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!
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.
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.”
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.”
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.”
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)
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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Looking north from Granville in 1966.
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.
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.
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”.
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.
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.
RGTS Rio Grande to Silverton: A Sound Portrait of Mountain Railroading Price: $14.99
These are vintage 1960 narrow gauge steam train recordings, in true stereo, and originally released on LP in 1961. It is long out of print.
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. 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!
Title Building Chicago’s Subways Images of America
Author David Sadowski
Publisher Arcadia Publishing (SC), 2018
ISBN 1467129380, 9781467129381
Length 128 pages Chapter Titles: 01. The River Tunnels 02. The Freight Tunnels 03. Make No Little Plans 04. The State Street Subway 05. The Dearborn-Milwaukee Subway 06. Displaced 07. Death of an Interurban 08. The Last Street Railway 09. Subways and Superhighways 10. Subways Since 1960 Building Chicago’s Subways is in stock and now available for immediate shipment. Order your copy today! All copies purchased through The Trolley Dodger will be signed by the author. The price of $23.99 includes shipping within the United States. For Shipping to US Addresses: For Shipping to Canada: For Shipping Elsewhere: 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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CTA pre-war PCCs 4016 and 4050 at Western and 79th, southern terminal of route 49. This picture was taken seconds after a similar one on page 363 of CERA Bulletin 146. That picture is dated May 1956 and is attributed to William C. Janssen.
The CTA terminal at Western and 79th today.
Here are more classic traction photos we recently acquired. While many are from Chicago, our trip this time takes us all around the country, and even across our northern border.
As always, if you have interesting tidbits of information to add, you can either post a Comment here, or drop us a line directly aat:
Don’t forget, if you click on each picture with your mouse, you can bring up a larger version in your browser, and zoom in on that one too for closer inspection.
When I got this slide, it was identified as being a station on the Garfield Park “L”. However, I did some further research, and it is actually the old Austin Boulevard stop on the Douglas Park line. The house and apartment buildings in the background are still there. The Douglas branch was cut back to 54th Avenue in 1952 and the former right-of-way is now used for parking. Locals still call it the “L” Strip.
The same view today.
CTA 2163-2164, then brand new, in the 54th Avenue Yard, west end of the Douglas Park “L” (now the Pink Line) in 1964. The roadway at left is where the line continued before it was cut back in 1952. (Walter Broschart Photo)
CTA 4002 is shown heading north on route 49 – Western on July 14, 1953. The photographer was up on the Logan Square “L” platform. The people at right are waiting for a southbound car at a safety island. In the distance, we see what was then the Bloomingdale freight spur of the Milwaukee Road, but is now part of the 606 Trail. Jim Huffman adds, “Photo #525. “CTA 4002 is shown heading north on route 49 – Western on July 14, 1953”, I feel is incorrect. 1. There is a 1955 Chevrolet on the left, precludes 1953. 2. 1-Man, Pre-War PCC were assigned in June 1955 (as well as 1-Man Post-Wars), prior to that Western used 2-Man Post-War PCCs only. Went Bus in June 1956. 3. People standing on the safety island are waiting at the end for the front door boarding of an 1-man car. Prior to 1-Man cars, they waited at the other end for the rear doors. 4. Although there is no proof, the 55 Chev looks somewhat used, I would say this is a 1956 photo.”
CSL single-truck mail car H2, apparently still operational, is shown years after streetcar RPO (Railway Post Office) service ended in 1915. It was scrapped on October 2, 1942. From the looks of the autos in the background, this picture may date to the 1920s.
CTA red Pullman 225 is shown here on a mid-1950s fantrip at the 77th Street Shops. The big man at front is Maurice Klebolt (1930-1988), who organized many such trips for the Illini Railroad Club. He later moved to San Francisco and helped start the historic trolley festival there. Car 225 is preserved at the Seashore Trolley Museum in Maine. (Chuck Wlodarczyk Photo)
On this fantrip, Maury is calling the shots. Looks like he’s wearing a tie with various railroad insignias.
Car 225 under makeshift cover at Seashore (Kennebunkport, Maine) in the late 1950s. (Walter Broschart Photo)
CSL 2601 is shown running on the last day of streetcar service on route 111 (111th Street), September 22, 1945. As for the exact location, Andre Kristopans says this is “probably just west of Indiana Av., looks like the school campus in background that is between King and Indiana to this day.”
CSL 4033 passes the Garfield Park field house on Madison in 1938.
CSL Pullman 318 is heading west on Fullerton in the mid-1930s picture. At right, you can just make out the marquee of the old Liberty Theatre, which opened in 1911 and closed in 1951. The building is now a banquet hall. Will Rogers’ name is on the marquee. The photo date is given as September 8, 1937 and I guess that is possible although Rogers died in August 1935.
The same area today.
The former Liberty Theatre at 3705 W. Fullerton.
CSL 7024 is westbound on Madison just west of the Chicago River in this September 8, 1937 view. The photo caption describes this as a “noiseless streetcar,” with magnetic air brakes and rubber cushioned wheels.
The view from 400 W. Madison today. We are looking to the southeast.
CTA 7093 is southbound on State Street near Lake, as a route 36 Broadway-State car. The film Scaramouche, playing at the State-Lake, was released on June 27, 1952, so that is the approximate date of this picture. Note a Chicago Motor Coach Company bus at left. The State-Lake opened in 1919 and closed in 1985. It was taken over by WLS-TV for use as a studio. (Walter Hulseweder Photo)
State and Lake today.
CTA 7051 is northbound at State and Delaware as a route 36 Broadway-State car in the early 1950s. (Walter Hulseweder Photo)
State and Delaware today, looking south.
CTA 1784, on route 16, has just turned from eastbound Lake Street south on Dearborn, and is passing the Selwyn Theater. A poster advertises Joan Bennett and Zachary Scott in the play Bell, Book and Candle. They took over those parts on May 9, 1952, which is the approximate date of this picture. Bell, Book and Candle was later made into a movie in 1958, starring James Stewart and Kim Novak. Michael Todd eventually bought the Harris and Selwyn later in the 1950s and they were converted into movie theaters. The facades of those two buildings have been saved and are now part of the Goodman Theater complex. (Walter Hulsweder Photo)
Dearborn and Lake today.
Joan Bennett and Zachary Scott in the 1952 off-Broadway version of Bell, Book and Candle.
Bell, Book and Candle helped inspire the later TV series Bewitched.
This undated photo shows the station (car house) at Cottage Grove and 38th. It is undated, but the newest car shown here was built in 1912. So a good guess would be sometime between 1912 and the early 1920s, when streetcars were painted red to make them more visible to motorists. Several cars can be identified in this picture. From left to right, I see 5368, 5357, 5364, 5378, 5707, 5802, 5782, 5743, 5759, 5736, 5386, 5706, and 5348. All are either Brill-American-Kuhlman cars, or Nearsides. Streetcars last ran out of Cottage Grove in 1955, after which the building was demolished.
A close-up of four unidentified men in the photo. Presumably, all worked out of the Cottage Grove station.
It’s April 23, 1939, and Chicago & West Towns cars 140 and 141 are operating on an early Central Electric Railfans’ Association fantrip. Car 141, the lone survivor of the fleet, is now restored to operable condition at the Illinois Railway Museum.
New Site Additions
FYI, these Birney car pictures have been added to Our 150th Post (August 6, 2016):
Fort Collins Municipal Railway “Birney” car 21, at the intersection of Johnson and Mountain Avenues. (Ward Photo)
Restored FCMR 21 as it appeared on May 14, 1995. (Mark D. Meyer Photo)
FCMR 22 on October 26, 1949. Its paint scheme is described as green, red, and aluminum.
FCMR 25 at the car barn. (Ward Photo)
Many other cities had Birneys, of course. Here, we see Brantford (Ontario) Municipal Railway car 137 on July 1, 1935. This was ex-Lock Haven, Pa. Electric Railway car #2. (George Slyford Photo)
In this mid-1950s view, Village of East Troy Railway freight motor M-15 is shown here in East Troy, Wisconsin, near the power station which now serves as the waiting room for the East Troy Electric Railroad museum operation. It was built by TMER&L in 1920 and is now preserved at the Illinois Railway Museum. (Walter Broschart Photo)
Montreal Tramways had four of these unique observation cars in their fleet, which were used for sightseeing tours. Here, car #3 is at St. Joseph’s Shrine on August 14, 1948. All four cars have been preserved, and car 3 is now at Exporail, the Canadian Railway Museum. A few years ago, I rode the very similar car #2 at the Seashore Trolley Museum.
This picture shows Red Arrow Brilliner 8 and an older car at the end of the Ardmore branch on May 15, 1949. It looks like the older car is in fantrip service, while the Brilliner is the regular service car ahead of it. The Ardmore branch was replaced by buses in 1966.
Here, Red Arrow Brill Master Unit 86 is the regular service car at the end of the line in West Chester, with the older fantrip car behind it. Again, the date is May 15, 1949.
The photo caption reads, “Two car streamline train arriving at Norristown, looking up from R. R. tracks.” The date is May 12, 1935, meaning these “Bullet” cars were just a few years old.
This picture was added to Chicago’s Pre-PCCs (May 5, 2015):
Baltimore Transit Company car 6105, shown here on route 15 – Ostend St., is one of the last modern streetcars built before PCCs took over the market. The sign on front says that September 7 will be the last day for 6 hour local rides. Perhaps that can help date the picture.
The Lackawanna & Wyoming Valley (aka the Laurel Line) was a Scranton-area interurban powered by third rail, much as the Chicago, Aurora & Elgin was. Here, we see coach #37 in Scranton on September 9, 1950. The line quit at the end of 1952. There were no takers for these cars and all were scrapped. It has been suggested that perhaps CA&E might have benefited from buying some of these cars, although it does seem they were too long for tight turns on the Chicago “L”. However, I do not know if this would have prevented them from running on the CA&E after the system was cut back to Forest Park. In any case, CA&E had previously reduced the length of other cars purchased from the Baltimore & Annapolis in 1938. What was missing in 1953, apparently, was a willingness to continue trying to operate.
The Hagerstown & Frederick was a Maryland interurban in sparsely populated rural areas, a veritable real-life “Toonerville Trolley.” Despite having practically no ridership, it subsisted on freight and somehow managed to survive into the mid-1950s. Here, we see freight motor #5 in Frederick, Maryland on April 11, 1954. (Gene Connelly Photo)
In some sense, the Charles City Western in Iowa was comparable to the Hagerstown & Frederick, in that it had sparse ridership, yet managed to survive into the 1950s with freight. Here we see combine 50 in March 1937. Don’s Rail Photos notes, “50 was built by McGuire-Cummings in 1915. It became Iowa Terminal 101 in December 1964. It was sent to Mount Pleasant and restored as CCW 50. It was then sent to Boone & Scenic Valley RR.” Vintage audio of the Charles City Western in operation can be heard on Railroad Record Club disc #28, which is available on compact disc via our Online Store.
The Omaha & Council Bluffs Street Railway operated between Nebraska and Iowa. Here, car 814 is shown in Council Bluffs in September 1936, unloading passengers next to a natty-looking 1935 V8 Ford Sedan Delivery, advertising Old gold cigarettes. I assume this car was built by O&CB in 1908 and was rebuilt in 1932, possibly to convert it to one-man service. If so, riders would board at the rear and pay as they left through the front. Note the “people catcher” device at front.
Virginia Sammis writes:
I wrote you once before, and I was hoping you might be able to help me again. I am still trying to find CSL employee photos. I had a researcher in Chicago spend some hours looking at the CHM archives of the CSL newsletter and she did find Gustav Johnson’s brief obituary in there for 1946. But very few photos. Do you know of any other place I might find photos of employees of CSL?
(She had written some months ago, looking for information on Gustav Johnson, who emigrated to America around 1880, worked for the Chicago Surface Lines, and died in 1946.)
The employee newsletter would have been the best bet. However, I do know a genealogist, and I can ask her to see what she can find out.
In the CTA era, which started in October 1947, the newsletter ran more pictures of retirees, of which there were many. However, we are talking about several thousands of people working there at any one given time, so the odds of finding one person are not good.
If you know which routes, or which car houses (aka “stations”) he might have worked at, that would help.
I just got a picture (see elsewhere in this post) showing four guys standing outside the car barn at Cottage Grove and 38th, taken in the early 20th century, but have no way of knowing who the people in the picture are.
I will run your request in my blog, and see what other people might suggest.
Ms. Sammis replied:
This is what his obituary said: “Gustave Johnsen, 84, motorman from Devon, died 11-22-46, after along illness. He had been with the company for 35 years.”
It was actually spelled Gustav Johnson. Does that mean that he would have reported to work every day at the Devon Station at 6454 N. Clark St/Devon St.? Also, can you confirm that a “motorman” was the engineer on the trolley and the “conductor” collected the fares?
Thank you for your help David. I am determined to find a photograph of Gustav SOMEWHERE!
Yes, that means he worked out of the Devon station, or car house. And yes, the motorman operated the streetcar, while the conductor collected the fares. We have run lots of pictures in previous posts showing streetcars at or near Devon station. You can find those by typing Devon into the search window at the top of this page.
Our resident South Side expert M. E. writes:
Your latest post, Recent Finds Part 2, includes a photo of the carbarn at 38th and Cottage Grove. This photo obviates my wild guess that perhaps the photo ostensibly of the 69th and Ashland carbarn instead might have been the 38th & Cottage barn. (See our previous post Recent Finds, December 2, 2016.)
This observation, together with the Campbell barn label (Campbell is nowhere near Cottage Grove), cements my opinion that you are correct saying the previous photo is of the 69th and Ashland carbarn.
None of which solves the mysteries of why there are so many 4 Cottage Grove cars at the 69th and Ashland barn, and how they got there from Cottage Grove.
It’s a mystery, alright… hopefully one we will eventually clear up, thanks!
Kenneth Gear writes:
Hi David. I’ve been falling behind on my reading lately and just today read the latest Trolley Dodger “Recent Finds 2”.
I was very interested in the photo of Hagerstown & Frederick Railway freight motor # 5.
Back in 2008 while chasing and photographing the Maryland Midland RR train UBHF from Union Bridge to Highfield, I was surprised to find H&F freight motor #5 displayed at the former site of the H&F Thurmont Station along Main Street.
It was apparently under going restoration at the time. The building in the background is a former H&F electric sub station. I’m not sure how this restoration has progressed in the ensuing years, but here is the photo I took back on March 9, 2008:
Thanks! Good to know this car was saved. Here’s what Don’s Rail Photos says: “5 was built by H&F in 1920. It was retired in 1955 and went to Shade Gap Electric Ry. It then was returned to home by H&F Ry Historical Society.”
About the line in general, Don Ross adds:
“It’s hard to describe the H&F since it seems to be more of a country trolley than an interurban line. Yet they did operate freight service and covered some 76 miles of line in western Maryland. It was the last passenger interurban east of Chicago. The H&F was a consolidation of several lines dating back to 1902. They joined together in 1913. Abandonments began in 1932. In 1938 the main line was cut so that there were two separate sections, one at Hagerstown, and the other at Frederick. The Hagerstown line finally quit in 1947, but the Frederick to Thurmont passenger service lasted until February 20, 1954. Freight service was later dieselized but lasted only until 1958.”
I checked and it looks like the car went from the Rockhill Trolley Museum to Thurmont in 2006. The car is now owned by the City and there are trucks under the body.
As for the Shade Gap name, here is how the Wikipedia explains it:
The museum operates what has been historically referred to as the Shade Gap Electric Railway to demonstrate the operable pieces in its collection. “Shade Gap” refers to the name of a branch of the East Broad Top Railroad, from whom the museum leases it property.
Charles Turek writes:
re: Recent Finds, Part 2 – image dave513.jpg
Having grown up at 27th & Harvey in Berwyn, IL, effective walking distance from Austin/Cermak in the 1950s, I can confirm the station is, indeed, Austin on the Douglas Park line. The distinctive chain gate, which was atypical for the line, was my first clue. I used to find this gate fascinating to watch and enjoyed hearing the pulleys (in the towers on each side of Austin) crank it up and down. This was a very busy area in those days and the chain gate was effective in stopping traffic in both lanes that would otherwise attempt to get past standard gates to make the signals at Cermak Road. Nonetheless, the gateman who holed up in the little house in front of the station was still necessary.
Love your web pages and visit them often.
Stained Glass from New York’s Third Avenue El
FYI, to raise money to help fund the original research we do on this site, we are selling two unique artifacts— decorative stained glass, circa 1878, from stations on the old IRT Third Avenue El in New York, which was torn down in 1955. We purchased these several years ago from a noted New York collector.
You can check out our eBay auction here. This may be your only opportunity to own a true piece of history from that fabled line, which has yet to be replaced more than 60 years after it was abandoned.
New Book Project
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