Old and Improved

The view of the Lake Street "L", looking northwest at Paulina on October 20, 1953. The station that is partly visible was called Lake Street Transfer, and had not been used since 1951. Meanwhile, there is new steel added to the "L" structure here to create a new connection with the old Met "L". This was used by Douglas Park trains from 1954-58, and Pink Line trains today. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

The view of the Lake Street “L”, looking northwest at Paulina on October 20, 1953.
The station that is partly visible was called Lake Street Transfer, and had not been used since 1951. Meanwhile, there is new steel added to the “L” structure here to create a new connection with the old Met “L”.
This was used by Douglas Park trains from 1954-58, and Pink Line trains today. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

Life is full of things that are touted as new and improved, but today we present some things that are both old and improved– images made better through use of today’s improved technology.

Some railfans remain wedded to film technology and are suspicious of digital. Often, they say that a film image is permanent, while a digital image is not– that is represents something intangible, while a 35mm slide is something you can hold in your hand.

While it would be wonderful if film images were permanent, especially color images, after scanning tens of thousands of them, I can assure you that such is not the case. Nearly all vintage color slides show some evidence of fading over time, even Kodachrome slides. In addition, they can be scratched, become dirty, lost, or damaged.

Digital has other important advantages– you can see the picture right away, so there is a much shorter learning curve, and once you have the camera, there is no need to buy film, which can be expensive.

Earlier this year I became the custodian of my late friend Jeff Wien‘s image collection, which included those taken by the late William C. Hoffman. Some of the Hoffman slides have been circulating for many years in the form of duplicates, many of which are now 25 years old themselves.

A digital image will look the same 100 years from now as it does today. It won’t get scratched, fingerprinted, or fade over time. It can be copied numerous times, and each copy will be an exact replica of the original, perfect in every detail. On the other hand, when a slide is copied by conventional means, there is always a loss of quality with each succeeding generation.

When taken by a high quality digital camera, in general your results will also be better than with a film camera today. Chances are it will be sharper and have better color.

It will take a long time to digitize the original Hoffman slides and others now in my collection. But I have worked on some. Each of the original slides I have scanned has improved sharpness over the duplicates, but in one or two instances, I have been unable to improve the color, because the original has continued to fade or color shift in the 25 years or more since the duplicates were made. This was most evident in early Ektachrome slides from the late 1950s to early 60s, which are known for having unstable dyes.

Many of these have color shifted to red. What actually has happened is the dyes that are not red have faded badly.

This was a problem that Kodak worked quickly to solve more than 55 years ago, and should not make you concerned about the color films available today.

One of my goals is to share definitive versions of the Hoffman slides, that I hope will stand the test of time, preserving their important historical information for future generations to come.

We also have many other recent photo finds to share today, and others from the collections of William Shapotkin.

Keep those cards and letters coming in, folks!

-David Sadowski

Recent Finds

The Chicago Surface Lines put the first of 83 prewar PCCs into service in November 1936, and all ended service in June 1956 on Route 49 - Western. This picture, showing 4004 loaded onto a flat car, with the trucks and pole removed, was probably taken in either late 1956 or early 1957, when the car was taken from South Shops to a local scrapyard.

The Chicago Surface Lines put the first of 83 prewar PCCs into service in November 1936, and all ended service in June 1956 on Route 49 – Western. This picture, showing 4004 loaded onto a flat car, with the trucks and pole removed, was probably taken in either late 1956 or early 1957, when the car was taken from South Shops to a local scrapyard.

We received no information with this medium format negative, but it shows Washington, D.C. streetcar 1557 and one other near the Capitol Building in the early 1950s. The last DC streetcar (of its original era) ran in 1962, but a new line has since started.

We received no information with this medium format negative, but it shows Washington, D.C. streetcar 1557 and one other near the Capitol Building in the early 1950s. The last DC streetcar (of its original era) ran in 1962, but a new line has since started.

A close-up of 1557, showing it was signed for the Cabin John line.

A close-up of 1557, showing it was signed for the Cabin John line.

One of the two North Shore Line Electroliners on its February 8, 1941 inaugural trip. This image is taken from the original negative. The location is Harmswoods.

One of the two North Shore Line Electroliners on its February 8, 1941 inaugural trip. This image is taken from the original negative. The location is Harmswoods.

NSL freight loco 459 at work.

NSL freight loco 459 at work.

An Electroliner at the Milwaukee Terminal, possibly circa 1942-46.

An Electroliner at the Milwaukee Terminal, possibly circa 1942-46.

The view looking east along the Metropolitan "L" at Marshfield on June 6, 1950. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

The view looking east along the Metropolitan “L” at Marshfield on June 6, 1950. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

The "L" and bridge on this portion of the Jackson Park branch has since been cut back to Cottage Grove. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

North Shore Line car 251 crosses the CTA bridge over the Illinois Central tracks on May 15, 1960 on a fantrip. North Shore Line cars had traveled here as late as 1938 before they terminated at Roosevelt Road instead.
The old Tower Theater is visible at left.
The “L” and bridge on this portion of the Jackson Park branch has since been cut back to Cottage Grove. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

On May 15, 1960, a northbound CTA Jackson Park train is at 61st Street, while North Shore Line car 251, at left, is on a fantrip, running to places where NSL cars had not been since 1938. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

On May 15, 1960, a northbound CTA Jackson Park train is at 61st Street, while North Shore Line car 251, at left, is on a fantrip, running to places where NSL cars had not been since 1938. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

Carl Edward Hedstrom Jr. (1918-2009) congratulating Carl Edward Hedstrom Sr. (1889-1978) on his retirement as a South Shore Line engineer in Michigan City, Indiana on October 30, 1960. Senior worked for the railroad from 1921 to 1960, while Junior also worked as a motorman there from 1939 to 1983. (Michigan City News Dispatch Photo)

Carl Edward Hedstrom Jr. (1918-2009) congratulating Carl Edward Hedstrom Sr. (1889-1978) on his retirement as a South Shore Line engineer in Michigan City, Indiana on October 30, 1960. Senior worked for the railroad from 1921 to 1960, while Junior also worked as a motorman there from 1939 to 1983. (Michigan City News Dispatch Photo)

South Shore Line #100 at Van Buren Street, bound for South Bend.

South Shore Line #100 at Van Buren Street, bound for South Bend.

An unidentified South Shore engineer.

An unidentified South Shore engineer.

South Shore Line coach #5 at Randolph Street Station in Chicago, Illinois on April 20, 1949. The motorman is Carl Edward Hedstrom, Sr. (Carl Edward Hedstrom, Jr. Photo)

South Shore Line coach #5 at Randolph Street Station in Chicago, Illinois on April 20, 1949. The motorman is Carl Edward Hedstrom, Sr. (Carl Edward Hedstrom, Jr. Photo)

A South Shore Line float in a Michigan City parade.

A South Shore Line float in a Michigan City parade.

South Shore Line dispatcher Al Kams.

South Shore Line dispatcher Al Kams.

A pair of 4000s are departing from the old Randolph and Wabash "L" station on the Loop. The picture isn't older than 1959, as the Sun-Times/Daily News Building is in the background. It could be dated further, depending on whether those cars still have their trolley poles, which I think they do. Those were only needed until 1962. The 4000s were replaced by 2000s on Lake Street starting in 1964. Until 1969, the Loop was unidirectional, running counterclockwise, so these cars are heading away from us.

A pair of 4000s are departing from the old Randolph and Wabash “L” station on the Loop. The picture isn’t older than 1959, as the Sun-Times/Daily News Building is in the background. It could be dated further, depending on whether those cars still have their trolley poles, which I think they do. Those were only needed until 1962. The 4000s were replaced by 2000s on Lake Street starting in 1964. Until 1969, the Loop was unidirectional, running counterclockwise, so these cars are heading away from us.

CTA red Pullman 144, which is now at the Illinois Railway Museum. Not sure whether this photo was taken during a 1950s fantrip, as so many other pictures were. Mike Franklin: "Heading west on Kinzie Street just west of Dearborn. Tribune Building in the distance."

CTA red Pullman 144, which is now at the Illinois Railway Museum. Not sure whether this photo was taken during a 1950s fantrip, as so many other pictures were. Mike Franklin: “Heading west on Kinzie Street just west of Dearborn. Tribune Building in the distance.”

CTA 3146 at Marion Street in Oak Park, running on the (then) ground-level portion of the Lake Street "L". Don's Rail Photos: "3146 was built by St. Louis Car in 1901 as LSERR 146. It was renumbered 3146 in 1913 and became CRT 3146 in 1923."

CTA 3146 at Marion Street in Oak Park, running on the (then) ground-level portion of the Lake Street “L”. Don’s Rail Photos: “3146 was built by St. Louis Car in 1901 as LSERR 146. It was renumbered 3146 in 1913 and became CRT 3146 in 1923.”

This looks like a Met "L" line, but which one? The sign on the train is too fuzzy to read, but I can make out the word "Park," which narrows it down to Garfield Park, Humboldt Park, or Douglas Park, and excludes Logan Square. Daniel Joseph: "My guess (is) this is at Independence Boulevard with the Garfield Park station in the background."

This looks like a Met “L” line, but which one? The sign on the train is too fuzzy to read, but I can make out the word “Park,” which narrows it down to Garfield Park, Humboldt Park, or Douglas Park, and excludes Logan Square. Daniel Joseph: “My guess (is) this is at Independence Boulevard with the Garfield Park station in the background.”

This is the old Ogden Avenue station on the Garfield Park "L", on August 22, 1953. This station closed on September 27 and the structure here was demolished soon thereafter. Garfield trains were temporarily relocated to run on ground level in Van Buren Street.

This is the old Ogden Avenue station on the Garfield Park “L”, on August 22, 1953. This station closed on September 27 and the structure here was demolished soon thereafter. Garfield trains were temporarily relocated to run on ground level in Van Buren Street.

6000s at Chicago Avenue on the Ravenswood.

6000s at Chicago Avenue on the Ravenswood.

From the Collections of William Shapotkin

On March 25, 1962, NSL cars 771, 415, 753, and 251 are on a Central Electric Railfans' Association fantrip at the Isabella station in Evanston, where no North Shore cars had been since the Shore Line Route was abandoned in 1955. (William C. Hoffman Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

On March 25, 1962, NSL cars 771, 415, 753, and 251 are on a Central Electric Railfans’ Association fantrip at the Isabella station in Evanston, where no North Shore cars had been since the Shore Line Route was abandoned in 1955. (William C. Hoffman Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

CSL 1266, when it was being used as a salt car.(William Shapotkin Collection)

CSL 1266, when it was being used as a salt car.(William Shapotkin Collection)

CSL 205 is on Route 6, and is apparently westbound, heading to Van Buren and Kedzie. Streetcars were replaced by buses on this route in 1951, and from 1953-58, Garfield Park "L" trains ran on Van Buren, between Sacramento Boulevard and Aberdeen (William Shapotkin Collection) Daniel Joseph adds: "My uneducated guess this may be at Kedzie and Douglas with a #12-Roosevelt heading to the car barn. Note the divided boulevard with a parkway and West Side Park District street lamps. But I do not see a traffic signal for the part of the boulevard traveling to the left. If that street is not part of the boulevard, this could be Van Buren and Sacramento." Since the car is signed for Route 6 - Van Buren, I am going to go with Van Buren and Sacramento.

CSL 205 is on Route 6, and is apparently westbound, heading to Van Buren and Kedzie. Streetcars were replaced by buses on this route in 1951, and from 1953-58, Garfield Park “L” trains ran on Van Buren, between Sacramento Boulevard and Aberdeen (William Shapotkin Collection) Daniel Joseph adds: “My uneducated guess this may be at Kedzie and Douglas with a #12-Roosevelt heading to the car barn. Note the divided boulevard with a parkway and West Side Park District street lamps. But I do not see a traffic signal for the part of the boulevard traveling to the left. If that street is not part of the boulevard, this could be Van Buren and Sacramento.” Since the car is signed for Route 6 – Van Buren, I am going to go with Van Buren and Sacramento.

CTA red Pullman 249 on the Kedzie route. (William Shapotkin Collection)

CTA red Pullman 249 on the Kedzie route.
(William Shapotkin Collection)

CSL 3245 is signed for Pershing Road (39th Street). (William Shapotkin Collection)

CSL 3245 is signed for Pershing Road (39th Street). (William Shapotkin Collection)

CSL 1682 is at Lake and Austin, west end of Route 16, with a West Towns streetcar across the border in suburban Oak Park. The Park Theater, at right, closed around 1952. (William Shapotkin Collection)

CSL 1682 is at Lake and Austin, west end of Route 16, with a West Towns streetcar across the border in suburban Oak Park. The Park Theater, at right, closed around 1952. (William Shapotkin Collection)

CSL 2821, signed to go to 115th and Halsted. (William Shapotkin Collection)

CSL 2821, signed to go to 115th and Halsted.
(William Shapotkin Collection)

The Route 22 streetcar means this is Clark Street, and I believe that's the old Astor Theater at right, so this is Clark and Madison looking south. The film Murder in the Fleet was released in 1935, but from the looks of the autos, this is a few years later, so most likely about 1938. (William Shapotkin Collection)

The Route 22 streetcar means this is Clark Street, and I believe that’s the old Astor Theater at right, so this is Clark and Madison looking south. The film Murder in the Fleet was released in 1935, but from the looks of the autos, this is a few years later, so most likely about 1938. (William Shapotkin Collection)

A nice colorized postcard view of the Met "L" twin bridges over the Chicago River. (William Shapotkin Collection)

A nice colorized postcard view of the Met “L” twin bridges over the Chicago River. (William Shapotkin Collection)

Oddly enough, the Chicago Transit Authority used a CSL bus sign when it extended service to Skokie via Route 97 in 1948. This was CTA's first suburban bus route, and replaced the Niles Center branch of the "L". This picture was taken on June 4, 1950. (William C. Hoffman Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

Oddly enough, the Chicago Transit Authority used a CSL bus sign when it extended service to Skokie via Route 97 in 1948. This was CTA’s first suburban bus route, and replaced the Niles Center branch of the “L”. This picture was taken on June 4, 1950. (William C. Hoffman Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

The view looking north along Michigan Avenue at Madison Street on December 12, 1949, shows no less than four Chicago Motor Coach buses, including a double-decker. The CTA purchased the CMC assets on October 1, 1952. (William C. Hoffman Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

The view looking north along Michigan Avenue at Madison Street on December 12, 1949, shows no less than four Chicago Motor Coach buses, including a double-decker. The CTA purchased the CMC assets on October 1, 1952. (William C. Hoffman Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

Washington and Wells, looking east, on June 8, 1950. Milwaukee Avenue buses share the street with a Chicago Motor Coach double-decker. (William C. Hoffman Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

Washington and Wells, looking east, on June 8, 1950. Milwaukee Avenue buses share the street with a Chicago Motor Coach double-decker. (William C. Hoffman Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

Washington and Clark on June 8, 1950. (William C. Hoffman Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

Washington and Clark on June 8, 1950. (William C. Hoffman Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

On May 18, 1954, a Route 8 - Halsted streetcar shares wire with a Chicago Avenue trolley bus by the Montgomery Wards complex. We are looking west. The Halsted car is on diversion trackage. (William C. Hoffman Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

On May 18, 1954, a Route 8 – Halsted streetcar shares wire with a Chicago Avenue trolley bus by the Montgomery Wards complex. We are looking west. The Halsted car is on diversion trackage. (William C. Hoffman Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

The view looking north along Larrabee Street at Chicago Avenue, by the Montgomery Wards complex. The tower is for switching Milwaukee Road freight trains. (William C. Hoffman Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

The view looking north along Larrabee Street at Chicago Avenue, by the Montgomery Wards complex. The tower is for switching Milwaukee Road freight trains. (William C. Hoffman Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

On May 16, 1954, red Pullmans 473 and 479 were used on a fantrip, two weeks before red cars were retired from service and replaced with buses on several routes. Streetcars were able to use trackage here on Irving Park Road in emergencies, since Route 80 had already been converted to use trolley buses.(William C. Hoffman Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

On May 16, 1954, red Pullmans 473 and 479 were used on a fantrip, two weeks before red cars were retired from service and replaced with buses on several routes. Streetcars were able to use trackage here on Irving Park Road in emergencies, since Route 80 had already been converted to use trolley buses.(William C. Hoffman Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

On July 3, 1950, a CTA trolley bus operates on the 51-55 Route on 51st Street near the South Side "L". (William C. Hoffman Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

On July 3, 1950, a CTA trolley bus operates on the 51-55 Route on 51st Street near the South Side “L”. (William C. Hoffman Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

CTA trolley bus 234 is on Route 51-55 at 51st and Campbell on June 12, 1950, while streetcar tracks here are actually being removed. In most places they were simply paved over. The CTA later renumbered all their trolley buses, with the addition of a "9" before their existing digits. (William C. Hoffman Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

CTA trolley bus 234 is on Route 51-55 at 51st and Campbell on June 12, 1950, while streetcar tracks here are actually being removed. In most places they were simply paved over. The CTA later renumbered all their trolley buses, with the addition of a “9” before their existing digits. (William C. Hoffman Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

The view looking north from the old Loop "L" station at State and Van Buren on July 25, 1954. (William C. Hoffman Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

The view looking north from the old Loop “L” station at State and Van Buren on July 25, 1954. (William C. Hoffman Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

CTA PCC 7240 is on State Street at Van Buren, heading south on Route 36. (William C. Hoffman Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

CTA PCC 7240 is on State Street at Van Buren, heading south on Route 36. (William C. Hoffman Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

CTA PCC 7162 turns from south State Street to westbound Polk on April 19, 1956, on the very last piece of new streetcar track built in Chicago. (William C. Hoffman Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

CTA PCC 7162 turns from south State Street to westbound Polk on April 19, 1956, on the very last piece of new streetcar track built in Chicago. (William C. Hoffman Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

Polk and Dearborn on April 19, 1956. (William C. Hoffman Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

Polk and Dearborn on April 19, 1956. (William C. Hoffman Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

Looking north along Dearborn Street on November 26, 1954, after both Clark and Dearborn were converted to one-way streets. The Monadnock Building is at left. (William C. Hoffman Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

Looking north along Dearborn Street on November 26, 1954, after both Clark and Dearborn were converted to one-way streets. The Monadnock Building is at left. (William C. Hoffman Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

The off-street loop at 63rd Place and Narragansett on July 1, 1951, used by Route 63 streetcars and the bus that went west of there to Argo-Summit. (William C. Hoffman Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

The off-street loop at 63rd Place and Narragansett on July 1, 1951, used by Route 63 streetcars and the bus that went west of there to Argo-Summit. (William C. Hoffman Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

On May 16, 1954, CTA red Pullman 579 is at the Western and 79th turnaround loop on a CERA fantrip. During this period, streetcars were used on Western during weekdays only, so the fantrip cars did not impede regular traffic. (William C. Hoffman Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

On May 16, 1954, CTA red Pullman 579 is at the Western and 79th turnaround loop on a CERA fantrip. During this period, streetcars were used on Western during weekdays only, so the fantrip cars did not impede regular traffic. (William C. Hoffman Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

CTA PCC 7235 at Western and 41st on August 14, 1955. (William C. Hoffman Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

CTA PCC 7235 at Western and 41st on August 14, 1955. (William C. Hoffman Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

Retired CSL bus BW-18 and trolley bus 9186, on the scrap line at South Shops on June 15, 1958. (William C. Hoffman Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

Retired CSL bus BW-18 and trolley bus 9186, on the scrap line at South Shops on June 15, 1958. (William C. Hoffman Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

On April 10, 1955, we see various vehicles awaiting scrap at South Shops, including a streetcar trailer in the 8000-series, trolley buses 9114, 9071, and sleet cutter bus BW-108. (William C. Hoffman Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

On April 10, 1955, we see various vehicles awaiting scrap at South Shops, including a streetcar trailer in the 8000-series, trolley buses 9114, 9071, and sleet cutter bus BW-108. (William C. Hoffman Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

On October 31, 1954, we see some older trolley buses, including 9114, ready for scrapping at South Shops, along with some red Pullman streetcars. (William C. Hoffman Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

On October 31, 1954, we see some older trolley buses, including 9114, ready for scrapping at South Shops, along with some red Pullman streetcars. (William C. Hoffman Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

Kenosha Trip

I recently visited Kenosha, Wisconsin, rode the two-mile trolley there, and sought out the former North Shore Line station. After the interurban was abandoned in 1963, the building became the Spaghetti Station for some years, and is now a school. Additions have been added to the north and west sides. Trains did not run in the side street here, but behind the part of the building that is visible now.

A Sign of the Times

This sign from the Poplar Avenue station in Elmhurst on the Chicago Aurora & Elgin, recently sold on eBay for $1424. Yes, that is a lot of money, but it is also an expression of its historical importance. Note the expert brush work, done by hand. Hopefully the sign will eventually make its way to a museum for the benefit of all.

Did Not Win

Resources are always limited, and for every image we are the successful bidders on, there are others that slip through our fingers. Here are a few that fell into the latter category.

I am not sure just where this picture was taken, showing a westbound four-car train of CA&E woods, headed up by 317. The C&NW is at left. Guesses have so far included Glen Ellyn, Lombard, and Wheaton.

I am not sure just where this picture was taken, showing a westbound four-car train of CA&E woods, headed up by 317. The C&NW is at left. Guesses have so far included Glen Ellyn, Lombard, and Wheaton.

Two Electroliners meet in Waukegan by William D. Volkmer, 1/16/60.

Two Electroliners meet in Waukegan by William D. Volkmer, 1/16/60.

Dempster Street, Skokie 1/16/60, photographer unknown (probably also taken by William D. Volkmer, it just wasn't marked as such).

Dempster Street, Skokie 1/16/60, photographer unknown (probably also taken by William D. Volkmer, it just wasn’t marked as such).

A three-car train in Lake Bluff by William D. Volkmer, 10/8/60.

A three-car train in Lake Bluff by William D. Volkmer, 10/8/60.

NSL 420 in Mundelein by Robert E. Bruneau, 8/20/61. Don's Rail Photos: "420 was was built by Pullman in 1928 as an observation. It was out of service by 1932. On July 21, 1943, it reentered service as a motorized coach. It was sold to Seashore Trolley Museum in 1963."

NSL 420 in Mundelein by Robert E. Bruneau, 8/20/61. Don’s Rail Photos: “420 was was built by Pullman in 1928 as an observation. It was out of service by 1932. On July 21, 1943, it reentered service as a motorized coach. It was sold to Seashore Trolley Museum in 1963.”

This postcard (with a 1910 postmark) shows that the use of "L" for elevated railway was not confined exclusively to Chicago.

This postcard (with a 1910 postmark) shows that the use of “L” for elevated railway was not confined exclusively to Chicago.

A train of CTA 6000s at the old Stony Island terminal on the Jackson Park branch.

A train of CTA 6000s at the old Stony Island terminal on the Jackson Park branch.

The Trolley Dodger On the Air

I recently appeared on the Dave Plier Show on WGN radio, to discuss Chicago’s Lost “L”s. You can hear that discussion here.

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

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

A northbound midday express train passes the 18th Street "L" station, just prior to the October 1943 opening the State Street Subway. The new signals that controlled access to the subway are already in place. A wooden Pullman-built trailer, built around the turn of the century, is being pushed by two early 1920s 4000-series cars. Once the subway opened, all 455 steel-bodied cars were needed there, and mixed consists such as these became a thing of the past. When the Chicago Transit Authority made a major revision of north-south service in 1949, the third track here was taken out of service, and was eventually removed. (Chicago Transit Authority Historical Collection)

A northbound midday express train passes the 18th Street “L” station, just prior to the October 1943 opening the State Street Subway. The new signals that controlled access to the subway are already in place. A wooden Pullman-built trailer, built around the turn of the century, is being pushed by two early 1920s 4000-series cars. Once the subway opened, all 455 steel-bodied cars were needed there, and mixed consists such as these became a thing of the past. When the Chicago Transit Authority made a major revision of north-south service in 1949, the third track here was taken out of service, and was eventually removed. (Chicago Transit Authority Historical Collection)

We are pleased to report that our new book Chicago’s Lost “L”s is now 100% finished, and will be released by Arcadia Publishing on July 12, 2021.  The final proofing process took several days, as there were a number of changes I wanted to make.

We have already received pre-orders for more than 60 copies, better than either of our two previous books.  You will find ordering information at the end of this post, and also on our Online Store.

How does a book like this get made? I am sure the process varies for every author, but for me, it starts out with an idea. I wanted to do a book about the “L”, but I also wanted it to be different than any of the others that are out there.

Once I had settled on my theme, and had determined the chapter titles, I started looking at images, lots of them. I have a collection of perhaps 30,000 digitized images, and I went through all of them– three times. I put the 500 or so images that I considered “possibles” into a folder, and from this, I continued the winnowing down process, until I had a more reasonable number (there are usually around 230 images or so in this type of book).

But this was just the start of the work. I had to put the images into an order that made sense, and then try to write captions for them.

In the process of doing this, it became clear to me that each and every image in the book had to have a clear purpose for being there, and couldn’t just be a place holder. If I couldn’t come up with an interesting and informative caption, there was really no point in including that particular photo.

That’s when the narrative of the book starts to become clear, and you eventually figure out what the story is you are trying to tell. You see what’s missing, and have to seek out the missing images that will help you fill the holes in your narrative.  Often, these have to be purchased outright, and many of the images in the book are taken from original negatives and slides in our own collections, all made possible by your purchases and donations.

Over the course of many months, nearly half the images in my lineup got replaced by others. It’s always the oldest pictures that are the hardest to find. This process took longer for Chicago’s Lost “L”s because of the delays caused by the pandemic.

A book such as this is a partnership between the author and the publisher. They have requirements and standards of their own, and once a book is written and submitted, things go back and forth between author and editor several times, until everyone is happy with the results.

Every effort has been made to make this the best and most comprehensive book on this subject, and we sincerely hope you will enjoy reading it!

In today’s post, (part one of two) we feature some of the images that ultimately were not selected for the book. But they are still interesting in their own right, and we hope they will whet your appetite for Chicago’s Lost “L”s. We’ll see you nexdt time with another batch of outtakes.

-David Sadowski

PS- FYI, we have a Facebook auxiliary for the Trolley Dodger, which currently has 354 members.

This is how the end of the Jackson Park "L" looked for many years at 63rd Street and Stony Island Avenue. The "L" had gone about a block further east during the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition to connect to the experimental Columbian Intramural Railway. In this early 1950s view, a CTA 63rd Street bus has turned the corner onto Stoney Island, as this was the end of the line. Behind the "L" station, we can see a sign advertising the Tower Theater, open from 1926 to 1956, built by the Lubliner and Trinz chain. (Chicago Transit Authority Historical Collection)

This is how the end of the Jackson Park “L” looked for many years at 63rd Street and Stony Island Avenue. The “L” had gone about a block further east during the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition to connect to the experimental Columbian Intramural Railway. In this early 1950s view, a CTA 63rd Street bus has turned the corner onto Stoney Island, as this was the end of the line. Behind the “L” station, we can see a sign advertising the Tower Theater, open from 1926 to 1956, built by the Lubliner and Trinz chain. (Chicago Transit Authority Historical Collection)

Inventor Frank Julian Sprague was hired by the South Side "L" to equip their cars with electricity (powered by third rail) and multiple unit operation, his latest invention. Here, "L" car 139 is being tested on Harrison Curve on April 16, 1898. (Chicago Transit Authority Historical Collection)

Inventor Frank Julian Sprague was hired by the South Side “L” to equip their cars with electricity (powered by third rail) and multiple unit operation, his latest invention. Here, “L” car 139 is being tested on Harrison Curve on April 16, 1898. (Chicago Transit Authority Historical Collection)

Service on the South Side "L" began under steam power, as seen here in this 1893 view of a train on 63rd Street just west of Cottage Grove. Locomotive #41 was built by Baldwin. Steam was replaced by electricity in the late 1890s. (Chicago Transit Authority Historical Collection)

Service on the South Side “L” began under steam power, as seen here in this 1893 view of a train on 63rd Street just west of Cottage Grove. Locomotive #41 was built by Baldwin. Steam was replaced by electricity in the late 1890s. (Chicago Transit Authority Historical Collection)

The Normal Park "L" was the shortest branch on the rapid transit system. Here we see the end of the line at 69th Street, looking east in 1949. The terminal here was designed for extension, but this did not come to pass. This branch closed in 1954. The sign on the train indicates it is a Ravenswood Express. (Chicago Transit Authority Historical Collection)

The Normal Park “L” was the shortest branch on the rapid transit system. Here we see the end of the line at 69th Street, looking east in 1949. The terminal here was designed for extension, but this did not come to pass. This branch closed in 1954. The sign on the train indicates it is a Ravenswood Express. (Chicago Transit Authority Historical Collection)

Shortly before the Stock Yards branch was discontinued in 1957, a single-car wooden train heads west towards the Exchange station. (Chicago Transit Authority Historical Collection)

Shortly before the Stock Yards branch was discontinued in 1957, a single-car wooden train heads west towards the Exchange station. (Chicago Transit Authority Historical Collection)

In this view at Adams and Wabash station circa 1939, we see the rears of two "L" cars that are both heading away from us, as both Loop tracks then ran in a counter-clockwise direction. The train at left is a Lake Street "L", while the one at right may have been working in north-south service. (Chicago Transit Authority Historical Collection)

In this view at Adams and Wabash station circa 1939, we see the rears of two “L” cars that are both heading away from us, as both Loop tracks then ran in a counter-clockwise direction. The train at left is a Lake Street “L”, while the one at right may have been working in north-south service. (Chicago Transit Authority Historical Collection)

This circa 1910 view of Indiana Junction on the South Side "L" looks to the southwest. Once branch lines were opened here, going to Kenwood and the Stock Yards, this became a busy transfer point. The "L" tracks here ran parallel to 40th Street and were adjacent to the Chicago Junction Railway's freight line, seen at right. A southbound Jackson Park Express train runs on the middle track, turning south, with its next stop at 43rd Street. (Chicago Transit Authority Historical Collection)

This circa 1910 view of Indiana Junction on the South Side “L” looks to the southwest. Once branch lines were opened here, going to Kenwood and the Stock Yards, this became a busy transfer point. The “L” tracks here ran parallel to 40th Street and were adjacent to the Chicago Junction Railway’s freight line, seen at right. A southbound Jackson Park Express train runs on the middle track, turning south, with its next stop at 43rd Street. (Chicago Transit Authority Historical Collection)

The South Side "L" was Chicago's first, and was also known as the Alley "L". On September 5, 1890, a connecting span is raised at what became the 35th Street station. Service began in 1892. (Chicago Transit Authority Historical Collection)

The South Side “L” was Chicago’s first, and was also known as the Alley “L”. On September 5, 1890, a connecting span is raised at what became the 35th Street station. Service began in 1892. (Chicago Transit Authority Historical Collection)

Frank Lloyd Wright designed the triangular Stohr Arcade Building at Wilson Avenue and Broadway in 1909, part of which was underneath the Northwestern "L" structure. Within a decade of its construction, "L" service led to rapid development of the Uptown neighborhood, and the Stohr Arcade was replaced by Arthur U. Gerber's Uptown Union Station in 1923. (Krambles-Peterson Archive)

Frank Lloyd Wright designed the triangular Stohr Arcade Building at Wilson Avenue and Broadway in 1909, part of which was underneath the Northwestern “L” structure. Within a decade of its construction, “L” service led to rapid development of the Uptown neighborhood, and the Stohr Arcade was replaced by Arthur U. Gerber’s Uptown Union Station in 1923. (Krambles-Peterson Archive)

The view looking north from the Wilson Avenue Lower Terminal between 1909 and 1922, showing the Stohr Arcade Building at the intersection of Wilson and Broadway. (Krambles-Peterson Archive)

The view looking north from the Wilson Avenue Lower Terminal between 1909 and 1922, showing the Stohr Arcade Building at the intersection of Wilson and Broadway. (Krambles-Peterson Archive)

We are looking east from Exchange on the Stock Yards branch. The time is circa 1949.

We are looking east from Exchange on the Stock Yards branch. The time is circa 1949.

The stations on the Stock Yards loop had but one side platform, as there was only a single track. This is the Armour station,

The stations on the Stock Yards loop had but one side platform, as there was only a single track. This is the Armour station,

A two-car train of wooden "L" cars on the single-track Stock Yards branch in 1946. This photo has been attributed to Charles Keevil.

A two-car train of wooden “L” cars on the single-track Stock Yards branch in 1946. This photo has been attributed to Charles Keevil.

CTA 1780 heads up an "A" train at Marion Street in Oak Park. The ground-level portion of the Lake Street "L" was relocated onto the nearby C&NW embankment in 1962. This picture was probably taken between 1948 and 1955.

CTA 1780 heads up an “A” train at Marion Street in Oak Park. The ground-level portion of the Lake Street “L” was relocated onto the nearby C&NW embankment in 1962. This picture was probably taken between 1948 and 1955.

Service to Wilson Avenue via the "L" commenced in 1900, but the lower-level station did not open until March 5, 1907, with this modest station house designed by Arthur U. Gerber. In the book, I chose to use a different image, taken on opening day, that shows the other side of this building and the lower level tracks.

Service to Wilson Avenue via the “L” commenced in 1900, but the lower-level station did not open until March 5, 1907, with this modest station house designed by Arthur U. Gerber. In the book, I chose to use a different image, taken on opening day, that shows the other side of this building and the lower level tracks.

A 1908 view of the Argyle station on the Northwestern "L", shortly after service was extended between Uptown and Evanston at ground level. The "L" took over tracks belonging to the Milwaukee Road via a lease arrangement. By 1915, the "L' was gradually being elevated here onto a new embankment, which is now itself in the process of being rebuilt after a century of use. (Chicago Transit Authority Historical Collection)

A 1908 view of the Argyle station on the Northwestern “L”, shortly after service was extended between Uptown and Evanston at ground level. The “L” took over tracks belonging to the Milwaukee Road via a lease arrangement. By 1915, the “L’ was gradually being elevated here onto a new embankment, which is now itself in the process of being rebuilt after a century of use. (Chicago Transit Authority Historical Collection)

This circa 1952 shot of CTA 6097-6098 was taken from the LaSalle and Van Buren platform, looking west towards the junction at Wells and Van Buren. In the distance, you can see the Franklin Street station, used by Metropolitan "L" trains. It was not on the Loop itself. (George Trapp Collection)

This circa 1952 shot of CTA 6097-6098 was taken from the LaSalle and Van Buren platform, looking west towards the junction at Wells and Van Buren. In the distance, you can see the Franklin Street station, used by Metropolitan “L” trains. It was not on the Loop itself. (George Trapp 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)

We are looking west along Harrison at Wabash on November 12, 1928. In 2003, the Chicago Transit Authority straightened out this jog with a section of new “L” structure, occupying the area where the building at left once was.

The old Cermak Road station on the south Side "L". Note there are three tracks here. This station was closed in 1977 and removed. A new station replaced it in 2015.

The old Cermak Road station on the south Side “L”. Note there are three tracks here. This station was closed in 1977 and removed. A new station replaced it in 2015.

A train of 4000s, signed for Jackson Park via the Subway, in 1947. If I am reading the sign correctly, this is 31st Street, a station the CTA closed in 1949. There was also apparently a Chicago White Sox home game when this picture was taken. M. E. writes: "pict673.jpg features a Jackson Park train at 31st St. Notice three tracks. The middle track was used, although I am unsure under what circumstances. One possibility that comes to mind is that the Kenwood line (until it became a shuttle out of Indiana Ave.) ran on this trackage into the Loop and up to Wilson. The Kenwood was a local. The Englewood and Jackson Park trains sometimes bypassed the Kenwood locals using the middle track. There were switches up and down the line to enable moving to and from the middle track. Another possibility is that at one point the North Shore ran trains south as far as 63rd and Dorchester (1400 East) on the Jackson Park line. Perhaps some CNS&M trains used the middle track. One impossibility is that the Englewood and Jackson Park trains used the middle track the whole way from south of Indiana Ave. to the Loop. I say this was not possible because all the stations on this line were on the outer sides of the outside tracks. I don't recall any Englewood or Jackson Park trains running express on the middle track along this stretch. By the way, prior to the 1949 changes, only the Jackson Park line ran north to Howard. The Englewood ran to Ravenswood (to Lawrence and Kimball)."

A train of 4000s, signed for Jackson Park via the Subway, in 1947. If I am reading the sign correctly, this is 31st Street, a station the CTA closed in 1949. There was also apparently a Chicago White Sox home game when this picture was taken. M. E. writes: “pict673.jpg features a Jackson Park train at 31st St. Notice three tracks. The middle track was used, although I am unsure under what circumstances. One possibility that comes to mind is that the Kenwood line (until it became a shuttle out of Indiana Ave.) ran on this trackage into the Loop and up to Wilson. The Kenwood was a local. The Englewood and Jackson Park trains sometimes bypassed the Kenwood locals using the middle track. There were switches up and down the line to enable moving to and from the middle track.
Another possibility is that at one point the North Shore ran trains south as far as 63rd and Dorchester (1400 East) on the Jackson Park line. Perhaps some CNS&M trains used the middle track.
One impossibility is that the Englewood and Jackson Park trains used the middle track the whole way from south of Indiana Ave. to the Loop. I say this was not possible because all the stations on this line were on the outer sides of the outside tracks. I don’t recall any Englewood or Jackson Park trains running express on the middle track along this stretch.
By the way, prior to the 1949 changes, only the Jackson Park line ran north to Howard. The Englewood ran to Ravenswood (to Lawrence and Kimball).”

61st Street on the South Side "L", looking north on November 13, 1944.

61st Street on the South Side “L”, looking north on November 13, 1944.

This old photo shows South Side Rapid Transit car 131 at 63rd Street in 1899. Note the wires on the tops of the cars, which were used for current collection via overhead wire in yard areas that did not yet have third rail installed. (George Trapp Collection)

This old photo shows South Side Rapid Transit car 131 at 63rd Street in 1899. Note the wires on the tops of the cars, which were used for current collection via overhead wire in yard areas that did not yet have third rail installed. (George Trapp Collection)

A track map of the Kenwood branch, which ran between Indiana Avenue and 42nd Place. It branched off the South Side "L".

A track map of the Kenwood branch, which ran between Indiana Avenue and 42nd Place. It branched off the South Side “L”.

A track map showing the Stock Yard branch, which operated as a shuttle starting at Indiana Avenue on the South Side "L". It didn't really have an end of the line, since part of the line ran in a single-track loop.

A track map showing the Stock Yard branch, which operated as a shuttle starting at Indiana Avenue on the South Side “L”. It didn’t really have an end of the line, since part of the line ran in a single-track loop.

CTA 2067-2068 head up a westbound Lake Street train in June 1965.

CTA 2067-2068 head up a westbound Lake Street train in June 1965.

A two-car train of 4000s is on the Lake Street "L" during construction of the Northwest (now Kennedy) expressway on February 25, 1958. The new highway opened in 1960. Further south, the Garfield Park "L" also crossed the highway footprint and had to be shored up around the same time this photo was taken. But once the new Congress rapid transit line opened on June 22, 1958 the Garfield line was no longer needed and the structure was removed where it crossed the highway, cutting the line off from the rest of the system. The remaining portions of structure west of there were removed in 1959; east of there, parts remained until 1964. The Lake Street "L", on the other hand, rechristened the Green Line, is still here.

A two-car train of 4000s is on the Lake Street “L” during construction of the Northwest (now Kennedy) expressway on February 25, 1958. The new highway opened in 1960. Further south, the Garfield Park “L” also crossed the highway footprint and had to be shored up around the same time this photo was taken. But once the new Congress rapid transit line opened on June 22, 1958 the Garfield line was no longer needed and the structure was removed where it crossed the highway, cutting the line off from the rest of the system. The remaining portions of structure west of there were removed in 1959; east of there, parts remained until 1964. The Lake Street “L”, on the other hand, rechristened the Green Line, is still here.

This is an inspection train at the Lake Street Transfer "L" station, which provided connections between the Lake Street "L", on the lower level, and the Metropolitan above. The higher level station was closed in February 1951, when the Dearborn-Milwaukee subway opened.

This is an inspection train at the Lake Street Transfer “L” station, which provided connections between the Lake Street “L”, on the lower level, and the Metropolitan above. The higher level station was closed in February 1951, when the Dearborn-Milwaukee subway opened.

CTA 3119, signed as a Lake Street local, is being stored on the third track at Hamlin in August 1948. By then, A/B "skip stop" service had been in effect for some months. It's possible this car was no longer being used on the line. Don's Rail Photos: "3119 was built by St. Louis Car in 1902 as LSERR 119. In 1913 it was renumbered 3119 and became CRT 3119 in 1923."

CTA 3119, signed as a Lake Street local, is being stored on the third track at Hamlin in August 1948. By then, A/B “skip stop” service had been in effect for some months. It’s possible this car was no longer being used on the line. Don’s Rail Photos: “3119 was built by St. Louis Car in 1902 as LSERR 119. In 1913 it was renumbered 3119 and became CRT 3119 in 1923.”

CRT S-200 in the Lake and Hamlin yard. Don's Rail Photos says, "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." In this photo, it looks like it is being used to string trolley wire. You can see the ramp leading up to the "L" at right. (George Trapp Collection)

CRT S-200 in the Lake and Hamlin yard. Don’s Rail Photos says, “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.” In this photo, it looks like it is being used to string trolley wire. You can see the ramp leading up to the “L” at right. (George Trapp Collection)

An eastbound Garfield Park train approaches the Loop in the 1940s, crossing over the Chicago River. (Chicago Transit Authority Historical Collection)

An eastbound Garfield Park train approaches the Loop in the 1940s, crossing over the Chicago River. (Chicago Transit Authority Historical Collection)

This may be an "as new" photo showing Metropolitan West Side "L" car 876. Don's Rail Photos: "2873 thru 2887 were built by Pullman in 1906 as M-WSER 873 thru 887. In 1913 they were renumbered 2873 thru 2887 and in 1923 they became CRT 2873 thru 2987." (George Trapp Collection)

This may be an “as new” photo showing Metropolitan West Side “L” car 876. Don’s Rail Photos: “2873 thru 2887 were built by Pullman in 1906 as M-WSER 873 thru 887. In 1913 they were renumbered 2873 thru 2887 and in 1923 they became CRT 2873 thru 2987.” (George Trapp Collection)

A Douglas Park "B" train heads west at Halsted on the Met main line, prior to the removal of two tracks for expressway construction.

A Douglas Park “B” train heads west at Halsted on the Met main line, prior to the removal of two tracks for expressway construction.

A two car CRT "L" train in December 1935, heading west toward the Douglas Pak "L"s end-of-the-line at Oak Park Avenue in Berwyn.

A two car CRT “L” train in December 1935, heading west toward the Douglas Pak “L”s end-of-the-line at Oak Park Avenue in Berwyn.

The Pulaski station on the Douglas Park "L" on May 10, 1958. There was a yard there at the time. This was once the western terminus of Douglas, and the curved track visible here was part of a turning loop. (Lawrence H. Boehuring Photo)

The Pulaski station on the Douglas Park “L” on May 10, 1958. There was a yard there at the time. This was once the western terminus of Douglas, and the curved track visible here was part of a turning loop. (Lawrence H. Boehuring Photo)

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

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

A night shot of CTA 2810 and 2818 in the Laramie Yards on February 1, 1957. By then, the Congress Expressway was open as far as Laramie and was adjacent to the Garfield Park "L". It was still under construction west of here, and the "L" ran on temporary trackage. (Robert Selle Photo)

A night shot of CTA 2810 and 2818 in the Laramie Yards on February 1, 1957. By then, the Congress Expressway was open as far as Laramie and was adjacent to the Garfield Park “L”. It was still under construction west of here, and the “L” ran on temporary trackage. (Robert Selle Photo)

The CRT Westchester branch at Roosevelt Road, circa 1929-1930. Service along this line opened in 1926, and when the line was extended, local officials insisted that tracks not cross Roosevelt at grade, thereby necessitating this grade separation project. The platform at left was later moved into the open cut, although the original station house was retained. Service to Mannheim began in 1930. The line was abandoned in 1951. We are looking north. (George Trapp Collection)

The CRT Westchester branch at Roosevelt Road, circa 1929-1930. Service along this line opened in 1926, and when the line was extended, local officials insisted that tracks not cross Roosevelt at grade, thereby necessitating this grade separation project. The platform at left was later moved into the open cut, although the original station house was retained. Service to Mannheim began in 1930. The line was abandoned in 1951. We are looking north. (George Trapp Collection)

A track map showing the Metropolitan "L" branches going to Logan Square and Humboldt Park (Lawndale). All four Met lines came together at Marshfield.

A track map showing the Metropolitan “L” branches going to Logan Square and Humboldt Park (Lawndale). All four Met lines came together at Marshfield.

The Logan Square terminal in 1946. "L" service terminated here from 1895 to 1970, when the CTA extended service to the northwest via a new subway. A portion of this building still exists, although considerably altered. (Chicago Transit Authority Historical Collection)

The Logan Square terminal in 1946. “L” service terminated here from 1895 to 1970, when the CTA extended service to the northwest via a new subway. A portion of this building still exists, although considerably altered. (Chicago Transit Authority Historical Collection)

A Metropolitan "L" motorman in the early 1900s.

A Metropolitan “L” motorman in the early 1900s.

The Humboldt Park "L" station at Lawndale Avenue (3700 W), which was the end of the line. There was just the one platform here. Since the Met hoped to eventually extend the line (which never happened), there was no terminal as such, and trains were stored on the other two tracks when not in use.

The Humboldt Park “L” station at Lawndale Avenue (3700 W), which was the end of the line. There was just the one platform here. Since the Met hoped to eventually extend the line (which never happened), there was no terminal as such, and trains were stored on the other two tracks when not in use.

You would be forgiven for not recognizing this location, but that's the Western Avenue station on the Humboldt Park "L", just north of North Avenue. The station was closed in 1952, probably just a few months before this picture was taken. If the station was open, there would be a sign advertising this, similar to ones seen in some of the other pictures in this post. You can also see trolley bus wires, used on North Avenue. PCC 7151 is a two-man car, and passengers are boarding at the rear. This portion of the old Humboldt Park line was not demolished for another decade, and the story goes that it would have been used by Chicago Aurora & Elgin interurban trains as a midday storage area, if service on that line could have continued after 1957.

You would be forgiven for not recognizing this location, but that’s the Western Avenue station on the Humboldt Park “L”, just north of North Avenue. The station was closed in 1952, probably just a few months before this picture was taken. If the station was open, there would be a sign advertising this, similar to ones seen in some of the other pictures in this post. You can also see trolley bus wires, used on North Avenue. PCC 7151 is a two-man car, and passengers are boarding at the rear. This portion of the old Humboldt Park line was not demolished for another decade, and the story goes that it would have been used by Chicago Aurora & Elgin interurban trains as a midday storage area, if service on that line could have continued after 1957.

Robert Selle took this photo on June 21, 1958, looking out the front window of a northbound CTA Douglas Park train. We are about to pass the old Met station at Madison Street on the Logan Square-Humboldt Park branch, unused since 1951. From 1954 to 1958, Douglas trains were routed downtown over the Lake Street "L" via a new connection seen off in the distance. This is the current route of the CTA Pink Line, but the day after this picture was taken, Douglas trains began using the Congress-Dearborn-Milwaukee subway instead.

Robert Selle took this photo on June 21, 1958, looking out the front window of a northbound CTA Douglas Park train. We are about to pass the old Met station at Madison Street on the Logan Square-Humboldt Park branch, unused since 1951. From 1954 to 1958, Douglas trains were routed downtown over the Lake Street “L” via a new connection seen off in the distance. This is the current route of the CTA Pink Line, but the day after this picture was taken, Douglas trains began using the Congress-Dearborn-Milwaukee subway instead.

Our Latest Book, Now Available for Pre-Order:

Chicago’s Lost “L”s

Arcadia Publishing will release our new book Chicago’s Lost “L”s on July 12, 2021. Reserve your copy today!

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)

Keep those cards and letters coming in, folks!

-David Sadowski

Help Support The Trolley Dodger

This is our 267th post, and we are gradually creating a body of work and an online resource for the benefit of all railfans, everywhere. To date, we have received over 767,000 page views, for which we are very grateful.
You can help us continue our original transit research by checking out the fine products in our Online Store.
As we have said before, “If you buy here, we will be here.”
We thank you for your support.
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Your financial contributions help make this web site better, and are greatly appreciated.

May Showers

On October 10, 1952, an eastbound five-car Garfield Park "L" train approaches Western Avenue, where photographer William C. Hoffman was standing. The temporary trackage on Van Buren Street, visible at right, was then under construction.

On October 10, 1952, an eastbound five-car Garfield Park “L” train approaches Western Avenue, where photographer William C. Hoffman was standing. The temporary trackage on Van Buren Street, visible at right, was then under construction.

April showers, as they say, bring May flowers. That kind of fits today’s post, since there is always a lot of preliminary work involved in what we do. In fact, you could say we have been working on this one for a month.

It’s finally taken root, and now you can stop and smell the roses! We have about 100 classic traction photos for you to enjoy.  Most are our own, and some are from the collections of our friend William Shapotkin.

We also have two new products available. You can pre-order our new book Chicago’s Lost “L”s, and also purchase A Tribute to the North Shore Line, a two-hour DVD presentation put together in 2013 by the late Jeffrey L. Wien and Bradley Criss.

-David Sadowski

PS- FYI, we have a Facebook auxiliary for the Trolley Dodger here, which currently has 320 members.

Our Latest Book, Now Available for Pre-Order:

Chicago’s Lost “L”s

Arcadia Publishing will release our new book Chicago’s Lost “L”s on July 12, 2021. Reserve your copy today!

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.

For Shipping to US Addresses:

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For Shipping Elsewhere:

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)

Recent Finds

The LaSalle Street tunnel under the Chicago River, shown prior to when it was rebuilt for use by cable cars in the 1880s. It had opened on July 4, 1871. This is one-half of a stereo photo.

The LaSalle Street tunnel under the Chicago River, shown prior to when it was rebuilt for use by cable cars in the 1880s. It had opened on July 4, 1871. This is one-half of a stereo photo.

A northbound Jackson Park-Howard "B: train descends into the State Street Subway sometime in the 1970s. A Lake-Dan Ryan train, made up of 2000s and 2200s, is on the nearby "L" structure.

A northbound Jackson Park-Howard “B: train descends into the State Street Subway sometime in the 1970s. A Lake-Dan Ryan train, made up of 2000s and 2200s, is on the nearby “L” structure.

An Englewood-Howard "A" train of 6000s in the State Street Subway in the 1970s.

An Englewood-Howard “A” train of 6000s in the State Street Subway in the 1970s.

This photo, showing a South Shore Line train running in the street in East Chicago, Indiana, must have been taken just prior to the relocation of these tracks in 1956. Since then, they have run next to the Indiana Toll Road. The location is on Chicago Street at Magoun Avenue, less than a mile east of the Indiana Toll Road. The train appears to be heading east. That's a 1955 or '56 Buick at left across the street.