The Fruits of Our Labors

We salute the people of Texas, who are recovering from one of the worst floods in American history. Here is a classic Dallas streetscape from July 31, 1950, showing Dallas Railway & Terminal Co. double-end PCC 612. Don’s Rail Photos says, “612 was built by Pullman-Standard in 1945, #W6699. It was sold as MTA 3334 in 1959 and sold to Trolleyville in 1991. It was transferred to Lake Shore Electric Ry in 2006. It was sold to McKinney Avenue Transit Authority and stored at Illinois Railway Museum in 2010.” I probably rode this car in Boston in 1977 on the Ashmont-Mattapan line. (John D. Koschwanez Photo)

Labor Day weekend is just around the corner, and I for one am thankful for all our reader contributions to this site. Today, we are featuring more great historic photos from Jack Bejna and Larry Sakar.

I hope that you will appreciate their efforts.

On a personal note, we received a few “author’s copies” of Chicago Trolleys this week. For the first time, I could hold the book in my hand.

It has been an honor and a privilege to write this new book. As with any such endeavor, there is always a lot of blood, sweat, toil, and tears involved. But in a sense, what had been my book is now your book. Now that it is finished, it belongs to you, the reader, and the people of Chicago.

I would like to thank all the various people who contributed photos to the book. In particular, numerous images came from the collections of George Trapp, who has so generously shared them with this blog in the past.

Being a very modest person, he did not even ask for an individual “by-line” for each picture, just a “thank you” in the Acknowledgements. But I want to give credit where credit is due. Thanks in large part to George Trapp, Chicago Trolleys is a much better book than would otherwise be the case, for which I am most appreciative.

-David Sadowski

PS- You can save $4 by pre-ordering Chicago Trolleys before Tuesday, September 5th. Right now, as part of our special introductory offer, we are providing free shipping within the United States. The shipping rates for books ordered starting on the 5th will be increased by $4 per book, so get your orders in today. Books will be shipped on or about the September 25th release date.

Recent Correspondence

Jack Bejna writes:

The Fifth Avenue Terminal (original name) was built by the West Side elevated Railroad in 1904 to provide a terminal for rush hour L train traffic. In 1905, the terminal also started hosting trains of the CA&E railroad. In the early days over 100 rush hour trains were common. The terminal had four tracks serving two platforms and was the only downtown Chicago terminal ever used by the CA&E. When the CA&E stopped using the terminal in 1953 because of construction of the Congress Street Expressway and the resulting loss of the CTA Garfield Park elevated line, the terminal was closed and later demolished in 1955.

Photos of the terminal and adjacent tracks are few and far between, and for the most part the quality of the photos is less than what I hoped to find. Never the less, here are a number of Photoshopped images of the terminal, tracks, and trains I was able to find. As an aside, the bridge over the Chicago River (2 parallel spans) was the first Scherzer Rolling Lift Bridge installed anywhere.

The original Wells Street Terminal facade.

The original Wells Street Terminal facade.

The same facade, revised in the late 1920s.

The same facade, revised in the late 1920s.

The Wells Street Terminal, street side.

The Wells Street Terminal, street side.

The terminal, looking east.

The terminal, looking east.

The north track, looking east.

The north track, looking east.

The south track, looking east.

The south track, looking east.

The four-track terminal, looking east.

The four-track terminal, looking east.

The terminal, looking west. 457 and 458 are seen, which means the picture is from 1945-53.

The terminal, looking west. 457 and 458 are seen, which means the picture is from 1945-53.

The terminal tracks, looking west.

The terminal tracks, looking west.

The terminal tower, looking west.

The terminal tower, looking west.

The terminal tower, looking west.

The terminal tower, looking west.

An eastbound CA&E train enters the terminal.

An eastbound CA&E train enters the terminal.

A westbound train (in the distance) leaves the terminal. The tracks at right connected with the Loop “L” via Van Buren to the south of the terminal.

The Chicago River bridge, which was really two bridges side by side.

The Chicago River bridge, which was really two bridges side by side.

An eastbound train crossing the Chicago River.

An eastbound train crossing the Chicago River.

CA&E 38 heads up a westbound train leaving the terminal.

CA&E 38 heads up a westbound train leaving the terminal.

1950 Speedrail Disaster

The tragic result of a head-on collision between two Speedrail cars on a blind curve on September 2, 1950. Heavyweight cars 1192-1193, at left, ran into lightweight articulated cars 39-40. Ten people were killed and dozens were injured.

The tragic result of a head-on collision between two Speedrail cars on a blind curve on September 2, 1950. Heavyweight cars 1192-1193, at left, ran into lightweight articulated cars 39-40. Ten people were killed and dozens were injured.

Larry Sakar writes:

Saturday, September 2nd marks the 67th anniversary (to the exact day) of the 1950 Speedrail accident during the NMRA convention in Milwaukee. I’ve put together a group of pictures for The Trolley Dodger of and related to that event.

Speedrail founder and president Jay E. Maeder poses with lightweight duplex 39-40 at Hales Corners Hillcrest loop just before starting the return trip to Milwaukee. The NMRA had specifically requested the ex TMER&L 1100 series heavy duplex trains (1180-1199) and that the charter be on the Hales Corners line because both represented a”classic” interurban and interurban line vs. the Waukesha line which was double track and more suburban . Why Maeder would take the tremendous risk of mixing a lightweight train among heavy duplexes was never explained. The car had been repainted by Speedrail employee David Strassman at Maeder’s request the night (9/1/50) before the trip. It featured a striking new application of Speedrail’s orange and maroon colors.

With his train 22 minutes behind schedule , Maeder and his regular motorman assigned to this trip, George Wolter decided to “play it safe” and pull into the Greenwood Jct. siding since they knew the regular southbound run to Hales Corners was on its way. Greenwood Jct. was a siding that had seen almost no use. It was the junction with the 5.5 mile westward extension of the Lakeside Belt Line from Powerton Jct. The Belt line was used to haul coal to the Lakeside power plant in St. Francis, Wi. The connection to the East Troy-Burlington line at Greenwood which was one block south of W. Howard Ave. also made it possible for freight coming from Racine via the M-R-K Milwaukee-Racine-Kenosha Line to the Rapid Transit freight terminal at 10th & St. Paul near the never-completed subway downtown. Here we see car 300 piloted by motorman Tom Burke passing the siding leading to the Belt Line. The photographer was William Wight, a 27 year old employee of the Kalmbach Publishing Co. He did not live to see his photo. He was killed in the crash about 10 minutes later. His camera was recovered from the wreck and the film developed. George Gloff who was a Speedrail employee and was on Maeder’s train gave me this photo. He went on to a very distinguished career as Art Director for Kalmbach Publishing Co.

One question that readers might ask is why, if Maeder and is motorman decided to play it safe by going into a siding, as they were 22 minutes behind schedule, that the fatal crash happened just 10 minutes later?

Larry:

After pulling out of Greenwood Jct. Maeder continued north. He was not planning on stopping at Oklahoma Ave., as he claimed he had been given clearance all the way to West Jct. by the dispatcher. However, Senior motorman John Heberling had the siding lined for Maeder’s train so he had to pull in. Heberling was in charge of training new motorman and had been a long time TMER&L employee. He knew Trip #4 with heavy duplex 1192-93 was due southbound within a few minutes so he thought it best to check with the dispatcher and make sure it was OK for Maeder to proceed. Maeder had a fit, and ordered Heberling to reset the siding and let him out at once! One does not argue with the head of the company if one wants to remain employed there so John did as he was told. No more than 15 seconds after Maeder left he heard the wailing of interurban horns and instantly knew what happened. He looked up at the Nachod signal on the pole across Oklahoma Avenue and saw that it was red. Heberling had no idea that Maeder had received clearance to West Jct. nor did he know that Tennyson had changed Maeder’s orders that all trains call-in from every siding to what he (Tennyson) had set up previous to 9/2 and supposedly had agreed on with Maeder. Those orders called for trains to call-in only if they got into trouble. LeRoy Equitz, motorman of 1192-93 was told this when he stopped at West Jct. But when he stopped at Brookdale siding northbound Tennyson did not tell Maeder he had changed the orders. I think if he had Maeder would have fired him on the spot! So Maeder thought Equitz would wait at West Jct. having been told by the dispatcher that he was on the way north. Unfortunately, Equitz was told only to go by signal indication. Having gotten the white light at West Jct. he headed south. If Maeder had not extended the photo stop at Hillcrest loop in Hales Corners where he arrived behind schedule and despite agreeing that there would be no photo stops northbound then “giving in” when the fans on his train asked for one, he would not have been behind schedule. He didn’t want to disappoint his fellow railfans and model railroaders. So I guess you could say it was a very unfunny comedy of errors that had fatal results. Both Maeder and Tennyson were to blame at least as I see it. Much of this was the “last straw” in the feud that had been going on between them since October of 1949.

This is the wreck site. It was between W. Arthur and W. Cleveland Aves. parallel to S. 100th St. Shrubs, a hill and a curve made it impossible for opposing trains to see each other in time to stop. This is lightweight duplex 45-46. I don't know who took the picture or if this was before or after 9/2/50.

This is the wreck site. It was between W. Arthur and W. Cleveland Aves. parallel to S. 100th St. Shrubs, a hill and a curve made it impossible for opposing trains to see each other in time to stop. This is lightweight duplex 45-46. I don’t know who took the picture or if this was before or after 9/2/50.

Heavy duplex 1192-93 coming southbound completely overrode car 39 the lead car on the northbound train which was being operated by Jay Maeder. The motorman of 1192-93 was LeRoy Equitz. Car 39 was demolished for nearly 3/4 its length. It was so badly damaged that it was pushed off the right-of-way along with the rear car car 40 which was not damaged. The 10 fatalities occurred in car 39.

Heavy duplex 1192-93 coming southbound completely overrode car 39 the lead car on the northbound train which was being operated by Jay Maeder. The motorman of 1192-93 was LeRoy Equitz. Car 39 was demolished for nearly 3/4 its length. It was so badly damaged that it was pushed off the right-of-way along with the rear car car 40 which was not damaged. The 10 fatalities occurred in car 39.

Larry Sakar adds (regarding the picture above):

I’m not sure who those people are rummaging around in the wreck. It’s hard to believe the site wouldn’t have been cordoned off to prevent looting. Perhaps they were police personnel who were rounding up personal belongings. It’s not in any of the pictures I sent you but in some shots of the wreck looking north you see a second heavy duplex behind 1192-93. That is duplex 1184-85 trip #5 from Milwaukee. The passengers aboard that car were told about the accident when they reached West Jct. The train then proceeded slowly toward the wreck site where the able bodied NMRA members got off and walked to the wreck site to lend assistance in the rescue efforts. You know it had to be a horrible sight.

Once all of the trapped injured and dead had been removed from the wreck 1184-85 coupled on to 1193 the rear car on Equitz’s southbound car and tried to pull the wreck apart. It did not succeed. A Wisconsin National Guard tow truck had to pull the wreck apart. 1192-93 was covered with a tarp and hauled down to the Public Service Bldg. in the dark of night. It was initially kept in the back of the building where passengers boarding cars for Waukesha, West Jct. or Hales Corners could not see it. Once all of the investigations were completed it was again transported in the dark of night to the Waukesha Gravel Pit.

1192-93 figured into Speedrail history unwantedly on December 20th, 1950. Two teenaged vandals trespassing at the gravel pit went inside the train. The boys got cold so the geniuses decided they’d warm up by starting a fire in the rear car (1193).. he fire got out of hand and they were lucky to escape the car. The fire gutted 1193. I don’t know if Trustee Bitker pursued criminal charges against them but he certainly should have if he didn’t.

In this Lew Martin photo we see car 40 laying on its side after being pushed off the right-of-way. Lew said he was confronted by a man who identified himself as a “railroad detective” and ordered off the property or he would be arrested.

Two years have passed since the accident and the Speedrail line is being scrapped. Note the ties minus rails. Here we see Lee Brehmer (a friend of former Milwaukee resident Al Buetschle, who saved Milwaukee streetcar 978) at the crash site. holding up one of the doors from car 39. Today, the site has been completely obliterated by the National Ave. on and off ramps of the I-894 freeway.

Two years have passed since the accident and the Speedrail line is being scrapped. Note the ties minus rails. Here we see Lee Brehmer (a friend of former Milwaukee resident Al Buetschle, who saved Milwaukee streetcar 978) at the crash site. holding up one of the doors from car 39. Today, the site has been completely obliterated by the National Ave. on and off ramps of the I-894 freeway.

Traces of Greenwood Jct. still remain. I took the next 4 photos. In this picture I was trying to position myself at the approximate point where the siding and Hales Corners mainline met. In the 66 years since Speedrail was abandoned, a second set of power transmission towers was added on the abandoned r.o.w. and the original towers moved, so trying to find an exact spot can be difficult. To the right you can see where the land comes into the arrow-straight abandoned r.o.w.. So this would have been about where the tracks met. These photos were taken in the 1990's.

Traces of Greenwood Jct. still remain. I took the next 4 photos. In this picture I was trying to position myself at the approximate point where the siding and Hales Corners mainline met. In the 66 years since Speedrail was abandoned, a second set of power transmission towers was added on the abandoned r.o.w. and the original towers moved, so trying to find an exact spot can be difficult. To the right you can see where the land comes into the arrow-straight abandoned r.o.w.. So this would have been about where the tracks met. These photos were taken in the 1990’s.

I've walked across the r.o.w. toward the western most set of power lines. The car seen passing in the center left background is eastbound on W. Howard Ave.

I’ve walked across the r.o.w. toward the western most set of power lines. The car seen passing in the center left background is eastbound on W. Howard Ave.

Looking south toward the junction from W. Howard Ave. The transmission tower in the right center background is at the approximate point where the 2 lines met.

Looking south toward the junction from W. Howard Ave. The transmission tower in the right center background is at the approximate point where the 2 lines met.

I'm now looking north on the abandoned r.o.w. from the south side of W. Howard Ave.

I’m now looking north on the abandoned r.o.w. from the south side of W. Howard Ave.

Other sections of the abandoned Hales Corners line r.o.w. are still very visible. Here you see the crossing of W. Layton Ave. looking south. In the 1930's a line was built southeast from this point for transporting work crews to the abuilding village of Greendale. The line was dismantled upon completion of construction.

Other sections of the abandoned Hales Corners line r.o.w. are still very visible. Here you see the crossing of W. Layton Ave. looking south. In the 1930’s a line was built southeast from this point for transporting work crews to the abuilding village of Greendale. The line was dismantled upon completion of construction.

The black truck pulling the trailer is at the approximate spot where the Hales Corners station used to stand. You are looking south along S. 108th St. aka Hwy 100 and the truck is westbound on W. Janesville Rd. Hwy. 100 was widened after the abandonment of Speedrail and its two right-hand northbound lanes occupy the Hales Corners line r.o.w.

The black truck pulling the trailer is at the approximate spot where the Hales Corners station used to stand. You are looking south along S. 108th St. aka Hwy 100 and the truck is westbound on W. Janesville Rd. Hwy. 100 was widened after the abandonment of Speedrail and its two right-hand northbound lanes occupy the Hales Corners line r.o.w.

One block further south is where interurbans headed for East Troy or Burlington turned onto North Cape Rd. Following the abandonment of the East Troy line in 1939 the line was cut back to a newly constructed loop 1/2 mile west of this point called Hillcrest. No trace of Hillcrest loop exists today. The site is now occupied by a home improvement store.

One block further south is where interurbans headed for East Troy or Burlington turned onto North Cape Rd. Following the abandonment of the East Troy line in 1939 the line was cut back to a newly constructed loop 1/2 mile west of this point called Hillcrest. No trace of Hillcrest loop exists today. The site is now occupied by a home improvement store.

“Beautiful downtown Hales Corners” in the 1920’s.. This photo courtesy of John Schoenknecht of the Waukesha County Historical Society shows hales Corners in the “Roaring ’20’s”. You are looking west from W. Forest Home Ave. across Highway 100 and up North Cape Rd. The line to Burlington and East Troy comes from the left (southbound) and turns west. In later years the track configuration was changed.

Standing at almost that same spot today, Forest Home Ave. has taken over what was North Cape Rd. Although you can't see it in this picture a McDonald's occupies the empty lot seen in the left front of photo 14 and a Culver's (another fast food chain) occupies the same space directly across the street. The gas station seen in the right center of photo 14 and all of the surrounding buildings are long gone. Their space is now occupied by the south end of a used car lot for a local automobile dealer.

Standing at almost that same spot today, Forest Home Ave. has taken over what was North Cape Rd. Although you can’t see it in this picture a McDonald’s occupies the empty lot seen in the left front of photo 14 and a Culver’s (another fast food chain) occupies the same space directly across the street. The gas station seen in the right center of photo 14 and all of the surrounding buildings are long gone. Their space is now occupied by the south end of a used car lot for a local automobile dealer.

Speedrail lightweight car 39 was smashed for 3/4 the length of the car by heavy duplex 1192-93 in the 9-2-50 fatal accident. Car 40, the rear car of this lightweight duplex was not damaged other than at the articulated joint. The only thing that could be done once rescue and recovery efforts were completed was to shove both halves of 39 & 40 off the embankment and dismantle them on the spot.

Speedrail lightweight car 39 was smashed for 3/4 the length of the car by heavy duplex 1192-93 in the 9-2-50 fatal accident. Car 40, the rear car of this lightweight duplex was not damaged other than at the articulated joint. The only thing that could be done once rescue and recovery efforts were completed was to shove both halves of 39 & 40 off the embankment and dismantle them on the spot.

This is a much better shot of the intersection of Highway 100 & Forest Home Ave. in the 1990's. The electric transmission towers are approximately where the TM r.o.w. was but that tower does not match the one in the same spot in the 1920's photo.

This is a much better shot of the intersection of Highway 100 & Forest Home Ave. in the 1990’s. The electric transmission towers are approximately where the TM r.o.w. was but that tower does not match the one in the same spot in the 1920’s photo.

In this photo I've moved just a few feet further west to get in more of the curve and the north side of the street. This is an extremely bust stretch of roadway but I'm sure not one motorist had any ideas of what had once run next to those electric transmission towers.

In this photo I’ve moved just a few feet further west to get in more of the curve and the north side of the street. This is an extremely bust stretch of roadway but I’m sure not one motorist had any ideas of what had once run next to those electric transmission towers.

The late Ernie Maragos of Racine, Wisconsin took this photo of Milwaukee & Suburban Transport Corp. streetcar 978 in 1957. The eastbound car has just crossed the Milwaukee River on the bridge in the background and will stop at N. Water St. about a half block out of the picture at left. The large building seen behind the 978 is the Germania Bldg. on the southwest corner of N. Plankinton Ave. and W. Wells St. The domes with what look like spears were meant to simulate German Pith helmets. Due to anti-German sentiment during WW I the owner, Henry Brumder changed the name of the building to the Brumder Bldg. Brumder was a newspaper publisher who printed German language newspapers for Milwaukee's large German population. The "Germania" name was restored in the 1980's and the building given a complete renovation. The publishing of newspapers had ended many years before and the former printing press area in the basement was converted to a parking garage for the 4 top executives of Security Savings & Loan Assoc. on the northeast corner of 2nd & Wisconsin (adjacent to where the North Shore city carline ended). I worked for Security S&L for almost 20 years, then went to work for the bank that bought out Security in 1997. The 978 was saved by former Milwaukee resident Al Buetschle for the Wauwatosa Kiwanis Club. When they changed their mind, ownership reverted to him. When he left Milwaukee in 1961 to pursue a job in Northern California the car went to the Mid-Continent Railway Museum in North Freedom, Wi. The group that formed the East Troy Trolley Museum in 1972 - TWERHS, The Wisconsin Electric Railway Historical Society was formed at Mid-Continent and split off in 1967. Mr. Buetschle now resides in Contra Costa County, Ca. 60 miles northeast of San Francisco.

The late Ernie Maragos of Racine, Wisconsin took this photo of Milwaukee & Suburban Transport Corp. streetcar 978 in 1957. The eastbound car has just crossed the Milwaukee River on the bridge in the background and will stop at N. Water St. about a half block out of the picture at left. The large building seen behind the 978 is the Germania Bldg. on the southwest corner of N. Plankinton Ave. and W. Wells St. The domes with what look like spears were meant to simulate German Pith helmets. Due to anti-German sentiment during WW I the owner, Henry Brumder changed the name of the building to the Brumder Bldg. Brumder was a newspaper publisher who printed German language newspapers for Milwaukee’s large German population. The “Germania” name was restored in the 1980’s and the building given a complete renovation. The publishing of newspapers had ended many years before and the former printing press area in the basement was converted to a parking garage for the 4 top executives of Security Savings & Loan Assoc. on the northeast corner of 2nd & Wisconsin (adjacent to where the North Shore city carline ended). I worked for Security S&L for almost 20 years, then went to work for the bank that bought out Security in 1997. The 978 was saved by former Milwaukee resident Al Buetschle for the Wauwatosa Kiwanis Club. When they changed their mind, ownership reverted to him. When he left Milwaukee in 1961 to pursue a job in Northern California the car went to the Mid-Continent Railway Museum in North Freedom, Wi. The group that formed the East Troy Trolley Museum in 1972 – TWERHS, The Wisconsin Electric Railway Historical Society was formed at Mid-Continent and split off in 1967. Mr. Buetschle now resides in Contra Costa County, Ca. 60 miles northeast of San Francisco.

Down Three Dark Streets

I recently watched the 1954 crime drama Down Three Dark Streets, a pretty solid film starring Broderick Crawford, and noticed some interesting shots of the short Pacific Electric subway and the Glendale-Burbank double-end PCCs. This film was released about a year before the line was abandoned.

FBI agents are tailing a gangster’s moll as she tries to shake them on her way to her boyfriend’s hideout. She goes down into the PE subway terminal, gets on one car, switches to another, and then rides out to the end of the line.

In this film, at least, the double-end PCCs have a foghorn, reminding me of the “Blimp” cars. Not sure if this was ture in real life. At one point, an FBI agent refers to the “number three interurban,” although I doubt that the PE called it anything other than the Glendale-Burbank line.

The PCCs are shown really zipping along. Car 5000 is visible. Don’s Rail Photos says: “5000 was built by Pullman-Standard in October 1940, #W6642. It was retired in 1956 and was sold as Ferrocarril Gen Urquiza M.1500 and made modifications in 1959. It was retired in short time.” After having been stored in the samp subway tunnel for three or four years, the PCCs had badly deteriorated even though they were only used in service for about 15 years.

Here are some screen-shots:

Pre-Order Our New Book Chicago Trolleys

On the Cover: Car 1747 was built between 1885 and 1893 by the Chicago City Railway, which operated lines on the South Side starting in April 1859. This is a single-truck (one set of wheels) open electric car; most likely a cable car, retrofitted with a trolley and traction motor. The man at right is conductor William Stevely Atchison (1861-1921), and this image came from his granddaughter. (Courtesy of Debbie Becker.)

On the Cover: Car 1747 was built between 1885 and 1893 by the Chicago City Railway, which operated lines on the South Side starting in April 1859. This is a single-truck (one set of wheels) open electric car; most likely a cable car, retrofitted with a trolley and traction motor. The man at right is conductor William Stevely Atchison (1861-1921), and this image came from his granddaughter. (Courtesy of Debbie Becker.)

We are pleased to report that our new book Chicago Trolleys will be released on September 25th by Arcadia Publishing. You can pre-order an autographed copy through us today (see below). Chicago Trolleys will also be available wherever Arcadia books are sold.

Overview

Chicago’s extensive transit system first started in 1859, when horsecars ran on rails in city streets. Cable cars and electric streetcars came next. Where new trolley car lines were built, people, businesses, and neighborhoods followed. Chicago quickly became a world-class city. At its peak, Chicago had over 3,000 streetcars and 1,000 miles of track—the largest such system in the world. By the 1930s, there were also streamlined trolleys and trolley buses on rubber tires. Some parts of Chicago’s famous “L” system also used trolley wire instead of a third rail. Trolley cars once took people from the Loop to such faraway places as Aurora, Elgin, Milwaukee, and South Bend. A few still run today.

The book features 226 classic black-and-white images, each with detailed captions, in 10 chapters:

1. Early Traction
2. Consolidation and Growth
3. Trolleys to the Suburbs
4. Trolleys on the “L”
5. Interurbans Under Wire
6. The Streamlined Era
7. The War Years
8. Unification and Change
9. Trolley Buses
10. Preserving History

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781467126816
Publisher: Arcadia Publishing SC
Publication date: 09/25/2017
Series: Images of Rail
Pages: 128

Meet the Author

David Sadowski has been interested in streetcars ever since his father took him for a ride on one of the last remaining lines in 1958. He grew up riding trolley buses and “L” trains all over Chicago. He coauthored Chicago Streetcar Pictorial: The PCC Car Era, 1936–1958, and runs the online Trolley Dodger blog. Come along for the ride as we travel from one side of the city to the other and see how trolley cars and buses moved Chicago’s millions of hardworking, diverse people.

Images of Rail

The Images of Rail series celebrates the history of rail, trolley, streetcar, and subway transportation across the country. Using archival photographs, each title presents the people, places, and events that helped revolutionize transportation and commerce in 19th- and 20th-century America. Arcadia is proud to play a part in the preservation of local heritage, making history available to all.

The book costs just $21.99 plus shipping. Introductory Special: Order before September 5, and shipping within the US is included in the price. Shipping to Canada is just $5 additional, or $10 elsewhere.

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NEW – Chicago Trolleys Postcard Collection

We are pleased to report that selected images from our upcoming book Chicago Trolleys will be available on September 25th in a pack of 15 postcards, all for just $7.99. This is part of a series put out by Arcadia Publishing. Dimensions: 6″ wide x 4.25″ tall

The Postcards of America Series

Here in the 21st century, when everyone who’s anyone seems to do most of their communicating via Facebook and Twitter, it’s only natural to wax a little nostalgic when it comes to days gone by. What happened to more personal means of communication like hand-written letters on nice stationery? Why don’t people still send postcards when they move someplace new or go away on vacation?

If that line of thinking sounds familiar, then Arcadia Publishing’s Postcards of America was launched with you in mind. Each beautiful volume features a different collection of real vintage postcards that you can mail to your friends and family.

Pre-Order your Chicago Trolleys Postcard Pack today!

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The Great Chicago Interurbans – Part Two (CNS&M)

This remarkable very early color picture shows NSL Birney car 332 and a variety of interurban cars in Milwaukee. In back, that’s car 300 in fantrip service. It was used by CERA as a club car circa 1939-42, which helps date the photo. Don’s Rail Photos: “332 was built by Cincinnati Car Co in December 1922, #2625. It was retired in 1947 and scrapped in April 1948… 300 thru 302 were built by Jewett in 1909 as mainline coaches. As the steel cars arrived, they were downgraded to local and school tripper service. In 1936 they became sleet cutters. In 1939 300 was turned over to the Central Electric Railfans’ Association as a private car. The ownership remained with the CNS&M, but the maintenance was taken over by CERA. During the war, with many members in service, CERA relinquished control, and the car was scrapped in 1947. 301 and 302 were retired in 1939 and scrapped in 1940.” CERA bulletins of the time say that fantrips, being non-essential travel were not allowed for much of the war, starting in 1942. By the time the war ended, car 300 had been stripped of some parts in order to keep other wood cars running. Several were sold to the Chicago, Aurora & Elgin in 1946. The North Shore Line had decided it no longer wanted to run wood cars in passenger service. Then, the 300 was vandalized and some windows were smashed. It was scrapped by CNS&M.

Today, we continue our look at the great Chicago interurbans* by featuring the North Shore Line. The Chicago, North Shore & Milwaukee last ran on January 21, 1963, just over 54 years ago.

This is widely considered the end of the Interurban Era.

But wait, there’s much more on offer in this, our 175th post. All of today’s black-and-white photos are scanned from the original negatives. This includes an original medium format neg taken by Edward Frank, Jr., which he traded with another collector. I don’t know what became of the rest of his negatives.

-David Sadowski

See our last post (January 28, 2017) for part one.

North Shore Line

<img class="size-large wp-image-9191" src="https://thetrolleydodger.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/dave588.jpg?w=665" alt="On a June 17, 1962 CERA fantrip, we see NSL car 744 posing for pictures on a section of track that was once part of the old Shore Line Route, abandoned in 1955. Don's Rail Photos: "744 was built by Pullman in 1928. It was modernized in 1940." We previously featured another picture taken at this location in our post More Color Restorations (August 9, 2016).” width=”665″ height=”407″ /> On a June 17, 1962 CERA fantrip, we see NSL car 744 posing for pictures on a section of track that was once part of the old Shore Line Route, abandoned in 1955. Don’s Rail Photos: “744 was built by Pullman in 1928. It was modernized in 1940.” We previously featured another picture taken at this location in our post More Color Restorations (August 9, 2016).

CNS&M wooden interurban car 303 in its days as a sleet cutter. Don’s Rail Photos: “303 thru 305 were built by American Car in 1910 and were almost identical. In 1939 they became sleet cutters and were retired and scrapped in 1940.”

CNS&M 704 getting washed at the Milwaukee terminal. Don’s Rail Photos: “704 was built by Cincinnati Car Co in May 1923, #2635.” (Walter Broschart Photo)

The information I received with this negative says that CNS&M 169 is a Special on the Shore Line Route in Wilmette in 1954. On the other hand, one of our long-time readers says this is actually Mundelein terminal on that branch line. Since this is apparently a fantrip car, the Shore Line Route sign may be incorrect. Don’s Rail Photos: “169 was built by Jewett in 1917.”

A not too sharp picture of a southbound train on the Shore Line Route at Wilmette.

A not too sharp picture of a southbound train on the Shore Line Route at Wilmette.

Richard H. Young took this picture on June 2, 1960 from the back of a moving North Shore car somewhere near Mundelein. We see a line car at work on the other track. One of our regular readers says that we are looking east toward South Upton tower, with Rt. 176 at left (north).

Richard H. Young took this picture on June 2, 1960 from the back of a moving North Shore car somewhere near Mundelein. We see a line car at work on the other track. One of our regular readers says that we are looking east toward South Upton tower, with Rt. 176 at left (north).

A close-up of the line car. Not sure whether this is the 604 or the 606.

A close-up of the line car. Not sure whether this is the 604 or the 606.

The same location today.

The same location today.

CNS&M 774 at the Milwaukee terminal. Don’s Rail Photos: “774 was built by Standard Steel Car Co in 1930, It was rebuilt as (a) Silverliner on May 9, 1950.” This photo appears to predate that.

CNS&M 761 at the Milwaukee terminal on May 29, 1950. Don’s Rail Photos: “761 was built by Standard Steel Car Co in 1930. It was modernized in 1949 and rebuilt as Silverliner in October 11, 1957.”

One of the two Electroliners passes a train of older cars in this wintry scene. Not sure of the exact location. The Electroliners entered service in 1941. Don Ross: “The Electroliner in the snow was at North Chicago. I have one similar from a different angle and no snow.” Jerry Wiatrowski: “The picture of the Southbound Electroliner is entering the curve to North Chicago Junction. The photographer is looking Northwest from North Chicago Junction. The bypass line continues South to the left.”

The same location today. We are looking north at about 2225 Commonwealth Avenue in North Chicago, IL. The cross-street, which was 22nd Street, is now Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr.

The same location today. We are looking north at about 2225 Commonwealth Avenue in North Chicago, IL. The cross-street, which was 22nd Street, is now Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr.

North Shore steeple cab 459 looks like it is backing up to connect with a couple of stalled cars. The information I got with this negative says this is Cudahy, Wisconsin in April 1954. That is just south of Milwaukee. However, it’s been pointed out to me that this municipality was a couple miles west of the right-of-way and the station in the picture looks more like Waukegan. Don’s Rail Photos: “459 was built by the SP&S in August 1941 as OERy 51. It was purchased by the North Shore in December 1947 and was completed as 459 on November 22, 1948.”

North Shore Birney car 335 in July 1947. Don’s Rail Photos: “335 was built by Cincinnati Car Co in December 1922, #2625. It was retired in 1947 and scrapped in April 1948.” The car is signed for Oklahoma Avenue in Milwaukee.

Car 409 on an early CERA fantrip, which may have been on June 4, 1939. It appears to be coupled to 716. The car at left may be 168. Car 255 is also supposed to have been used on that 1939 fantrip, but at that time, it was a full-length baggage car that had no seats and was often used to move musician’s instruments to and from Ravinia Park. The seats were not put in again until 1942. Don’s Rail Photos: “409 was built by Cincinnati Car in May 1923, #2465, as a dining car motor. In 1942 it was rebuilt as a coach and rebuilt as a Silverliner on March 30, 1955. Since it had no bulkhead between smoking and non-smoking sections, it was our favorite car to be used for meetings of the Milwaukee Division of the Electric Railroaders Association in Milwaukee. The North Shore was very cooperative in making sure that the car was in the location shown on meeting nights.”

I received no information with this negative, but this may show a bunch of North Shore Line cars in dead storage after the 1963 abandonment. Notice the destination sign is missing from combine 254. This car was not saved. Don’s Rail Photos: “254 was built by Jewett in 1917. The seating was changed to 28 on August 26, 1955.”

CNS&M 759 and train at South Upton on June 15, 1947. Don’s Rail Photos: “759 was built by Standard Steel Car Co in 1930. It was modernized in 1949.”

CNS&M 737 at Highwood in 1950. Don’s Rail Photos: “737 was built by Pullman in 1928. It was modernized in 1940 and rebuilt as Silverliner on June 30, 1950.” (Richard S. Short Photo)

CNS&M 739 near Glencoe. The date given is June 21, 1941; however, there was a CERA fantrip the following day, so the date may actually be June 22. The car is signed for charter service on the Shore Line Route. June 22, 1941 was also the day that Hitler invaded the Soviet Union. Don’s Rail Photos: “739 was built by Pullman in 1928. It was modernized in 1940 and rebuilt as (a) Silverliner on August 31, 1950.”

CNS&M 155 is a Skokie Valley Route Special at North Chicago on April 17, 1952. Don’s Rail Photos: “155 was built by Brill in 1915, #19605. It was damaged by fire at Highwood on August 11, 1955, and scrapped. One end from it was used to repair 735.”

South Shore Line

The other great Chicago interurban, of course, is the South Shore Line, which continues to operate between Chicago and South Bend, Indiana. We have just a couple vintage photos to show you today, but are sure to have more soon.

CSS&SB car 1 heads up a train at Randolph Street in downtown Chicago in 1946. Don’s Rail Photos: “1 was built by Pullman in 1926. It was later air-conditioned. It went to National Park Service in 1983 and (was) loaned to (the) Southern Michigan RR.” Spence Ziegler says, “The photo of CSS&SB #1 was more likely 1950-52; I have a slide from the Interurbans Slide set from 1983 showing #1 leaving Kensington in 1949 (on the rear of a train) still with the destination sign and train number sign on it’s end, though both were disused. Bill Wasik: “The CSS&SB car 1 at Randolph Street in downtown Chicago photo dated 1946 instead likely was taken between July 1952, when the giant Pabst sign on Randolph was dismantled, and mid-1953, when steel going up for the Prudential Building would have been visible in this view.”

CSS&SB freight motor 903 at Michigan City on July 17, 1956. Don’s Rail Photos: “903 was built by Baldwin-Westinghouse in September 1929, #61047, as IC 10001. It became CSS&SB 903 in July 1941.”

Chicago & West Towns Railways

The Chicago & West Towns Railways operated streetcars in Chicago’s western suburbs. But a 1942 Chicago guidebook referred to it as an “interurban,” probably referring to its longest and busiest line, which ran from Cicero to LaGrange and had sections of private right-of-way. Starting in 1934, it went to the Brookfield Zoo.

C&WT 163 at the Oak Park car barn on April 23, 1939. There was a CERA fantrip on the West Towns on this date. 163 was built by the Cummings Car Company in 1927. (LaMar M. Kelley Photo)

C&WT 163 at the Oak Park car barn on April 23, 1939. There was a CERA fantrip on the West Towns on this date. 163 was built by the Cummings Car Company in 1927. (LaMar M. Kelley Photo)

C&WT line car 15 at the Harlem and Cermak car barn. Don’s Rail Photos: “15 was built by Pullman Car in 1897 as Suburban RR 512. It was renumbered 515 and rebuilt as 15 in 1927. It was rebuilt in 1940 and scrapped in 1948.” (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)

Edward Frank, Jr.'s famous bicycle, which appears in many of his pictures.

Edward Frank, Jr.’s famous bicycle, which appears in many of his pictures.

C&WT 146 at Lake and Austin, east end of the line. Riders could change across the street for a Chicago car. The Park Theater, at right, was showing Sutter's Gold, starring Edward Arnold. That film was released in 1936, which may be the date of this photo. This car was built by McGuire-Cummings in 1924.

C&WT 146 at Lake and Austin, east end of the line. Riders could change across the street for a Chicago car. The Park Theater, at right, was showing Sutter’s Gold, starring Edward Arnold. That film was released in 1936, which may be the date of this photo. This car was built by McGuire-Cummings in 1924.

C&WT 105, described as being tan in color, in front of the North Riverside car barn on April 28, 1939. (However, if the date was actually the 23rd, there was a CERA fantrip.) Don’s Rail Photos: “105 was built by McGuire-Cummings in 1915.” (Gordon E. Lloyd Photo) Gordon E. Lloyd grew up in the Chicago area and would have been 14 years old at the time. He later became a well-known railfan photographer and authored some books. He died aged 81 in 2006. Pretty good picture for a teenager!

C&WT 105 at Cermak and Kenton, probably in the late 1930s. This was the east end of the long LaGrange line and this car is signed for the Brookfield Zoo. Note the CSL car at rear. Riders could change here to go east on route 21 – Cermak. Don’s Rail Photos: “105 was built by McGuire-Cummings in 1915.”

Angel’s Flight

The Angel’s Flight Railway is a narrow gauge funicular in the Bunker Hill neighborhood in Los Angeles. A funicular is somewhat like an elevator that goes up the side of a hill; when one car goes up, the other goes down. I’ve been on three of these myself– two in Pittsburgh and one in Dubuque, Iowa.

Most of these have operated for over a century without major incidents, but Angel’s Flight has been plagued by bad luck for a long time. First, starting in the early 1960s, the area around it was slated for redevelopment, and the surrounding buildings were torn down. The hill it was on was partly leveled.

Fortunately, Angel’s Flight was disassembled after it stopped running in 1969, and put into storage. It was moved a half block south and reopened in 1996.

Unfortunately, there were some problems with how the thing was engineered as reconstructed, which led to some accidents. While Angel’s Flight has not run for a few years, these safety concerns have been addressed one by one, and now all that stands in the way of its reopening is the installation of an emergency walkway in case the thing breaks down on its 298-foot journey. Meanwhile, the not-for-profit group that operates it has to pay thousands of dollars each month for insurance.

Still, Angel’s Flight is an LA landmark and we hope that it will operate once again, and safely.

In the meantime, I was surprised to find it featured in a brief scene in the film La La Land. The two leads (Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone) are shown riding and kissing on the funicular.

Although Angel’s Flight is closed to the public, the operators thought it would be OK to use it in a film, and I’m sure they benefit a great deal from the publicity. But while they have been reprimanded (right now, no one is supposed to ride except employees), I am glad it appears in the film.

Angel’s Flight has been appearing in movies for nearly 100 years now. You can read an article about this here.

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Angel's Flight at its original location (3rd and Hill Streets) on July 5, 1962, before nearby buildings were torn down. (Leo Callos Photo)

Angel’s Flight at its original location (3rd and Hill Streets) on July 5, 1962, before nearby buildings were torn down. (Leo Callos Photo)

A view of Angel's Flight in 1964, showing the building at left demolished.

A view of Angel’s Flight in 1964, showing the building at left demolished.

A side view of Angel's Flight in 1964, after nearby buildings were being demolished. (Leo Callos Photo)

A side view of Angel’s Flight in 1964, after nearby buildings were being demolished. (Leo Callos Photo)

The Angel's Flight funicular on June 13, 1961. (George Basch Photo)

The Angel’s Flight funicular on June 13, 1961. (George Basch Photo)

Recent Correspondence

Jack Bejna writes:

I enjoy the Trolley Dodger immensely, especially anything CA&E! I grew up in Broadview and walked to Proviso High School every day along the CA&E right of way from 9th avenue to 5th Avenue. This month’s CA&E images are some that I haven’t seen before and are great, especially since they’re medium format images. I have a request….I would like to see a good image of the old dispatcher’s office (before it was repainted and the upper windows covered over. I’m sure someone took pictures of the office but I’ve never seen one.

Thanks for all you do; it sure makes my day!

I post these images practically as soon as I can buy them, but I can put this request in my next post, in hopes that someone might be able to help.

Glad you enjoy the blog.

Thanks David, I’ll be looking and hoping for a good shot. Again, thanks for all you do for us CA&E fanatics!

Bill Shapotkin writes:

Dave — in your January 2015 posting, this photo was included:

CTA 78 is shown at the east end of the Madison-Fifth shuttle in February, 1954. But wait-- wouldn't car 78 be on the Hammond, Whiting, and East Chicago? According to Alan R. Lind's CSL book, the CTA renumbered car 1780 to 78 in the waning days of red car service, in order to free up numbers in the 1780s for some buses. This was the only time a CSL streetcar was given a two-digit number, except for work cars. That's one school of thought. On the other hand, the number on the side of this car looks like 1781, and according to Andre Kristopans, it was still 1781 when scrapped. It may in fact not be a renumbering at all, just a case where either the car's paint got touched up and obscured part of the number, or part of the number fell off and did not get replaced, since red car service was ending in a few months anyway. At left in the background you can see Fohrman Motors, a Chicago car dealer from 1912 to 1979. Three people were killed at the dealership by a disgruntled customer on January 7, 1966. The neighborhood, not far from the construction site for the Congress (now Eisenhower) expressway, is already showing signs of urban decay. We discuss this in our post Some Thoughts on “Displaced” (August 30, 2016).

CTA 78 is shown at the east end of the Madison-Fifth shuttle in February, 1954. But wait– wouldn’t car 78 be on the Hammond, Whiting, and East Chicago? According to Alan R. Lind’s CSL book, the CTA renumbered car 1780 to 78 in the waning days of red car service, in order to free up numbers in the 1780s for some buses. This was the only time a CSL streetcar was given a two-digit number, except for work cars.
That’s one school of thought. On the other hand, the number on the side of this car looks like 1781, and according to Andre Kristopans, it was still 1781 when scrapped. It may in fact not be a renumbering at all, just a case where either the car’s paint got touched up and obscured part of the number, or part of the number fell off and did not get replaced, since red car service was ending in a few months anyway.
At left in the background you can see Fohrman Motors, a Chicago car dealer from 1912 to 1979. Three people were killed at the dealership by a disgruntled customer on January 7, 1966. The neighborhood, not far from the construction site for the Congress (now Eisenhower) expressway, is already showing signs of urban decay. We discuss this in our post Some Thoughts on “Displaced” (August 30, 2016).

Your caption read (in part):

“CTA 78 is shown at the east end of the Madison-Fifth shuttle in February, 1954. But wait– wouldn’t car 78 be on the Hammond, Whiting, and East Chicago? In actuality, I think this is car 1781. Perhaps part of the number has fallen off”

Well, I have an explanation (courtesy of Roy Benedict — who seems to recall that he heard this from Glen Anderson). It JUST SO HAPPENED, both car #1781 AND bus #1781 were assigned to Kedzie station at the time. To avoid confusion, the decals for the digit”1″ were removed off the streetcar — thus avoiding any confusion. Roy had ridden car #78 on the Fifth Ave Shuttle on at least two occasions (and noticed the strange two-digit car number) — only to find out years later (again, he recalls that it was via Glen) as to the reason.

That’s great to know, thanks. I recently bought another copy of the Lind book, and while it does mention the renumbering, offers no explanation. (I have owned several copies of Chicago Surface Lines, An Illustrated History over the years, but have given some of them away, and other copies are in storage.)

The only thing that would need to be double-checked is whether there really was a bus 1781 working out of the Kedzie car house. I suppose Andre would know that.

Andre Kristopans writes:

There was a bus 1781 in 1954, but not at Kedzie. 1700’s at the time were at North Av, North Park, and Limits. Best explanation I can give is that when 1781 was last repainted, they didn’t have any “1” decals, and so out it went as “78”, and the problem was never corrected. Note it does appear the side number is 78 also! However, CTA’s streetcar retirements documentation show 1781, both in the AFR and the scrap ledger.

Gina Sammis wrote us a while back, looking for information on Gustav Johnson, a longtime Chicago Surface Lines employee (born June 23, 1855 – died November 23, 1946). He retired around 1925, after having worked on streetcars for 35 years.

As it happens, I recently purchased a copy of the December 1946 Surface Service, the CSL employee magazine. These do not often come up for sale, in comparison with the later CTA Transit News.

Mr. Johnson is mentioned in two places. There is the one you already know about on page 15, in a section titled In Memoriam.

But there are also reports from individual car houses (barns), and on page 8 it says,”Retired Motorman Gus Johnson passed away November 24.”

So, at least that tells you that he was driving the streetcars, and not just the conductor taking fares.

I took the liberty of writing to George Trapp, in order to find out just what streetcar lines would have been operating out of Devon Station (car house) in the early 1900s. Here is his reply:

I would guess the Evanston cars before 1913 or so before the barn on Central Street in Evanston was built and after 1901 when the Devon barn was built. The North Shore & Western dinkey may also have been stored there in the Winter when the golf club was closed. The Devon shuttle and the Lawrence Avenue lines as well and possibly the North Western line before being through routed with Western which also used the barn for part of the service from sometime in the 1930’s and half the service in the PCC era.

His answer needs a bit of further explaining.  I did some additional research,  From 1901, when the Devon car house opened, until 1913, Evanston streetcars would have used the facility. After that, they had their own barn.

You need to consider that this area was just getting built up around this time. So, there were a lot of changes. In general, the dates of the changes will give you a clue to about when development was happening.

Here is what the Rogers Park/West Ridge Historical Society says about the North Shore and Western Railway:

The North Shore & Western Railway Company was formed and owned by the members of the Glen View Club in Golf, Illinois. It comprised two pieces of equipment, one streetcar and a snow plow. There were two employees, a motorman and conductor. The hours of operation were set for the convenience of the members of the golf club.

It operated from the golf club through a portion of Harms Woods crossing the North Branch of the Chicago River in the woods and ran straight east on what is now known as Old Orchard Road to Evanston, where the street becomes Harrison Street. It was nicknamed the Toonerville Trolley and a piece of a rail is on display at the Skokie Historical Society.

The membership tired of the trolley’s ownership and sold the line to the Evanston Railway Company.

George Trapp refers to their sole streetcar as a “dinky,” meaning it was small.

The “Devon Avenue Shuttle” would have run east-west. According to Alan R. Lind on page 254 of Chicago Surface Lines, An Illustrated History (Third Edition):

This short North Side shuttle started operation May 20, 1917 from Clark to Western. One-man cars took over the service March 13, 1921. A west extension opened December 14, 1925 from Western to Kedzie, and an east extension opened from Clark to Magnolia January 30, 1928. When Broadway cars began to run to Devon and Kedzie on July 10, 1932, the Devon shuttle car was discontinued.”

North Western Avenue is covered in the same book on page 312:

This extension of the regular Western route began October 18, 1915 between Lawrence and Bryn Mawr. Extensions brought the line to Devon on December 11, 1915, and to Howard on December 16, 1916. The line was through-routed with Western on May 1, 1923.

The busiest route working out of Devon station would have always been Clark, which started running downtown (from Howard) on October 21, 1906. It was through-routed with the south side Wentworth line on March 17, 1908.

Here is what Lind says about the Broadway route on page 231:

In 1906 this North Side trunk route ran from Clark and Howard at the city limits to a loop in downtown Chicago via Cark, Devon, Broadway, Clark, Randolph, LaSalle, Monroe, Dearborn, and Randolph. At this time streetcars to north suburban Evanston also ran on the Broadway route from the old Limits carbarn at Drummond and Clark to Central and Bennett in Evanston. The route was the same as the Broadway cars to Howard, then via Chicago, Dempster, Sherman, and Central to Bennett.

On July 24, 1907 the Evanston line was extended west from Bennett to Lincolnwood Dr. On the same day a single track extension line known as the North Shore & Western Railway began service via Lincolnwood and Harrison to the Glenview Golf Club west of the Chicago River.

The local Broadway cars and the Evanston service to Lincolnwood Dr. were operated by the Chicago Union Traction Company, a Yerkes property. The track north of Irving Park was owned by the Chicago Consolidated Traction Company. (The North Shore & Western was owned by some men with a stake in the golf club.) On February 25, 1908 CUT was reorganized as Chicago Railways Company. On December 27, 1910 Chicago Railways sold its suburban lines to the County Traction Company. At midnight on that date the track connection between the Broadway line, still under CRYs, and the Evanston line was cut at Clark and Howard. Through passengers had to walk across a 30-foot gap in the track from the Evanston cars, now in local Evanston service only under County Traction, to the Broadway cars, still under Chicago Railways.

Because of a franchise requirement of one of the underlying companies,, free transfers from Evanston to Broadway cars were issued starting December 31, 1910. County Traction was split into two companies on August 5, 1913: Evanston Traction and Chicago & West Towns Railway Co. Evanston Traction became (the Evanston Railways Company and in 1936) Evanston Bus Company.

In sum, if your relative worked at Devon station in the early 1900s, chances are most of his work would have been on the Clark and Broadway lines. On my blog, if you do a search on the words Clark or Broadway, you will turn up lots of photos showing service on those lines.

Gina replied:

You have been so helpful and I am very appreciative. Thank you David.

We have added a complete scan of the December 1946 Surface Service to our E-book Chicago's PCC Streetcars: The Rest of the Story, available in our Online Store.

We have added a complete scan of the December 1946 Surface Service to our E-book Chicago’s PCC Streetcars: The Rest of the Story, available in our Online Store.

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Keep those cards and letters coming in, folks. But better yet, why not write us at:

thetrolleydodger@gmail.com

Thanks.

-David Sadowski

street-railwayreview1895-002

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The Great Chicago Interurbans – Part One (CA&E and AE&FRE)

Here is a very rare photo taken at Laramie Yards in 1936. At left we see North Shore Line car 722, heading up a four-car train and signed for Wheaton. CNS&M cars did, of course, operate on parts of the Chicago "L" system, of course, but this is the first picture I have seen showing them at this location, posed next to CA&E cars 421 and 401. 722 was buit by Cincinnati Car Co. in 1926. I wonder what the occasion was that brought four North Shore Line cars to Wheaton? (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)

Here is a very rare photo taken at Laramie Yards in 1936. At left we see North Shore Line car 722, heading up a four-car train and signed for Wheaton. CNS&M cars did, of course, operate on parts of the Chicago “L” system, of course, but this is the first picture I have seen showing them at this location, posed next to CA&E cars 421 and 401. 722 was buit by Cincinnati Car Co. in 1926. I wonder what the occasion was that brought four North Shore Line cars to Wheaton? (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)

The last Chicago, North Shore & Milwaukee interurban train ran in the early hours of a very cold January 21, 1963. George Hilton and John Due, in their classic book The Electric Interurban Railways in America called this the end of the Interurban Era in the United States. The 54th anniversary was just a few days ago.

Since this was also the second anniversary of this blog, we thought this an excellent opportunity to showcase the three great Chicago-area interurbans- the North Shore Line, South Shore Line, and Chicago, Aurora & Elgin.

We have been saving up images of these lines, and now find ourselves with enough for two posts. So today, we will begin with the “Roarin’ Elgin” and its one-time subsidiary, the Aurora, Elgin & Fox River Electric. The great majority of these images were scanned from the original medium-format negatives.

While we do lament the passing of the Interurban Era and two of the three major Chicago systems, we can celebrate them with these classic pictures. Some of these were made possible thanks to your recent generous donations.

We will round out January in a few days with our second installment of great Chicago interurbans, featuring the North Shore Line and South Shore Line. Watch this space!

-David Sadowski

A Bird’s Eye View

While visiting a friend at Rush hospital earlier this month, I took a few pictures from out the window. It just so happened his room had a spectacular view of where the Chicago Transit Authority’s Pink Line crosses over the Blue Line. There is a ramp at this location, which is also where the old Marshfied Junction was on the Met “L”. In previous posts, we have run pictures showing how this looked like before expressway construction in the early 1950s.

An inbound Blue Line train passes the point where part of an access ramp at the Damen-Ogden-Paulina station was damaged during a lightning storm. With the addition of chain-link fencing, it has since been reopened.

An inbound Blue Line train passes the point where part of an access ramp at the Damen-Ogden-Paulina station was damaged during a lightning storm. With the addition of chain-link fencing, it has since been reopened.

A southbound Pink Line train about to cross over the Blue Line.

A southbound Pink Line train about to cross over the Blue Line.

An inbound Blue Line train.

An inbound Blue Line train.

A northbound Pink Line train has just passed the location of the old Marshfield Junction on the Met "L".

A northbound Pink Line train has just passed the location of the old Marshfield Junction on the Met “L”.

The CA&E and AE&FRE

This is a rare photo, as it shows AE&FRE car 304 sometime prior to the abandonment of passenger service in 1935. Don's Rail Photos: "304 was built by St Louis Car in 1924. #1306. In 1936 it was sold CI/SHRT (aka Shaker Heights Rapid Transit) as 304 and in 1954 it was sold to CP&SW (Trolleyville USA) as 304. It was sold to Fox River Trolley Museum in 2009." I have had the pleasure of riding on this fine car at the Fox River Trolley Museum, as it has returned to its home rais after a 75-year absence. You can see pictures I took of it there on the previous blog that I worked on here. Long may it run.

This is a rare photo, as it shows AE&FRE car 304 sometime prior to the abandonment of passenger service in 1935. Don’s Rail Photos: “304 was built by St Louis Car in 1924. #1306. In 1936 it was sold CI/SHRT (aka Shaker Heights Rapid Transit) as 304 and in 1954 it was sold to CP&SW (Trolleyville USA) as 304. It was sold to Fox River Trolley Museum in 2009.” I have had the pleasure of riding on this fine car at the Fox River Trolley Museum, as it has returned to its home rais after a 75-year absence. You can see pictures I took of it there on the previous blog that I worked on here. Long may it run.

Here is an excellent model that shows AE&FRE 300's colors. (Bruce Moffat Photo)

Here is an excellent model that shows AE&FRE 300’s colors. (Bruce Moffat Photo)

CA&E wood car 138 at the Wheaton Yard on July 3, 1949. Don's Rail Photos says, "138 was built by American Car Co in March 1910, #844, as C&ME 138. It was rebuilt in 1914 and no retired date." This was one of several cars leased from the North Shore Line in 1936 and purchased from them a decade later. Ironically, this made them the last passenger cars bought by CA&E. They were considered surplus after service was cut back to Forest Park in 1953 and were scrapped shortly thereafter.

CA&E wood car 138 at the Wheaton Yard on July 3, 1949. Don’s Rail Photos says, “138 was built by American Car Co in March 1910, #844, as C&ME 138. It was rebuilt in 1914 and no retired date.” This was one of several cars leased from the North Shore Line in 1936 and purchased from them a decade later. Ironically, this made them the last passenger cars bought by CA&E. They were considered surplus after service was cut back to Forest Park in 1953 and were scrapped shortly thereafter.

Don's Rail Photos: "301 was built by Niles Car & Mfg Co in 1906. It was modernized in December 1940."

Don’s Rail Photos: “301 was built by Niles Car & Mfg Co in 1906. It was modernized in December 1940.”

Don's Rail Photos: "105 was built by Stephenson in 1903. It was modernized in August 1940 and retired in 1955. "

Don’s Rail Photos: “105 was built by Stephenson in 1903. It was modernized in August 1940 and retired in 1955. “

CA&E 302 at the Wheaton Yard in July 1948. Don's Rail Photos: "302 was built by Niles Car & Mfg Co in 1906. It was modernized in May 1940."

CA&E 302 at the Wheaton Yard in July 1948. Don’s Rail Photos: “302 was built by Niles Car & Mfg Co in 1906. It was modernized in May 1940.”

Express car 15 at Wheaton on June 18, 1947. Don's Rail Photos says, "15 was built by McGuire-Cummings in 1910. It was scrapped in 1953."

Express car 15 at Wheaton on June 18, 1947. Don’s Rail Photos says, “15 was built by McGuire-Cummings in 1910. It was scrapped in 1953.”

CA&E 458 at Wheaton on June 18, 1947. This was part of an order of 10 curved-sided cars built in 1945 by St. Louis Car Company. Some consider these the last standard interurban cars built.

CA&E 458 at Wheaton on June 18, 1947. This was part of an order of 10 curved-sided cars built in 1945 by St. Louis Car Company. Some consider these the last standard interurban cars built.

Don's Rail Photos: "11 was built by Brill in 1910, #16483. It was rebuilt to a line car in 1947 and replaced 45. It was acquired by Railway Equipment Leasing & Invenstment Co in 1962 and became Fox River Trolley Museum in 1984. It was lettered as Fox River & Eastern." Here we see it at Wheaton in July 1948.

Don’s Rail Photos: “11 was built by Brill in 1910, #16483. It was rebuilt to a line car in 1947 and replaced 45. It was acquired by Railway Equipment Leasing & Invenstment Co in 1962 and became Fox River Trolley Museum in 1984. It was lettered as Fox River & Eastern.” Here we see it at Wheaton in July 1948.

In the days before scanners, fans tried to document things as best they could. Here is a not-so-successful attempt to photograph the blueprint for car 451 in August 1949.

In the days before scanners, fans tried to document things as best they could. Here is a not-so-successful attempt to photograph the blueprint for car 451 in August 1949.

Don's Rai Photos: "9 was built by Niles Car in 1907. It was scrapped in 1959." This picture was taken at Wheaton in April 1952.

Don’s Rai Photos: “9 was built by Niles Car in 1907. It was scrapped in 1959.” This picture was taken at Wheaton in April 1952.

Here is 425 at the Aurora terminal in October 1949. While the CA&E used third rail extensively, the Aurora and Elgin terminals had overhead wire. This terminal replaced street running in downtown Aurora in the late 1930s. The 425 was built by Cincinnati Car Co. in 1927.

Here is 425 at the Aurora terminal in October 1949. While the CA&E used third rail extensively, the Aurora and Elgin terminals had overhead wire. This terminal replaced street running in downtown Aurora in the late 1930s. The 425 was built by Cincinnati Car Co. in 1927.

Here, we see freight motor 9 at Wheaton in 1947. (Walter Broschart Photo)

Here, we see freight motor 9 at Wheaton in 1947. (Walter Broschart Photo)

CA&E 38 at the CTA Laramie Avenue Yards on May 17, 1948. Trackage west of here was owned by CA&E. Don's Rail Photos: "38 was built by Stephenson in 1903. It was modernized in September 1939 and retired in 1959."

CA&E 38 at the CTA Laramie Avenue Yards on May 17, 1948. Trackage west of here was owned by CA&E. Don’s Rail Photos: “38 was built by Stephenson in 1903. It was modernized in September 1939 and retired in 1959.”

CA&E 139 heads up a five-car train of woods in the maroon and cream paint scheme. I don't know where this was taken. There is a siding with overhead wire, so perhaps that is a clue towards figuring it out. The water tower in the background may indicate that we are somewhere west of Laramie. Randall Hicks: "I believe the picture of 139 and train was taken facing north at Childs St. crossover. The train is pulling south off the west ladder. There was a short team track there under wire. And that is indeed somewhere west of Laramie. 🙂" Yes, Wheaton is indeed west of Laramie, thanks.

CA&E 139 heads up a five-car train of woods in the maroon and cream paint scheme. I don’t know where this was taken. There is a siding with overhead wire, so perhaps that is a clue towards figuring it out. The water tower in the background may indicate that we are somewhere west of Laramie. Randall Hicks: “I believe the picture of 139 and train was taken facing north at Childs St. crossover. The train is pulling south off the west ladder. There was a short team track there under wire. And that is indeed somewhere west of Laramie. 🙂” Yes, Wheaton is indeed west of Laramie, thanks.

CA&E 300 and 453 in Wheaton. Don's Rail Photos: "300 was built by Niles Car & Mfg Co in 1906. It was modernized in May 1942." (Anderson Photo)

CA&E 300 and 453 in Wheaton. Don’s Rail Photos: “300 was built by Niles Car & Mfg Co in 1906. It was modernized in May 1942.” (Anderson Photo)

CA&E 311 at the CTA aramie Avenue Yards on May 17, 1948. This shows a small area in the yards where CA&E could store a few trains in mid-day for use in the afternoon rush hour. I am pretty sure those 1920s Chicago bungalows at left are still there. Don's Rail Photos adds, "311 was built by Kuhlman Car Co in 1909, #404. It was modernized at an unknown date."

CA&E 311 at the CTA aramie Avenue Yards on May 17, 1948. This shows a small area in the yards where CA&E could store a few trains in mid-day for use in the afternoon rush hour. I am pretty sure those 1920s Chicago bungalows at left are still there. Don’s Rail Photos adds, “311 was built by Kuhlman Car Co in 1909, #404. It was modernized at an unknown date.”

The approximate location of the previous photo is 5413 W. Flournoy, on Chicago's west side. The area once occupied by the CA&E's storage tracks is now part of the Eisenhower expressway footprint.

The approximate location of the previous photo is 5413 W. Flournoy, on Chicago’s west side. The area once occupied by the CA&E’s storage tracks is now part of the Eisenhower expressway footprint.

A two-car train of 300-series woods on a July 8, 1949 fantrip. From the "side of the road" location under wire, I would guess this is the Mt. Carmel branch along Mannheim Road.

A two-car train of 300-series woods on a July 8, 1949 fantrip. From the “side of the road” location under wire, I would guess this is the Mt. Carmel branch along Mannheim Road.

Sunset Lines indeed! (Or sunrise, depending on the angle.) Here we see wood car 38 at an unknown location. (Walter Broschart Photo)

Sunset Lines indeed! (Or sunrise, depending on the angle.) Here we see wood car 38 at an unknown location. (Walter Broschart Photo)

CA&E 407, built by Pullman in 1923, at Wheaton Yard. (Walter Broschart Photo)

CA&E 407, built by Pullman in 1923, at Wheaton Yard. (Walter Broschart Photo)

CA&E 5 at Wheaton Yards in July 1948.

CA&E 5 at Wheaton Yards in July 1948.

CA&E 141 on single-track private right-of-way at Batavia Junction on August 13, 1952. This was one of several woods that CA&E bought from the North Shore Line in 1946, after the latter decided it no longer wanted to run wood cars in passenger service. CA&E ran wood cars right up until the end of service.

CA&E 141 on single-track private right-of-way at Batavia Junction on August 13, 1952. This was one of several woods that CA&E bought from the North Shore Line in 1946, after the latter decided it no longer wanted to run wood cars in passenger service. CA&E ran wood cars right up until the end of service.

CA&E 34 at the Wheaton Yards in June 1947. Don's Rail Photos: "34 was built by Stephenson in 1903. It was modernized in February 1940 and retired in 1959." (Walter Hulseweder Photo)

CA&E 34 at the Wheaton Yards in June 1947. Don’s Rail Photos: “34 was built by Stephenson in 1903. It was modernized in February 1940 and retired in 1959.” (Walter Hulseweder Photo)

Here, part of the caption information I received with this negative must be wrong. This is CA&E 431 at the Illinois (Electric) Railway Museum. The date is given as November 17, 1962 but the location is said to be Union. Since the date is so specific, I would venture this is actually North Chicago instead. Cars were not moved to Union until 1964. (Richard S. Short Photo)

Here, part of the caption information I received with this negative must be wrong. This is CA&E 431 at the Illinois (Electric) Railway Museum. The date is given as November 17, 1962 but the location is said to be Union. Since the date is so specific, I would venture this is actually North Chicago instead. Cars were not moved to Union until 1964. (Richard S. Short Photo)

CA&E wood car 26 in Aurora. Don's Rail Photos notes: "26 was built by Niles Car in 1902. It was modernized in June 1943 and retired in 1959."

CA&E wood car 26 in Aurora. Don’s Rail Photos notes: “26 was built by Niles Car in 1902. It was modernized in June 1943 and retired in 1959.”

CA&E 142 at Wheaton in July 1948. Some of these cars were used on the North Shore Line as late as 1946. We wrote about that on the previous blog we worked on. Check out the post A Mystery Solved (August 6, 2013) for more details.

CA&E 142 at Wheaton in July 1948. Some of these cars were used on the North Shore Line as late as 1946. We wrote about that on the previous blog we worked on. Check out the post A Mystery Solved (August 6, 2013) for more details.

AE&FRE loco 23. The caption gives the location as Aurora, but this may be in error. After passenger service ended in 1935, this line was reduced to three miles of track in the South Elgin area-- the current site of the Fox River Trolley Museum. Electric locos ran unti 1947, and the last freight move took place in 1972. Around 1940, there were a couple of fantrips.

AE&FRE loco 23. The caption gives the location as Aurora, but this may be in error. After passenger service ended in 1935, this line was reduced to three miles of track in the South Elgin area– the current site of the Fox River Trolley Museum. Electric locos ran unti 1947, and the last freight move took place in 1972. Around 1940, there were a couple of fantrips.

AE&FRE electric freight loco 49 in Elgin in November 1939. This was one of two that the railroad had in it latter days.

AE&FRE electric freight loco 49 in Elgin in November 1939. This was one of two that the railroad had in it latter days.

AE&FRE loco 49. The neg envelope says this is Aurora, but it is much more likely to be Elgin.

AE&FRE loco 49. The neg envelope says this is Aurora, but it is much more likely to be Elgin.

You may have seen this picture before, but here we now have it from the original medium format negative. It shows a two-car train of Chicago Rapid Transit Company 4000s on an early CERA fantrip (#6) that took place on February 12, 1939. The CA&E connection is that here we see the cars on the Mt. Carmel branch. These rapid transit cars did get around-- during World War II, some were operated on the North Shore Line to move service personnel around. (Anderson Photo)

You may have seen this picture before, but here we now have it from the original medium format negative. It shows a two-car train of Chicago Rapid Transit Company 4000s on an early CERA fantrip (#6) that took place on February 12, 1939. The CA&E connection is that here we see the cars on the Mt. Carmel branch. These rapid transit cars did get around– during World War II, some were operated on the North Shore Line to move service personnel around. (Anderson Photo)

This is a well-known photo showing the Wells Street Terminal, where CA&E cars ended up in downtown Chicago starting in 1905. CA&E trains did not go around the Loop, although this terminal was adjacent to it. There is some question as to whether all CA&E cars could actually make the Loop's tight clearances. To the best of my knowledge, some could and perhaps others could not.

This is a well-known photo showing the Wells Street Terminal, where CA&E cars ended up in downtown Chicago starting in 1905. CA&E trains did not go around the Loop, although this terminal was adjacent to it. There is some question as to whether all CA&E cars could actually make the Loop’s tight clearances. To the best of my knowledge, some could and perhaps others could not.

CA&E 428 at the Laramie Avenue Yards on November 3, 1940. This was built by the Cincinnati Car Co. in 1927. (Frank Krejcik Photo)

CA&E 428 at the Laramie Avenue Yards on November 3, 1940. This was built by the Cincinnati Car Co. in 1927. (Frank Krejcik Photo)

CA&E 426 at the Elgin terminal. Although this was the "Great Third Rail," overhead wire was used here.

CA&E 426 at the Elgin terminal. Although this was the “Great Third Rail,” overhead wire was used here.

The CA&E's Aurora terminal, after it was moved here in the late 1930s.

The CA&E’s Aurora terminal, after it was moved here in the late 1930s.

A 6-car train of CA&E woods near Laramie Avenue on May 7, 1937.

A 6-car train of CA&E woods near Laramie Avenue on May 7, 1937.

A two-car train of CA&E woods at the Bellwood station. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)

A two-car train of CA&E woods at the Bellwood station. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)

CA&E 134 and 137 under wire at State Road crossing on the Batavia branch, August 30, 1942. The flags would seem to indicate this was CERA fantrip #39. Wire was used here for a short distance instead of third rail, due to the width of the crossing.

CA&E 134 and 137 under wire at State Road crossing on the Batavia branch, August 30, 1942. The flags would seem to indicate this was CERA fantrip #39. Wire was used here for a short distance instead of third rail, due to the width of the crossing.

A four-car train of the woods that were (at that time) being leased to CA&E by the North Shore Line. We see them at York Road in 1937. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)

A four-car train of the woods that were (at that time) being leased to CA&E by the North Shore Line. We see them at York Road in 1937. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)

Recent Correspondence

Jade C. Huguenot writes:

I’d like to ask you a question about some historical research I’ve been doing about my hometown, Mystic, CT. I’ve got a very old postcard (1907) that features two trolleys and a utility pole with several black and white diagonal stripes at its base on our main street, just a few hundred feet away from our bascule drawbridge (it can be seen here on the left utility pole http://www.groton-ct.gov/history/detail.asp?bibid=1079).

At first, I wondered if this signaled a trolley stop, but I know from researching other postcards from my area in that time period that a trolley stop was designated by a thick band of white (several feet thick) painted onto the utility pole, usually several feet up from the ground.

Then I wondered if it could be some sort of safety alert with “black and white stripes” placed several hundred feet before a drawbridge, like the one Boston instituted after a trolley of theirs crashed into the river while the drawbridge was open, killing 47 people (https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2016/10/29/trolleydisaster/c451CX1qx9SpPo5tJAupFP/story.html). However, the original report from Boston’s Public Safety Commission in 1917 said that the black and white striped alert should be on a mechanized gate.

Do you have any clue if this is related to trolleys at all? I would greatly appreciate your help with this!!

I will put it in my next post, thanks. Got any pictures I can use?

Yes! Here is the picture of the trolleys on our main street. The striped utility pole is shown to the left. Trolleys first began running in Mystic in 1905, and this postcard is dated 1907. I have also included a picture of a woman waiting by a trolley stop- which looks very different from the striped pole seen in the postcard. If you need any more pictures, let me know!

Perhaps one of our readers may know, thanks. A few years ago, I had the pleasure of spending an evening in Mystic, CT and even ate at Mystic Pizza, which was made famous by a film of the same name.

Keep those cards and letters coming in, folks. But better yet, why not write us at:

thetrolleydodger@gmail.com

Thanks.

-David Sadowski

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1907-trolley-stop

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Chicago Streetcars in Color, Part Four

CTA 3182 and 660 at Cottage Grove and 115th in December 1951. This was the south end of route 4. The Illinois Central Electric is up on the embankment.

CTA 3182 and 660 at Cottage Grove and 115th in December 1951. This was the south end of route 4. The Illinois Central Electric is up on the embankment.

For our latest post, we have a collection of nice color images of classic Chicago streetcars, both red cars and PCCs. We have spent many, many hours working to improve the quality of these images, including both color correction and restoration, plus quite a bit of tedious “spot removal.” We feel the results, while not always perfect, are a great improvement compared to how they looked when we got them.

We hope that you too will enjoy our efforts. As always, if you can have anything interesting to say about these pictures, don’t hesitate to either leave a Comment on this post, or drop us a line at:

thetrolleydodger@gmail.com

Thanks.

-David Sadowski

PS- To see earlier posts in this series, type Chicago streetcars in color in the search window at the top of the page.

CTA 7116 on the Museum Loop trackage near Soldier Field in January 1954. This would have been a short-turn on route 22 - Clark-Wentworth. These tracks were built in the early 1930s to serve the Century of Progress World's Fair. In CERA Bulletin 146, there is another picture of this same car on the Museum Loop in 1951. It's dark, but you can just make out an Illinois Central Electric train at right.

CTA 7116 on the Museum Loop trackage near Soldier Field in January 1954. This would have been a short-turn on route 22 – Clark-Wentworth. These tracks were built in the early 1930s to serve the Century of Progress World’s Fair. In CERA Bulletin 146, there is another picture of this same car on the Museum Loop in 1951. It’s dark, but you can just make out an Illinois Central Electric train at right.

CTA PCC 7058 crossing the Congress Expressway construction site on Halsted in May 1952.

CTA PCC 7058 crossing the Congress Expressway construction site on Halsted in May 1952.

A Pullman-built PCC at the same location. Here, the bridge has been completed.

A Pullman-built PCC at the same location. Here, the bridge has been completed.

In the latter days of streetcar service on Halsted (1953-54), PCCs were replaced by older red Pullman streetcars such as this one. More progress has been made building the highway, as compared with the previous pictures.

In the latter days of streetcar service on Halsted (1953-54), PCCs were replaced by older red Pullman streetcars such as this one. More progress has been made building the highway, as compared with the previous pictures.

CTA 4387 heading north on Clark, just north of Devon. On page 241 in CERA Bulletin 146, there is a different picture taken near this location.

CTA 4387 heading north on Clark, just north of Devon. On page 241 in CERA Bulletin 146, there is a different picture taken near this location.

The same location today.

The same location today.

This picture of CTA 528 was taken in January 1952 on Roosevelt Road near Ashland, where route 9 took a jog from Ashland to Paulina. There was a portion of Ashland where streetcars were not permitted to operate. One of our readers asks, "Why is there a gauntlet track in the foreground?" This is a picture of Roosevelt and Ashland (the north side of the street), where two different tracks converged into one. First, there was the Ashland car line turning onto Roosevelt towards Paulina. The other track would have been for Roosevelt, since at this point the line took a jog, and went off onto a sort of "service drive" on the sides of the street. In general, Roosevelt ran in the main part of the street, except for the section between Ogden and Ashland, which used this arrangement. (This arrangement is no longer used here, and the area where streetcars ran is now covered with grass.) So the two tracks, coming from different directions, could have converged into one at this spot. This is shown on the supervisor's track maps. Lending credence to my theory, you can see the "L" on Paulina in the background.

This picture of CTA 528 was taken in January 1952 on Roosevelt Road near Ashland, where route 9 took a jog from Ashland to Paulina. There was a portion of Ashland where streetcars were not permitted to operate. One of our readers asks, “Why is there a gauntlet track in the foreground?” This is a picture of Roosevelt and Ashland (the north side of the street), where two different tracks converged into one. First, there was the Ashland car line turning onto Roosevelt towards Paulina. The other track would have been for Roosevelt, since at this point the line took a jog, and went off onto a sort of “service drive” on the sides of the street. In general, Roosevelt ran in the main part of the street, except for the section between Ogden and Ashland, which used this arrangement. (This arrangement is no longer used here, and the area where streetcars ran is now covered with grass.) So the two tracks, coming from different directions, could have converged into one at this spot. This is shown on the supervisor’s track maps. Lending credence to my theory, you can see the “L” on Paulina in the background.

The same view today, looking west from Roosevelt and Ashland.

The same view today, looking west from Roosevelt and Ashland.

This is an enlargement from the 1948 CTA supervisor's track map, which can be found in our E-book Chicago's PCC Streetcars: The Rest of the Story, available through our Online Store. Roosevelt is the street between Taylor and 14th.

This is an enlargement from the 1948 CTA supervisor’s track map, which can be found in our E-book Chicago’s PCC Streetcars: The Rest of the Story, available through our Online Store. Roosevelt is the street between Taylor and 14th.

CTA Pullman 136 on Roosevelt near Ashland. This is an Ashland car, making the jog between Paulina and Ashland, while the bus is serving Roosevelt. Daniel Joseph adds, "The 5000 series Twin Coach propane buses were not being delivered to Chicago until December 1950 according to the data in Andre Kristopans' book." So the picture cannot be earlier than that date. The marquee of the Joy Theater, located at 1611 W. Roosevelt Road, provides another clue. According to Cinema Treasures, "Located on the Near West Side, on Roosevelt Road at the intersection of Ashland Avenue, the Orpheus Theatre opened in 1913. The movie house was later operated by the Marks Brothers circuit, and still later, by the Essaness circuit. By the 1940’s, the theatre was renamed the Joy Theatre. In 1952, the Joy Theatre was acquired by the Gomez family, who renamed it the Cine Tampico, for their home town in Mexico. It was still in operation as a Spanish-language movie house by the mid-1970’s. A drive-up bank is located today where this movie theatre once stood." That would make 1952 the latest date this photo could have been taken.

CTA Pullman 136 on Roosevelt near Ashland. This is an Ashland car, making the jog between Paulina and Ashland, while the bus is serving Roosevelt. Daniel Joseph adds, “The 5000 series Twin Coach propane buses were not being delivered to Chicago until December 1950 according to the data in Andre Kristopans’ book.” So the picture cannot be earlier than that date. The marquee of the Joy Theater, located at 1611 W. Roosevelt Road, provides another clue. According to Cinema Treasures, “Located on the Near West Side, on Roosevelt Road at the intersection of Ashland Avenue, the Orpheus Theatre opened in 1913. The movie house was later operated by the Marks Brothers circuit, and still later, by the Essaness circuit. By the 1940’s, the theatre was renamed the Joy Theatre. In 1952, the Joy Theatre was acquired by the Gomez family, who renamed it the Cine Tampico, for their home town in Mexico. It was still in operation as a Spanish-language movie house by the mid-1970’s. A drive-up bank is located today where this movie theatre once stood.” That would make 1952 the latest date this photo could have been taken.

The same location today. We are looking to the southwest. The bus is heading east, as was the streetcar in the preceding picture.

The same location today. We are looking to the southwest. The bus is heading east, as was the streetcar in the preceding picture.

CSL 1786 under the Lake Street "L" on November 23, 1952. Note the Chicago Motor Coach yard at right. CMC's assets had been purchased by CTA a few months earlier, and were gradually being integrated into regular CTA operations. Bill Shapotkin adds, "This pic is actually at Lake/Kenton (not Cicero). The car is E/B. This is the only such photo I have ever seen at this location."

CSL 1786 under the Lake Street “L” on November 23, 1952. Note the Chicago Motor Coach yard at right. CMC’s assets had been purchased by CTA a few months earlier, and were gradually being integrated into regular CTA operations. Bill Shapotkin adds, “This pic is actually at Lake/Kenton (not Cicero). The car is E/B. This is the only such photo I have ever seen at this location.”

CTA 1745 is westbound at Lake and Long in June 1952 on route 16. Here, it ran parallel to the ground-level portion of the Lake Street "L", also under wire.

CTA 1745 is westbound at Lake and Long in June 1952 on route 16. Here, it ran parallel to the ground-level portion of the Lake Street “L”, also under wire.

Lake and Long today. We are looking east. The CTA Green Line (formerly the Lake Street "L") has run on the embankment since 1962 and connects with the steel "L" structure at Laramie.

Lake and Long today. We are looking east. The CTA Green Line (formerly the Lake Street “L”) has run on the embankment since 1962 and connects with the steel “L” structure at Laramie.

Here, we see CTA 1745 at Lake and Austin, the west end of route 16, on June 15, 1952. In this view, looking east from suburban Oak Park, the Park Theatre is still in business. By the time streetcar service ended here in 1954, it had closed.

Here, we see CTA 1745 at Lake and Austin, the west end of route 16, on June 15, 1952. In this view, looking east from suburban Oak Park, the Park Theatre is still in business. By the time streetcar service ended here in 1954, it had closed.

The same location today.

The same location today.

This view of CTA 1751 looks west from the Chicago side of Lake and Austin in December 1953. The movie theater has closed, and was eventually demolished. Riders heading west from here could take a Chicago & West Towns bus across the street. The Lake Street "L", just to the south, continued west for another 1.5 miles.

This view of CTA 1751 looks west from the Chicago side of Lake and Austin in December 1953. The movie theater has closed, and was eventually demolished. Riders heading west from here could take a Chicago & West Towns bus across the street. The Lake Street “L”, just to the south, continued west for another 1.5 miles.

CSL Pullman 786 on Van Buren in February 1952.

CSL Pullman 786 on Van Buren in February 1952.

Among these red cars at 77th and Vincennes, we see CTA Pullman 142 at left in November 1949.

Among these red cars at 77th and Vincennes, we see CTA Pullman 142 at left in November 1949.

CTA 3277 heads north on Cicero Avenue near Cermak in October 1951, crossing the Douglas Park "L".

CTA 3277 heads north on Cicero Avenue near Cermak in October 1951, crossing the Douglas Park “L”.

The same location today.

The same location today.

CTA 370 in the old Van Buren streetcar tunnel that ran under the Chicago River. This picture is dated October 1953.

CTA 370 in the old Van Buren streetcar tunnel that ran under the Chicago River. This picture is dated October 1953.

CTA Pullman 812 crossing the Illinois Central Electric suburban service in August 1948. Not sure which line this is. Bill Shapotkin: "As for the "line" (presume you mean the IC, not CSL/CTA line), the one in the next photo is the IC South Chicago line. The carline is Stony Island." M. E. writes, "I blew up this photo to read the destination sign. It seems to say 28 Stony Island, 93rd. If so, then this view is at 71st and Stony Island, and the streetcar is heading south. It was probably just south of 71st St. that Stony Island became very wide, with a private right-of-way for streetcars right down the middle of the street, then grassy swales on either side of the streetcar path, then one-way auto traffic on each side of the swales. I'm pretty sure this separation existed at 75th St. You see this private right-of-way in your photo here. Confirmation is at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_Shore,_Chicago where one paragraph states: Before the community came to be known as South Shore in the 1920s, it was a collection of settlements in southern Hyde Park Township. The names of these settlements—Essex, Bryn Mawr, Parkside, Cheltenham Beach, and Windsor Park—indicate the British heritage of the Illinois Central Railroad and steel mill workers who had come to inhabit them. Most of these settlements were already in place when the Illinois Central built the South Kenwood Station in 1881 at what is now 71st and Jeffrey Boulevard." Tony Waller: "The photo at 71st & Stony Island could have been of a Stony Island car or a Windsor Park car, as the latter line diverged from Stony Island at 73rd St." David Vartanoff: "pic of 812 might well be Stony Island and 71st. clues are, median streetcar ROW, and the name Parkside on the corner building. Parkside was the original name of the IC station at Stony Island." Bob Lalich: "I agree. The view is NW."

CTA Pullman 812 crossing the Illinois Central Electric suburban service in August 1948. Not sure which line this is. Bill Shapotkin: “As for the “line” (presume you mean the IC, not CSL/CTA line), the one in the next photo is the IC South Chicago line. The carline is Stony Island.” M. E. writes, “I blew up this photo to read the destination sign. It seems to say 28 Stony Island, 93rd. If so, then this view is at 71st and Stony Island, and the streetcar is heading south. It was probably just south of 71st St. that Stony Island became very wide, with a private right-of-way for streetcars right down the middle of the street, then grassy swales on either side of the streetcar path, then one-way auto traffic on each side of the swales. I’m pretty sure this separation existed at 75th St. You see this private right-of-way in your photo here. Confirmation is at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_Shore,_Chicago where one paragraph states: Before the community came to be known as South Shore in the 1920s, it was a collection of settlements in southern Hyde Park Township. The names of these settlements—Essex, Bryn Mawr, Parkside, Cheltenham Beach, and Windsor Park—indicate the British heritage of the Illinois Central Railroad and steel mill workers who had come to inhabit them. Most of these settlements were already in place when the Illinois Central built the South Kenwood Station in 1881 at what is now 71st and Jeffrey Boulevard.” Tony Waller: “The photo at 71st & Stony Island could have been of a Stony Island car or a Windsor Park car, as the latter line diverged from Stony Island at 73rd St.” David Vartanoff: “pic of 812 might well be Stony Island and 71st. clues are, median streetcar ROW, and the name Parkside on the corner building. Parkside was the original name of the IC station at Stony Island.” Bob Lalich: “I agree. The view is NW.”

71st and Stony Island today. We are looking north.

71st and Stony Island today. We are looking north.

Several CTA Sedans (aka Peter Witts) in the scrap yard on December 26, 1952. These cars were part of an order of 100 built in 1929 and potentially could have provided many more years of good service. Unfortunately, none were saved.

Several CTA Sedans (aka Peter Witts) in the scrap yard on December 26, 1952. These cars were part of an order of 100 built in 1929 and potentially could have provided many more years of good service. Unfortunately, none were saved.

In 1953, the City of Chicago sold part of Cottage Grove Avenue (between 31st and 35th) to developers, who eventually built the Lake Meadows Apartments. This portion of street was closed to traffic, except for the route 4 streetcar, which received a series of reprieves from the City Council until buses replaced the PCCs in June 1955. If we can identify the church at left, we should be able to determine if we are facing north or south. This car is 4032. M. E. adds: "The destination sign seems to read 4 Cottage Grove, then either 93rd or 115th. Either way, the view is north, the streetcar is heading south. Confirming this are all the tall buildings at the right side, which must be near downtown." Frank Hicks: "The photo on Cottage Grove is facing north, probably at 33rd; the church in the left background is Olivet Baptist at 31st & King Drive." Eugene King: "The church in the pic with southbound Blue Goose 4032 is the Olivet Baptist Church. It is located at the south east corner of 31st Street and King Dr (South Parkway at the time of the photo). I am a member and know at least one other member who attends regularly lived in the neighborhood prior to the construction of the Lake Meadows and Prairie Shores apartments."

In 1953, the City of Chicago sold part of Cottage Grove Avenue (between 31st and 35th) to developers, who eventually built the Lake Meadows Apartments. This portion of street was closed to traffic, except for the route 4 streetcar, which received a series of reprieves from the City Council until buses replaced the PCCs in June 1955. If we can identify the church at left, we should be able to determine if we are facing north or south. This car is 4032. M. E. adds: “The destination sign seems to read 4 Cottage Grove, then either 93rd or 115th. Either way, the view is north, the streetcar is heading south. Confirming this are all the tall buildings at the right side, which must be near downtown.” Frank Hicks: “The photo on Cottage Grove is facing north, probably at 33rd; the church in the left background is Olivet Baptist at 31st & King Drive.” Eugene King: “The church in the pic with southbound Blue Goose 4032 is the Olivet Baptist Church. It is located at the south east corner of 31st Street and King Dr (South Parkway at the time of the photo). I am a member and know at least one other member who attends regularly lived in the neighborhood prior to the construction of the Lake Meadows and Prairie Shores apartments.”

Olivet Baptist Church today, with the Lake Meadows Apartments in the background. (This view is from a different vantage point than the preceding photo. Here we are north of the church on Martin Luther King Drive.)

Olivet Baptist Church today, with the Lake Meadows Apartments in the background. (This view is from a different vantage point than the preceding photo. Here we are north of the church on Martin Luther King Drive.)

CTA 4011 and other PCCs at the west end of the 63rd Street line in December 1951.

CTA 4011 and other PCCs at the west end of the 63rd Street line in December 1951.

CTA 4047 crossing the Chicago River at State Street on December 7, 1953. This is a route 4 - Cottage Grove car.

CTA 4047 crossing the Chicago River at State Street on December 7, 1953. This is a route 4 – Cottage Grove car.

CTA Pullman 252 in the early 1950s at an unknown location. One of regular readers thinks this is "Van Buren, one block east of Ashland, with the car heading east." If so, the date can't be later than 1951. Streetcar service on Van Buren ended then to allow for construction of the temporary Garfield Park "L" right-of-way at ground level, which opened in September 1953.

CTA Pullman 252 in the early 1950s at an unknown location. One of regular readers thinks this is “Van Buren, one block east of Ashland, with the car heading east.” If so, the date can’t be later than 1951. Streetcar service on Van Buren ended then to allow for construction of the temporary Garfield Park “L” right-of-way at ground level, which opened in September 1953.

The same location today. We are looking west on Van Buren, just east of Ashland.

The same location today. We are looking west on Van Buren, just east of Ashland.

CTA 6204 on 93rd at Stony Island Avenue in 1949.

CTA 6204 on 93rd at Stony Island Avenue in 1949.

CTA 7197 is southbound at Clark and Thome. There is a similar picture taken at this location on page 155 of CERA Bulletin 146.

CTA 7197 is southbound at Clark and Thome. There is a similar picture taken at this location on page 155 of CERA Bulletin 146.

CTA D-304, a sprinkler converted into a snow plow, shown at 77th and Vincennes in September 1951.

CTA D-304, a sprinkler converted into a snow plow, shown at 77th and Vincennes in September 1951.

CTA 3122 and 1764 at the east end of the Chicago Avenue line on March 29, 1952. A few of the older streetcars were painted green, but I don't know of anyone who preferred this to CSL red.

CTA 3122 and 1764 at the east end of the Chicago Avenue line on March 29, 1952. A few of the older streetcars were painted green, but I don’t know of anyone who preferred this to CSL red.


New From Trolley Dodger Press

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The Guy Wicksall Traction Collection (1963-1975)

Our latest release, by special arrangement with Guy Wicksall, features video transfers of rare, high quality 16mm color films of electric railroads taken across the country between 1963 and 1975. These are much better quality than the more typical 8mm films railfans used back then. If you like classic railfan videos, you are sure to enjoy this collection, which features narration by the photographer. Mr. Wicksall receives a royalty on each disc sold.

Disc 1: 38 Chicago and New York Commuter Trains, 1963-1964 (18:24)
Includes Illinois Central Electric, South Shore Line, Chicago Transit Authority “L” trains in the Loop, on Lake Street, Howard, and Evanston lines, Chicago & North Western and Milwaukee Road commuters, Pennsylvania Railroad, New York Central, Long Island Rail Road, New Haven, and New York elevated trains.

Disc 2: 48 Commuter Trains, 1968-1975 (57:22)
Includes San Francisco Municipal Railway (Muni) PCCs (some double-ended), trolley buses, and cable cars, Philadelphia Suburban (Red Arrow Lines), including Straffords and Bullets), Penn Central, New Haven, Erie Lackawanna, South Shore Line, Illinois Central Electric, and more.

Total time – 75:46

# of Discs – 2
Price: $24.95


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Some Thoughts on “Displaced”

Some railfans would not have taken this picture, due to the position of the signal, which obstructs the view of the train. But it does give you an idea of how "L" train movements were hampered during the nearly five years of operation on temporary trackage along Van Buren Street from 1953 to 1958. As the expressway, to the left, appears unfinished, I would guess this picture dates to around 1954. All trains had to come to a complete stop at each intersection, which is likely how that signal operates. I believe the cross street here is Western Avenue, and we are facing west. (Walter Hulseweder Photo)

Some railfans would not have taken this picture, due to the position of the signal, which obstructs the view of the train. But it does give you an idea of how “L” train movements were hampered during the nearly five years of operation on temporary trackage along Van Buren Street from 1953 to 1958. As the expressway, to the left, appears unfinished, I would guess this picture dates to around 1954. All trains had to come to a complete stop at each intersection, which is likely how that signal operates. I believe the cross street here is Western Avenue, and we are facing west. (Walter Hulseweder Photo)

Chicago author Robert Loerzel has written an article for Chicago public radio about the people who were displaced by the construction of the Eisenhower (formerly Congress) expressway.  (It’s also a podcast, which you can listen to here.)

Several of the images used in “Displaced” were sourced from a series of blog posts I wrote for the CERA Members Blog a few years ago. My focus was on how the expressway project transformed the old Garfield Park “L” into today’s median rapid transit line.  Robert’s piece takes a different tack, but is fascinating nonetheless.

Here are links to some of those posts:

Somewhere West of Laramie (March 22, 2013)

The Great Subway Flood of 1957 (April 24, 2013)

CA&E Mystery Photos Contest Answers (May 19, 2013)

Scenes Along the Garfield Park “L” (July 31, 2013)

From Garfield “L” to Congress Median Part 4, Part 5, and Part 6 (August 22 to December 1, 2013) – Some of the articles listed above make up the first three posts in this series.

You can also find additional pictures of expressway construction in previous Trolley Dodger posts. Just type “Congress” or “Garfield” into the search window at the top of this page, and links to these things will come up.

A Few Thoughts on “Displaced”

Although the article doesn’t mention it, some buildings that were in the way of the expressway were moved rather than torn down. House moving, and building moving, seems to be a long Chicago tradition. (In 1929, Our Lady of Lourdes church at 1601 W. Leland was moved, lock stock and barrel, across the street to permit the widening of Ashland.)

In the old CERA blog, I posted pictures of a five-story building being moved near downtown, and a brick apartment building further west.

I know that there were houses moved as far west as Maywood during the expressway construction. Of course, since that was an area with lower density, it would have been easy to find empty lots.

I am pretty sure some buildings in Oak Park were also moved. Contemporary newspaper accounts say so.

As for where the people went who were displaced by the highway, my guess is they were dispersed all over the place, and some moved to other parts of the city and not just to the suburbs as the article implies. Most likely, a majority of displaced residents remained in the city.

Keep in mind that in the period after WWII, when construction began, there were still areas of the city that had not yet been developed.

During WWII, in the area of Galewood where I used to live, fully half the lots were still vacant. In the early 1960s, the last of these vacant lots got developed. (We did not get paved alleys until 1964. I was surprised recently when in Edgebrook to see that there are still unpaved alleys in that otherwise built-up neighborhood.)

And while I am sure that some of the Italians from the old neighborhood ended up in Elmwood Park, when my family moved there in 1964, it was still largely German. It became a lot more Italian after 1964, more than 10 years after people in the expressway’s path would have been displaced.

Although “Displaced” implies that expressway construction was responsible for the Jewish migration from the west side to the north side, I believe this trend was already occurring, going back to the 1930s.

As for the “Burnham connection” between his 1909 Plan of Chicago and the Congress expressway, there is a connection, but it’s more of a zig-zag line than a straight line.

Yes, Daniel Burnham envisioned an improved roadway along Congress, but this would have been more of a landscaped boulevard than a modern expressway. There weren’t a lot of automobiles in 1909, and the idea of such a highway didn’t exist yet. However, with publication of the plan, speculators bought up land along its path, and as time went on, wanted to cash in.

While the old Main Post Office building, as expanded in 1932, left a space for Burnham’s Congress parkway, as late as 1937, the roadway’s future was in considerable doubt.

It did not appear in highway plans proposed in 1937 by Mayor Edward J. Kelly, which favored turning several of Chicago’s “L”s (the Douglas, Humboldt Park, and Lake Street lines) into a disconnected series of elevated highways, which would have resembled New York’s ill-fated West Side Elevated Highway.

Chances are, this plan would have been a disaster. It would have decimated large parts of our rapid transit system, without really solving the highway problem as a whole. Since the City sought federal money for the project, as a works project, it needed the approval of FDR’s Harold L. Ickes. He did not like the plan.

Ickes put his clout behind a Congress parkway expressway, plans for which were finally approved in 1939.

We are gratified that posts we have made in this, and in our previous blog, are being used by researchers looking for source material. That has always been our goal.

For Further Reading

Of particular interest is a 1952 letter, sent by the Chicago, Aurora & Elgin interurban to their shareholders, detailing the railroad’s position at the beginnings of the expressway construction project.

If any of you have read Cooperation Moves the Public (Dispatch 1 of the Shore Line Interurban Historical Society) by Bruce Moffat, you know how CA&E operations on the CTA’s Garfield Park “L” depended on a high degree of professionalism and split-second timing. Once service on the “L” was shifted to the slow and ponderous temporary trackage on Van Buren Street, this level of service became impossible.

Whatever difficulties the CTA experienced from 1953 to 1958 with this operation would have been exacerbated by the additional of CA&E trains. The interurban was truly put into an impossible situation, which left them with little choice but to either sell out to another entity such as the CTA, or liquidate entirely.

Once the expressway portion crossing the DesPlaines River opened in October 1960, there would have been additional ridership losses on the CA&E, which was also facing stiff competition from the Chicago & North Western, which had by then put new air-conditioned bi-levels into service.

In the long run, if CA&E had survived, ridership would eventually have bounced back. But the railroad was unable to survive the many lean times that would have been ahead. The CA&E’s main interest in the 1950s became a gradual liquidation of assets, with the proceeds being distributed among their shareholders.

My conclusion is that the CA&E could only have been saved through a pro-active plan adopted at the beginnings of highway construction, and not the last-ditch efforts at the end.  (See also our earlier post The CTA, the CA&E, and “Political Influence”, February 18, 2015).

Here is the original agreement between Oak Park and the State of Illinois for the construction of the expressway.

Plans were changed as they went along. Oak Park had the highway reduced by one lane in each direction, because of the number of buildings that would need to be demolished. Entrance and exit ramps at East Avenue were cancelled, after the village objected. They thought that this would detract from the quiet residential nature of the neighborhood, and would also lead to the widening of East Avenue.

Through Oak Park, both the rapid transit line and the B&O CT freight line were originally intended to run in the middle of the highway, but this would have cut off several local businesses from rail service, probably putting them out of business.  Therefore, plans were changed so that the rail lines were put to the south of expressway traffic.  There were a couple ramps along the freight line that connected to sidings.  One was just east of Austin Boulevard, the other east of Harlem Avenue.  Those are no longer in use.

Today, the only customer that still uses the freight line in this area is the Ferrara Candy Company in Forest Park.

Here are some Oak Park newspaper articles, covering the period from 1945 to 1960 concerning expressway construction:

Pages 1-10

Pages 11-19

In 2010, the Village of Oak Park proposed making the unusual left-hand exit and entrance ramps at Harlem and Austin landmarks. You can read some of that correspondence here.

-David Sadowski

It's 1953, and just prior to the opening of the temporary Van Buren trackage, we see a test train crossing Paulina. The streetcar tracks are for CTA route 9 - Ashland, which was still in service until early 1954. The photographer was standing on the platform at Marshfield Junction. The tracks veering off to the right, where Logan Square and Humboldt Park trains once ran, had been out of service since 1951. Garfield and Douglas trains were still running on the "L" when this picture was taken.

It’s 1953, and just prior to the opening of the temporary Van Buren trackage, we see a test train crossing Paulina. The streetcar tracks are for CTA route 9 – Ashland, which was still in service until early 1954. The photographer was standing on the platform at Marshfield Junction. The tracks veering off to the right, where Logan Square and Humboldt Park trains once ran, had been out of service since 1951. Garfield and Douglas trains were still running on the “L” when this picture was taken.

The Van Buren Street temporary trackage as it appeared on July 17, 1954. The two-car train of flat-door 6000s may be 6071-6072. As for the cross street, my guess is California Avenue (2800 W.) meaning we are near the west end of the 2 1/2 miles of temporary right-of-way. There is a CTA bus just barely visible behind the train. Since the "L" made no stops along this section, bus service continued on Van Buren, even though it was only half a street for five years. Just to the left of the train, you can see streetcar trackage that would have been used until 1951. (Ed Malloy Photo)

The Van Buren Street temporary trackage as it appeared on July 17, 1954. The two-car train of flat-door 6000s may be 6071-6072. As for the cross street, my guess is California Avenue (2800 W.) meaning we are near the west end of the 2 1/2 miles of temporary right-of-way. There is a CTA bus just barely visible behind the train. Since the “L” made no stops along this section, bus service continued on Van Buren, even though it was only half a street for five years. Just to the left of the train, you can see streetcar trackage that would have been used until 1951. (Ed Malloy Photo)

Van Buren at California today. We are looking to the east.

Van Buren at California today. We are looking to the east.

Another view of the Van Buren trackage, circa 1953 since the old "L" is still extant at right.

Another view of the Van Buren trackage, circa 1953 since the old “L” is still extant at right.

In this March 17, 1958 photo by Kelly Powell, I think we are looking at construction just west of the Loop related to the Northwest expressway, and not Congress. By 1958, any such work for Congress had been taken care of years earlier. On the other hand, as of this date, CTA service was still running on the old Met "L" east of Aberdeen Street (1100 West), and would have crossed the NW highway footprint just east of Halsted. Once service in this area was shifted to the new expressway median line in June 1958, this section of "L" was removed.

In this March 17, 1958 photo by Kelly Powell, I think we are looking at construction just west of the Loop related to the Northwest expressway, and not Congress. By 1958, any such work for Congress had been taken care of years earlier. On the other hand, as of this date, CTA service was still running on the old Met “L” east of Aberdeen Street (1100 West), and would have crossed the NW highway footprint just east of Halsted. Once service in this area was shifted to the new expressway median line in June 1958, this section of “L” was removed.

CA&E 430 heads up a two car train at DesPlaines Avenue in the 1950s, while some CTA 6000s are at right.

CA&E 430 heads up a two car train at DesPlaines Avenue in the 1950s, while some CTA 6000s are at right.

To show you just how bad Chicago's postwar housing shortage was, some people purchased surplus streetcar bodies for use as temporary homes. The caption on this press photo reads, "OVER-AGE STREET CAR BECOMES FAMILY'S HOME. CHICAGO- Mrs. Edith Sands prepares dinner on the small stove in the over-age streetcar where she and her husband, Arthur, and their five-month-old son, Jimmy, have just moved. The trolley car, which has seen nearly 50 years of service on Chicago streets, was purchased by the Sands at a recent public sale and propped up on a 5-acre site near Chicago's southern edge. The car is lighted by gasoline lamps." (April 16, 1946) In our post Lost and Found: Chicago Streetcar #1137 (June 5, 2015), we wrote about how one of these old streetcars, once used for housing, was recently discovered in Wisconsin. It has since been moved to a museum where it will hopefully be preserved.

To show you just how bad Chicago’s postwar housing shortage was, some people purchased surplus streetcar bodies for use as temporary homes. The caption on this press photo reads, “OVER-AGE STREET CAR BECOMES FAMILY’S HOME. CHICAGO- Mrs. Edith Sands prepares dinner on the small stove in the over-age streetcar where she and her husband, Arthur, and their five-month-old son, Jimmy, have just moved. The trolley car, which has seen nearly 50 years of service on Chicago streets, was purchased by the Sands at a recent public sale and propped up on a 5-acre site near Chicago’s southern edge. The car is lighted by gasoline lamps.” (April 16, 1946)
In our post Lost and Found: Chicago Streetcar #1137 (June 5, 2015), we wrote about how one of these old streetcars, once used for housing, was recently discovered in Wisconsin. It has since been moved to a museum where it will hopefully be preserved.

If you've ever wondered where the old and new CTA tracks converged between 1958 and 1960, this blow-up of an old Roy Benedict map (dated May 15, 1959) shows how it was done. Service east of here began running in the new expressway median as of June 22, 1958, but construction between here and Forest Park was still ongoing, and there were various temporary rights-of-way involved. A track connection was retained to the old Laramie Yard for nearly a year, to permit shop work. This map shows a barrier where the old track connection would have been, probably indicating it had just been cut off. The median line made a turn to the north, immediately after leaving the Lotus Tunnel, to connect up with the old ground-level alignment west of here. All this would have been in the way of extending the Congress expressway west of Central. Once the old tracks connecting with Laramie Yard were removed in mid-1959, the expressway was opened to Central in early 1960. After CTA tracks were put into their current alignment south of the highway, roadwork proceeded quickly and the highway opened as far as First Avenue on October 12, 1960, essentially connecting all the separate links that had been built. On this map, there are diversions where both Central and Austin cross the CTA tracks. At Austin, a bridge was under construction, and at Central, it was an underpass. Regular traffic was routed around this.