 26 is southbound at Niles Center Road on March 6, 1965.

CTA single-car unit 26 is southbound at Niles Center Road on March 6, 1965.

A CA&E train order from March 13, 1945. Freight locomotive 3003 was directed to run extra to Aurora.

A CA&E train order from March 13, 1945. Freight locomotive 3003 was directed to run extra to Aurora.

CTA trolley bus 9698 is westbound on Roosevelt Road in 1972, just west of the South Side "L".

CTA trolley bus 9698 is westbound on Roosevelt Road in 1972, just west of the South Side “L”.

Capital Transit (aka DC Transit) 1055 in the 1940s. This was a pre-PCC car built in 1935, and represented an important step in the development of PCCs, introduced the following year. Car 1053 was the last survivor of this car type, but was unfortunately later destroyed in a museum fire.

Capital Transit (aka DC Transit) 1055 in the 1940s. This was a pre-PCC car built in 1935, and represented an important step in the development of PCCs, introduced the following year. Car 1053 was the last survivor of this car type, but was unfortunately later destroyed in a museum fire.

The Third Avenue El in 1955.

The Third Avenue El in 1955.

New York's Third Avenue El at 34th Street in 1955, shortly before abandonment.

New York’s Third Avenue El at 34th Street in 1955, shortly before abandonment.

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

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.
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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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Richard Hofer’s Chicago “L” Pictures

It’s July 1969, and the original Tower 18 at Lake and Wells is being demolished to permit a new track connection to be put in on the Loop “L”. This was necessary so the CTA Lake Street “L” could be through-routed with the new Dan Ryan line that opened on September 28 of that year. The new tower is at left and has itself since been replaced. Prior to this, trains ran counter-clockwise in the same direction on both sets of Loop tracks. Henceforth, they became bi-directional. This is a Richard Hofer photo, from the David Stanley collection. The view looks north, and that is a southbound Ravenswood (today’s Brown Line) train at left.

I recently traveled to Milwaukee and visited David Stanley, and while I was there, he generously allowed me to scan some of his extensive collection of traction slides. Today we are featuring a small part of that collection, some classic photos of the Chicago “L” system, taken by the late Richard R. Hofer (1941-2010). Many of you may recall him from railfan meetings in years past. These pictures show he was an excellent photographer.

You can read Mr. Hofer’s obituary here, and you will note he was a proud Navy veteran. There are also some pictures of him on his Find-A-Grave page.

Scanning a photo, negative, or slide is just the starting point in obtaining the best possible version of that image. Each of these images represents my interpretation of the original source material, which often exhibits a lot of fading or color shift. For many of these images, we are also posting the uncorrected versions, just to show the substantial amount of work that goes into “making things look right.”

In addition, we have some recent photo finds of our own, as well as picture from our Milwaukee sojourn. As always, of you can provide any additional information on what you see in these pictures, do not hesitate to drop us a line.

We also have a new CD collection of rare traction audio from a variety of cities. These were recently digitized from original master tapes from the collections of William A. Steventon, of the Railroad Record Club of Hawkins, WI. You will find more information about that towards the end of our post.

Enjoy!

-David Sadowski

Richard R. Hofer Photos From the David Stanley Collection:

On April 20, 1964, CTA and local officials cut the ribbon at Dempster, commencing service on the new five-mile-long Skokie Swift line. This represented but a small portion of the Chicago North Shore and Milwaukee interurban that abandoned service on January 21, 1963. The Chicago Transit Authority had to purchase about half of the Swift route anyway, as their connection to Skokie Shops went over NSL tracks. The CTA decided to offer an express service between Dempster and Howard stations, and put in a large parking lot. Service was put into place using existing equipment at the lowest possible cost. The late George Krambles was put in charge of this project, which received some federal funding as a “demonstration” service, at a time when that was still somewhat unusual. But CTA officials at the time indicated that they would still have started the Swift, even without federal funds. I was nine years old at the time, and rode these trains on the very first day. I can assure you they went 65 miles per hour, as I was watching the speedometer. Needless to say, the experiment was quite successful, and service continues on what is now the Yellow Line today, with the addition of one more stop at Oakton.

The Skokie Swift on April 20, 1964.

The Skokie Swift on April 20, 1964.

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 Swift on opening day, April 20, 1964.

The Swift on opening day, April 20, 1964.

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.

This car sports an experimental pantograph in October 1966.

This car sports an experimental pantograph in October 1966.

A 5000-series articulated train, renumbered into the 51-54 series, at Dempster in October 1966.

A 5000-series articulated train, renumbered into the 51-54 series, at Dempster in October 1966.

In October 1966, we see one of the four articulated 5000s (this was the original 5000-series, circa 1947-48) at Dempster, after having been retrofitted for Swift service, where they continued to run for another 20 years or so.

In October 1966, we see one of the four articulated 5000s (this was the original 5000-series, circa 1947-48) at Dempster, after having been retrofitted for Swift service, where they continued to run for another 20 years or so.

The Skokie Swift in September 1964.

The Skokie Swift in September 1964.

From 1925 until 1948, the Niles Center line provided local "L" service between Howard and Dempster on tracks owned by the North Shore Line. There were several stations along the way, and here we see one of them, as it appeared in September 1964 before it was removed to improve visibility at this grade crossing. I would have to check to see just which station this was, and whether the third track at left was simply a siding, or went to Skokie Shops. Miles Beitler says this is the "Kostner station looking east. The third track on the left was simply a siding, a remnant of North Shore Line freight service."

From 1925 until 1948, the Niles Center line provided local “L” service between Howard and Dempster on tracks owned by the North Shore Line. There were several stations along the way, and here we see one of them, as it appeared in September 1964 before it was removed to improve visibility at this grade crossing. I would have to check to see just which station this was, and whether the third track at left was simply a siding, or went to Skokie Shops. Miles Beitler says this is the “Kostner station looking east. The third track on the left was simply a siding, a remnant of North Shore Line freight service.”

Here is a nice view of the relatively spartan facilities at Dempster terminal on the Skokie Swift in September 1964. Service had been running for five months. This has since been improved and upgraded.

Here is a nice view of the relatively spartan facilities at Dempster terminal on the Skokie Swift in September 1964. Service had been running for five months. This has since been improved and upgraded.

In October 1966, a southbound Howard train has just left Howard terminal, and a single-car Evanston shuttle train has taken its place. After its riders depart, it will change ends on a siding just south of the station, and then head north after picking up passengers at the opposite platform.

In October 1966, a southbound Howard train has just left Howard terminal, and a single-car Evanston shuttle train has taken its place. After its riders depart, it will change ends on a siding just south of the station, and then head north after picking up passengers at the opposite platform.

A Skokie Swift single-car unit at Howard in December 1968.

A Skokie Swift single-car unit at Howard in December 1968.

An Evanston train of 4000s at Howard in December 1968.

An Evanston train of 4000s at Howard in December 1968.

Two Swift trains at Howard, December 1968.

Two Swift trains at Howard, December 1968.

At left, a northbound Skokie Swift car, and at right, a southbound Howard “A” train at the Howard terminal in October 1966.

Two single car units in October 1966, both equipped for overhead wire, but for different purposes. In the foreground, an Evanston shuttle car has trolley poles, while the Skokie Swift car at rear uses pantographs. Evanston was converted to third rail in 1973, and the Swift about 30 years after that.

Two single car units in October 1966, both equipped for overhead wire, but for different purposes. In the foreground, an Evanston shuttle car has trolley poles, while the Skokie Swift car at rear uses pantographs. Evanston was converted to third rail in 1973, and the Swift about 30 years after that.

Same as the previous picture, this overhead shot from the transfer bridge, taken in October 1966, shows the difference in current collection on two of the CTA's 50 single car units.

Same as the previous picture, this overhead shot from the transfer bridge, taken in October 1966, shows the difference in current collection on two of the CTA’s 50 single car units.

A southbound Evanston shuttle train approaches the Howard terminal. Third rail was banned in Evanston by local ordinance until 1973.

A southbound Evanston shuttle train approaches the Howard terminal. Third rail was banned in Evanston by local ordinance until 1973.

In September 1964, a four-car Evanston Express train approaches (I think) the old station at State and Van Buren. All four cars are single car units equipped with trolley poles, for use in Evanston where local laws did not permit use of third rail for current collection. In the early 1970s, this station was closed and removed, but was eventually put back, to serve the Harold Washington Library. This leg of the Loop "L" had a continuous platform for some time, which is visible here. George Trapp: "The September 1964 photo of four single unit cars 25-28, 39-50 on the Evanston Express are at Madison & Wells not State & Van Buren. Note crossover at Washington where non rush Ravenswood and late AM Evanston Expresses crossed over to the Inner Loop after stopping at Randolph & Wells on the Outer Loop. There was also a long continuous platform from Randolph to Madison."

In September 1964, a four-car Evanston Express train approaches (I think) the old station at State and Van Buren. All four cars are single car units equipped with trolley poles, for use in Evanston where local laws did not permit use of third rail for current collection. In the early 1970s, this station was closed and removed, but was eventually put back, to serve the Harold Washington Library. This leg of the Loop “L” had a continuous platform for some time, which is visible here. George Trapp: “The September 1964 photo of four single unit cars 25-28, 39-50 on the Evanston Express are at Madison & Wells not State & Van Buren. Note crossover at Washington where non rush Ravenswood and late AM Evanston Expresses crossed over to the Inner Loop after stopping at Randolph & Wells on the Outer Loop. There was also a long continuous platform from Randolph to Madison.”

In September 1964, at a time when the Loop "L" had uni-directional service (counter-clockwise), a Ravenswood "A" train approaches Clark and Lake. On the other hand, George Trapp says we are "at Madison & Wells, notice the clocktower for Grand Central Station with B&O in distance. At that time many more cars is series 6001-6130 still had their original headlight arrangement."

In September 1964, at a time when the Loop “L” had uni-directional service (counter-clockwise), a Ravenswood “A” train approaches Clark and Lake. On the other hand, George Trapp says we are “at Madison & Wells, notice the clocktower for Grand Central Station with B&O in distance. At that time many more cars is series 6001-6130 still had their original headlight arrangement.”

Logan Square yard in December 1966.

Logan Square yard in December 1966.

The tail end of a Congress-Milwaukee "A" train at the Logan Square terminal in September 1964. As you can see, space here was at a premium. George Trapp adds, "Tail end of freshly painted 6592-6591 at Logan Square in Sept. 1964. This set was in builder’s photos by St. Louis Car around June 1957. When new were originally assigned to North-South route as were all high 6000’s until mid 1960, although some 6600’s were on Ravenswood in 1959-60. I always though the old Logan Square terminal was neat, certainly had more character than present one."

The tail end of a Congress-Milwaukee “A” train at the Logan Square terminal in September 1964. As you can see, space here was at a premium. George Trapp adds, “Tail end of freshly painted 6592-6591 at Logan Square in Sept. 1964. This set was in builder’s photos by St. Louis Car around June 1957. When new were originally assigned to North-South route as were all high 6000’s until mid 1960, although some 6600’s were on Ravenswood in 1959-60. I always though the old Logan Square terminal was neat, certainly had more character than present one.”

A southbound Howard "A" train is on the center track. and served stations that either had a center platform or (like Wilson) had two sets of platforms. "B" trains (and the Evanston Express) used the outer tracks and served stations with side platforms. This picture was taken in May 1968. Note the southbound outer track has overhead wire in addition to third rail, for use by freight trains that ran at night until 1973. George Trapp: "Southbound Howard to Englewood “A” train has two cars of 6511-6550 series on head end. This series was split between the North-South and West-Northwest in the 1960’s with cars up to 6550 and 6551-6558 from next series being on North-South in winter months. Note that track 4 was being redone at that time and is missing."

A southbound Howard “A” train is on the center track. and served stations that either had a center platform or (like Wilson) had two sets of platforms. “B” trains (and the Evanston Express) used the outer tracks and served stations with side platforms. This picture was taken in May 1968. Note the southbound outer track has overhead wire in addition to third rail, for use by freight trains that ran at night until 1973. George Trapp: “Southbound Howard to Englewood “A” train has two cars of 6511-6550 series on head end. This series was split between the North-South and West-Northwest in the 1960’s with cars up to 6550 and 6551-6558 from next series being on North-South in winter months. Note that track 4 was being redone at that time and is missing.”

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.

Workers are removing the old Tower 18 structure in this July 1969 view. When service on the Loop “L” was made bi-directional, due to the through-routing of the Lake Street “L” and the new Dan Ryan line, the old tower was in the way of new tracks that needed to be installed.

The same basic scene as the last photo, from July 1969. We can tell that this picture was taken prior to the opening of the Dan Ryan line (September 28, 1969) because the train making the turn here is simply signed for Lake. Prior to the through-routing, Lake Street trains went around the Loop, and all traffic went counter-clockwise. The new track connection that allowed bi-directional operation had not yet been installed here.

The same basic scene as the last photo, from July 1969. We can tell that this picture was taken prior to the opening of the Dan Ryan line (September 28, 1969) because the train making the turn here is simply signed for Lake. Prior to the through-routing, Lake Street trains went around the Loop, and all traffic went counter-clockwise. The new track connection that allowed bi-directional operation had not yet been installed here.

A Lake-Dan Ryan train in October 1969, and what appears to be left-hand running.

A Lake-Dan Ryan train in October 1969, and what appears to be left-hand running.

It’s October 1969, and this westbound Lake-Dan Ryan train appears to be running on the “wrong” track, perhaps due to weekend track work on the Loop. This train has just left State and Lake and is heading towards Clark and Lake. Through-routing Lake and the new Dan Ryan line, which happened in September 1969, meant the end of unidirectional operations on the Loop.

Track work near Tower 18, July 1969. A work train of 4000-series “L” cars is most likely parked here.

This picture was taken in April 1973 at one of the Howard line stations near the north end of the line. The two outer tracks are used for express trains, and the inner tracks for locals.

This picture was taken in April 1973 at one of the Howard line stations near the north end of the line. The two outer tracks are used for express trains, and the inner tracks for locals.

The southbound express track on the northern portion of the Howard line had overhead wire equipped, for use by freight trains that the CTA was obliged to operate for customers along this line north of Irving Park Road. This was a holdover of service that originally had been offered by the Milwaukee Road, which leased this line to the Chicago Rapid Transit Company. The Chicago Transit Authority purchased it in the early 1950s, and freight service ended right around the time this picture was taken.

The southbound express track on the northern portion of the Howard line had overhead wire equipped, for use by freight trains that the CTA was obliged to operate for customers along this line north of Irving Park Road. This was a holdover of service that originally had been offered by the Milwaukee Road, which leased this line to the Chicago Rapid Transit Company. The Chicago Transit Authority purchased it in the early 1950s, and freight service ended right around the time this picture was taken.

Wilson Avenue, April 1973.

Wilson Avenue, April 1973.

An Englewood-Howard train at Wilson Avenue in April 1973. This station has since been completely redone.

An Englewood-Howard train at Wilson Avenue in April 1973. This station has since been completely redone.

In the late 1950s, a fourth track was added to a small portion of the Howard line that previously only had three tracks. This platform was added at that time, and was used by southbound North Shore Line trains. I was actually on a southbound Howard train one day when it unexpectedly stopped here, so I got off and took a look around, just to see what it was like. This has all been removed now, of course. The overhead wire was used by freight trains that ran at night. This picture was taken in April 1973.

In the late 1950s, a fourth track was added to a small portion of the Howard line that previously only had three tracks. This platform was added at that time, and was used by southbound North Shore Line trains. I was actually on a southbound Howard train one day when it unexpectedly stopped here, so I got off and took a look around, just to see what it was like. This has all been removed now, of course. The overhead wire was used by freight trains that ran at night. This picture was 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).

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

CTA's Tower 18 at Lake and Wells in July 1971, looking north.

CTA’s Tower 18 at Lake and Wells in July 1971, looking north.

A work train of 4000s is southbound just north of the Loop in July 1971.

A work train of 4000s is southbound just north of the Loop in July 1971.

Here, we are looking north from the old Randolph and Wells station in May 1971, looking to the junction of Wells and Lake. This station has since been replaced by Washington and Wells.

Here, we are looking north from the old Randolph and Wells station in May 1971, looking to the junction of Wells and Lake. This station has since been replaced by Washington and Wells.

In May 1971, we see the rear of a northbound Evanston Express train of 4000s, just leaving the old Randolph and Wells station.

In May 1971, we see the rear of a northbound Evanston Express train of 4000s, just leaving the old Randolph and Wells station.

If I had to guess the location of this July 1971 picture, taken on Chicago's north side, it would be between Wilson and Sheridan.

If I had to guess the location of this July 1971 picture, taken on Chicago’s north side, it would be between Wilson and Sheridan.

This Howard “A” train is heading southbound in July 1971, under a section that still had overhead wire for use by freight trains that ran at night. The Howard train, of course, used third rail for current collection exclusively. Perhaps one of our readers can help identify which station this is.

This picture was taken at Granville on the Howard line in May 1971.

This picture was taken at Granville on the Howard line in May 1971.

Again, Granville on the Howard line in May 1971.

Again, Granville on the Howard line in May 1971.

The rest of the work train, in July 1971.

The rest of the work train, in July 1971.

This July 1971 photo shows either the Halsted or Racine station on the Congress line. The train is heading west, away from the photographer. In those days, many stations had these “pay on train” signs, and when illuminated, that meant there was no ticket agent on duty, and the conductor would collect your fare on the train. There are no more conductors now, so this practice ended a long time ago. There were large grassy areas on each side of the tracks along portions of the right-of-way, because plans originally called for four tracks here. There had been four tracks when this was part of the Metrolpolitan “L” main line. In the new arrangement, two tracks would have been used by Lake Street “L” trains, which were at one time intended to be re-routed onto the Congress line.

If this is the same location as the last picture, this is the Racine station, this time looking to the east. Again, this is July 1971. This is a westbound Congress-Milwaukee “A” train.

Finally, here is the uncorrected version of the picture at the top of this post.

Finally, here is the uncorrected version of the picture at the top of this post.

Milwaukee Trip

Here are some photos I took in Milwaukee on May 3rd. They show the new Milwaukee streetcar circulator line, which began service last November, and memorabilia from the Dave Stanley collection. On the way up, I stopped in Kenosha and snapped a few pictures of the tourist PCC line there.

Recent Finds

Two CTA “L” trains pass each other at Wabash and Lake in April 1975. At left, we see a Loop Shuttle made up of 6000s; at right, a Lake-Dan Ryan set of 2000s. The Loop Shuttle was intended to make it easier to get from one downtown station to another, but was not really necessary and was eventually discontinued. It originally came about in the wake of the 1969 changes, whereby the Loop was made bi-directional. At rear we see the old Sun-Times/Daily News building, which stood at 401 N. Wabash from 1958 until 2005. It is now the site of the Trump International Hotel and Tower. Just over two years after this picture was taken, part of an “L” train fell off the structure at this curve.

On March 2, 1980, photographer Arthur H. Peterson snapped this picture of CTA Historic Cars 4271-4272 at the Dempster terminal in Skokie. The occasion was a fantrip.

On March 2, 1980, photographer Arthur H. Peterson snapped this picture of CTA Historic Cars 4271-4272 at the Dempster terminal in Skokie. The occasion was a fantrip.

In February 1977, a two-car CTA Ravenswood train of “flat door” 6000s is about to stop at the old Clark and Lake station in the Loop, on its way towards Kimball and Lawrence on Chicago’s northwest side. This station has since been replaced by a more modern one, with entrances connected to nearby buildings.

Chicago & North Western steam locomotive 511, a 4-6-2, is northbound at the EJ&E (Elgin Joliet & Eastern Railway) overpass in North Chicago, IL on the afternoon of July 13, 1955. In the foreground, we see the tracks of the Chicago North Shore & Milwaukee, the North Shore Line. North Chicago was also the original home of the Illinois Electric Railway Museum, which relocated to Union in the early 1960s. (Robert Selle Photo)

Chicago & North Western steam locomotive 511, a 4-6-2, is northbound at the EJ&E (Elgin Joliet & Eastern Railway) overpass in North Chicago, IL on the afternoon of July 13, 1955. In the foreground, we see the tracks of the Chicago North Shore & Milwaukee, the North Shore Line. North Chicago was also the original home of the Illinois Electric Railway Museum, which relocated to Union in the early 1960s. (Robert Selle Photo)

Recent Correspondence:

Miles Beitler writes:

This may be of interest to the history buffs — just before the opening day of Skokie Swift revenue service in 1964, the CTA ran free demonstration rides between Dempster and Howard. I was with a group of people on the Chicago Avenue bridge watching the trains coming in and out of Howard. I overheard a conversation among several of them, possibly CTA officials or workers, to the effect that the CRT/North Shore had originally planned for the tracks to run under Chicago Avenue and the C&NW but then to immediately rise and pass through the rest of Evanston on an embankment. However, this would have required the closing of Custer Avenue, which the City of Evanston refused to do. So the open cut was continued past Asbury, and the embankment did not begin until just east of Dodge.

Dave, you know much more about the Lake Street line than I do. How was the transition from 3rd rail to trolley poles done on Lake? Did they raise or lower the poles at Laramie, or was it done on the fly between Laramie and Central?

On Lake, the transition point was originally at Laramie, but some time prior to the 1962 changeover to the embankment, this was moved further west, to a point closer to Central, most likely to facilitate construction. This may have been done in 1961. I believe we have posted pictures in the past showing both changeover points.

Miles Beitler, again (in reference to some of the comments at the end of this post):

I want to clarify an earlier comment regarding when the Evanston Express began using track 1 between Howard and Granville. Andre Kristopans claimed that it wasn’t until the late ’60s, but I’m sure it was before that based on my personal knowledge and information from Graham Garfield. I mentioned that in my earlier comment — see the paragraph below — but let me expand on that.

Graham Garfield states on his website “No gauntlet track was needed for third rail clearance on Track 1 between Howard and Granville because there was no third rail there until November 1964, this section instead being solely powered by overhead wire.” Garfield also states that this is when SB afternoon Evanston Express trains began using track 1 out of Howard, but this may only be an assumption.

Why do I say that this may only be an assumption? Because elsewhere on his website, Garfield says:

“The year 1955 brought a new express service. On November 28th, the Shoppers Special service was reinstated on an experimental basis. The service ran Monday through Friday midday to the Loop using 6000-series cars 6123-6130 (specially equipped with trolley poles) and 5000-series cars 5001-5004. The Shoppers Special made all stops between Linden and South Boulevard, then Fullerton, the Merchandise Mart, and the Loop.”

So according to Garfield, these trains came from Evanston with their poles raised, and they breezed right through Howard without stopping. Were the poles quickly lowered while the train was passing Howard on track 2? It would seem more logical for the train to pass Howard on track 1, keeping its poles raised, and lower the poles at Granville instead. But then Garfield mentions that Howard was added as a stop the following year, and he displays a photo of a Shoppers Special stopped at Howard with its poles down. So I just don’t know which track these trains used, and perhaps Garfield isn’t sure either.

One point I’m absolutely clear on: I vividly recall watching from the Chicago Avenue (Evanston) bridge as North Shore trains approached Howard while the conductors or trainmen stood outside the cars and raised the trolley poles. Andre Kristopans confirmed this as well.

Prewar Chicago PCC 7010 is at the western terminal of Route 63 - 63rd Street, located at 63rd Place and Narragansett Avenue. After streetcars were cut back to this loop in 1948 (double-ended cars had previously gone a half mile west to Oak Park Avenue) this became a transfer point for buses heading west. This bus is heading to Argo, which is not the name of a suburb, but the name of a factory in suburban Summit that produced Argo corn starch. If you could see the front of the PCC, there were "tiger stripes," intended to make the cars more visible to motorists and pedestrians. PCCs ran on 63rd Street from 1948-52. (William Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

Prewar Chicago PCC 7010 is at the western terminal of Route 63 – 63rd Street, located at 63rd Place and Narragansett Avenue. After streetcars were cut back to this loop in 1948 (double-ended cars had previously gone a half mile west to Oak Park Avenue) this became a transfer point for buses heading west. This bus is heading to Argo, which is not the name of a suburb, but the name of a factory in suburban Summit that produced Argo corn starch. If you could see the front of the PCC, there were “tiger stripes,” intended to make the cars more visible to motorists and pedestrians. PCCs ran on 63rd Street from 1948-52. (William Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

Our resident South side expert M. E. writes:

Regarding
https://thetrolleydodger.files.wordpress.com/2019/04/img066-1.jpg
I want to discuss the name of the town. Is it Summit or Argo?

I remember using the names interchangeably. There was, and still is, Argo Community High School. But Amtrak and Metra call their station Summit.If you Google “Summit Illinois”, up comes another possibility: Summit-Argo.  If you go to http://www.usps.com/zip4 and enter the address 6400 Archer Av, which is where Corn Products (maker of Argo Starch) is located, up comes “6400 S Archer Rd, Summit Argo IL 60501-1935”. Finally, if you google “Corn Products Illinois”, up comes that same street address, but in Bedford Park.

All of which means the area southwest of 63rd and Archer is sort of in no-man’s-land.

OK, here’s a nit comment about the picture itself. The bus headed for Argo may have said Argo rather than Summit because there is no place to turn around at 63rd and Archer. So the bus probably had to turn left onto Archer and proceed to Corn Products’ parking lot in order to turn around.

There is no town called Argo… the entire area is Summit. The Argo name comes from the factory, which has led locals to nickname it “Summit-Argo.” Here is a map, which shows the area in question is Summit, even though there is an Argo High School:

M. E. replies:

If there is no town called Argo, wherefore cometh the name Summit Argo? Why not just Summit?

The only current pure use of the name Argo is for the high school. But why did that name originate? Might the town have been named Argo when the school began?

Here’s something interesting I just discovered at http://www.usps.com/zip4 . There, you can look up a ZIP code and see which cities have that ZIP code.
For 60501, I see:

Recommended city name
SUMMIT ARGO

Other city names recognized for addresses in this ZIP code
ARGO
BEDFORD PARK
SUMMIT

This tells me some people still use Argo as the town name.

Back to the CTA bus sign 63A ARGO. Why would the CTA do that? They could just as easily have accommodated 63A SUMMIT. I contend they used ARGO because the locals in that area called the town Argo. And I contend the town was called Argo because its largest employer, Corn Products, manufactured Argo Starch.

I have yet another source: A book titled “Train Watcher’s Guide to Chicago”, authored by John Szwajkart, dated 1976. It is accompanied by a map of railroad tracks in the entire Chicago area. The map shows two separate stations: Argo and Summit. The Argo station is south of Summit, around where Corn Products is located.

Finally, I fall back on what I remember calling that area when I was a kid. I called it Argo. Anecdotal, of course.

So it boils down to this: We can agree to disagree.

But isn’t this fun?

M E

The town of Summit was founded in 1890, and the Argo factory was started in 1907 in an unincorporated area to the south of Summit. Summit annexed it in 1911.

The USPS will accept names for areas that are not, strictly speaking, the actual municipal names. I can think of numerous instances of this happening. Sometimes, these are neighborhood nicknames. Such is the case with “Summit Argo.”

Interestingly, there is a film called Argo, which has nothing to do with Summit or Argo in Illinois.

Arrrgh!!!

-David Sadowski

Now Available On Compact Disc

RRC-OMTT
Railroad Record Club Traction Rarities – 1951-58
From the Original Master Tapes
# of Discs- 3
Price: $24.99


Railroad Record Club Traction Rarities – 1951-58
From the Original Master Tapes

Our friend Kenneth Gear recently acquired the original Railroad Record Club master tapes. These have been digitized, and we are now offering over three hours of 1950s traction audio recordings that have not been heard in 60 years.
Properties covered include:

Potomac Edison (Hagerstown & Frederick), Capital Transit, Altoona & Logan Valley, Shaker Heights Rapid Transit, Pennsylvania Railroad, Illinois Terminal, Baltimore Transit, Niagara St. Catharines & Toronto, St. Louis Public Transit, Queensboro Bridge, Third Avenue El, Southern Iowa Railway, IND Subway (NYC), Johnstown Traction, Cincinnati Street Railway, and the Toledo & Eastern

$5 from the sale of each set will go to Kenneth Gear, who has invested thousands of dollars to purchase all the remaining artifacts relating to William A. Steventon’s Railroad Record Club of Hawkins, WI. It is very unlikely that he will ever be able to recoup his investment, but we support his efforts at preserving this important history, and sharing it with railfans everywhere.

Disc One
Potomac Edison (Hagerstown & Frederick):
01. 3:45 Box motor #5
02. 3:32 Box motor #5, May 24, 1953
03. 4:53 Engine whistle signals, loco #12, January 17, 1954
04. 4:13 Loco #12
Capital Transit:
05. 0:56 PCC car 1557, Route 20 – Cabin John line, July 19, 1953
06. 1:43
Altoona & Logan Valley:
07. 4:00 Master Unit car #74, August 8, 1953
Shaker Heights Rapid Transit:
08. 4:17 Car 306 (ex-AE&FRE), September 27, 1953
09. 4:04
10. 1:39
Pennsylvania Railroad GG-1s:
11. 4:35 August 27, 1954
12. 4:51
Illinois Terminal:
13. 5:02 Streamliner #300, northward from Edwardsville, February 14, 1955
14. 12:40 Car #202 (ex-1202), between Springfield and Decatur, February 1955
Baltimore Transit:
15. 4:56 Car 5706, January 16, 1954
16. 4:45 Car 5727, January 16, 1954
Niagara, St. Catharines & Toronto:
17. 4:19 Interurbans #83 and #80, October 1954
18. 5:20 #80, October 1954
Total time: 79:30

Disc Two
St. Louis Public Service:
01. 4:34 PCCs #1708, 1752, 1727, 1739, December 6, 1953
Queensboro Bridge Company (New York City):
02. 5:37 Cars #606, 605, and 601, December 31, 1954
03. 5:17
Third Avenue El (New York City):
04. 5:07 December 31. 1954
05. 4:47 Cars #1797, 1759, and 1784 at 59th Street, December 31, 1954
Southern Iowa Railway:
06. 4:46 Loco #400, August 17, 1955
07. 5:09 Passenger interurban #9
IND Subway (New York City):
08. 8:40 Queens Plaza station, December 31, 1954
Last Run of the Hagerstown & Frederick:
09. 17:34 Car #172, February 20, 1954 – as broadcast on WJEJ, February 21, 1954, with host Carroll James, Sr.
Total time: 61:31

Disc Three
Altoona & Logan Valley/Johnstown Traction:
01. 29:34 (Johnstown Traction recordings were made August 9, 1953)
Cincinnati Street Railway:
02. 17:25 (Car 187, Brighton Car House, December 13, 1951– regular service abandoned April 29, 1951)
Toledo & Eastern:
03. 10:36 (recorded May 3-7, 1958– line abandoned July 1958)
Capital Transit:
04. 16:26 sounds recorded on board a PCC (early 1950s)
Total time: 74:02

Total time (3 discs) – 215:03


The Trolley Dodger On the Air

We appeared on WGN radio in Chicago last November, 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

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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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