CSL prewar PCC 4022 heads west on Madison Street in the late 1940s. It is signed for the Madison-Fifth branch line. Fifth Avenue is an angle street that heads southwest. Service on the branch line terminated at the Garfield Park “L” station at Pulaski Road. Several parts of Fifth Avenue have been truncated since streetcars stopped running there in early 1954. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)
It has been nearly two months since our last post, but we are back with a bevy of classic traction photos for your consideration.
Things have been quite busy of late, as we worked as an election judge for two recent elections (three in the last six months). Although you have not seen a new post for a while, work behind the scenes continued. We scanned hundreds of images, and many needed extra help in Photoshop.
When you see as post such as this, it is like the tip of an iceberg. For every image we share, there are others that, for whatever reason, do not make the grade, as well as others that are being stored up in an inventory of images, waiting for their moment in the sun.
Leopards, they say, never change their spots… but I assume you can identify certain breeds of dogs, such as Dalmatians, by the location of their spots. Spots factor into our images in any number of ways. Our readers often help us determine just which spot a picture was taken at. And we often have to do spot removal, a tedious practice, on old images.
Brian Wilson has his Pet Sounds, and we have our own pet images. Today’s batch are particular favorites, but each one is a different animal– a horse of a different color, you could say. You should have seen some of these pictures before we got hold of them and gave them triage. On second thought, just stick to the finished product you see here.
There are many, many hours of work that go into each post, and money too. When you see an image here, figure that it cost at least $10 on average to obtain it. We are fortunate that some of our readers have shared images from their extensive collections with us.
In particular, today’s post benefited tremendously from the generosity of both William Shapotkin and Jeffrey L. Wien, both of whom recently celebrated birthdays.
So, we are calling this post 101 Dalmatians, as we have at least that many new pictures here, and after working on them for so long, we are starting to see spots everywhere we look. We hope you will appreciate our modest efforts, and we will be back soon with more posts.
Our best wishes also go out to Ray DeGroote, the dean of Chicago railfans at age 88, who was recently injured in a fall. We wish him a speedy recovery. If anyone can do it at that age, Ray can.
A bird’s-eye view of the Wells Street Terminal used by the Chicago, Aurora and Elgin interurban on September 19, 1953. The following day, CA&E stopped running trains downtown, and their track connection with the CTA was severed forever in suburban Forest Park. There is a similar image, taken in 1960, showing the same terminal, or what was left after the CTA built a new track connection to the Loop elevated through it in 1955. You can find that in my book Building Chicago’s Subways.
On July 27, 1962, a CTA Douglas Park “B” train pulls away from us at the Racine stop on the Congress rapid transit line., then only four years old. The train will go downtown through the Dearborn Subway, and then out to Logan Square via the Milwaukee Avenue tube.
On May 28, 1978, photographer William D. Lloyd caught this picture of CTA Historic cars 4271-4272 on the north side “L”. Now nearing the century mark, they are still on the property today. Here, they were only about five years out of regular service.
On January 26, 1964, approximately one year after the North Shore Line quit, the two Electroliners were rechristened as Liberty Liners on the Red Arrow’s 13-mile line between Philadelphia and Norristown. In the distance, we see a pair of early 1930s Bullet cars, which had a storied history of their own.
MBTA (Boston) ex-Dallas double-end PCC 3336 at Mattapan yards on December 5, 1976. (Ed McKernan Photo)
Two CRT Met cars at the Laramie Shops in 1947. (John Gibb Smith, Jr. Photo)
In the last couple years of red car service in Chicago, which ended in 1954, the CTA painted a few of the older streetcars green. It was not an attractive color for them. Here, we see inbound car 6172 jogging from one side of Lake Street to another via Pine Avenue. To this day, tracks are still visible under the viaduct. At this point, streetcars crossed the Lake Street “L”, which ran on the ground here until 1962.
CSL 1466 was used as a training car for the three river tunnels. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)
CSL 173X (full number not visible) is heading west on Madison Street in the 1930s. The Civic Opera House, built by Samuel Insull in 1929, is visible at rear. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)
A maintenance of way car along the overhead section of the North Side “L”, exact date and location unknown. Jeff Wien adds that this is: “Wilson Avenue, freight connection to Buena Yards, probably in the early 50s.”
Laurel Line car 31 is at the Plains substation on August 3, 1952. Edward Skuchas writes: “I believe the locations of the two Laurel Line photos are incorrect. The top photo is Pittston. The lower photo may be the Plains sub-station. West Pittston is on the other side of the Susquehanna River, and the Laurel Line did not go there.”
Laurel Line car 39 is at the Plains sub-station on December 28, 1952, shortly before abandonment.
The interior of Lehigh Valley Transit car 1007, showing its leather bucket seats, which were popular when this car was built for the Cincinnati and Lake Erie in the early 1930s.
Conductors on a Humboldt Park “L” train, circa 1907-15.
A Loop-bound Metropolitan “L” train, circa 1907-15.
The Chicago Surface Lines used trailers during the 1920s, as a way of dealing with increasing crowds of riders. But with the advent of the Great Depression, ridership fell sharply, and the trailers were no longer needed. Some thought was given to reviving them during World War II, but this did not happen. Here, 1756 pulls 8049. Don’s Rail Photos notes, “8056 was built by Brill in 1921, #21272. It became a shed at 77th and scrapped on July 17, 1957.” 1756 was a “169” or Broadway-State car. Again, Don Ross: “1756 was built by CSL in 1923. It was rebuilt as one-man in 1949.”
CTA prewar PCC 7028 on private right-of-way at the south end of Route 4 – Cottage Grove, in June 1953.
CTA Sedan (aka Peter Witt) 3848 on priate right-of-way at the south end of Route 4 – Cottage Grove in June 1952. Here, the line ran parallel to the Illinois Central Electric suburban service, now the Metra Electric.
After the Chicago Transit Authority retired the last of the wooden “L” cars in 1957, some were used for a few more years in work service. Here, a Met car has been renumbered as S-308 at Skokie Shops.
CTA single cat unit 23 is outbound on the Skokie Swift at Niles Center Road on August 20, 1970.
CTA single car unit 26 on the open-cut section of the Skokie Swift in August 1978.
CTA postwar PCC 4337, built by Pullman, heads south on State Street in the early 1950s.
An outbound CTA Douglas Park train ascends the ramp that will take from the Congress (now Eisenhower) Expressway to the old “L” structure in the mid-1960s. This ramp is not used much now, as Douglas trains, now renamed the Pink Line, have been rerouted to the Lake Street “L” via the Paulina Connector. (Mark D. Meyer Photo)
I ought this Red Border Kodachrome slide, which dates to the early 1950s, thinking perhaps it might e the old Park Theater on Chicago’s west side (on Lake near Austin). But after studying the image for a while, I am inclined to think it’s somewhere else. While the facade looks similar to the actual Park Theater, it is not identical. There should be streetcar tracks visible– the movie theater closed in 1952, about two years before the streetcar quit. And the theater on Lake Street at Austin Boulevard did not have a streetlight such as the one seen at right. There was a light attached to a line pole that held the trolley wire– a line pole not visible in this picture. That, plus the rounded nature of the signage, which I have never seen in any other pictures of the Park, tell me that this is not it. But we have in the past posted several pictures of streetcars near the actual theater. If you type “park theater” or “lake austin” in the search window on our page, these various pictures will come up.
CSL 1039 at Wabash and Lake in June 1947. Signed for the Indiana-Lincoln through route #3, it is southbound, and headed to Indiana and 51st.
CSL 6284 on Wabash at Roosevelt Road on June 13, 1947. Although the car is full of people, for some reason the side sign says Not In Service.
A two-car CTA train of 4000s at right, in Evanston shuttle service, heads southbound approaching Howard in the 1950s.
TMER&T 1121, on a December 4, 1949 fantrip on the North Shore Line.
CTA historic cars 4271-4272 at McCormick Boulevard (Yellow Line aka Skokie Swift) on July 16, 1989. (Bruce C. Nelson Photo)
The CTA has a yard for the Green Line (formerly the Lake Street “L”) just west of the Harlem Avenue terminal in suburban Forest Park. Here, various cars in the 2000-series are seen, along with a Metra commuter train on the adjacent Union Pacific West Line. This picture was most likely taken during the 1990s. (Bruce C. Nelson Photo)
CTA gate car 2318 is parked along the outer portion of the Douglas Park line in February 1950.
Chicago Rapid Transit Company gate car 305 is seen on the Loop “L” in the 1940s, signed as a Wilson Avenue Local.
The presence of double track would seem to indicate that this picture of a South Shore Line train was taken in East Chicago, Indiana in the 1950s. The street running through the middle of town was replaced by a new section running parallel to the Indiana Toll Road in 1956.
CTA Holiday Trains have become an annual tradition. Photographer Bruce C. Nelson captured this one on December 2, 2017.
Chicago Surface Lines red Pullman 426 is most likely running on Route 65 – Grand, as it is signed to go to Grand and Armitage. Chances are, this photo was taken circa 1939-40, and shows temporary trackage for construction of Chicago’s first subways.
October 27, 1962 was the last day of ground-level operation on the CTA Lake Street “L”. The following day, service was relocated to the adjacent Chicago & North Western embankment. Here, we see a pair of 4000s heading west on South Boulevard at Kenilworth.
After serving Chicago for many years, some of the original CTA “flat door” 6000s had a second life on Philadelphia’s Norristown High-Speed Line. 6089-6090 are approaching Radnor on April 10, 1987.
Here is a view of the old Tower 18 on Chicago’s Loop “L”, when this was the world’s busiest railroad crossing. The old Loop ran both tracks in only one direction, but this changed in 1969, when the CTA wanted to connect the Lake Street “L” with the new Dan Ryan line. Therefore, the old tower had to go, as it was situated right where the new tracks had to go.
Both CTA and CA&E trains are visible in this July 8, 1953 photo taken at Laramie on the Garfield Park “L”. Just a little over two months later, the CA&E interurban cut back service to Forest Park, a few miles west of here (and behind the photographer).
The Milwaukee Rapid Transit & Speedrail Company’s car 60, seen here in 1950, was a Cincinnati curved-side car. The ill-fated attempt to keep electric transit service going in Milwaukee was doomed to failure, once a horrific head-on collision took the lives of several people.
CA&E 425 is passing over Union Station in this undated photo. Trains going more or less straight would end up at the Wells Street Terminal, while the tracks in the background leading off to the right connected to the Loop “L” Van Buren. When Lower Wacker Drive was being built, this necessitated tearing down this second connection to thee Loop, and building a new one through the second floor of Wells Terminal. The switchover between the two took place in 1955.
Riders at the old Laramie stop on the CTA’s Garfield Park “L” in 1947. Met cars are seen in storage in the background. (John Gibb Smith, Jr. Photo)
A CRT gate car, running in service on the old Garfield Park “L” in 1947. This is the Laramie stop. (Charles R. Griffin Photo)
This CTA brochure, dated July 1949, explains the changes that were coming from the CTA’s plan to revise north-south “L” and subway service. This included A/B “skip stop” service and making the Evanston branch a shuttle.
From the Wien-Criss Archive:
One of the two North Shore Line Electroliners on Chicago’s South Side “L” on February 17, 1962. (Wien-Criss Archive)
A North Shore Line Electroliner barrels through, having just crossed under the EJ&E, on January 12, 1963, a little over a week before the end of service. (Wien-Criss Archive)
A North Shore Line Electroliner on June 1, 1962. (Wien-Criss Archive)
A North Shore Line Electroliner at Edison Court on February 17, 1962. (Wien-Criss Archive)
Chicago Surface Lines experimental pre-PCC car 7001 at 77th and Vincennes in October 1956. It is a shame that this historic car, which ran in Chicago from 1934 to 1944, was not saved. (Wien-Criss Archive)
A Milwaukee streetcar, presumably on Route 10, in the 1950s. (Wien-Criss Archive)
Interior shots were not easy for photographers on September 4, 1962, when Robert F. Collins took this picture of the North Shore Line’s Milwaukee terminal. (Wien-Criss Archive)
Don’s Rail Photos: “E223, sweeper, was built by McGuire-Cummings in 1908 as CCRys E23. It was renumbered E223 in 1913 and became CSL E223 in 1914. It was sold to Illinois Railway Museum on August 29, 1958.” (Wien-Criss Archive)
On March 17, 1957 the late James J. Buckley caught this terrific 3/4 view of a Chicago, Aurora & Elgin freight train at Lakewood. (Wien-Criss Archive)
It’s June 1963, several months after the CTA elevated the Lake Street “L” onto the Chicago & North Western embankment. A four-car train made up of “circus wagons,” the fan’s name for experimental high-speed cars, is making a rare appearance at Harlem Avenue, the end of the line. This view looks east. (Wien-Criss Archive)
CTA postwar PCC 7237 is running southbound on Clark Street in the late 1950s. (Wien-Criss Archive)
CTA postwar PCC 7196 is at 81st and Halsted, the southern end of Route 22 – Clark-Wentworth. (Wien-Criss Archive)
CTA 7195 is southbound on Clark at Washington. (Heier Industrial Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)
CTA red Pullman 144, which is now at the Illinois Railway Museum. (Wien-Criss Archive)
CTA red Pullman 144, which is now at the Illinois Railway Museum. (Wien-Criss Archive)
CTA PCC 7187 on Clark Street on September 6, 1957, the last day of street railway service on Chicago’s north side. (Charles H. Thorpe Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)
On September 6, 1957, CTA 4372 pulls into the turnaround loop at Clark and Howard. (Charles H. Thorpe Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)
CTA 7189 is southbound at Clark and Ohio on September 6, 1957. (Charles H. Thorpe Photo, Wien-Criss Archive) Daniel Joseph notes, “The Hotel Wacker was at Clark and Huron.”
On September 6, 1957, Charles H. Thorpe took this picture of CTA 7139, the last pull-out from Devon Station (car barn). (Wien-Criss Archive)
CTA 4379 is on north Clark Street on September 6, 1957. (Charles H. Thorpe Photo, Wien-Criss Archive) Daniel Joseph adds, “This streetcar is traveling southbound to 81st & Halsted (as the destination sign states) somewhere near Clark and Glenlake.” (This is, however, on the northern portion of Clark Street as we stated.)
CTA 7195 is on Halsted Street, near the south end of Route 22 – Clark-Wentworth. (Heier Industrial Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)
CTA Sedan (aka Peter Witt) 3360 is running Route 4 – Cottage Grove, circa 1951-52. (Wien-Criss Archive)
CTA 7154 is near Limits Station (car barn), near 2700 N. Clark Street, on September 6, 1957. (Charles H. Thorpe Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)
CTA steeple cab S-343, a “yard shifter,” serving the rapid transit system, is at 64th and Prairie. Don’s Rail Photos notes, “S-343 was built by Chicago City Ry in 1909 as Chicago City Ry C50. It was renumbered L202 in 1913 and became CSL L202 in 1914. It was rebuilt as S-343 in 1959 and acquired by Railway Equipment Leasing & Investment Co in 1979. It was acquired by Fox River Trolley Museum in 1983 and restored as L202.” (Wien-Criss Archive)
Chicago Surface Lines crane car X-4 at the Illinois Railway Museum. Don’s Rail Photos says,”X4, derrick, was built by McGuire-Cummings in 1910 as CRys 2. It was renumbered N2 in 1913 and became CSL N2 in 1914. It was rebuilt as X4 in 1947 and rebuilt as S344 in 1958. It was sold to Electric Railway Historical Society in 1963 and donated to Illinois Railway Museum in 1973.” (Wien-Criss Archive)
CTA postwar PCC 7220, a product of the St. Louis Car Company, on Route 22. (Wien-Criss Archive)
From the William Shapotkin Collection:
CSL 5301 is at Lake and Ashland, running on Route 9, in April 1937. Streetcars were not permitted on boulevards, and the section of Ashland between Lake and Roosevelt was just such a boulevard. Therefore, in that stretch, Ashland streetcars jogged over the nearby Paulina. (William Shapotkin Collection)
This picture was taken on a Central Electric Railfans’ Association fantrip on the Illinois Central Electric on April 24, 1966. (William Shapotkin Collection)
The slide mount for this had the word “junk” written on it, but I don’t agree. This is also from that same April 24, 1966 fantrip. (William Shapotkin Collection)
A photo stop at Washington Park race track on the April 24, 1966 CERA fantrip on the IC. (William Shapotkin Collection)
Illinois Central Electric 1427 and 1186 on the Washington Park Branch on the April 24, 1966 CERA fantrip. Note that the motor unit in this pair faces north. (William Shapotkin Collection)
The Illinois Central Electric at Blue Island in June 1978. (William Shapotkin Collection)
This slide mount has George Strombeck written on it, but I am not sure whether that is the name of the photographer, or the man in the picture. Either way, this shows a Milwaukee Road commuter train in Downtown Chicago on April 21, 1973. (William Shapotkin Collection)
The GM&O “Abe Lincoln” at 18th Street in Chicago on April 22, 1966. (William Shapotkin Collection)
Photos of Ryan Tower, where the North Shore Line crossed the Chicago & North Western, are scarce, as this was a somewhat remote location for fans. But thanks to the good offices of Bill Shapotkin, here are several such views, along with his usual contemporary photos showing what the area looks like today.
Milwaukee County, WI – A pair of CNS&M cars (the “Silverliner” at left is on a fantrip) pass one another at Ryan Tower – crossing with the C&NW “New Line.” Note that the once-double-tracked C&NW is now ut a single-track line through here (the one-time westbound main has been removed). The view looks north. (William Shapotkin Collection)
Ryan Tower, WI – TM interurban #1121, in fantrip service, heads southbound on the CNS&M as it crosses over the C&NW “New Line” at Ryan Tower on December 4, 1949. The view looks north. (William Shapotkin Collection)
Milwaukee County, WI – A southbound CNS&M “Silverliner” (in fantrip service) is about to cross over the (now single-track) C&NW “New Line” at Ryan Tower. View looks north. (William Shapotkin Collection)
On the stretch between Milwaukee limits and Racine station, a North Shore train crosses North Western freight route at Ryan Road. (A. C. Kalmbach Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)
Milwaukee County, WI – In 1958, a southbound CNS&M passenger train approaches the crossing with C&NW “New Line” at Ryan Road (that’s Ryan Tower at left). The view looks north. (William Shapotkin Collection)
Near the Milwaukee County line, a North Shore car crosses the C&NW freight line at an acute angle. (A. C. Kalmbach Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)
Milwaukee County, WI – Looking N/NW (timetable NB) on long-abandoned right-of-way of CNS&M from “Old Ryan Road,” (formerly Ryan Road). The CNS&M once crossed the C&NW (now UP) “New Line” – visible at right at “Ryan Tower,” located behind the photographer on the south side of the road. Photo by William Shapotkin on September 20, 2003.
(William Shapotkin Photo)
Milwaukee, WI – Looking SB on UP (ex-C&NW) “New Line” from “Old Ryan Road” (new Ryan Road is visible overhead in the distance). This once double-tracked line once crossed the long-abandoned CNS&M at “Ryan Tower,” located south of the Roadway. Photo by William Shapotkin on September 6, 2003.
C&WT 104 at the end of the line in LaGrange. (William Shapotkin Collection)
C&WT 164 on Lake Street. (William Shapotkin Collection)
C&WT 145 is westbound on Lake Street at Harlem Avenue. To the left is the Marshall Field & Company store, a local landmark. (William Shapotkin Collection)
This picture is not very sharp, but it does show a C&WT streetcar stopped at the south parking lot of Brookfield Zoo, sometime in the 1940s. (William Shapotkin Collection)
C&WT 133 has changed ends at Madison and Austin, and is ready to head west. Across the street from Oak Park into Chicago, riders could change to a Chicago Surface Lines PCC for a fast ride into the city. (William Shapotkin Collection)
This shows westbound C&WT car 108, signed Berwyn-Lyons, on Stanley having just passed Oak Park Avenue circa 1941. At right is the Berwyn stop on the Chicago Burlington & Quincy. Today, Pace bus route 302 runs here, and commuter train service is under the auspices of Metra. (William Shapotkin Collection)
I am not sure of where this C&WT photo was taken. (William Shapotkin Collection) Patrick Cunningham: “The unidentified C&WT photo looks like it was taken just east of the Stone Ave. station on the CB&Q in LaGrange. The view is east. If you look at the prior photo of the end of the C&WT in LaGrange (which was at Brainard Ave.), you’ll note that the line was single track. This appears to be a passing siding or layover point.” On the other hand. Michael Murray writes, “I believe the 7th C&WT picture is looking east at Harlem and Stanley Aves. Page 128 of the Buckley book shows the signal on the pole, the track alignment, the CBQ shelter, and the CBQ signal in a photo near where yours was taken. I originally thought the same about the C&WT picture, but it’s Berwyn, not La Grange. The Buckley book confirms the location. ” Charles R. Vlk: “The “I am not sure of where this C&WT photo was taken. (William Shapotkin Collection)” photo is looking East on Stanley Avenue where the single track line crossing the Burlington at Harlem Avenue goes to double track. Harlem Avenue is behind the camera to the West.”
C&WT 112 is eastbound at Stanley and Oak Park Avenue. The CB&Q Berwyn stop is at left. (William Shapotkin Collection)
We have seen this picture of C&WT 141 before (it is also in my book Chicago Trolleys), but why pass up another chance to see it again? This is the bridge where the LaGrange line crossed the DesPlaines River, and I believe we are looking the the southeast. (William Shapotkin Collection)
I assume these are the C&WT tracks in LaGrange. (William Shapotkin Collection) Michael Murray: “I’m skeptical that photo 10 is on the La Grange line. There wasn’t any single track on the line similar to the one in the photo. My guess is perhaps the Berwyn-Lyons line? Ogden Ave. on the right, and this is the easternmost passing track, which, according to the Buckley book, was west of Harlem. Note that the line poles are only briefly wide of the main “march” of poles into the distance.”
A C&WT streetcar in LaGrange. (William Shapotkin Collection) Michael Murray: “Photo 11, which you have captioned as “A C&WT streetcar in LaGrange” is found on page 129 of the Buckley book, and is captioned: “Between Harlem Ave and the Des Plaines River, the Berwyn-Lyons streetcar line was built on private right-of-way on the south side of Ogden Ave. It was abandoned October 26, 1933 because the land was wanted to widen Ogden Ave. The railway here was single track with two passing sidings. Car 133 was photographed on the passing siding near the Des Plaines River in October 1933, a few days before abandonment.”
C&WT 111. (William Shapotkin Collection)
C&WT 105 on Cermak Road. (William Shapotkin Collection)
An unidentified C&WT car, probably in the 1930s. (William Shapotkin Collection)
C&WT 107. (William Shapotkin Collection)
C&WT 165 is at Lake and Austin, the east end of the line, in suburban Oak Park. (William Shapotkin Collection)
From a high vantage point, here we see C&WT 112 has just turned from Ridgeland onto Stanley in suburban Berwyn, and is heading west, just north of the CB&Q, which it will cross at Harlem Avenue one mile west of here. (William Shapotkin Collection)
C&WT 132 on Cermak Road in the late 1930s. (William Shapotkin Collection)
C&WT 105 at the Harlem and Cermak car barn. (William Shapotkin Photo)
C&WT 111 on Cermak Road. (William Shapotkin Photo)
The Trolley Dodger On the Air
We appeared on WGN radio in Chicago last November, discussing our book Building Chicago’s Subways on the Dave Plier Show. You can hear our 19-minute conversation here.
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.
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Redone tile at the Monroe and Dearborn CTA Blue Line subway station, showing how an original sign was incorporated into a newer design, May 25, 2018. (David Sadowski Photo)
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Here, we see one-man CTA 3150(?) and its operator at the east end of route 21 on Cermak and Prairie Avenue in June 1951. Prairie Avenue was also the location of the local Kodak processing plant, which handled Kodachrome until the early 1980s.
“One good turn deserves another.” Or at least, that is how the saying goes.
We started this blog on January 21, 2015, so this post (our 173rd) is the last one for our full second year. When we started, we had no clue what the reaction would be. But, we had to believe that some good would come from sharing our transit photos and information with you.
Our experience from the past two years has shown this very much to be the case. As we have shared our information, others have come forward to share theirs with us. We have reached an audience, and our continued growth demonstrates that railfan interest is growing, not shrinking.
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Another word that comes to mind is “sustainability.” I don’t consider this a commercial site, since everything here is free for all to enjoy. But it does take both time and resources to keep providing you with a steady stream of high-quality images.
We are happy to put in the time, but resources are always limited. As a general rule, for each image you see here, it probably costs us $10 to bring that to you. That is the average cost of a print, negative, or slide, including the shipping. Some images cost more, some less.
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So there has always been a gap between the images that we get to share with you, and the ones that we could if we only had the resources. Our goal is to make this gap as small as possible.
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Now, it may come to pass that this will always be so, but it is our goal to make The Trolley Dodger a “sustainable” enterprise, for now and the future. That will give us the best chance to keep it going.
We are encouraged by the response to our last post, where we asked for donations to help pay our domain registration and web site upkeep costs for the coming year. We received more than enough money for the costs that come due on February 3rd. So we will be here for another year, and thank everyone who so generously contributed.
We used the additional funds we received to pay for some of the images you see in today’s post.
Meanwhile, we are quickly coming up on the deadline to finish our new book Chicago Trolleys. This will be our own modest contribution to the slim shelf of books about Chicago’s once-great streetcar system.
Some fantastic images have come up for sale recently, which would make tremendous additions to the book. Once finished, chances are it won’t get revised or updated again for a long time.
We want this book, which will include about 215 classic back-and-white pictures, to be the best that it can be. With the help of your donations and purchases, we can make this dream a reality.
Chicago Trolleys is expected to be published later this year. We will keep you posted on our progress.
Meanwhile, here is another batch of classic images of Chicago streetcars. And, as always, we hope that this will be “one good turn” that “deserves another,” and not just “another fine mess.”
PS- Our next post, the first for our third year, will feature all three great Chicago interurbans. Watch this space.
It’s August 17, 1956, and southbound PCC 7192 is about to stop at a safety island at Clark and Armitage. (Joseph M. Canfield Photo)
On August 21, 1956, PCC 7215 turns from Broadway onto Devon, as a northbound route 36 car with the North Side “L” in the background. (Joseph M. Canfield Photo)
The “Broadway Downtown” sign on this car, and the appearance of the autos in the background, would probably indicate that this picture was taken circa 1956. The south portion of the route 36 Broadway-State Through Route was bussed on December 3, 1955, and the remaining half on February 16, 1957.
Prewar PCC 4012 on Cottage Grove in 1952. Jack Fuller adds, “The Green Hornet view along Route 4, Cottage Grove is actually at 99th Street. This is the only opening under the Illinois Central tracks between 95th Street and 103rd Street.” (C. R. Scholes Photo)
This birds-eye view of CTA 1744 was taken from the Pulaski Road “L” station on the Garfield Park branch in April 1950. However, what we are looking at may actually be a Madison-Fifth car at the west end of its route, ready to loop back via Pulaski and Harrison. Bill Shapotkin adds, “This image is looking E-N/E on Fifth Ave from the Garfield Pk ‘L’…no question about it. The intersection behind the streetcar is Harrison.”
CTA one-man car 1778 heads west on Lake in May 1954, shorty before route 16 was bussed. Kevin Doerksen adds, “I believe that One-man car 1778 is actually looking East on Lake at Ogden/Loomis. The building on the right hand side is right at the corner of Loomis and Lake. It’s also under threat of demolition, I believe.” Daniel Joseph: “I believe this photo is at Lake Street at Randolph at Justine. Ogden did not have car tracks north of Randolph but Randolph went northwest along Union Park with (car tracks) connecting with Lake.”
CTA one-man car 1760 on Cermak at the CB&Q (Burlington) tracks on March 21, 1954.
CTA 6141 at Navy Pier in June 1951. This was the location of the University of Illinois Chicago campus until it moved to its present home about 15 years later.
CTA 6177 at Cermak and Clark in March 1950 on route 21.
CTA 3178 on Cermak in April 1950. We sometimes get a late snow like this here in Chicago. The billboard advertises “squint-free, strain free” Hoffman TVs.
CTA 201 at the Lawndale Station (car barn) in May 1951. Later, this became the home for the CTA’s collection of historic streetcars, until they were dispersed to museums in the mid-1980s. Jeff Weiner notes, “Ah, the Lawndale barn. It was inactive when I surveyed Ogden, Pulaski, and Cermak for signal modernization in the early 2000’s, and has since been torn down. The City put in sidewalks, curb and gutter, and you’d never know that a carbarn had been there.”
CTA 4084 at 81st and Wallace on March 24, 1954 on route 22. By this time, Pullman PCCs were fast disappearing as they were scrapped for parts recycling into new rapid transit cars. There is a picture of another car at this location on page 233 of CERA Bulletin 146.
CTA 4063 at Cermak and Clark on April 11, 1954. There was a jog on route 22, where cars went between Clark and Wentworth.
CTA 7266 on Clark at around 15th on April 11, 1954, about ready to go under the St. Charles Air Line.
CTA 692 at the Museum Loop in May 1950. This extension of the Roosevelt Road line was built for the 1933-34 Chicago World’s Fair (A Century of Progress).
One-man car 1722 is on Washington at LaSalle in downtown Chicago, running route 58 (Ogden). George Foelschow: “Red car 1722 is westbound on Washington Street at LaSalle Street. The building on the left with arches and bay windows is genius starchitect Louis Sullivan’s Stock Exchange Building now, sadly, demolished. Photographer Richard Nickel was killed when documenting demolition and the floor above him collapsed. The stock trading room as well as the main entrance were saved and can be visited at the Art Institute.” Kevin Doerksen: “One-man car 1722 is on Washington. The Chicago Eye, Ear Nose and Throat Hospital, pictured in the background, was located at 258 W Washington (at Franklin).”
CTA 1758, at the east end of route 16, has just turned from Lake onto Dearborn circa 1953, while a train of 6000s roars overhead.
Circa 1952, a CTA red Pullman passes a Pullman PCC on temporary trackage at Halsted and Congress, during expressway construction.
CTA 225 is on Roosevelt near State in Apri1 1951. This car is now preserved at the Seashore Trolley Museum in Maine.
CTA 1760 at Cermak and Kenton, west end of route 21, on March 21, 1954. This was the city limits. When the nearby Douglas Park “L” was cut back to 54th Avenue in 1952, CTA began running an “interurban” bus west of here. Bus route 21 now goes all the way to the North Riverside Mall, just west of Harlem Avenue.
CTA 3153 is turning from Pine onto Lake Street in January 1952, crossing ground-level tracks of the Lake Street “L”. These were elevated onto the nearby embankment in 1962.
CTA 4317 on State Street near the Loop in March 1952.
This is not a very sharp photograph, but CTA 4242, shown here in November 1950, may be on Halsted, having just crossed the Chicago River.
CTA 4392 is at the south end of route 36 on March 21, 1954, somewhere in the vicinity of 120th and Morgan. CTA had plans to build a new off-street loop for these cars at 115th and Michigan, which would have eliminated this portion of the route, but such was never built before streetcar service ended.
CTA 4067 at 120th and Halsted on March 21, 1954, near the south end of route 36.
This was a tough one to figure out, but my best guess is we are on Halsted looking north just south of 119th. The route 36 PCC 7264 is turning east onto 119th on March 21, 1954, making a jog from 120th. Under the gas sign, you can just barely see a small part of the gateman’s tower at this location. Route 8 Halsted PCCs ony ran as far south as 79th.
The same location today.
This is the view on 119th looking east at Hasted. This is shown in the top picture on page 292 of CERA Bulletin 146. The building at left is the same as in that earlier picture.
This enlargement from the 1952 CTA supervisor’s track map shows how route 36 streetcars turned around at 120th and Morgan and where they crossed various railroad tracks. The track at an angle was the old PRR “Panhandle” route that went between Chicago and Logansport, Indiana. It was abandoned in the Conrail days.
In the aftermath of the catastrophic collision between PCC 7078 and a gasoline truck on May 25, 1950, in which 33 people tragically lost their lives, we see one of the fortunate survivors, 14-year-old Beverly Clark. She was thrown to the floor by the collision, but managed to escape with relatively minor injuries. News reports indicated that 44 riders survived.
CSL 185 on the Roosevelt Road extension in 1946. (Walter Hulseweder Photo)
San Francisco cable car 524, shown here at the Chicago Railroad Fair in 1949, operated over a short section of track where the cable pulled it up an incline over a short distance. This made it the last cable car to operate in Chicago. 524 is back in San Francisco, and still operates there as far as I know.
CTA Pullman 122, signed for route 53 Pulaski, on September 2, 1949.
CTA salt car AA96 in the early 1950s. Formerly CSL 2844, this car had a scrap date of December 27, 1955.
Here is an oddity. In this picture, CSL work car 106 has been decorated for Anti-Litter Week as part of a parade.
CSL Pullman 127 passes the old North Western Station on Madison on August 18, 1941, while a man in a straw hat wonders why anyone would want to take a picture of a streetcar.
This July 1948 picture of CSL 161 shows it in the weeds at that portion of the Cermak line extended to the lakefront for the Chicago World’s Fair.
This picture is a bit of a mystery. Although CSL 1899 says it is destined for 63rd and State, that is not this location, since we see the “L” in the background. Sandy Terman: “The photo of flexible 1899 I believe was taken in the lower yard north of west shops just north of Lake street.The trains above I think were actually Lake Street. the 1899 may have been pulled out of service from the State-Lake route according to the destination sign.” That’s a pretty good theory, and backing it up, you can see trolley poles on some of the “L” cars in the picture. If Mr. Terman is right, those cars are being stored on a third track on the Lake line, which did not have a “proper” yard at the end of the line until after the 1962 elevation.
CTA 3226 at 71st and California in 1950.
CTA work car W-204, described as a “two-cab flat,” in May 1950.
CSL one-man car 3281 is at Division and Austin, west end of that line. Before there were off-street turnback loops, double-ended streetcars typically stopped right in the middle of the street before going back the other way. Across Austin, that’s suburban Oak Park.
CSL 1964 is at Chicago and Austin, west end of line, at the city limits.
CTA 3200 heads east on the Roosevelt road extension over the IC tracks, which ran to the Field Museum and Soldier Field. By this time, streetcar service on Roosevelt had been reduced to a shuttle operation between Wabash and the Museum Loop. This picture was taken in May 1952, and the shuttle was discontinued the following year.
CSL 4024 at the Madison-Austin loop on October 14, 1946. Note the modified trolley shroud on this car.
CTA 7251 at State and Washington in August 1948. That’s one of the iconic Marshall Field’s clocks at left.
Clybourn (left) and Halsted (right) in 1938. There are no streetcars present, but plenty of tracks. In the background, we see part of the Northside “L”, generally called the “triple curve.” The State Street subway had not yet been built when this picture was taken, but a station at North and Clybourn would eventually replace the one here on the “L”. This section of line is still used today by Brown and Purple Line trains, and has not been straightened out.
CTA Pullman 996 at the 69th and Ashland Station (car barn).
CTA 3196 at Wabash and Roosevelt in March 1953.
CTA PCC 4100, built by Pullman, is turning from Kinzie onto Clark in November 1953, with Tribune Tower and the Wrigley Building at rear.
CSL 5408 is on Roosevelt at Ashland on January 15, 1937. Daniel Joseph: “I believe this photo is at Roosevelt at Ashland with Immanuel Lutheran Church in the background.”
CTA 7217 at 77th and Vincennes in February 1953. We have run this picture before (in More Chicago PCC Photos – Part Five, October 28, 2015), but now we own the original negative. One of our readers thinks that CTA 7217 is likely eastbound on 78th pulling off of Vincennes Avenue. They continue, “Since the sun is obviously in the east, this appears to be a route 22 pull-in after the AM rush.” The date given for that other version of the picture was December 1953, and it was credited to Harold A. Smith.
You would be forgiven for thinking that this photo of CSL Brill car 5986 was taken on State. In actuality, this is Lake and Austin, with the old Park Theater in the background. This was the west end of the line, at the city limits. This car was on the Lake-State through route 16. The through route was discontinued in 1946, and streetcar service on Lake in 1954. This picture dates to the 1930s.
Riders wait to board the rear of CSL 3156 at Lake and Austin in the late 1930s. This car was on Through Route 16 (State-Lake). That is the Park Theater behind the car. It closed sometime around 1952.
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This famous photo shows Tower 18 at Lake and Wells in 1917, a very busy intersection indeed. We are looking north along Wells. In 1969, the tower was torn down and replaced in a slightly different location, so that Lake Street trains could continue directly east instead of having to turn south on Wells. This was done to facilitate pairing the Lake line with the new Dan Ryan service. (George Trapp collection)
I apologize for the 16-day gap since our last post, but I recently worked 15 straight days as an election judge. It usually takes me a while to recover when I do this. On the other hand, I have friends who say it will take them the next four years to recover from this election, so I should consider myself fortunate.
Today we have another generous selection of Chicago rapid transit photos from the collections of George Trapp. We thank him again for sharing these with our readers.
Today, we are mainly featuring the South Side “L”, used by today’s CTA Green Line, plus Howard Street on the North side, and the Niles Center/Skokie branch, today’s Yellow Line.
As always, if you have anything interesting to add to the discussion, you can either leave a comment here on this post, or contact us directly at:
PS- To find earlier posts in our series, just type “Chicago rapid transit” in the search window at the top of the page.
CTA hi-speed 6129 at Chicago Avenue on the Ravenswood (today’s Brown Line) in 1961. (Pete Busack Photo, George Trapp Collection)
CTA high-speeds 32 and 4 at Kimball on the Ravenswood in 1961. (Pete Busack Photo, George Trapp Collection)
CTA high-speed 3 at Kimball in 1961. (Pete Busack Photo, George Trapp Collection)
This look like the Linden Yard in Wilmette to me. The date is 1957-58. George Trapp: “Linden Yard but looking North toward Linden Station.” (Allen T. Zagel Photo, George Trapp Collection) This and the other photos taken at the same time are “Kodachrome prints” (see the next picture).
The phrase “Kodachrome print” has gone by the wayside. But back in the old days, there were two different ways to make color prints– a Type C print from a negative, and a Type R print from a slide. You could also have a C print made from a slide by way of an internegative, which somewhat reduced the inevitable buildup in contrast printing direct, but also sacrificed some sharpness. Scanning and modern color printing has replaced much of this.
A pair of flat-door 6000s at Howard Yard circa 1957-58. (Allen T. Zagel Photo, George Trapp Collection)
Howard Yard, 1957-58. This was taken at the same time as the previous photo. (Allen T. Zagel Photo, George Trapp Collection)
THe view looking north from the transfer bridge at Howard in 1957-58. The tracks going to the north are Evanston; at left, the North Shore Line’s Skokie Valley Route, site of today’s Yellow Line. (Allen T. Zagel Photo, George Trapp Collection)
In response to demands that the struggling Chicago Rapid Transit Company replace their aging fleet of wooden cars with modern ones, the company had a mock-up built for a proposed 5000-series car at Skokie Shops. This shows some influence from New York City cars. The 5001-5004 articulated cars that were eventually built in 1947-48 were patterned after the Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit “Bluebirds,” but styling from this mock-up does seem to be reflected in the 6000s that followed in 1950. (George Trapp Collection)
CRT gate car 2509, shown here coupled to 4395, is signed for Westchester, so this may be Laramie Yard on the Garfield Park “L”. (Joe L. Diaz Photo, George Trapp Collection)
A Niles Center car at Main Street in Skokie. (George Trapp Collection)
When the Niles Center branch ran (1925-1948), Chicago’s rapid transit lines depended on a lot of walk-in riders from the neighborhoods. Unfortunately, large parts of Skokie were not built up until after World War II. (George Trapp Collection)
CRT 1804, shown here at Crawford, has just changed over from overhead wire to third rail on its inbound journey. George Trapp: “This car, built by A. C. F., was originally a trailer as were all the cars from 1789-1815. These cars are quite similar to the 1769-1788 built by Pullman in 1909.” (George Trapp Collection)
CRT 1807 in the pocket track at Dempster, northern end of the Niles Center branch. (George Trapp Collection)
A train of CRT 4000s on the North Shore Line. (George Trapp Collection)
The north end of Howard Yard in CRT days. (George Trapp Collection)
The north end of Howard Yard in CRT days. George Trapp: “Note cars 1776 and 1779, which head up the two trains at right. Built by Pullman in 1909, these were the last wooden cars built new in Chicago.” (George Trapp Collection)
Construction at Skokie Shops. By comparing this photo to a similar one on Graham Garfield’s web site, we can date this to about 1930. George Trapp: “Construction at Skokie (Niles Center at time of photo) is late 1920’s or early 1930’s. Wood cars at right are in CRT Green and Orange scheme.” (Allen T. Zagel Photo, George Trapp Collection)
The view looking north from Howard Street. George Trapp dates this to the “late 1920’s – 1930’s.” (Allen T. Zagel Photo, George Trapp Collection)
The Ravenswood terminal at Lawrence and Kimball in CRT days. (George Trapp Collection)
CTA high-speed car 4, built by St. Louis Car Company in 1960, at Skokie Shops in December 1962. (George Trapp Photo)
CTA 29 outbound from Howard on the new Skokie Swift in 1964. (George Trapp Photo)
CTA high-speed car 2 at Skokie Shops in June 1962. (George Trapp Photo)
CTA car 4 near Howard in 1964. (George Trapp Photo)
CTA car 2 near Howard in 1964. (George Trapp Photo)
CRT 4320 at Skokie Shops, freshly repainted. George Trapp: “CRT 4320 not CTA, car is freshly painted in CRT Green and Orange and is a Met assigned car note position of safety springs and Van Dorn coupler.” Comparison with a similar photograph dates this one to 1937. (Allen T. Zagel Photo, George Trapp Collection)
Gate cars at Howard. (George Trapp Collection)
A CTA single car unit (28) at Howard on the Evanston shuttle. (Lou Gerard Photo, George Trapp Collection)
George Trapp: “Car 2788 is probably at 54th Avenue yard on Douglas Park branch as that is what rear side sign says.” (Joe L. Diaz Photo, George Trapp Collection)
An old postcard view of the Wells Street bridge over the Chicago River. I assume we are looking north. The clock tower is part of the old Chicago & North Western station. It would be nice to see this one in color. (George Trapp Collection)
Metropolitan Elevated Railway car 800 heads up a train in the early 1900s at the old Glenwood amusement park in Batavia on the Aurora, Elgin & Chicago (later the CA&E). That’s the branch’s large powerhouse in the background. Circa 1960, this was considered (but rejected) as the new home for the fledgling Illinois Electric Railway Museum. (George Trapp Collection)
Unlike this one, most 4000-series “L” cars did not have giant thumbprints on them. So, either the Cardiff Giant has paid a visit, or someone put their thumb onto a wet print or negative. (Joe L. Diaz Photo, George Trapp Collection)
This photo of two gate cars on the Loop “L” is a bit scratchy, but I think I recognize the Insurance Exchange Building at right, which would make this the Wells leg of the Loop, looking north. (George Trapp Collection)
The South Side “L” crossing Garfield Boulevard (55th), circa the 1920s. (George Trapp Collection)
CRT gate car 50. Don’s Rail Photos says, “50 was built by Jackson & Sharpe in 1892 as SSRT 50. It became CERy 50 in 1913 and CRT 50 in 1923. It was rebuilt as S2 in 1939.” (George Trapp Collection)
CRT 4265 heads up a northbound train going into the State Street subway not far south of Roosevelt Road. It is signed as going to both Howard and Skokie. This picture must have been taken between 1943 and 1948. (Joe L. Diaz Photo, George Trapp Collection)
61st Street on the South Side “L”. (George Trapp Collection)
M. E. says this is “the view facing west at Indiana, again while the Kenwood line was a through line.” George Trapp: “The center-door steel car is a loop-bound Kenwood train, shown at the junction with the main South Side “L”. The 4-car train is a north-south through train. The wood train about to cross in front of the Kenwood train is probably a Loop-bound Englewood train.” The tracks at right were used for freight. This photo was taken from the roof of the building shown on the left of the next picture that follows. Contrast this with a photo taken circa 1955-57 at much the same spot in our previous post Chicago Rapid Transit Photos, Part Three (March 23, 2016). (George Trapp Collection)
I thought perhaps this was a Stock Yards train, but close examination of the sign seems to indicate it’s a Kenwood instead. If you zoom in, you can also see freight tracks at left, which paralleled the Kenwood line on an embankment. If so, we are looking east from where the Kenwood branch met the South Side main line near Indiana Avenue. (George Trapp Collection)
An enlargement of the previous photo, showing the Kenwood right-of-way adjacent to freight tracks on an embankment. I am not sure which movie theater that is in the background– the only Park Theater I know of was located at Lake and Austin. This picture was probably taken in Kenwood shuttle days on the CTA (1949-1957), since there is only the one track connecting it with the main line. Two tracks were visible in the earlier picture taken from the roof of a nearby building. Chris Cole adds, “The Park Theater is listed in Cinema Treasures at 3955 S King Dr. That matches the location in the picture.”
The facade of the old Park Theater, located at 3955 S. Dr. Marin Luther King Jr. Drive, is still there, next to the abandoned embankment that once housed the Kenwood “L”.
M. E. writes: “The sign says Kenwood to Indiana Ave., which was the shuttle service.”
We are looking east from the Indiana Avenue station. Off in the distance, more or less straight ahead, is the Kenwood branch of the “L”. The north-south main line heads off to the right (south) at this point, and Stock Yards service would go behind us to the west. M. E. adds: “The caption also says Stock Yards service is behind the photographer. It would be more accurate to say the Stock Yards L used the south side of the south platform, which is visible in the picture. From there the Stock Yards L headed west (behind the photographer) to Halsted, then into the stock yards. This picture was taken while the Kenwood line was still a through line into the Loop (and possibly north to Wilson). The same view after the Kenwood line was cut back to a shuttle is in photo dave408.” George Trapp adds: “straight ahead with jog is the Kenwood Branch, which shared embankment with Chicago Junction Ry.” (George Trapp Collection)
David Vartanoff noticed that this Chicago Blues LP features a cover shot of the “L”, taken where Kenwood branched off from the main line.
61st Street on the South side “L”. (George Trapp Collection)
George Trapp: “The pair of South Side gate cars are at Lake between State and Wabash on a Wilson Ave. Local, probably originating on the Kenwood Branch.” (Joe L. Diaz Photo, George Trapp Collection)
This old photo shows South Side Rapid Transit car 131 at 63rd Street in 1899. (George Trapp Collection)
South Side Rapid Transit car 139 rounding the curve at Harrison and State, probably in the late 1890s. George Foelschow: “The photo of South Side car 139 on the Harrison curve April 16, 1898 appears on page 35 of CERA B-131, authored by Bruce Moffat. Multiple-unit inventor Frank Sprague may be at the controls, since he is pictured on the following page the next day on an M-U test at 61st Street yard. These tests presaged the steam to electric conversion on the South Side “L”.” (George Trapp Collection)
It is not widely known, but during its first few years, the South side “L” was powered by steam. This picture was taken at Indiana Avenue in the 1890s. (George Trapp Collection)
Finally, here are a few more pictures from a 4000s fantrip on the Skokie Swift in the late 1970s or early 1980s: