Milwaukee Then and Now

Photographer Richard H. Young took this picture of North Shore Line car 157 at the Milwaukee Terminal on June 16, 1962 during a fantrip. It must have been taken at nearly the exact same time as a photo we ran some time ago, which was somewhat controversial, and shows the same scene from a different angle, with the Milwaukee Road train shed off in the distance, behind car 157.

Photographer Richard H. Young took this picture of North Shore Line car 157 at the Milwaukee Terminal on June 16, 1962 during a fantrip. It must have been taken at nearly the exact same time as a photo we ran some time ago, which was somewhat controversial, and shows the same scene from a different angle, with the Milwaukee Road train shed off in the distance, behind car 157.

The same location today.

The same location today.

The other slide, also from the same June 16, 1962 fantrip.

The other slide, also from the same June 16, 1962 fantrip.

Looking east along Clybourn today.

Looking east along Clybourn today.

Most of today’s post is by guest author and historian Larry Sakar, who takes us on a journey following the North Shore Line interurban’s former path through Milwaukee. We hope that you will enjoy it.

Larry is the author of Speedrail: Milwaukee’s Last Rapid Transit? published in 1991 by Interurbans Press.  Used copies are available through Amazon and other booksellers.

Larry was inspired, in part, by some of the Milwaukee photos we ran in our recent post Trick or Treat (October 31 2021). We will have more such pictures in future posts.

-David Sadowski

PS- You might also like our Trolley Dodger Facebook auxiliary, a private group that now has 596 members.

Auction for Rare North Shore Line Ticket Cabinet From Dempster Street Station, Skokie

FYI, much as I would like to think otherwise, you can’t keep everything. And thus I have reluctantly decided to part with the original North Shore Line ticket cabinet from the Dempster Street Station in Skokie, which was willed to me earlier this year by my late friend Jeffrey L. Wien. The proceeds will help to underwrite the cost of the Trolley Dodger blog.

The auction ends the evening of Saturday, November 20th. Full details are here:
https://www.ebay.com/itm/125004938263

Milwaukee Then and Now by Larry Sakar

From sometime in 1920 until January 21 1963, the downtown (main) station of the Chicago North Shore & Milwaukee Railroad was on the southeast corner of North 6th and West Sycamore Streets. In the 1930 renaming of Milwaukee streets West Sycamore became West Michigan Streets. The first photo shows a train laying over at the station in the evening. Date and photographer unknown.

From sometime in 1920 until January 21 1963, the downtown (main) station of the Chicago North Shore & Milwaukee Railroad was on the southeast corner of North 6th and West Sycamore Streets. In the 1930 renaming of Milwaukee streets West Sycamore became West Michigan Streets. The first photo shows a train laying over at the station in the evening. Date and photographer unknown.

After the North Shore Line abandoned operations on January 21 1963, the former station sat vacant until late May into early June 1964 when it was razed to make way for another downtown Milwaukee parking lot. This Tom Manz aerial photo shows the southwest corner of track 1 or where track 1 used to be. You are looking west at the intersection of North 6th Street and West Clybourn Street. Note the start of the 6th Street viaduct at bottom left. The overhead catenary bridges stood for many years post-abandonment. West Clybourn Avenue continues across the intersection with North 6th Street. The angled street seen branching odd immediately left of Clybourn Avenue is the start of West Saint Paul Ave. In North Shore's day Saint Paul Avenue did not go east of North 6th Street, nor did it cross beneath the 6th Street viaduct. The street that is today Saint Paul Avenue east of North 6th Street was known as West Fowler Street in North Shore Line's day and contained nothing but warehouses. Saint Paul Avenue continued east of North 6th Street starting in 1965 when the new Milwaukee Road passenger station opened on now West Saint Paul Avenue and North 5th Street. Today it has become the Milwaukee Intermodal station serving Amtrak and several bus lines. Today (2021) the site of the Milwaukee North Shore line Station is occupied by Secura Insurance Company.

After the North Shore Line abandoned operations on January 21 1963, the former station sat vacant until late May into early June 1964 when it was razed to make way for another downtown Milwaukee parking lot. This Tom Manz aerial photo shows the southwest corner of track 1 or where track 1 used to be. You are looking west at the intersection of North 6th Street and West Clybourn Street. Note the start of the 6th Street viaduct at bottom left. The overhead catenary bridges stood for many years post-abandonment. West Clybourn Avenue continues across the intersection with North 6th Street. The angled street seen branching odd immediately left of Clybourn Avenue is the start of West Saint Paul Ave. In North Shore’s day Saint Paul Avenue did not go east of North 6th Street, nor did it cross beneath the 6th Street viaduct. The street that is today Saint Paul Avenue east of North 6th Street was known as West Fowler Street in North Shore Line’s day and contained nothing but warehouses. Saint Paul Avenue continued east of North 6th Street starting in 1965 when the new Milwaukee Road passenger station opened on now West Saint Paul Avenue and North 5th Street. Today it has become the Milwaukee Intermodal station serving Amtrak and several bus lines. Today (2021) the site of the Milwaukee North Shore line Station is occupied by Secura Insurance Company.

North Shore trains leaving the 6th & Michigan Streets Milwaukee station cut across the intersection of North 6th Street and West Clybourn Avenue, made a curve to the left and entered the north approach to the 6th Street viaduct. There are four viaducts across the Menomonee River Valley in Milwaukee. All of them run north-south. They are 6th Street, 16th Street, 27th Street, and 35th Street. The North Shore line had exclusive access to the 6th Street viaduct. North Shore Line's competitor The Milwaukee Electric Railway and Light Company operated streetcars over both the 16th and 27th Street viaducts. The 35th Street viaduct was the last of the four to be built. The Route 35 streetcar line ended at West Mount Vernon Avenue and did not cross the viaduct. After Route 35 was converted to Trackless trolley wire was erected and trolleybuses ran across the viaduct. Today Route 35 diesel buses of the Milwaukee County Transit System operate across all four viaducts. Post-NSL abandonment the North Shore Line's rails remained intact but the overhead catenary bridges were removed in later years. The condition of the bridge in the 1990s had become so bad that buses and trucks were banned. Traffic was confined to the inner two lanes. Pieces of the 6th Street viaduct were actually falling off. (1951 Don Ross Photo)

North Shore trains leaving the 6th & Michigan Streets Milwaukee station cut across the intersection of North 6th Street and West Clybourn Avenue, made a curve to the left and entered the north approach to the 6th Street viaduct. There are four viaducts across the Menomonee River Valley in Milwaukee. All of them run north-south. They are 6th Street, 16th Street, 27th Street, and 35th Street. The North Shore line had exclusive access to the 6th Street viaduct. North Shore Line’s competitor The Milwaukee Electric Railway and Light Company operated streetcars over both the 16th and 27th Street viaducts. The 35th Street viaduct was the last of the four to be built. The Route 35 streetcar line ended at West Mount Vernon Avenue and did not cross the viaduct. After Route 35 was converted to Trackless trolley wire was erected and trolleybuses ran across the viaduct. Today Route 35 diesel buses of the Milwaukee County Transit System operate across all four viaducts. Post-NSL abandonment the North Shore Line’s rails remained intact but the overhead catenary bridges were removed in later years. The condition of the bridge in the 1990s had become so bad that buses and trucks were banned. Traffic was confined to the inner two lanes. Pieces of the 6th Street viaduct were actually falling off. (1951 Don Ross Photo)

The 6th Street viaduct was torn down in 2000. The scrappers nwere selling sections of North Shore Line rail to anyone willing to pay their exorbitant asking price. It has been rebuilt into two separate bridges which meet at ground level at West Canal Street. The decision to make it into two bridges which meet at Canal Street was likely influenced by the opening of the Potawatomi Hotel and Bingo Casino at North 17th and West Canal Streets. (Christopher N. Barney Photo)

The 6th Street viaduct was torn down in 2000. The scrappers nwere selling sections of North Shore Line rail to anyone willing to pay their exorbitant asking price. It has been rebuilt into two separate bridges which meet at ground level at West Canal Street. The decision to make it into two bridges which meet at Canal Street was likely influenced by the opening of the Potawatomi Hotel and Bingo Casino at North 17th and West Canal Streets. (Christopher N. Barney Photo)

North Shore Line tracks on the 6th St. viaduct. (1989 Christopher N. Barney Photo)

North Shore Line tracks on the 6th St. viaduct. (1989 Christopher N. Barney Photo)

North Shore Line trains continued south on South 6th Street until West Scott Street. Here they made a left turn and followed West Scott Street south for one block on a curvy part of the right-of-way for one block east to South Fifth Street where they turned right onto South Fifth Street. Their next stop was West Greenfield Avenue.

North Shore Line trains continued south on South 6th Street until West Scott Street. Here they made a left turn and followed West Scott Street south for one block on a curvy part of the right-of-way for one block east to South Fifth Street where they turned right onto South Fifth Street. Their next stop was West Greenfield Avenue.

The city of Milwaukee or the county (I'm not sure which) purchased that one block. Today southbound traffic on South 6th Street turns onto what is left of that one block and makes the nearly identical turn to get to West Greenfield Avenue which is the first ramp to southbound Interstate Highway 94 south of downtown Milwaukee. The former factory seen in many photos of North Shore Line trains at this location still stands and is in use for low income housing. (Christopher N. Barney Photo)

The city of Milwaukee or the county (I’m not sure which) purchased that one block. Today southbound traffic on South 6th Street turns onto what is left of that one block and makes the nearly identical turn to get to West Greenfield Avenue which is the first ramp to southbound Interstate Highway 94 south of downtown Milwaukee. The former factory seen in many photos of North Shore Line trains at this location still stands and is in use for low income housing. (Christopher N. Barney Photo)

As our train continues plodding along on South Fifth Street we pass West Chase Avenue. where we see this rather odd shaped building. In the days of the North Shore Line, South 5th Street was a beautiful south side neighborhood all the way south to West Harrison Avenue. When the I-94 freeway was built every home and business along the east side of South Fifth Street was torn down to accommodate the expressway on and off ramps. Several homes and businesses on the street's west side also suffered the same fate. (1955 Don Ross Photo)

As our train continues plodding along on South Fifth Street we pass West Chase Avenue. where we see this rather odd shaped building. In the days of the North Shore Line, South 5th Street was a beautiful south side neighborhood all the way south to West Harrison Avenue. When the I-94 freeway was built every home and business along the east side of South Fifth Street was torn down to accommodate the expressway on and off ramps. Several homes and businesses on the street’s west side also suffered the same fate. (1955 Don Ross Photo)

The same location in 2016. A Chris Barney Photo.

The same location in 2016. A Chris Barney Photo.

At South Fifth and West Mitchell Streets we stop to pick-up passengers on the northwest corner. Our train passes Notre Dame Catholic High School and Saint Stanislaus Church. (Frank Butts Photo, January 1963)

At South Fifth and West Mitchell Streets we stop to pick-up passengers on the northwest corner. Our train passes Notre Dame Catholic High School and Saint Stanislaus Church. (Frank Butts Photo, January 1963)

Notre Dame Catholic High School and Saint Stanislaus Church are still there today, and look just as they did in North Shore's day. The automobiles are different, but nothing remains to show that North Shore Line trains once stopped here. (Christopher N. Barney Photo)

Notre Dame Catholic High School and Saint Stanislaus Church are still there today, and look just as they did in North Shore’s day. The automobiles are different, but nothing remains to show that North Shore Line trains once stopped here. (Christopher N. Barney Photo)

Let’s begin the rest of our southbound trip on the North Shore Line at Harrison Avenue (the NSL called it Harrison Street). Harrison Avenue marked the end of street running and the start of the private right-of-way. The Harrison Street shops building and yards sat along the east side of the property.

After the North Shore Line was abandoned in 1963, the track and wire was removed but the building remained standing. As the years went by its appearance worsened. All of the windows had the glass removed and were boarded up. But the front of the building continued to display its heritage. Above the door that opened into the shops was the original stone letterboard which said Chicago and Milwaukee Electric Railway 1908. According to TWERHS president Chuck Westerman, TWERHS obtained the letterboard and brought it with them when they moved out to East Troy in 1972. (This was the original East Troy Trolley Museum.) While lifting it to be moved one day it was accidentally dropped and shattered into pieces.

I vividly recall coming home from school one day in 1968. I would always read the Milwaukee Journal before dinner. The “Journal” as we called it for short was Milwaukee’s evening newspaper.

On the editorial page was a drawing of a decrepit looking building with the caption (as best I can recall) that read North Shore Line shops. The editorial urged the demolition of the building because it was located directly above Interstate 94. Southbound drivers did not see it because the highway is sort of “tucked-in” beneath a cement retaining wall. However, northbound drivers got a full view. The editorial said that this gave a bad impression to anyone coming into Milwaukee on I94 from the south.

Up to that point, I was not aware that the Harrison shops building was still standing. Armed with that information I went there that weekend. The building looked every bit as bad as the editorial cartoon had depicted it. The former right-of-way was just bare ground. There wasn’t a trace of any of the tracks that had been there.

The building was torn down but I don’t know when. If you looked in a Milwaukee City Directory from 1963 on, the shops complex was not even listed. It was as if it had vanished into thin air. I had expected the address to be listed with “Vacant” shown after.

In 2017 the former Harrison Street shops property was redeveloped into Saint Augustine’s Academy, a Christian college preparatory school complete with stadium and playing field. Chris Barney, who took the present day pictures, thought the shops were on the southbound side of the right-of-way and did not take any pictures of the stadium and playing field which now occupies the site of the Harrison Street shops.

Notice the houses in the background. You see the corner of the school in the left corner (upper corner) of Chris' photo. Now look to the right just slightly and on the northwest corner of 5th & Harrison you see a house with a window kind of dead center in the upper story. Also note the row of houses along S. 5th on the right side of the picture. Now look at the shots of the Electroliner arriving at 5th & Harrison before it. Every one of those houses, including the one on the northwest corner is still there. The only thing besides the shops that isn't was that one story building on the right with cars parked against it. It was some sort of machine shop but I don't think it was related to the North Shore Line. Those houses may not be there for much longer. The school is proposing to buy that entire block of S. 5th for one block north of Harrison Avenue. They want to construct a quad with a movie theater, an athletic building and other amenities for their students. The proposal including drawings of what it might look like appeared in the Milwaukee Journal about two or so months ago.

Notice the houses in the background. You see the corner of the school in the left corner (upper corner) of Chris’ photo. Now look to the right just slightly and on the northwest corner of 5th & Harrison you see a house with a window kind of dead center in the upper story. Also note the row of houses along S. 5th on the right side of the picture. Now look at the shots of the Electroliner arriving at 5th & Harrison before it. Every one of those houses, including the one on the northwest corner is still there. The only thing besides the shops that isn’t was that one story building on the right with cars parked against it. It was some sort of machine shop but I don’t think it was related to the North Shore Line. Those houses may not be there for much longer. The school is proposing to buy that entire block of S. 5th for one block north of Harrison Avenue. They want to construct a quad with a movie theater, an athletic building and other amenities for their students. The proposal including drawings of what it might look like appeared in the Milwaukee Journal about two or so months ago.

Next Stop: Oklahoma Avenue

For many years, TMER&L’s Route 16 streetcar line South 6th Street operated between North 60th and West Vliet Streets, all the way across town, via various routings. From downtown Milwaukee south, TM streetcars operated out of the downtown area via various streets to North Third Street and West Plankinton Avenue.

Here they turned south on and followed Plankinton Avenue, which becomes south Second Street after crossing the Menomonee River. Second Street was used as far as West Greenfield Avenue, where cars turned left and went one block east to South First Street. Another right turn took Route 16 streetcars to the intersection of S. Kinnickinnic Avenue and West Mitchell Streets.

This was and to this day is the location of MCTS’ (then TM’s) Kinnickinnic Avenue car [now bus] station. Streetcars turned west on West Mitchell Street and traveled west to its intersection with South Sixth Street. Cars turned left (southbound) and ran on South Sixth Street (South First Avenue before 1930) to West Euclid Street, where they turned west to South Ninth Place to reach the end of the line at West Morgan Avenue.

The “convoluted” route out of downtown Milwaukee was due to one factor- The North Shore Line. The 6th Street viaduct across the Menomonee River Valley was the exclusive property of the Chicago and Milwaukee Electric Railway and was used by both southbound and northbound North Shore Line interurbans, as well as the Birney cars and later St. Louis-built 350 series city cars on North Shore’s beloved “Nickel Dinky Line.”

TM streetcars had South Sixth Street all to themselves from West Mitchell Street south, because the North Shore’s cars operated on South Fifth Street. After getting onto the private right-of-way at Harrison Street the North Shore cars ran on an embankment high above South Sixth Street.

The “Dinky Line” ended at West Oklahoma Avenue, then traveled one block farther south to West Euclid Avenue, where they changed ends and laid over at a tiny platform just north of the Oklahoma Avenue crossing. It’s hard to believe that anyone would hike up the steep stairs from Sixth Street to the platform, but they did, many after walking blocks out of their way just to save five cents. TM streetcar fare was ten cents vs. the “Dinky” line which was a nickel. South side Milwaukeeans were notoriously frugal!

Today South Sixth Street and West Oklahoma Avenue is the one spot on the abandoned North Shore right of way that shows a hint on what used to be here.

A list of the ways in which the North Shore’s “Nickel Dinky Line” beat TM’s Route 16 streetcar line:

1. The “Dinky Line” was faster. TM streetcars on Route 16 had to stop every two blocks. The “Dinky Line” stopped only at major intersections, i.e. Fifth and Mitchell, Fifth and Greenfield and Fifth and National.
2. Between Harrison Avenue and Sixth and Oklahoma, the “Dinky” was on private right-of-way.
3. The North Shore “Dinky Line’s fare was a nickel for its entire life. TMER&L was steadily increasing fares.
4. The North Shore “Dinky Line” only crossed two short bridges on the Sixth Street viaduct. The one nearest the Sixth and Clybourn Streets end of the NSL station was over the Menomonee River, and the other just past W. Canal Street, (which as the name implies was the Menomonee River canal) a branch off the river. TM streetcars had to contend with crossings of the Milwaukee River, the Menomonee River and the Kinnickinnic River.

6th & Oklahoma in the 1940s. (Don Ross Photo)

6th & Oklahoma in the 1940s. (Don Ross Photo)

The remains of the abandoned right-of-way at 6th and Oklahoma. (Christopher N. Barney Photo)

The remains of the abandoned right-of-way at 6th and Oklahoma. (Christopher N. Barney Photo)

The End of the North Shore Line Right-of-Way

Continuing south on the private right-of-way above South Sixth Street, North Shore Line trains crossed over West Holt Avenue. In addition, the Milwaukee Road trains coming out of downtown Milwaukee and heading for points south such as Chicago or Bensenville crossed at grade. I do not have any pictures of that area.

After the North Shore Line was abandoned in 1963, the area saw a significant change in 1965. West of South Sixth Street, Holt Avenue was connected to West Morgan Avenue at South Ninth Street. This was done to expedite traffic heading to the entrance ramp to either southbound or northbound Interstate Highway 94.

The Milwaukee Road was grade separated by a long bridge across South Sixth Street. Seeking to take advantage of this, The Milwaukee and Suburban Transport Company (aka “The Transport Company ”) added a “Park ‘n’ Ride lot along the east side of the abandoned North Shore Line right-of-way. This lot is for riders on Bus Route 40- the Holt-College Freeway Flyer line.

Buses do not enter the parking lot, but stop on a bus-only section of the off ramp to pick-up or discharge passengers. As best as I have been able to tell, this ramp occupies at least part, if not all of the North Shore line’s northbound track. This could easily have been transformed into a Rapid Transit line between Mitchell International Airport and downtown Milwaukee.

Just before the abandoned right-of-way gets to its present day end at West Bolivar Avenue, it passes through what was once the Sixth Street cut. The cut began at West Howard Avenue and continued south to TMER & L’s Rapid Transit Line to Hales Corners at Greenwood Junction Lakeside Belt Line, which carried coal from Powereton Junction (approximately South 13th Street and West Waterford Avenue) to the Lakeside Power Plant.

This was strictly a freight line except for a 1939 CERA fan trip, which operated over it all the way west to the connection with TM’s Hales Corners Rapid Transit line at Greenwood Junction (South 100th Street one block south of West Howard Avenue.

North Shore trains emerged from the cut after crossing beneath West Waterford Avenue. CERA Bulletin 107, Route of the Electroliners states that the cut was three miles long. That is incorrect. It was three blocks long. The cut was filled in by the city of Milwaukee in March 1989. This area had once been the Town of Lake.

The tall, round tower seen across South Sixth Street is the former Town of Lake water tower which no longer holds water. The tower has been used for all sorts of things since being replaced by the water treatment plant almost next to its north face on the southwest corner of South Sixth Street and West Howard Avenue.

One additional piece of information that may be of interest to Trolley Dodger readers. You can now purchase a garden plot on the filled-in 6th Street cut and grow what you line. Quite a few people seem to have done just that. I do not know what it costs.

Finally, we come to the end of the North Shore Line’s abandoned right-of-way within the city of Milwaukee at West Bolivar Avenue. The high embankment ends suddenly and goes no further south. This is where present day I-94 coming from downtown and heading west to the Mitchell Interchange crosses over South 6th Street.

From the south side of I-94 south, the right-of-way is completely gone. The land is occupied by restaurants, hotels from the former crossing of West Layton Avenue to the Airport Business Park. If you weren’t previously aware of the wonderful interurban line that passed this way you would never know it now.

No trace of the North Shore exists anywhere south of this point, except for a tiny spot where it crossed beneath the intersection of South Howell and West Rawson Avenues. I end with a Then and Now view at Howell and Rawson. Post-abandonment the bridges above the NSL were removed and the grades of both streets lowered.

In case you might be wondering, the abandoned NSL right-of-way is posted in spots ‘NO TRESPASSING PROPERTY OF MILWAUKEE COUNTY EXPRESSWAY COMMISSION.”

A North Shore Line two-car train is southbound in the 6th Street cut at Norwich Ave. (Bob Genack Photo)

A North Shore Line two-car train is southbound in the 6th Street cut at Norwich Ave. (Bob Genack Photo)

The Old Town of Lake water tower at S. 6th & W. Norwich in 1989 (Christopher N. Barney Photo)

The Old Town of Lake water tower at S. 6th & W. Norwich in 1989 (Christopher N. Barney Photo)

North Shore Line 749 and three others, northbound at Bolivar Avenue in 1955. (Don Ross Photo)

North Shore Line 749 and three others, northbound at Bolivar Avenue in 1955. (Don Ross Photo)

The abandoned North Shore Line right-of-way at West Bolivar Ave. This is where the abandoned right-of-way now comes to an abrupt end within the city limits of Milwaukee.

The abandoned North Shore Line right-of-way at West Bolivar Ave. This is where the abandoned right-of-way now comes to an abrupt end within the city limits of Milwaukee.

North Shore Line 758 is northbound at Howell and Rawson in 1955. (Don Ross Photo)

North Shore Line 758 is northbound at Howell and Rawson in 1955. (Don Ross Photo)

Howell and Rawson, looking south on Howell (present day) (Christopher N. Barney Photo)

Howell and Rawson, looking south on Howell (present day) (Christopher N. Barney Photo)

Howell and Rawson, looking southeast (present day) (Christopher N. Barney Photo)

Howell and Rawson, looking southeast (present day) (Christopher N. Barney Photo)

Postscript

I thought you’d enjoy these two NSL pics. The first one is what we’ve been discussing about TM and NSL competing at 6th and Oklahoma. You have an 800-series car on TM route 16 northbound, and a Birney up on the embankment laying over ready to return to downtown Milwaukee. I don’t know who took it. The fact that the NSL car is a Birney and because you have a streetcar on Route 16 places this picture sometime before July 1947.

The second photo shows one of the “Liners” at full speed one block farther south at 6th and Euclid. It is southbound passing the Heil Company. Heil made things like garbage trucks and other types of municipal vehicles. The building is still there, next to the abandoned right-of-way, but the Heil Company is gone. The building now houses corporate offices for Aurora Health Care. If you look to the left, you get a pretty good idea of just how high up that right-of-way was above South Sixth Street. Don Ross took this picture. He must have had someone holding on to him because a “Liner” coming past you at full speed would have tossed you down to 6th Street. I don’t think I’d have ever tried anything like this!

-Larry Sakar

Thanks, Larry! Keep those cards and letters coming in, folks!

-David Sadowski

Recent Finds

CTA PCC 7202 is southbound on Clark Street near 15th Street and the St. Charles Air Line, possibly around 1956.

CTA PCC 7202 is southbound on Clark Street near 15th Street and the St. Charles Air Line, possibly around 1956.

CTA PCCs 7195 and 7180 at 81st and Halsted, south end of Route 22, possibly circa 1956.

CTA PCCs 7195 and 7180 at 81st and Halsted, south end of Route 22, possibly circa 1956.

CTA PCCs 7175 and 7160 at 81st and Halsted.

CTA PCCs 7175 and 7160 at 81st and Halsted.

CTA red Pullman 863 is northbound on Stony Island at 72nd Street, headed towards Navy Pier. Stuart B. Slaymaker: "Big Kaiser-Frazer dealer in the right background."

CTA red Pullman 863 is northbound on Stony Island at 72nd Street, headed towards Navy Pier. Stuart B. Slaymaker: “Big Kaiser-Frazer dealer in the right background.”

This picture of Milwaukee trolley buses was taken in March 1964. Here's what Larry Sakar says about it: "I know exactly what this is and where. After the last trolley buses ended service on June 30,1965, The Transport Company (The Milwaukee Suburban Transport Corp.) moved all of them (if not all then a lot of them) to Cold Spring shops. M&STC made a deal to sell them to Mexico City which is where they ended up. What you see here is one of them being brought down to lower Cold Spring where TM (M&STC's predecessor) had a connection directly to the Milwaukee Road. According to Russ Schultz, whom I consider to be the leading authority on Milwaukee trolley buses and Dave Stanley also, M&STC sold 50 Marmon-Herrington trolley buses to Mexico City on February 10, 1964. That was the first batch. In 1967 M&STC sold 51 additional Marmons to Mexico City and according to Russ they were shipped in August and September of that year."

This picture of Milwaukee trolley buses was taken in March 1964. Here’s what Larry Sakar says about it: “I know exactly what this is and where. After the last trolley buses ended service on June 30,1965, The Transport Company (The Milwaukee Suburban Transport Corp.) moved all of them (if not all then a lot of them) to Cold Spring shops. M&STC made a deal to sell them to Mexico City which is where they ended up. What you see here is one of them being brought down to lower Cold Spring where TM (M&STC’s predecessor) had a connection directly to the Milwaukee Road. According to Russ Schultz, whom I consider to be the leading authority on Milwaukee trolley buses and Dave Stanley also, M&STC sold 50 Marmon-Herrington trolley buses to Mexico City on February 10, 1964. That was the first batch. In 1967 M&STC sold 51 additional Marmons to Mexico City and according to Russ they were shipped in August and September of that year.”

Chicago’s Lost “L”s Online Presentation

We recently gave an online presentation about our book Chicago’s Lost “L”s for the Chicago Public Library, as part of their One Book, One Chicago series. You can watch it online by following this link.

The Trolley Dodger On the Air

We appeared on the Dave Plier Show on WGN radio on July 16, 2021, 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

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

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

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NEW DVD:

A Tribute to the North Shore Line

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

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

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

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

Total time – 121:22

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

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Trick or Treat

Milwaukee Electric 948, as seen from the rear of car 900, on July 16, 1952. Darrick Vormann adds, "Great shot, looks like #10 turning off of 68th St. headed to West Allis." Larry Sakar: "Photo aaa756 showing the Wells-West Allis westbound streetcar completing the turn from southbound S. 68th Street onto the continuation of the private r.o.w. was also part of Phase III (in Milwaukee Rapid Transit construction in the late 1920s). The 68th Street Rapid Transit station would have been to the left of the streetcar atop the r.o.w. Where the streetcar is seen is today part of the 68th St. off ramp from eastbound I-94, the East-West Freeway. Look slightly left in the background and you can see a bit of the large abutment that carried the two bridges of the Rapid Transit line over S. 68th St. To the left of it, streetcars came down or climbed up a ramp on the embankment to or from the p.r.o.w. This was a favorite place for pranksters. They would soap or oil the track climbing up to the top of the embankment and then hide nearby and get their kicks watching the streetcar try to climb on the soaped or oiled rails."

Milwaukee Electric 948, as seen from the rear of car 900, on July 16, 1952. Darrick Vormann adds, “Great shot, looks like #10 turning off of 68th St. headed to West Allis.” Larry Sakar: “Photo aaa756 showing the Wells-West Allis westbound streetcar completing the turn from southbound S. 68th Street onto the continuation of the private r.o.w. was also part of Phase III (in Milwaukee Rapid Transit construction in the late 1920s). The 68th Street Rapid Transit station would have been to the left of the streetcar atop the r.o.w. Where the streetcar is seen is today part of the 68th St. off ramp from eastbound I-94, the East-West Freeway. Look slightly left in the background and you can see a bit of the large abutment that carried the two bridges of the Rapid Transit line over S. 68th St. To the left of it, streetcars came down or climbed up a ramp on the embankment to or from the p.r.o.w. This was a favorite place for pranksters. They would soap or oil the track climbing up to the top of the embankment and then hide nearby and get their kicks watching the streetcar try to climb on the soaped or oiled rails.”

As this is Halloween, we have lots of treats for you, and hopefully, not too many tricks. Our latest batch of classic traction pictures also features lots of trains in fall colors, both here in Chicago, and in Milwaukee.

-David Sadowski

PS- You might also like our Trolley Dodger Facebook auxiliary, a private group that now has 519 members.

Recent Finds

Chicago & West Towns car 161. The slide says this is in Brookfield.

Chicago & West Towns car 161. The slide says this is in Brookfield.

Chicago & West Towns 156. The slide says this is in Brookfield, but it looks like it could be on Woodside in Riverside.

Chicago & West Towns 156. The slide says this is in Brookfield, but it looks like it could be on Woodside in Riverside.

The caption on this slide mount says, "Dad, David, Bev and Mom entering the El on November 23, 1962." The location is the at 242-Van Cortlandt Park on the IRT Broadway Line in the Bronx. The station is still there.

The caption on this slide mount says, “Dad, David, Bev and Mom entering the El on November 23, 1962.” The location is the at 242-Van Cortlandt Park on the IRT Broadway Line in the Bronx. The station is still there.

Pittsburgh Railways 1693 on the Fineview line in September 1965.

Pittsburgh Railways 1693 on the Fineview line in September 1965.

A North Shore Line train at North Chicago Junction on January 20, 1963, the last full day of service before abandonment.

A North Shore Line train at North Chicago Junction on January 20, 1963, the last full day of service before abandonment.

The Aurora and Elgin station in Wheaton on June 14, 1960, nearly three years after passenger service ended, and a year after the last freight train ran.

The Aurora and Elgin station in Wheaton on June 14, 1960, nearly three years after passenger service ended, and a year after the last freight train ran.

The CA&E station at Lakewood on June 14, 1960. The line had been abandoned, but was still largely intact, yet could not be saved.

The CA&E station at Lakewood on June 14, 1960. The line had been abandoned, but was still largely intact, yet could not be saved.

One of the two former North Shore Line Electroliners, just after it had been delivered to the Red Arrow's Philadelphia & Western line at the 69th Street terminal. The slide was processed in January 1964, but by then, the two trainsets had been repainted and reconfigured into Liberty Liners and were put into service on the 13-mile line to Norristown. So this was taken a few months earlier, possibly September 1963. Notice the North Shore Line emblem on the front of the train has been removed.

One of the two former North Shore Line Electroliners, just after it had been delivered to the Red Arrow’s Philadelphia & Western line at the 69th Street terminal. The slide was processed in January 1964, but by then, the two trainsets had been repainted and reconfigured into Liberty Liners and were put into service on the 13-mile line to Norristown. So this was taken a few months earlier, possibly September 1963. Notice the North Shore Line emblem on the front of the train has been removed.

The interior of Milwaukee streetcar 918 on September 5, 1954. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

The interior of Milwaukee streetcar 918 on September 5, 1954. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

Milwaukee County Stadium on October 6, 1957, during Game 4 of the World Series between the Milwaukee Braves and New York Yankees. The Braves came from behind to win the game 7-5 in the bottom of the 10th inning, via what we now call a "walk off" home run by Eddie Mathews. Warren Spahn was the winning pitcher, and the Braves went on to win the series, four games to three. The same two teams faced off in the 1958 series, which was won by the Yankees in seven games. Attendance at this game was 45,804 and the park was still served by streetcars in 1957 (but not the following year). (William C. Hoffman Photo)

Milwaukee County Stadium on October 6, 1957, during Game 4 of the World Series between the Milwaukee Braves and New York Yankees. The Braves came from behind to win the game 7-5 in the bottom of the 10th inning, via what we now call a “walk off” home run by Eddie Mathews. Warren Spahn was the winning pitcher, and the Braves went on to win the series, four games to three. The same two teams faced off in the 1958 series, which was won by the Yankees in seven games. Attendance at this game was 45,804 and the park was still served by streetcars in 1957 (but not the following year). (William C. Hoffman Photo)

According to the slide mount, this shows an expansion joint in the streetcar tracks near County Stadium in Milwaukee, where several streetcars are parked during the fourth game of the World Series between the Milwaukee Braves and the New York Yankees on October 6, 1957. (William C. Hoffman Photo) Larry Sakar adds: "Great picture aaa732 of streetcars on the stadium spur in Calvary Cemetery cut. The cut was started in 1926 as part of Phase III of the Rapid Transit Line construction project officially known as the "Fairview Ave. Grade Separation Project." This phase was completed in late 1928, and construction on Phase IV The City of Milwaukee Rapid Transit Line between 8th & Hibernia Streets and 40th Street was started. It would take until 9-22-30 for it to be completed. As you know, Phase V, the subway to the Public Service Building had some preliminary work done but was never completed. Looking at the photo of the spur, I feel that the spur was a bit more to the south then when the Rapid Transit was running. The eastbound Rapid Transit track would have been next to the fence to the left but there doesn't look like there was enough room for a fourth track in this photo. The cut still exists but it is so overgrown with weeds and brush that it is barely recognizable. I have a photo taken by Mr. Dan Lee of the Milwaukee Public library Humanities Dept. in 2016 which I'll send you and you'll see what I mean about it being overgrown."

According to the slide mount, this shows an expansion joint in the streetcar tracks near County Stadium in Milwaukee, where several streetcars are parked during the fourth game of the World Series between the Milwaukee Braves and the New York Yankees on October 6, 1957. (William C. Hoffman Photo) Larry Sakar adds: “Great picture aaa732 of streetcars on the stadium spur in Calvary Cemetery cut. The cut was started in 1926 as part of Phase III of the Rapid Transit Line construction project officially known as the “Fairview Ave. Grade Separation Project.” This phase was completed in late 1928, and construction on Phase IV The City of Milwaukee Rapid Transit Line between 8th & Hibernia Streets and 40th Street was started. It would take until 9-22-30 for it to be completed. As you know, Phase V, the subway to the Public Service Building had some preliminary work done but was never completed. Looking at the photo of the spur, I feel that the spur was a bit more to the south then when the Rapid Transit was running. The eastbound Rapid Transit track would have been next to the fence to the left but there doesn’t look like there was enough room for a fourth track in this photo. The cut still exists but it is so overgrown with weeds and brush that it is barely recognizable. I have a photo taken by Mr. Dan Lee of the Milwaukee Public library Humanities Dept. in 2016 which I’ll send you and you’ll see what I mean about it being overgrown.”

A Milwaukee trolley bus is on National Avenue on May 30, 1963. We are looking north on 6th Street, where North Shore Line interurban trains had run until January 21, 1963. The last Milwaukee trolley bus operated in 1965. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

A Milwaukee trolley bus is on National Avenue on May 30, 1963. We are looking north on 6th Street, where North Shore Line interurban trains had run until January 21, 1963. The last Milwaukee trolley bus operated in 1965. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

Fans pushing bus 255 at the Cold Springs Shops at 35th and McKinley on November 4, 1962. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

Fans pushing bus 255 at the Cold Springs Shops at 35th and McKinley on November 4, 1962. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

Fans pushing bus 255 at the Cold Springs Shops at 35th and McKinley on November 4, 1962. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

Fans pushing bus 255 at the Cold Springs Shops at 35th and McKinley on November 4, 1962. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

"Streetliner" bus 886 at the National Railway Museum in Green Bay, WI on September 22, 1963. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

“Streetliner” bus 886 at the National Railway Museum in Green Bay, WI on September 22, 1963. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

The art glass window of the Flint and Pere Marquette Railroad at Fowler and Plankinton in Milwaukee on May 30, 1963. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

The art glass window of the Flint and Pere Marquette Railroad at Fowler and Plankinton in Milwaukee on May 30, 1963. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

On December 4, 1949, Milwaukee Electric car 1121 was operated on the North Shore Line for a fantrip. Here it is at the Oklahoma stop on an embankment in Milwaukee, WI. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

On December 4, 1949, Milwaukee Electric car 1121 was operated on the North Shore Line for a fantrip. Here it is at the Oklahoma stop on an embankment in Milwaukee, WI.
(William C. Hoffman Photo)

Speedrail car 66 at West Junction on June 14, 1951, not long before the entire interurban line was abandoned.

Speedrail car 66 at West Junction on June 14, 1951, not long before the entire interurban line was abandoned.

Speedrail car 66 in Milwaukee on June 14, 1951.

Speedrail car 66 in Milwaukee on June 14, 1951.

Speedrail car 66 at the Hales Corners loop on June 14, 1951.

Speedrail car 66 at the Hales Corners loop on June 14, 1951.

Milwaukee Electric cars 979 and 914 on private right-of-way on the west side of Milwaukee on May 16, 1953. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

Milwaukee Electric cars 979 and 914 on private right-of-way on the west side of Milwaukee on May 16, 1953. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

Wisconsin Electric Power Company loco L-9 at the Lakeside power plant on June 12, 1955. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

Wisconsin Electric Power Company loco L-9 at the Lakeside power plant on June 12, 1955.
(William C. Hoffman Photo)

Milwaukee Rapid Transit and Speedrail articulated car 50 on Everett Street at the Milwaukee terminal on June 17, 1951. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

Milwaukee Rapid Transit and Speedrail articulated car 50 on Everett Street at the Milwaukee terminal on June 17, 1951.
(William C. Hoffman Photo)

Speedrail heavyweight cars 1193 and 1192 at the Milwaukee terminal on July 4, 1950. 1192 was wrecked less than two months later. The heavyweight cars were only used during rush hours. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

Speedrail heavyweight cars 1193 and 1192 at the Milwaukee terminal on July 4, 1950.
1192 was wrecked less than two months later. The heavyweight cars were only used during rush hours. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

The old interurban and rapid transit terminal at 2nd and Michigan Streets in Milwaukee on August 27, 1961. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

The old interurban and rapid transit terminal at 2nd and Michigan Streets in Milwaukee on August 27, 1961. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

Double-pole streetcar 801 is at the Fond Du Lac station in Milwaukee on May 4, 1958. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

Double-pole streetcar 801 is at the Fond Du Lac station in Milwaukee on May 4, 1958. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

On August 2, 1964, Milwaukee streetcar 978 is on static display at the Mid-Continent Railway Museum in North Freedom, WI. After moving around to several places after its 1958 retirement, car 978 is now at the East Troy Electric Railroad. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

On August 2, 1964, Milwaukee streetcar 978 is on static display at the Mid-Continent Railway Museum in North Freedom, WI. After moving around to several places after its 1958 retirement, car 978 is now at the East Troy Electric Railroad. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

The view west along the old Milwaukee Electric right-of-way over the North Shore Line in south Milwaukee on September 9, 1962. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

The view west along the old Milwaukee Electric right-of-way over the North Shore Line in south Milwaukee on September 9, 1962. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

Speedrail snow plow U-5 is at the Milwaukee terminal on June 17. 1951. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

Speedrail snow plow U-5 is at the Milwaukee terminal on June 17. 1951. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

Old heavyweight Milwaukee Electric steel car 1115, later operated under Speedrail, is shown at the Everett Street terminal in Milwaukee on June 17, 1951. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

Old heavyweight Milwaukee Electric steel car 1115, later operated under Speedrail, is shown at the Everett Street terminal in Milwaukee on June 17, 1951. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

On July 4, 1950, several Speedrail cars are shown at the Milwaukee terminal. Car 1192, at right, was involved in a head-on collision on September 2, 1950. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

On July 4, 1950, several Speedrail cars are shown at the Milwaukee terminal. Car 1192, at right, was involved in a head-on collision on September 2, 1950. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

Milwaukee Electric (aka Speedrail) car 1115 is at the Waukesha loop on July 16, 1950.

Milwaukee Electric (aka Speedrail) car 1115 is at the Waukesha loop on July 16, 1950.

On June 14, 1951, Speedrail car 66 is at the Waukesha loop. Refurbishing this curved-sided car, originally built by the Cincinnati Car Company and purchased used from Lehigh Valley Transit, was a last-ditch effort to save the line. Unfortunately, this car only ran in Milwaukee for a few weeks before the line quit.

On June 14, 1951, Speedrail car 66 is at the Waukesha loop. Refurbishing this curved-sided car, originally built by the Cincinnati Car Company and purchased used from Lehigh Valley Transit, was a last-ditch effort to save the line. Unfortunately, this car only ran in Milwaukee for a few weeks before the line quit.

Speedrail car 1192, which was heavily damaged in a horrific head-on collision, as it appeared in September 1951.

Speedrail car 1192, which was heavily damaged in a horrific head-on collision, as it appeared in September 1951.

Speedrail car 62 leaves the Milwaukee terminal on June 14, 1951.

Speedrail car 62 leaves the Milwaukee terminal on June 14, 1951.

Milwaukee Electric 801 is on the Wells Street trestle on May 6, 1950.

Milwaukee Electric 801 is on the Wells Street trestle on May 6, 1950.

Milwaukee Electric car 801, equipped with two trolley poles, is at the Fond Du Lac barns on September 5, 1954.

Milwaukee Electric car 801, equipped with two trolley poles, is at the Fond Du Lac barns on September 5, 1954.

On May 22, 1955, Milwaukee Electric loco L10 and some hopper cars are on the #10 route.

On May 22, 1955, Milwaukee Electric loco L10 and some hopper cars are on the #10 route.

On May 16, 1953, Milwaukee Electric 921 is on the long trestle on the line to Wauwatosa.

On May 16, 1953, Milwaukee Electric 921 is on the long trestle on the line to Wauwatosa.

Milwaukee Electric 994 is on the Howell line in Milwaukee on August 12, 1955.

Milwaukee Electric 994 is on the Howell line in Milwaukee on August 12, 1955.

Milwaukee streetcar 962 is on the West Allis route on September 14, 1953.

Milwaukee streetcar 962 is on the West Allis route on September 14, 1953.

Chicago Aurora and Elgin car 407 at Green Valley in Lombard at Brewster Avenue.

Chicago Aurora and Elgin car 407 at Green Valley in Lombard at Brewster Avenue.

CA&E car 411 heads up a train in Wheaton.

CA&E car 411 heads up a train in Wheaton.

CTA 2891 is heading west, crossing First Avenue in suburban Maywood in November 1951. The Refiner's Pride gas station at rear was run by "Montana Charlie" Reid. He operated a chain of such stations in the western suburbs here. He also owned Montana Charlie's Chuck Wagon, a restaurant in Villa Park. Although Charlie himself is long gone (he died in the early 1980s), his name is still used on a flea market in Bolingbrook, Montana Charlie's Little America. (Truman Hefner Photo)

CTA 2891 is heading west, crossing First Avenue in suburban Maywood in November 1951. The Refiner’s Pride gas station at rear was run by “Montana Charlie” Reid. He operated a chain of such stations in the western suburbs here. He also owned Montana Charlie’s Chuck Wagon, a restaurant in Villa Park. Although Charlie himself is long gone (he died in the early 1980s), his name is still used on a flea market in Bolingbrook, Montana Charlie’s Little America. (Truman Hefner Photo)

The Refiner's Pride gas station on first Avenue in Maywood was part of a chain that included this location in Forest Park, and included a small convenience store. The Forest Park location is still in business as Refiners Citgo. (Forest Park Review Photo)

The Refiner’s Pride gas station on first Avenue in Maywood was part of a chain that included this location in Forest Park, and included a small convenience store. The Forest Park location is still in business as Refiners Citgo. (Forest Park Review Photo)

From the Chicago Tribune, September 19, 2004: "As for the real Montana Charlie, he is described as an exciting character with a colorful, almost improbable background. Montana Charlie Reid "was born and raised on the North Side of Chicago but while in his early teens, during the previous turn of the century [19th to the 20th], he yearned to be a cowboy," Donahue says. "So he got on his horse and rode it all the way to Montana, where he got a job on a ranch. "He learned trick riding and became involved with traveling carnivals and circus acts. As he went through life, he tried his hand at various other things -- including chauffeuring an oil tycoon. When his employer died, he left his estate to Montana Charlie."

From the Chicago Tribune, September 19, 2004: “As for the real Montana Charlie, he is described as an exciting character with a colorful, almost improbable background. Montana Charlie Reid “was born and raised on the North Side of Chicago but while in his early teens, during the previous turn of the century [19th to the 20th], he yearned to be a cowboy,” Donahue says. “So he got on his horse and rode it all the way to Montana, where he got a job on a ranch.
“He learned trick riding and became involved with traveling carnivals and circus acts. As he went through life, he tried his hand at various other things — including chauffeuring an oil tycoon. When his employer died, he left his estate to Montana Charlie.”

CTA 2920 at the ground level Harrison Street station on the Westchester route in May 1951. (Truman Hefner Photo)

CTA 2920 at the ground level Harrison Street station on the Westchester route in May 1951.
(Truman Hefner Photo)

CTA 2889 heads south into an open cut near the Roosevelt Road station in March 1951, while passing several cars in storage nearby. (Truman Hefner Photo)

CTA 2889 heads south into an open cut near the Roosevelt Road station in March 1951, while passing several cars in storage nearby.
(Truman Hefner Photo)

CTA 2863 is at the Roosevelt Road station on the Westchester line in April 1951. (Truman Hefner Photo)

CTA 2863 is at the Roosevelt Road station on the Westchester line in April 1951. (Truman Hefner Photo)

CTA 2721 is eastbound, west of the DesPlaines Avenue station in April 1951. The gas holder at right was a longtime Forest Park landmark. (Truman Hefner Photo)

CTA 2721 is eastbound, west of the DesPlaines Avenue station in April 1951. The gas holder at right was a longtime Forest Park landmark. (Truman Hefner Photo)

CTA 2904 approaches the Roosevelt Road station in January 1951. (Truman Hefner Photo)

CTA 2904 approaches the Roosevelt Road station in January 1951. (Truman Hefner Photo)

CTA 2908 is eastbound, having crossed First Avenue in Maywood. The old Refiner's Pride gas station is in the background. The date given here (June 1952) must be wrong, as the Westchester branch quit in December 1951. (Truman Hefner Photo)

CTA 2908 is eastbound, having crossed First Avenue in Maywood. The old Refiner’s Pride gas station is in the background. The date given here (June 1952) must be wrong, as the Westchester branch quit in December 1951. (Truman Hefner Photo)

CTA 2823 is between First Avenue and DesPlaines Avenue, having just crossed over the DesPlaines River. The date given (October 1952) must be wrong, as the Westchester branch quit in December 1951. (Truman Hefner Photo)

CTA 2823 is between First Avenue and DesPlaines Avenue, having just crossed over the DesPlaines River. The date given (October 1952) must be wrong, as the Westchester branch quit in December 1951. (Truman Hefner Photo)

CTA 2922 crossing railroad tracks near DesPlaines Avenue. The date given is January 1952. (Truman Hefner Photo)

CTA 2922 crossing railroad tracks near DesPlaines Avenue. The date given is January 1952. (Truman Hefner Photo)

CTA 2859 and one additional car are southbound, having just stopped at the Roosevelt Road station on the Westchester route. The date given (March 1952) must be incorrect, as service on the Westchester "L" ended the previous December. Notice the two tracks went down to one here, for the rest of the line, which ended at Mannheim Road and 22nd Street. (Truman Hefner Photo)

CTA 2859 and one additional car are southbound, having just stopped at the Roosevelt Road station on the Westchester route. The date given (March 1952) must be incorrect, as service on the Westchester “L” ended the previous December. Notice the two tracks went down to one here, for the rest of the line, which ended at Mannheim Road and 22nd Street. (Truman Hefner Photo)

In April 1951, CTA 2731 heads south, about to cross Madison Street just west of Bellwood Avenue in suburban Bellwood. A black-and-white version of this picture appears in my book Chicago's Lost "L"s. Just north of here, the Westchester branch merged with the Chicago Aurora & Elgin main line. As far as I know, the house at right is still there.

In April 1951, CTA 2731 heads south, about to cross Madison Street just west of Bellwood Avenue in suburban Bellwood. A black-and-white version of this picture appears in my book Chicago’s Lost “L”s. Just north of here, the Westchester branch merged with the Chicago Aurora & Elgin main line. As far as I know, the house at right is still there.
(Truman Hefner Photo)

CTA 2820 is on the CA&E main line in Bellwood in February 1951. (Truman Hefner Photo)

CTA 2820 is on the CA&E main line in Bellwood in February 1951. (Truman Hefner Photo)

CTA 2834 is westbound, just west of DesPlaines Avenue, in April 1951. (Truman Hefner Photo)

CTA 2834 is westbound, just west of DesPlaines Avenue, in April 1951. (Truman Hefner Photo)

CTA 2899 is at the Roosevelt Road station in February 1951. (Truman Hefner Photo)

CTA 2899 is at the Roosevelt Road station in February 1951. (Truman Hefner Photo)

CTA 2806 and another car are in an open cut near the Roosevelt Road station in February 1951. (Truman Hefner Photo)

CTA 2806 and another car are in an open cut near the Roosevelt Road station in February 1951. (Truman Hefner Photo)

CTA 2814 crosses Harrison Street in April 1951. (Truman Hefner Photo)

CTA 2814 crosses Harrison Street in April 1951.
(Truman Hefner Photo)

This slide was definitely mislabeled. It was actually taken on the CA&E main line, just west of 25th Avenue. I believe the train is westbound. (Truman Hefner Photo)

This slide was definitely mislabeled. It was actually taken on the CA&E main line, just west of 25th Avenue. I believe the train is westbound. (Truman Hefner Photo)

CTA 2817 is just east of 25th Avenue, where the Chicago Great Western had a freight yard, on the CA&E main line. The train is eastbound. (Truman Hefner Photo)

CTA 2817 is just east of 25th Avenue, where the Chicago Great Western had a freight yard, on the CA&E main line. The train is eastbound. (Truman Hefner Photo)

Did Not Win

We have to compete with other people to purchase slides, prints, and negatives. As funds are always limited, we do not always win these auctions. Here are some photos that we did not win, but are still worth another look.

Here is a nice view of the Douglas Park yard at 54th Avenue in 1966, showing the old right-of-way that extended west of here until the line was cut back in 1952. The occasion was a fantrip.

Here is a nice view of the Douglas Park yard at 54th Avenue in 1966, showing the old right-of-way that extended west of here until the line was cut back in 1952. The occasion was a fantrip.

Here is an excellent early photo of the Met "L" station at Gunderson, courtesy of LeRoy Blommaert. Gunderson is a side street running north-south in Oak Park, located between East Avenue and Ridgeland. When the "L" came through here, it was a new development, and hence, got its own station. The East Avenue entrance to the Blue Line station at Oak Park Avenue is its nearest contemporary replacement.

Here is an excellent early photo of the Met “L” station at Gunderson, courtesy of LeRoy Blommaert. Gunderson is a side street running north-south in Oak Park, located between East Avenue and Ridgeland. When the “L” came through here, it was a new development, and hence, got its own station. The East Avenue entrance to the Blue Line station at Oak Park Avenue is its nearest contemporary replacement.

This real photo postcard recently sold for $60.99 on eBay. I did not win the auction. It shows a Chicago Union Traction streetcar signed for Evanston. Not sure if this was before or after service terminated at the city limits, so it could actually have terminated in Evanston itself.

This real photo postcard recently sold for $60.99 on eBay. I did not win the auction. It shows a Chicago Union Traction streetcar signed for Evanston. Not sure if this was before or after service terminated at the city limits, so it could actually have terminated in Evanston itself.

Here is a mystery photo for you. Where was this picture of North Shore Line car 420 taken? Zach E.: "The mystery photo of CNS&M 420 was taken at the Seashore Trolley Museum in Kennebunkport, Maine."

Here is a mystery photo for you. Where was this picture of North Shore Line car 420 taken? Zach E.: “The mystery photo of CNS&M 420 was taken at the Seashore Trolley Museum in Kennebunkport, Maine.”

There have been only a few times when "L" trains fell off the structure... this derailment, which happened on December 7, 1966, is one of them, at the curve near 40th and Indiana. David Harrison: "Yes... there were two things important about this incident... the last cars of an 8-car SB derailed. The two cars stayed on the structure for three blocks, after being derailed.... before they finally left the structure. That shows how 'L' cars are rather safe thanks to their weigh and low center of gravity, plus guard rails and timber guards. CTA rules at that time did not require to motorman to check his train after an emergency stop. The motorman testified he didn't feel his train's performance was different. Perhaps two blocks of running was at a low speed because of the curve at Wabash/40th. CTA rules were changed after this incident." Caron Stewart adds, "Two people died in this accident. The train was going southbound during the morning rush. If it was going north towards downtown during this time the injuries most likely would have been higher."

There have been only a few times when “L” trains fell off the structure… this derailment, which happened on December 7, 1966, is one of them, at the curve near 40th and Indiana. David Harrison: “Yes… there were two things important about this incident… the last cars of an 8-car SB derailed. The two cars stayed on the structure for three blocks, after being derailed…. before they finally left the structure. That shows how ‘L’ cars are rather safe thanks to their weigh and low center of gravity, plus guard rails and timber guards. CTA rules at that time did not require to motorman to check his train after an emergency stop. The motorman testified he didn’t feel his train’s performance was different. Perhaps two blocks of running was at a low speed because of the curve at Wabash/40th. CTA rules were changed after this incident.” Caron Stewart adds, “Two people died in this accident. The train was going southbound during the morning rush. If it was going north towards downtown during this time the injuries most likely would have been higher.”

Another slide I did not win. This was one of those fantrips held on the CA&E after passenger service was abandoned. Unfortunately the photographer used "grade Z" film (probably Anscochrome). Chicago Aurora and Elgin Electric Interurban Coach #453 Original Color Slide Photographer Credit: Unknown Maywood, Illinois 26 October 1958

Another slide I did not win. This was one of those fantrips held on the CA&E after passenger service was abandoned. Unfortunately the photographer used “grade Z” film (probably Anscochrome).
Chicago Aurora and Elgin Electric Interurban Coach #453
Original Color Slide Photographer Credit: Unknown
Maywood, Illinois 26 October 1958

Keep those cards and letters coming in, folks.

-David Sadowski

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

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

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

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NEW DVD:

A Tribute to the North Shore Line

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

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

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

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

Total time – 121:22

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

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