Seasons change and Fall is here. Today’s post features classic images from two excellent photographers, Robert A. Selle (1929-2013) and Charles L. Tauscher (1940-2017). Selle was a master of black-and-white photography, while Tauscher shot Kodachrome slides in his prime.
We spent a lot of time working these slides over in Photoshop, making them look their best for you. Some required a lot of cleaning.
Lastly, we have some interesting historical CTA documents to share. Going back to the original source can often shed light on past events.
Keep those cards and letters coming in, folks.
New Book Update
FYI we recently turned in a second draft of our upcoming book The North Shore Line to Arcadia Publishing. I am pleased to report that the book has been expanded to 160 pages (from 128), a 25% increase. A publication date of February 20, 2023 has been announced, and we will begin our pre-sale on November 20 of this year.
PS- You might also like our Trolley Dodger Facebook auxiliary, a private group that now has 974 members.
Our friend Kenneth Gear now has a Facebook group for the Railroad Record Club. If you enjoy listening to audio recordings of classic railroad trains, whether steam, electric, or diesel, you might consider joining.
FYI, we are in the process of assisting with the creation of a new Facebook group called Hoosier Traction, which will be formally announced in the near future.
The Hoosier Traction Facebook Group will celebrate electric transit in Indiana and the Midwest, and also support the activities of the annual Hoosier Traction Meet in Dayton, OH (although not affiliated with the North American Transit Historical Society, which organizes that event).
The North Shore Line (nearly all by Robert A. Selle)
Chicago Transit Authority Buses by Charles L. Tauscher\
Historical CTA Documents
Who can say why some things are kept, while others are destroyed? These historical documents form a paper trail that helps inform our understanding of the past.
Mystery CERA Document
In 2014, I compiled a data disc made up of the first 76 Central Electric Railfans’ Association Bulletins from 1938-47. I recently came across an early document that I had not seen before. Curiously, it is not one of the numbered bulletins, but is called “Circular 115.” Which gives rise to the question, were there really 114 previous circulars issued in the three years prior to this one? And if so, where are they and what happened to them?
Please note that the Trolley Dodger is not affiliated with Central Electric Railfans’ Association.
New Compact Disc, Now Available:
The Last Chicago Streetcars 1958
# of Discs – 1
Until now, it seemed as though audio recordings of Chicago streetcars were practically non-existent. For whatever reason, the late William A. Steventon does not appear to have made any for his Railroad Record Club, even though he did make other recordings in the Chicago area in 1956.
Now, audio recordings of the last runs of Chicago streetcars have been found, in the collections of the late Jeffrey L. Wien (who was one of the riders on that last car). We do not know who made these recordings, but this must have been done using a portable reel-to-reel machine.
These important recordings will finally fill a gap in transit history. The last Chicago Transit Authority streetcar finished its run in the early hours of June 21, 1958. Now you can experience these events just as Chicagoans did.
As a bonus, we have included Keeping Pace, a 1939 Chicago Surface Lines employee training program. This was digitally transferred from an original 16” transcription disc. These recordings were unheard for 80 years.
Total time – 74:38
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
Publisher Arcadia Publishing (SC), 2021
ISBN 1467100007, 9781467100007
Length 128 pages
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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This is our 292nd post, and we are gradually creating a body of work and an online resource for the benefit of all railfans, everywhere. To date, we have received over 915,000 page views, for which we are very grateful.
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