Ross Harano and the Kenwood “L”

Ross Harano as a toddler in 1945, with his uncle Susumu Okamoto, in front of the Kenwood "L" terminal at 42nd Place. (Courtesy of Ross Harano)

Ross Harano as a toddler in 1945, with his uncle Susumu Okamoto, in front of the Kenwood “L” terminal at 42nd Place. (Courtesy of Ross Harano)

I first became interested in Ross Harano and his family’s story when I came across the picture shown above in the article What happened to Chicago’s Japanese neighborhood? by Katherine Nagasawa from WBEZ radio. I wanted to learn more, and found that Mr. Harano is, as they used to say, “in the book.” I wrote him a letter, and we began a correspondence that led to the interview that follows.

Ross Harano writes:

I was born in the Fresno Assembly Center which was at the Fresno County Fair Grounds on September 17,1942. When I was one month old, my family was shipped to the Jerome, Arkansas, internment camp. We were later allowed to relocate to Chicago.

My uncle’s name was Susumu Okamoto (1919-2005) who was married to my mother’s sister. When we settled on Oakenwald from the camp in Arkansas, my parents and my mother’s 3 sisters and their husbands along with my grandparents all lived there.

It was a full house.

During the war, my uncle Susumu served with US Military Intelligence in the Pacific along with two of my mother’s brothers. Another brother served in Europe with the Japanese American 442nd Combat Infantry Battalion. He was seriously wounded in Italy and also lived with us on Oakenwald after he recovered from his wounds.

This is a uniquely American story, and also one that is uniquely Chicago, a slice of history that deserves to be remembered.

-David Sadowski

From 1949 to 1957, the CTA operated the Kenowwd branch of the "L" as a shuttle operation, and here we see three such cars at the Indiana Avenue station. By the mid-1950s, the older gate cars had been replaced by ones formerly used on the Met "L", as those lines were equipped with more modern steel cars. Not sure why there are three cars here-- Kenwood usually used one or two car trains in these days.

From 1949 to 1957, the CTA operated the Kenowwd branch of the “L” as a shuttle operation, and here we see three such cars at the Indiana Avenue station. By the mid-1950s, the older gate cars had been replaced by ones formerly used on the Met “L”, as those lines were equipped with more modern steel cars. Not sure why there are three cars here– Kenwood usually used one or two car trains in these days.

Interview with Ross Harano, July 2, 2020:

Q: Maybe we could start by going back to the beginning of your family’s history, and when they  came to this country, and we can just take it from there?

A: Well, I’m third generation Japanese-American. Both of my grandfathers came to America in 1898. They landed in Hawaii first as laborers in the sugar cane fields and later on the mainland as laborers on the Union Pacific railroad. Prior to the Japanese immigration, the Chinese came to this country as Forty Niners to search for gold and later to build the first transcontinental railroad. As the Chinese began to settle on the west coast, strong anti-Chinese sentiments resulted in the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act. Japan was the next place where the railroads looked for workers and both my grandfathers worked on the railroads and eventually settled in California where my parents were born. My father was born in Berkeley, and my mother was born in Hanford which is just outside of Fresno.

After Pearl Harbor was attacked, President Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066 which authorized the interment of the Japanese community into 10 concentration camps away from the west coast. We evacuated out with my mother’s family because she was pregnant with me and she had three sisters who were not married at the time to care for her. We went from Hanford to the Fresno Assembly Center which was built on the Fresno County Fairgrounds. I was born in September of ’42, and in October we were shipped to Jerome, Arkansas. There were two camps in Arkansas, one at Rohwer and one at Jerome. They were about 25 miles apart and each held 8,500 Japanese internees.

Even though my family was interned behind barbed wire, seven of my uncles volunteered to serve in the US Military. Four of them served in Europe with the Japanese American 442nd Regimental Combat Team – one was wounded in Italy and one was killed in France. Three uncles served in the Pacific in the US military intelligence. This was kept a military secret until the late ‘50s. Japanese Americans were there on the front lines intercepting Japanese messages because the Japanese didn’t know that we had translators so they didn’t speak in code on the battlefield. The Japanese Americans were on the front lines in most of the campaigns in the Pacific including Merrill’s Marauders in Burma.

The house at 4201 S. Oakenwald. (Courtesy of Ross Harano)

The house at 4201 S. Oakenwald. (Courtesy of Ross Harano)

Ross and his maternal grandfather Rihaci Mayewaki (1886-1969) in front of the Kenwood "L" terminal at 42nd Place. (Courtesy of Ross Harano)

Ross and his maternal grandfather Rihaci Mayewaki (1886-1969) in front of the Kenwood “L” terminal at 42nd Place. (Courtesy of Ross Harano)

Ross Harano and a cousin, in front of the Kenwood "L" terminal at 42nd Place. (Courtesy of Ross Harano)

Ross Harano and a cousin, in front of the Kenwood “L” terminal at 42nd Place. (Courtesy of Ross Harano)

Ross and his sled. (Courtesy of Ross Harano)

Ross and his sled. (Courtesy of Ross Harano)

Transfers from the Kenwood "L" and 43rd Street streetcar line. (Courtesy of Ross Harano)

Transfers from the Kenwood “L” and 43rd Street streetcar line. (Courtesy of Ross Harano)

This notice is from before October 1947, when the Chicago Transit Authority took over the "L" system. Fares were, if anything, being held artificially low for many years, while the system gradually deteriorated and the equipment aged. Once the CTA was in charge, they had more legal leeway to raise fares, in order to cover expenses, in the days before government subsidies. As a result, there were several fare increases in the 1950s. (Courtesy of Ross Harano)

This notice is from before October 1947, when the Chicago Transit Authority took over the “L” system. Fares were, if anything, being held artificially low for many years, while the system gradually deteriorated and the equipment aged. Once the CTA was in charge, they had more legal leeway to raise fares, in order to cover expenses, in the days before government subsidies. As a result, there were several fare increases in the 1950s. (Courtesy of Ross Harano)

In 1944 we were able to leave the camp and we eventually settled on the south side of Chicago on Oakenwald. At some point we had my mother’s three sisters and their husbands, two new baby cousins, my grandparents and my mother’s three brothers.

Q: How many people would you say were living in the same house?

A: About 14 (laughs).

Q: Things must have been kinda tight, but I suppose, you probably didn’t think about it too much, because that’s just the way things were.

A: Well it was a relatively large brick building. It was like a rowhouse where the buildings were all built next to each other with brick common walls. The upstairs had four bedrooms and one bathroom. Each bedroom had a family. When my uncle who was a carpenter returned from the Army, he built another bedroom in the basement, so we had five bedrooms. He also built another bathroom down there too, so we had two bathrooms. So, we had quite a few people in the building which was tremendous for me. I was the only child until I was four years old, so I had all my aunties and uncles to take good care of me.

CTA 6180 is at 43rd and Oakenwald on August 8, 1953, the last day of streetcar service on the 43rd-Root Street line. Note the Illinois Central station at rear. (C. Edward Hedstrom Photo)

CTA 6180 is at 43rd and Oakenwald on August 8, 1953, the last day of streetcar service on the 43rd-Root Street line. Note the Illinois Central station at rear. (C. Edward Hedstrom Photo)

And at that time, everybody was working. My mother was working at Hart, Schaffner and Marx, which was on west Van Buren near the Chicago river. And so, she would take the “L” to work every day which was very convenient since we lived across the street from the Kenwood “L” end of the line terminal. There was a 43rd Street Illinois Central stop next to us, and plus, we had the 43rd streetcar. It was a very convenient place to live in terms of getting to work and shopping, and plus, it was an interesting neighborhood.

In those days, Chicago was very segregated and African Americans were not allowed to live east of Cottage Grove. And so, the neighborhood, when we first moved in was all white. Many of our neighbors on Oakenwald were of third or fourth generation German ancestry. When the first African Americans began to move east of Cottage Grove, my neighborhood changed from white to black over the summer – like in two months. Most of my friends ended up moving to Oak Lawn which was basically farmland in those days. Oak Lawn was being developed and a lot of my friends built or bought homes in that area.

Q: What year was this, then, when the segregation ended?

A: Oh, probably about 1953, let’s see, I was in fifth grade. If you look at my grammar school pictures, you can see the change. When I graduated, my class was all black. I still keep in touch with some of my classmates from grammar school.

Q: Are they on Facebook?

A: No, I don’t do Facebook. I do emails. I have a flip phone, I don’t have one of those fancy phones.

The corner of Oakenwald and 42nd Place today.

The corner of Oakenwald and 42nd Place today.

Q: Is the house still there, that you guys lived in?

A: No, what happened is that in 1961, the City of Chicago tore down the whole neighborhood to build projects between Lake Park on the west and the Illinois Central tracks on the east and from 43rd Street north to 40th Street. Unfortunately, the projects were never successful because evidently there were two gangs that got involved and I heard that they were shooting at each other between these two buildings. And sometime in the 90s, those two projects were torn down. Actually, they were blown up and it was a big media event. Now, that whole area has been rebuilt. Oakenwald grammar school was torn down and now there are all new townhouses. So, the whole neighborhood has really changed. All the vacant lots on Oakenwald are now new townhouses.

Q: Wow. What was the address of the house you were living in?

A: 4201 S. Oakenwald. It was on the southeast corner of 42nd and Oakenwald directly across the street from the Kenwood “L” end-of-the-line station there.

Q: Had that been a wealthy neighborhood at one point in the past?

We ran a lo-fi version of this picture in a previous post. The location at first was a real mystery, but turned out to be 42nd Place, the terminal of the CTA Kenwood branch, looking west. The next photo was taken further down the platform. (We ran originally ran this with other pictures that we saw on eBay, but hadn't been able to purchase. It was relisted and we decided to buy it after all.) Ross Harano adds, "The view is looking north rather than west. The building with the chimney is Oakenwald Grammar School at 4071 S. Lake Park that I attended. The tower on the right is the "Kiosk Sphinx" that was on an estate just north of the grammar school. Geoffrey Baer had a segment on his WTTW's "Ask Geoffrey" about the wealthy family that built a Mediterranean style home with a pool and "Eiffel" tower. The property to the west of the station was owned by Nelson Coal. You can see the coal moving equipment in the photo. Nelson Coal stored mountains of coal east of the terminal tracks next to the Illinois Central Tracks. We used to play soldiers on the coal until we would be chased away by Nelson Coal workers."

We ran a lo-fi version of this picture in a previous post. The location at first was a real mystery, but turned out to be 42nd Place, the terminal of the CTA Kenwood branch, looking west. The next photo was taken further down the platform. (We ran originally ran this with other pictures that we saw on eBay, but hadn’t been able to purchase. It was relisted and we decided to buy it after all.) Ross Harano adds, “The view is looking north rather than west. The building with the chimney is Oakenwald Grammar School at 4071 S. Lake Park that I attended. The tower on the right is the “Kiosk Sphinx” that was on an estate just north of the grammar school. Geoffrey Baer had a segment on his WTTW’s “Ask Geoffrey” about the wealthy family that built a Mediterranean style home with a pool and “Eiffel” tower. The property to the west of the station was owned by Nelson Coal. You can see the coal moving equipment in the photo. Nelson Coal stored mountains of coal east of the terminal tracks next to the Illinois Central Tracks. We used to play soldiers on the coal until we would be chased away by Nelson Coal workers.”

A: No, it was sort of middle class, I suspect. The wealthy area was north of us. If you looked at Lake Park, around Oakwood Boulevard there were a lot of mansions there—big, big mansions. I remember as a kid in grammar school they were vacant, and we used to play in them before they were torn down. There was one mansion which was a Mediterranean style with a swimming pool and a replica of the Eiffel Tower which could be seen in one of the CTA pictures that you had.

Q: What happened to this Eiffel Tower replica? Is that still there, or is it gone?

A: There’s a whole long story on Ask Geoffrey (WTTW – Chicago Tonight) about it. (See link at the end of this article.)  The family made a lot of money. They built the home next to some other big mansions. Eventually, it was the last one left standing. The son had it and there was some dispute in the family so that it was eventually torn down to build an annex classroom building for the Oakenwald grammar school in 1955.

Q: Did you say that the grammar school’s not there anymore?

A: That was all torn down.

Q: Until 1949, the Kenwood “L” ran downtown, and wasn’t it such that they had these things called Kenwood-Wilson Expresses, or something like that?

A: Yes, what it was, was that there were three tracks, and so the Kenwood “L” ran as a local, so it would go to Indiana Avenue, then it would stop at I think like maybe 35th, maybe at Cermak, maybe at Roosevelt, it was a local that went around the Loop and came back. I remember riding it with my mother. She would shop at Marshall Field’s and there was an entrance to Marshall Field’s from the “L” platform. She would shop, and I would hang onto her as she walked around Marshall Field’s. And then when it became a local (shuttle) and ended at Indiana, the platform was extended to cover up the track.

Q: Right. And then from that point forward, I think they only used two tracks heading north. They weren’t using the express track anymore.

A: Correct.

Q: Do you know which trains would have used the third track, in the middle, the express track?

A: The Jackson Park and Englewood lines were using it.

Q: And then the Kenwood was the local, it went around the Loop and came back, but I saw some pictures of trains that said Kenwood-Wilson.

A: There might’ve been a Kenwood Express that ran downtown via the subway to Wilson. Maybe during Rush Hour, they ran express, I don’t know.

Q: And then the Stock Yards “L” was always a shuttle?

A: Yeah, it started at Indiana Avenue, went around a circle in the Stock Yards and came back to Indiana.

This postcard, circa 1910, shows one of the single track "L" stations that were a unique feature of the old Stockyards branch.

This postcard, circa 1910, shows one of the single track “L” stations that were a unique feature of the old Stockyards branch.

Gate car #204 at Halsted on the Stock Yards branch.

Gate car #204 at Halsted on the Stock Yards branch.

Q: Did you ever ride the Stock Yards “L”?

A: Once as a kid. I rode every train when I was a kid.

Q: Just to have the experience, you rode every line?

A: What happened was that if you were under 10 or something like that, you rode free with an adult. So, my friends and I would we would follow some adults through the ticket line. We would hop on the trains and ride ‘em. I remember we rode the Ravenswood line when it was one of the first to have the metal cars. So, we took the train up to Belmont and caught the Ravenswood line. We went all the way to the end and came back. I remember that we sat in the front. There was one seat at the front window that sat sideways and was across from the driver’s compartment. There were three of us. I remember that we all sat there making a lot of noise. It’s a wonder we didn’t get kicked off the train.

Q: It must have been quite a thrill to go down into the subway for the first time.

A: Yeah, we would ride the trains all the time just to ride the trains. We got on for nothing and we were never disorderly. During the Christmas season, we’d go downtown to Marshall Field’s and play in the toy department until a salesperson would ask us where our parents were at and we would leave. We would then work our way down to The Fair (department store), Carson Pirie Scott until we got kicked out. We would then get on the train and come home. That was our entertainment during the Christmas season—we’d play in the toy departments (laughs), there was only two or three of us at a time.

Q: You had mentioned that you got to know the people who drove the trains, the Kenwood line, especially, I would imagine, when it was a shuttle operation.

A: There were only one or two drivers at that point. There was a grocery store right next to the terminal. We just called it Fred’s. The owner’s name was Fred Mamet and I worked there from sixth grade as a stock boy, delivery boy and eventually as a butcher. And I made sandwiches for the “L” drivers and conductors so I got to know them, one of them would let me drive the train for just a very short distance.

Q: Do you remember their names?

A: I was trying to remember. This one fellow was named Dillard which was his last name. And then there was our neighbor and I don’t remember his name at all. He lived on Oakenwald. He was a driver and he’s the one who let me drive.

Q: Tell me about the Kenwood line. They had a terminal there, but I suppose there were times when they really didn’t park hardly any trains there, I think they stored them elsewhere for a while, after it became a shuttle.

A: When the trains were running downtown, the whole thing was filled. There had to be maybe ten tracks for storing and repairing the cars. I don’t remember the exact number, but there were always cars up there. But when it became a shuttle, those other tracks were always empty.

Q: And then they just used a couple of trains, going back and forth?

A: One or two at the most. At night, they just had one train running.

Q: They used both tracks, they didn’t just use one of the two tracks?

A: They used both tracks.

Q: And when they got to the ends, they would go down to a single track, just use one of the two tracks?

A: Before it was a shuttle, the tracks on both sides of the terminal platform were used. When it became a shuttle, they would switch into one track on one side of the platform.

Q: That makes sense. The stations themselves were on an embankment and were sort of different than usual “L” stations, because they had been built by some other company. I think that line opened in 1907, and it pretty much stayed the same until 1957, when they got rid of it, and they had some the oldest cars, those wooden cars. That and the Stock Yards were the last two lines to use wooden cars on the whole system.

A: I remember the ones with a platform on each side, with a gate there (laughs).

Chicago "L" car 24 (aka 1024) at the Illinois Railway Museum in 2019.

Chicago “L” car 24 (aka 1024) at the Illinois Railway Museum in 2019.

Q: Those gate cars, there is only one of those that was saved. It’s at the Illinois Railway Museum. It was originally called car 24, later they changed it to 1024, and within the last few years, they have restored that car back to its original appearance and changed it back to being car 24. That one’s out there, whenever the museum is going to open again. You can ride on that one when they have it out. It’s apparently been brought back to the way it was when it was new.

A: They had like straw seats, laminated with some sort of, it wasn’t plastic, looked like straw.

Q: I think it was cane.

A: Cane, it would be, yes. The train would pull in the station, the conductor’s first job was to reverse the seats.

Q: Are you talking about, on the gate cars?

A: Yeah.

Q: What about the other cars? The other cars they had, later, were from the Metropolitan “L”, where they weren’t needed anymore, those ones that had different roofs. Did those have reversible seats too, or not?

A: Gee, I don’t remember. I just remember, it struck me that the conductor would have to change the seats. That was the first thing they did when the train pulled into the station. And the later ones, they may not have had the reversable seats. I don’t remember.

Q: And the gate cars, did they usually use a two-car train?

A: Yeah, two cars at the most.

Q: And then, the conductor, to open and close the doors, had to stand between the two cars?

A: Correct.

Q: You can imagine what that would have been like in the wintertime. Did the conductors ride outside like that, between the two cars? Or did they go between the two cars when it went into the station?

A: They would ride in the car and when they would come to a station, they would go outside and open the gates. There would be a driver and a conductor.

Q: They continued that practice, even on the steel cars that they had from the 1920s, and it wasn’t until the early 1950s that they changed that, and tried to change it around, so the conductor didn’t have to go between the two cars like that.

A: I remember the subway. Every two cars had a conductor that opened and closed the doors. The Kenwood “L” was something when it was running downtown. There would be a lot of people getting off at Oakenwald. In fact, I remember when I was a kid, I used to have a lemonade stand in front of my house and sell lemonade to everybody when they were getting off the train.

Q: At that time, it was a very popular line?

A: The whole neighborhood, whoever worked downtown, there would be a lotta people riding it, as a kid I remember that.

Q: But later, by the time it quit, by 1957, how was the ridership then?

A: Oh, very few. Very, very few.

Q: Because it was a shuttle, or for other reasons?

A: The neighborhood was changing racially and fewer African Americans worked downtown.

My best friend Eddie Moore’s father worked at the Post Office. Another friend across the street, I think her father was a teacher. It was what I call a middle-class neighborhood in those days.

(This and the next picture) Danny Yoshida, Ross Harano and his sister Cathy In March 1951. Ross writes, "Danny is on the left. He lived on Lake Park and 38th and was a classmate at Oakenwald until he moved to 45th and Lake Park." (Both courtesy of Ross Harano)

(This and the next picture) Danny Yoshida, Ross Harano and his sister Cathy In March 1951. Ross writes, “Danny is on the left. He lived on Lake Park and 38th and was a classmate at Oakenwald until he moved to 45th and Lake Park.” (Both courtesy of Ross Harano)

Q: Right. I worked for LaSalle Photo for many years, are you familiar with that company at all? The Yamamoto family. (1700 W. Diversey)

A: Oh sure, I know LaSalle. A lot of my buddies worked there. My good friend Danny Yoshida married the daughter.

Q: Right. Now, he died?

A: Yeah, he died.

Q: What happened to him?

A: I don’t know. I lost track of him. I was at an event and I was talking to someone who turned out to be his cousin. I learned that both Danny and his younger brother, Kenny, died. I believe the sister Carole is still alive. She married a friend of mine, but I lost touch with them. I have a lot of pictures of Danny and me at Oakenwald.

Q: Was he from the neighborhood?

A: He was at Oakenwald Grammar School. Then they moved to 45th and Lake Park, so he might’ve gone to Shakespeare Grammar School after that.

Q: Small world, yeah. What I recall, of course, Bill Yamamoto, he was very much, I would say, patriotic, in the sense that he could have saved a lot of money by using Fuji chemistry and paper, but he would only use Kodak, because it was American.

A: My uncle, Earl Harano, in North Platte, Nebraska, was also in the same business, so they knew each other. My uncle had a photography studio, in North Platte, Nebraska, and he secured all the school photos in Nebraska and southern South Dakota.

If you needed a job, Bill would hire you. If your son needed a job, Bill had a job for you. I had a lot of friends working there.

Q: When they let you drive a Kenwood “L” train for a little while, that must’ve been quite a thrill.

A: Yeah, it was just a brass handled knob on this thing. There was no speed involved. The train couldn’t go that fast. It had a governor on it, anyway (laughs). I think you turned the knob to a certain point, if you wanted it to go fast, you had to do something to get it to go to the next speed. The train had two speeds—slow, and slower (laughs). By the way, each driver would bring his own brass handled knob.

Q: The brake was separate?

A: I don’t remember the brake at all.

Q: On those cars, I think it was separate—probably air brakes.

A: It might have been. I never had to use the brake because I was going so slow (laughs). I didn’t drive it that far… I just drove it between the next to the last station at Lake Park to the terminal. I didn’t drive the whole route. I just drove it a little bit, so I could tell all my buddies, “Hey! I drove the train!”

Q: You’re probably one of the last few people alive who ever did, on that line.

A: (laughs) I never told anybody except my buddies we did it. I didn’t want to get anyone in trouble.

Q: Did they have basically the same two people working there, right up until the time it quit, or did that change?

A: All I remember is that I started working at the grocery store in sixth grade so that would be about 1954. Around that time, I met the drivers and conductors. I knew the ticket-taker in the station… it was a woman. I would just hang on to an adult and go right through. It wasn’t even a turnstyle.

Q: It’s unfortunate there really aren’t a lot of pictures of the interiors of many of these stations.

A: It was a pretty big station. If you look at pictures of the station, it was a pretty big building.

Q: Did they have a newsstand in there, or not?

A: At one point, there was a newsstand but it closed when the “L” became a shuttle. There was a ticket taker in the building where you paid your fare. When you arrived, there was an outside turnstyle cage to exit. You could also exit through the terminal.

Q: There was a short portion of the Kenwood line that was on a steel structure, and it joined up with this other embankment, and also had freight trains on it, right?

A: Right. It joined up at Lake Park.

Q: How far of a distance would that have been?

A: The tracks from the 42nd Place terminal went north to 40th and curved west to join up with the embankment. So it was about two and a half blocks. Along the north side of the embankment was 40th Street.

Q: That must have been fun, to ride some of these lines that don’t exist anymore. What was it like to ride on the Stockyards line?

A: I didn’t ride it that often. It was an adventure just to see everything. You’d get on at Indiana (Avenue), you’d ride, you’d see the Stockyards. I think I was having too much fun with my friends, to pay much close attention. We didn’t get off, that’s for sure. We just stayed on it for the round trip.

Q: I suppose there was quite an odor to the place in those days, wasn’t there?

A: We lived east of there, so yeah, when the wind was blowing, you could smell it. It wasn’t that bad of a smell. But you’d smell it when you went around (on the “L”).

Q: And that was unique, because they had a single-track loop there. They had some stations where there was only one track.

A: Yep. I don’t remember that. I only remember being on a train. I wasn’t paying too much attention to the tracks or anything, and plus there was two other kids, so we were joking around a lot (laughs).

Q: Tell me then, what happened to your family when you moved away from the neighborhood, to the north side. Was that because they shut down the “L”, or were there other factors involved?

A: What happened was that the “L” was shut down in ’57, and they began to tear it down in ’61. I was at Hyde Park High School. I started there in ’56 so I took the Kenwood “L” and transferred to the Jackson Park “L” and went to the end of the line at 63rd and Stony Island. In ’57, I started taking the 43rd Street bus to Drexel, and then I caught the southbound Drexel bus. It was a #1 or #5 Jeffrey Bus which dropped me off right in front of the school on Stony Island.

Q: Your family moved to the north side?

A: In 1961, the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) purchased all the homes in the neighborhood to be torn down to construct the two high rise buildings. The CHA bought our property, which was lucky, otherwise we would’ve had a hard time selling it. We moved to Uptown only two-and-a-half blocks away from the (CTA) Red Line Argyle station. I would take the “L” everywhere. I gave my last car away to my son-in-law in 1990. I was working downtown so I took the subway every day.

Q: They recently completely rebuilt the whole Wilson Avenue station, and all the tracks around it. It was a huge project, and cost about $250m.

A: And now they’re doing a big thing. They’re gonna rebuild all the tracks along the way, get rid of the concrete bridges, and put in a steel structure to eliminate the center thing. They just started on it.

Q: Some of the stations are going to be shut down for a while. But at least they restored the lower portion of that Wilson station, bringing it back to its 1920s appearance. It was nice of them to do that, even though the whole inside is completely brand new.

A: They will have an organic food store there. The Argyle stop, when we first moved up north had two exits, one on the north side and one on the south side of Argyle. And eventually, when they redid the platform, they eliminated the south side exit.

Q: Tell me what happened to you and your family, after you moved north. You moved to Uptown for a few years…

A: We’re still in Uptown. My parents bought a 4 flat building on Argyle and we had our whole family in the building: my parents, my grandparents, my sister, my cousin, and my wife and kids lived there. Then I got wanderlust and I bought a building across the alley on Winnemac. My in-laws lived with us. It felt like a compound, like on The Godfather. We had all of our family around us, all the time, which was tremendous.

Q: What was your career, then?

A: I graduated from the University of Illinois with a degree in finance and worked in the actuarial department at CNA Insurance. And then I went out in the field and sold insurance and later ended up being vice president of the Bank of Chicago on Wilson and Broadway. When that bank was sold, I was vice-president of another community bank in Andersonville and later left banking to run an international trading group. Afterwards, I worked in government for the Attorney General of Illinois, Neil Hartigan, and later Roland Burris. Then I became president of the World Trade Center of Chicago which was at the Merchandise Mart. Then I ended up working for the State again as the Director of Trade for the State of Illinois. I retired in 2005.

Q: And what do you do to keep busy now?

A: I am the principal of a consulting group that specializes in assisting companies to export and import products and services. So I do a lot of consulting work for several companies. I’m trying to retire, but I keep getting new projects all the time.

Q: The internment of Japanese-Americans was a dark chapter in American history, one which unfortunately was affirmed by the Supreme Court, in a kind of notorious decision (Korematsu v. United States), which still, I don’t think, has been overturned since.

A: The internment of Japanese Americans in World War II is still constitutional. Fred Korematsu, Gordon Hirabayashi and Minoru Yasui were the three cases in which the US Supreme Court ruled that the internment was constitutional based upon on the grounds of military necessity.

The Supreme Court decisions have not been overturned. In 1983, however, the US District Court in San Francisco ruled that the US Government had withheld a government report that indicated that there were no cases of espionage or sabotage by the Japanese and that there was no military necessity for the Japanese American interment. The US District Court vacated the three convictions, however, the Supreme Court decisions have not been overturned. (Editor’s note: The Roberts Court essentially disavowed the Korematsu decision in the majority opinion to Trump v. Hawaii (2018), saying it had been wrongly decided.)

Q: Like I say, a dark chapter in American history, and unfortunately, now, our government is not doing good things with immigrants, and separating families, and establishing things that seem almost like concentration camps all over again.

A; Yes, the Japanese-American community has really been actively involved in protesting all of this.

I don’t know if you are aware of it, but in 1950, during the Joe McCarthy period, the Internal Security Act was passed in Congress. Title I of the Internal Security Act set up the Subversive Activity Control Board, which would be like Nazi Germany, they would have somebody on your block to report you, if they thought you were a Commie. Well, the liberals thought that this would pass, so they added Title II, which set up concentration camps in this country to be used in the event of war or insurrection within the US. The liberals thought that would be so revolting that everybody would vote against it.

But the anti-Communist mood was so bad in 1950, that if you didn’t vote for it, you felt like you weren’t coming back to Congress according to Congressman Sid Yates. He was a Northside Chicago Congressman first elected in 1948. So it was passed and vetoed by President Harry Truman. Congress voted to override his veto and ten camps were actually built in the US. Eventually, Title I was ruled unconstitutional and Title II, however, stayed on the books and was never repealed.

The original bill was known as the Nixon-Mundt Bill. We knew that Truman wouldn’t implement it, and the same for both Presidents Eisenhower and Kennedy. Eventually the ten camps were turned over to the Bureau of Prisons. And then in 1968 with all the rioting and everything else going on, the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) said that the Black militants had declared war on the United States and were leading an insurrection and, therefore, the Internal Security Act of 1950 would be used to round them up and herd them into these camps.

So, what happened was, the Japanese American Citizens League led the effort to repeal Title II of the Internal Security Act and in 1973, it was repealed in Congress when there was a big wave of new Democratic Congressmen elected because of President Nixon’s unpopularity just like what took place in 2018. President Nixon signed the repeal legislation in Portland, Oregon, on his way to meet Emperor Hirohito. So the original Nixon-Mundt law’s repeal legislation was signed into law by President Nixon.

Q: That’s one of the ironies of history, I guess.

A: And the true irony is that Allenwood, Pennsylvania, where all of the Watergate conspirators went, was built under the Internal Security Act of 1950.

Q: I remember that when I worked for LaSalle Photo, the government issued some sort of an apology to the people who had been interned and offered them a cash payment.

A: In the mid-1970’s the Japanese American Citizens League began to seek redress and reparations for the Japanese community that were wrongfully interned during World War II. After many years of lobbying with Congressmen and Senators, a Federal Commission was appointed to hold hearings in several cities including Chicago. The Commission reported its findings to Congress and a Redress and Reparations Bill was introduced in both the House and Senate. After several years, it was finally passed in Congress. But it took a while to convince Reagan to sign the repeal legislation in August 1988. The original estimate by the Bank of America that financial losses were $5 billion in 1988 dollars which meant about $40k for every person who was in camp. Well, they didn’t do that. They sent $20k to everyone who was still alive. So, if you were alive in August 1988, you were eligible to get $20k in reparations. Most people felt the apology letter was more important than the money. The checks were finally mailed out when Bush was President. President Bush signed the formal apology letter and there was a check attached to it.

Q: Because you were in the camps, then, you did receive this kind of payment?

A: Oh yeah, I got a check, $20k check. I cashed it. Some folks said they weren’t going to cash it, I said good luck, I cashed mine. I made a copy of it, and I also have the original letter from Bush.

Q: I remember from when I worked at LaSalle Photo, this lady I worked with, said she was going to refuse the payment.

A: Some folks felt that way, I had no problem with that. I think that when the payment was refused, the money was put into a foundation. The foundation funds were spent on educational programs about the camps and the funds were used to take care of the camps. In the camp at Rohwer, Arkansas, there’s a cemetery for the internees who died in the camps that needs to be maintained. And also, the camps are now designated as national monuments.

Q: Well, if we don’t learn from history, we are probably doomed to repeat it.

A: That’s true.

Q: A lesson that unfortunately, many people haven’t learned.

A: Yes, and what is happening today, as you know, and even with this Covid-19 situation, Asians are being picked out. Because it started in China. We’re a visible minority, so in World War II I was a Jap, in the Korean War I was a Chink, in the Vietnam War I was a Gook. People can’t tell us apart, so because of that, and the fact that our existence in the US has never been legitimatized in the history books, we’re always viewed as foreigners. People keep saying to me, “Where did you learn English?”, Hyde Park High School, “Where were you born?”, California, “Where were your parents born?”, California, “Your grandfather?”, Japan, “You’re Japanese.” Now I don’t ask anybody where they’re from. If they’re white, you never ask anybody, are you Lithuanian, Polish, Estonian, or Ukrainian, whatever. We don’t ask that. Although I do ask people, I see your last name, and I say, oh, you have a Polish background, and I’ve been to Poland, and my son-in-law’s Polish. I have a lot of friends who are Lithuanian and Ukrainian. I was very active with the Baltic ethnic groups. We keep in touch with each other.

Q: This book I am working on is going to be called Chicago’s Lost “L”s. The idea is to tell a story through pictures.

A: Frank Kruesi, who was head of the CTA way back, is a hero to me because he eliminated the A/B stops. Argyle was an “A” stop, so if you heard a train coming, you’d run like hell to get up there and sometimes and it turned out to be a “B” train that went right by you. He is a hero to me because if you hear a train coming you know it’s going to stop (laughs).

Q: You know why that came about, because when the CTA, the Rapid Transit and the Surface Lines had been competitors, more or less. The typical thing was that, in some places, they had stations every two blocks on the “L”, and people lived in the neighborhoods and they would walk to the “L”. Things started to change when people got more cars, and the CTA took over, and they were trying to consolidate everything, and develop more of a cooperative system between the buses, streetcars, and the “L”, they closed a lot of stations, to try and speed up the service, because like you say, with those old cars, there were two speeds—slow, and slower. They found that if they speeded things up, they would get more riders. The A/B thing, that started out in Oak Park on the Lake Street “L”, in 1948, and it was credited with saving that line, because otherwise, the service was pretty slow. At first it was a good thing, because there were too many stations, but over the years, they closed so many stations, that by the time they got rid of the A/B thing, it was totally unnecessary. There weren’t that many stations, and now they’ve even put a few of them back. Now maybe in some places, they have too few stations. We’ve gone back to where the trains make all the stops again.

The view from the roof of the house at 4201 S. Oakenwald. In the distance, you can see the 43rd Street station of the Illinois Central Electric commuter trains. (Courtesy of Ross Harano)

The view from the roof of the house at 4201 S. Oakenwald. In the distance, you can see the 43rd Street station of the Illinois Central Electric commuter trains. (Courtesy of Ross Harano)

A: I looked at your web site and I noticed your mentioning the South Shore “Orange” trains. They were fast. I had two friends killed by the Illinois Central trains. We used to cross the tracks, you know, to get to the park.

Q: Was that on a lower level than the rest of the neighborhood?

A: The Illinois Central tracks were slightly below level. And so, there was one kid, we used to play ice hockey together was killed by a local while I was in grammar school, so it probably had to be the early ‘50s. The other friend was hit by the South Shore “Orange” train.

Q: It’s been fascinating talking to you. A lot of your family’s history, it’s very important history, for the City of Chicago, because we value diversity here. And it’s history that I think more people ought to know.

A: I agree.

Q: Thanks so much!

Ross Harano in 2012.

Ross Harano in 2012.

Further Information:

Internment of Japanese Americans

Harano and Mayewacki Family World War II Veterans

Japanese-American Service in World War II

Korematsu v. United States

Mitsuye Endo

Jerome War Relocation Center

The McCarran Internal Security Act

WTTW segment from Chicago Tonight about the Kenwood “L”

WTTW segment from Chicago Tonight about the Kiosk Sphinx (Eiffel Tower replica)

Article about the Kiosk Sphinx

1939 Chicago Surface Lines Training Program

In 2016, we were fortunate to acquire a rare 16″ transcription disc, made in 1939 for the Chicago Surface Lines. This included an audio presentation called “Keeping Pace,” about 20 minutes long, that CSL used for employee training.

We were recently able to find someone who could play such a large disc, and now this program has been digitized and can be heard for the first time in more than 80 years. We have added it as a bonus feature to our Red Arrow Lines 1967 CD, available below and through our Online Store.

Screen Shot 03-16-16 at 06.58 PM.PNGScreen Shot 03-17-16 at 12.44 AM.PNG

RAL
Red Arrow Lines 1967: Straffords and Bullets
# of Discs – 1
Price: $14.99

This disc features rare, long out-of-print audio recordings of two 1967 round trips on the Philadelphia & Western (aka “Red Arrow Lines”) interurban between Philadelphia and Norristown, the famous third rail High-Speed Line.  One trip is by a Strafford car and the other by one of the beloved streamlined Bullets.  The line, about 13 miles long and still in operation today under SEPTA, bears many similarities to another former interurban line, the Chicago Transit Authority‘s Yellow Line (aka the “Skokie Swift”).  We have included two bonus features, audio of an entire ride along that five mile route, which was once part of the North Shore Line, and a 20-minute 1939 Chicago Surface Lines training program (“Keeping Pace”).  This was digitized from a rare original 16″ transcription disc and now can be heard again for the first time in over 80 years.

Total time – 73:32

The Trolley Dodger On the Air
We appeared on WGN radio in Chicago in November 2018, discussing our book Building Chicago’s Subways on the Dave Plier Show. You can hear our 19-minute conversation here.
Chicago, Illinois, December 17, 1938-- Secretary Harold Ickes, left, and Mayor Edward J. Kelly turn the first spadeful of earth to start the new $40,000,000 subway project. Many thousands gathered to celebrate the starting of work on the subway. Chicago, Illinois, December 17, 1938– Secretary Harold Ickes, left, and Mayor Edward J. Kelly turn the first spadeful of earth to start the new $40,000,000 subway project. Many thousands gathered to celebrate the starting of work on the subway.
Order Our New Book Building Chicago’s Subways

There were three subway anniversaries in 2018 in Chicago:
60 years since the West Side Subway opened (June 22, 1958)
75 years since the State Street Subway opened (October 17, 1943)
80 years since subway construction started (December 17, 1938)
To commemorate these anniversaries, we have written a new book, Building Chicago’s Subways.

While the elevated Chicago Loop is justly famous as a symbol of the city, the fascinating history of its subways is less well known. The City of Chicago broke ground on what would become the “Initial System of Subways” during the Great Depression and finished 20 years later. This gigantic construction project, a part of the New Deal, would overcome many obstacles while tunneling through Chicago’s soft blue clay, under congested downtown streets, and even beneath the mighty Chicago River. Chicago’s first rapid transit subway opened in 1943 after decades of wrangling over routes, financing, and logistics. It grew to encompass the State Street, Dearborn-Milwaukee, and West Side Subways, with the latter modernizing the old Garfield Park “L” into the median of Chicago’s first expressway. Take a trip underground and see how Chicago’s “I Will” spirit overcame challenges and persevered to help with the successful building of the subways that move millions. Building Chicago’s subways was national news and a matter of considerable civic pride–making it a “Second City” no more!

Bibliographic information:
Title Building Chicago’s Subways
Images of America
Author David Sadowski
Edition illustrated
Publisher Arcadia Publishing (SC), 2018
ISBN 1467129380, 9781467129381
Length 128 pages
Chapter Titles:
01. The River Tunnels
02. The Freight Tunnels
03. Make No Little Plans
04. The State Street Subway
05. The Dearborn-Milwaukee Subway
06. Displaced
07. Death of an Interurban
08. The Last Street Railway
09. Subways and Superhighways
10. Subways Since 1960
Building Chicago’s Subways is in stock and now available for immediate shipment. Order your copy today! All copies purchased through The Trolley Dodger will be signed by the author.
The price of $23.99 includes shipping within the United States.
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Redone tile at the Monroe and Dearborn CTA Blue Line subway station, showing how an original sign was incorporated into a newer design, May 25, 2018. (David Sadowski Photo) Redone tile at the Monroe and Dearborn CTA Blue Line subway station, showing how an original sign was incorporated into a newer design, May 25, 2018. (David Sadowski Photo)

Help Support The Trolley Dodger

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This is our 254th post, and we are gradually creating a body of work and an online resource for the benefit of all railfans, everywhere. To date, we have received over 649,000 page views, for which we are very grateful.

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Hard Work

This is the back end of a southbound CTA Jackson Park "B" train at Sheridan Road on July 7, 1966.

This is the back end of a southbound CTA Jackson Park “B” train at Sheridan Road on July 7, 1966.

It’s been more than a month since our last post, but that’s not for lack of effort. We have been hard at work on the images in this post. I have put it many, many hours with these pictures in Photoshop to make them look their best, or least, better than how I found them.

Sometimes, it seems that if something can go wrong, it will go wrong. I was up late last night writing more than 50 captions, and somehow they all vanished, and I had to rewrite them. But that’s okay, since the new versions you see here are better.

It’s been our experience that hard work often pays off. You be the judge.

We have also been hard at work on a new book– Chicago’s Lost “L”s, which will focus on those aspects of the system that either no longer exist, or have been completely changed. Work on this book is pretty far along. All the photo selections have been made, and the cover is finished.

We are excited about this new project, and hope you will be too. More information will be forthcoming as things progress.

Enjoy!

-David Sadowski

PS- Our thanks go out to Jeff Wien for sharing some fantastic images from the Wien-Criss Archive.

Recent Finds

The North Shore Line's Milwaukee Terminal on a wintry night in January 1963. This is a remarkable photo for the time, as it surely involved a long exposure time of at least a few seconds, with the camera held perfectly still on a tripod. Film speeds for color slide film were very slow and those films were designed for use in bright sunlight. (Wien-Criss Archive)

The North Shore Line’s Milwaukee Terminal on a wintry night in January 1963. This is a remarkable photo for the time, as it surely involved a long exposure time of at least a few seconds, with the camera held perfectly still on a tripod. Film speeds for color slide film were very slow and those films were designed for use in bright sunlight. (Wien-Criss Archive)

A northbound North Shore Line train stops at Dempster in January 1963, the final month. Just over a year later, after the abandonment, the CTA resumed service between here and Howard as the Skokie Swift. Note the sign at left for a yarn store in the terminal building. (Wien-Criss Archive)

A northbound North Shore Line train stops at Dempster in January 1963, the final month. Just over a year later, after the abandonment, the CTA resumed service between here and Howard as the Skokie Swift. Note the sign at left for a yarn store in the terminal building. (Wien-Criss Archive)

This and the following picture: A Kenosha Motor Coach bus is posed next to the former North Shore Line station circa 1967. The building remains, but has been altered over the years for use, first by a restaurant, then as a day care center. (Charles L. Tauscher Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

This and the following picture: A Kenosha Motor Coach bus is posed next to the former North Shore Line station circa 1967. The building remains, but has been altered over the years for use, first by a restaurant, then as a day care center. (Charles L. Tauscher Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

This, and the next three images are from "superslides," meaning film larger than 35mm, but still able to fit in a regular 2x2 slide mount. This was possible with both 127 and 828 film, but it's the latter here, in this shot by W. H. Higginbotham showing an Electroliner at Grange Avenue in Milwaukee County. (Wien-Criss Archive)

This, and the next three images are from “superslides,” meaning film larger than 35mm, but still able to fit in a regular 2×2 slide mount. This was possible with both 127 and 828 film, but it’s the latter here, in this shot by W. H. Higginbotham showing an Electroliner at Grange Avenue in Milwaukee County. (Wien-Criss Archive)

NSL 741 creeps south along the old 6th Street viaduct in Milwaukee, next to a 1958 Chevy. (Wien-Criss Archive)

NSL 741 creeps south along the old 6th Street viaduct in Milwaukee, next to a 1958 Chevy. (Wien-Criss Archive)

An Electroliner at 6th and Oklahoma in Milwaukee in 1962. (W. H. Higginbotham Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

An Electroliner at 6th and Oklahoma in Milwaukee in 1962. (W. H. Higginbotham Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

An Electroliner at Edison Court in Waukegan on May 26, 1959. (Wien-Criss Archive)

An Electroliner at Edison Court in Waukegan on May 26, 1959. (Wien-Criss Archive)

A truly historic photo that probably hasn't seen the light in 57 years. The late Charles L. Tauscher rode the last North Shore Line train ever, which ended its run at Roosevelt Road in the early morning hours of a very cold January 21, 1963. Motorman Bill Livings has just taken off the headlight and poses for a few pictures. This must be a long exposure (this was Ektachrome, and the film speed was 32) and you can see some motion blur on other parts of the platform. Truly the end of an era. (Wien-Criss Archive)

A truly historic photo that probably hasn’t seen the light in 57 years. The late Charles L. Tauscher rode the last North Shore Line train ever, which ended its run at Roosevelt Road in the early morning hours of a very cold January 21, 1963. Motorman Bill Livings has just taken off the headlight and poses for a few pictures. This must be a long exposure (this was Ektachrome, and the film speed was 32) and you can see some motion blur on other parts of the platform. Truly the end of an era. (Wien-Criss Archive)

The El Paso trolley, in its original incarnation, was an international affair, with service to Juarez, Mexico. This picture was taken in 1962. (Wien-Criss Archive)

The El Paso trolley, in its original incarnation, was an international affair, with service to Juarez, Mexico. This picture was taken in 1962. (Wien-Criss Archive)

This picture of the CTA Stockyards line was taken in September 1957, shortly before the line was abandoned. There is little in this picture that still exists today, except for the shuttered Stock Yards National Bank Building, at 4146 S. Halsted Street. (Wien-Criss Archive)

This picture of the CTA Stockyards line was taken in September 1957, shortly before the line was abandoned. There is little in this picture that still exists today, except for the shuttered Stock Yards National Bank Building, at 4146 S. Halsted Street. (Wien-Criss Archive)

A gate car (345) and a Met car are in the process of being scrapped at Skokie Shops in September 1957. (Wien-Criss Archive)

A gate car (345) and a Met car are in the process of being scrapped at Skokie Shops in September 1957. (Wien-Criss Archive)

As much as we would like Chicago "L" cars to remain on the structure, there have been a few times when they did not. This April 12, 1974 photo shows one that came pretty close to falling down, but fortunately did not. This looks like downtown, but I am not sure of the exact location. Andre Kristopans adds, "Wreck was at Lake/Wells with 6047-48. Took W to N curve way too fast. This was probably last wreck cleaned up with only Rail derricks, S363 and S367. No rubber tired cranes used."

As much as we would like Chicago “L” cars to remain on the structure, there have been a few times when they did not. This April 12, 1974 photo shows one that came pretty close to falling down, but fortunately did not. This looks like downtown, but I am not sure of the exact location. Andre Kristopans adds, “Wreck was at Lake/Wells with 6047-48. Took W to N curve way too fast. This was probably last wreck cleaned up with only Rail derricks, S363 and S367. No rubber tired cranes used.”

We ran a lo-fi version of this picture in a previous post. The location at first was a real mystery, but turned out to be 42nd Place, the terminal of the CTA Kenwood branch, looking west. The next photo was taken further down the platform. (We ran originally ran this with other pictures that we saw on eBay, but hadn't been able to purchase. It was relisted and we decided to buy it after all.) Ross Harano adds, "The view is looking north rather than west. The building with the chimney is Oakenwald Grammar School at 4071 S. Lake Park that I attended. The tower on the right is the "Kiosk Sphinx" that was on an estate just north of the grammar school. Geoffrey Baer had a segment on his WTTW's "Ask Geoffrey" about the wealthy family that built a Mediterranean style home with a pool and "Eiffel" tower. The property to the west of the station was owned by Nelson Coal. You can see the coal moving equipment in the photo. Nelson Coal stored mountains of coal east of the terminal tracks next to the Illinois Central Tracks. We used to play soldiers on the coal until we would be chased away by Nelson Coal workers."

We ran a lo-fi version of this picture in a previous post. The location at first was a real mystery, but turned out to be 42nd Place, the terminal of the CTA Kenwood branch, looking west. The next photo was taken further down the platform. (We ran originally ran this with other pictures that we saw on eBay, but hadn’t been able to purchase. It was relisted and we decided to buy it after all.) Ross Harano adds, “The view is looking north rather than west. The building with the chimney is Oakenwald Grammar School at 4071 S. Lake Park that I attended. The tower on the right is the “Kiosk Sphinx” that was on an estate just north of the grammar school. Geoffrey Baer had a segment on his WTTW’s “Ask Geoffrey” about the wealthy family that built a Mediterranean style home with a pool and “Eiffel” tower. The property to the west of the station was owned by Nelson Coal. You can see the coal moving equipment in the photo. Nelson Coal stored mountains of coal east of the terminal tracks next to the Illinois Central Tracks. We used to play soldiers on the coal until we would be chased away by Nelson Coal workers.”

This is the view looking west from the east terminal of the Kenwood branch at 42nd Place. There was a short stretch of steel structure, before the line ran on an embankment owned by the Chicago Junction Railway. Ross Harano: "This view is also looking north. The photo was taken from the north end of the platform next to the control tower building. The tall building in the background is one of the first CHA buildings on the lakefront at Lake Park and Oakwood Boulevard. The railroad tracks that ran with the "L" tracks went east over the Illinois Central tracks and ran south."

This is the view looking west from the east terminal of the Kenwood branch at 42nd Place. There was a short stretch of steel structure, before the line ran on an embankment owned by the Chicago Junction Railway. Ross Harano: “This view is also looking north. The photo was taken from the north end of the platform next to the control tower building. The tall building in the background is one of the first CHA buildings on the lakefront at Lake Park and Oakwood Boulevard. The railroad tracks that ran with the “L” tracks went east over the Illinois Central tracks and ran south.”

A wooden Chicago "L" car at the Illinois Railway Museum in Union, May 1968. The museum had moved here in 1964 from its original location in North Chicago. I believe that is a Milwaukee streetcar at left.

A wooden Chicago “L” car at the Illinois Railway Museum in Union, May 1968. The museum had moved here in 1964 from its original location in North Chicago. I believe that is a Milwaukee streetcar at left.

This postcard, circa 1910, shows one of the single track "L" stations that were a unique feature of the old Stockyards branch.

This postcard, circa 1910, shows one of the single track “L” stations that were a unique feature of the old Stockyards branch.

On February 24, 1957 we see a Douglas Park "L" train crossing over a Garfield Park one, running on temporary tracks in Van Buren Street, while the Congress median line (foreground) is under construction.

On February 24, 1957 we see a Douglas Park “L” train crossing over a Garfield Park one, running on temporary tracks in Van Buren Street, while the Congress median line (foreground) is under construction.

On February 24, 1957 a two-car train of CTA 4000s heads east on Van Buren at Ashland. This was the temporary route for part of the Garfield Park “L” from 1953 to 1958.

This is the view looking south from the Lake Street "L" at Paulina on March 17, 1954. The tracks at right were where the Met "L" went over the Lake line. At left is a new connection, just about to be put into service, that allowed Douglas Park trains to go to the Loop via Lake Street. This connection was used from 1954 to 1958, and is now used again by Pink Line trains (the successor to Douglas).

This is the view looking south from the Lake Street “L” at Paulina on March 17, 1954. The tracks at right were where the Met “L” went over the Lake line. At left is a new connection, just about to be put into service, that allowed Douglas Park trains to go to the Loop via Lake Street. This connection was used from 1954 to 1958, and is now used again by Pink Line trains (the successor to Douglas).

A two-car Kenwood "L" train, including 2910, is in the stub at Indiana Avenue station on February 25, 1955.

A two-car Kenwood “L” train, including 2910, is in the stub at Indiana Avenue station on February 25, 1955.

A Garfield Park "L" train of 4000s heads west at Kedzie on November 6, 1955. Unlike some other stations on the line, this one remained in service until 1958 as it was not directly in the expressway footprint. The first car is a "Baldie," built circa 1915, and the second is a "Plushie," from around 1924. These were state of the art cars when new, and were in service for nearly 50 years.

A Garfield Park “L” train of 4000s heads west at Kedzie on November 6, 1955. Unlike some other stations on the line, this one remained in service until 1958 as it was not directly in the expressway footprint. The first car is a “Baldie,” built circa 1915, and the second is a “Plushie,” from around 1924. These were state of the art cars when new, and were in service for nearly 50 years.

Here, a former Lake Street "L" car heads up a Stockyards shuttle train at Indiana Avenue on April 11, 1954.

Here, a former Lake Street “L” car heads up a Stockyards shuttle train at Indiana Avenue on April 11, 1954.

Car 1715 is a Lake Street Local at Marion Street in Oak Park. In 1948, locals and expresses were replaced by the CTA's A/B "skip stop" service.

Car 1715 is a Lake Street Local at Marion Street in Oak Park. In 1948, locals and expresses were replaced by the CTA’s A/B “skip stop” service.

CTA 3147 is at the front of a Lake Street "B" train at Marion. Despite the age of the car at left (circa 1939) this picture cannot have been taken prior to 1948.

CTA 3147 is at the front of a Lake Street “B” train at Marion. Despite the age of the car at left (circa 1939) this picture cannot have been taken prior to 1948.

CTA 1780 heads up a Lake Street "A" train at Marion Street. This was not quite the end of the line, as there was a station just west of Harlem Avenue in Forest Park. But this station was far more popular and Harlem and Marion serves today as the end of the line, since the Lake Street "L" was relocated to the adjacent North Western embankment in 1962.

CTA 1780 heads up a Lake Street “A” train at Marion Street. This was not quite the end of the line, as there was a station just west of Harlem Avenue in Forest Park. But this station was far more popular and Harlem and Marion serves today as the end of the line, since the Lake Street “L” was relocated to the adjacent North Western embankment in 1962.

This two-car train (including #299) is at Indiana Avenue station. The photo says this is a Kenwood train, but I am wondering if this is Stock Yards instead.

This two-car train (including #299) is at Indiana Avenue station. The photo says this is a Kenwood train, but I am wondering if this is Stock Yards instead.

When the CTA realigned the north and south side routes, Kenwood became a shuttle. These wooden gate cars (200-series) are being stored on an otherwise unused track on the South Side main. The Kenwood branch itself is at left.

When the CTA realigned the north and south side routes, Kenwood became a shuttle. These wooden gate cars (200-series) are being stored on an otherwise unused track on the South Side main. The Kenwood branch itself is at left.

Riders are coming and going from Kenwood car 273 at Indiana Avenue.

Riders are coming and going from Kenwood car 273 at Indiana Avenue.

CTA gate car #268 (or at least that is what is written on the picture) at Indiana Avenue, operating as a Kenwood shuttle. By the mid-1950s these cars were replaced by former Met "L" cars as they were taken off other lines.

CTA gate car #268 (or at least that is what is written on the picture) at Indiana Avenue, operating as a Kenwood shuttle. By the mid-1950s these cars were replaced by former Met “L” cars as they were taken off other lines.

Gate car #204 at Halsted on the Stock Yards branch.

Gate car #204 at Halsted on the Stock Yards branch.

I find this picture of car 1109 and train interesting for a number of reasons. It took a while to figure out where this is, but I believe it is on the Wabash leg of the Loop "L" heading north at Jackson. This area was, for many years, Chicago's "music row," and Kimball Pianos is at right. Since we are south of Adams, the station in the rear is Congress and Wabash, which was closed in 1949 and removed soon after, as Congress was widened for the expressway project. The train is an Evanston Express, going to Wilmette, but also mentions Skokie as a destination. Niles Center changed its name to Skokie in 1941, so this picture dates to the 1940s. Then, as now, it is not advisable to put your head or arms outside the car window.

I find this picture of car 1109 and train interesting for a number of reasons. It took a while to figure out where this is, but I believe it is on the Wabash leg of the Loop “L” heading north at Jackson. This area was, for many years, Chicago’s “music row,” and Kimball Pianos is at right. Since we are south of Adams, the station in the rear is Congress and Wabash, which was closed in 1949 and removed soon after, as Congress was widened for the expressway project. The train is an Evanston Express, going to Wilmette, but also mentions Skokie as a destination. Niles Center changed its name to Skokie in 1941, so this picture dates to the 1940s. Then, as now, it is not advisable to put your head or arms outside the car window.

Car 1048 is in the pocket track at Dempster, end of the line for Niles Center. The CTA replaced this with buses in 1948, but the line was revived as the Skokie Swift in 1964, following the North Shore Line's abandonment the previous year. The historic station building has since been moved slightly to the north and east to provide a bus lane.

Car 1048 is in the pocket track at Dempster, end of the line for Niles Center. The CTA replaced this with buses in 1948, but the line was revived as the Skokie Swift in 1964, following the North Shore Line’s abandonment the previous year. The historic station building has since been moved slightly to the north and east to provide a bus lane.

Gate car 2324 at Skokie Shops.

Gate car 2324 at Skokie Shops.

4000s going over the North Shore Channel bridge in Evanston, when it appears to be brand new. Not sure of the date. Miles Beitler adds, "It may have been taken during the elevation of the north end of the Evanston line from University Place to just north of Central Street. That project was completed in 1931. There would have been a bridge over the North Shore Channel long before then, as the channel was completed in 1910 and was crossed by a steam railroad at that point, but perhaps the elevation of the line required replacement or reconstruction of the existing bridge."

4000s going over the North Shore Channel bridge in Evanston, when it appears to be brand new. Not sure of the date. Miles Beitler adds, “It may have been taken during the elevation of the north end of the Evanston line from University Place to just north of Central Street. That project was completed in 1931. There would have been a bridge over the North Shore Channel long before then, as the channel was completed in 1910 and was crossed by a steam railroad at that point, but perhaps the elevation of the line required replacement or reconstruction of the existing bridge.”

2756 was a Met, car built in 1895, that at some point was converted for use as a medical car, and traveled over the Insull properties whenever it was necessary to give physical exams. Here, we see it on the Cross Street team track in Wheaton. Since the car did not have trolley poles, when it went on the North Shore Line, it had to be towed by something else, like a box motor car.

2756 was a Met, car built in 1895, that at some point was converted for use as a medical car, and traveled over the Insull properties whenever it was necessary to give physical exams. Here, we see it on the Cross Street team track in Wheaton. Since the car did not have trolley poles, when it went on the North Shore Line, it had to be towed by something else, like a box motor car.

Pullman PCC 4062 being delivered in 1946. This was the first of 600 new postwar streetcars for Chicago.

Pullman PCC 4062 being delivered in 1946. This was the first of 600 new postwar streetcars for Chicago.

The view looking north from Howard Street in 1930. The North Shore Line's Skokie Valeey Route is at left. Straight ahead leads to Evanston and Wilmette.

The view looking north from Howard Street in 1930. The North Shore Line’s Skokie Valeey Route is at left. Straight ahead leads to Evanston and Wilmette.

In the mid-1950s, some new 6000s are being delivered to 63rd Street Lower Yard.

In the mid-1950s, some new 6000s are being delivered to 63rd Street Lower Yard.

The Kenwood branch was mainly on an embankment owned by the Chicago Junction Railway.

The Kenwood branch was mainly on an embankment owned by the Chicago Junction Railway.

The Kenwood branch, near the east end of the line. The Nelson Coal Company was located at 1119 East 42nd Street. This must be near the end of service, as that looks like a 1957 Dodge at left.

The Kenwood branch, near the east end of the line. The Nelson Coal Company was located at 1119 East 42nd Street. This must be near the end of service, as that looks like a 1957 Dodge at left.

Met cars passing each other at DesPlaines Avenue in Forest Park, possibly circa 1952. There is a bus visible, which could be the CTA #17, which replaced the Westchester branch in December 1951. But it looks like this predates the rearrangement of this area which took place in 1953, when the Chicago Aurora and Elgin cut back service to Forest Park.

Met cars passing each other at DesPlaines Avenue in Forest Park, possibly circa 1952. There is a bus visible, which could be the CTA #17, which replaced the Westchester branch in December 1951. But it looks like this predates the rearrangement of this area which took place in 1953, when the Chicago Aurora and Elgin cut back service to Forest Park.

Although this circa 1905 postcard view is not very clear, this appears to be the Central Avenue station on the ground level portion of the Lake Street "L", at a time before the nearby Chicago & North Western elevated its tracks onto an embankment. According to Bill Shapotkin, the C&NW called this station either Austin or "Boulevard." Clarification from Bill: "This image is indeed of the Central St station of the Lake St 'L'. That said, the C&NW station was known as "Austin," NOT "Boulevard." As confusing as it is, The "Austin" C&NW station was at Central Ave and the "Boulevard" station was at Austin Blvd. This threw me for a while as well -- and had to have a old-timer explain it to me."

Although this circa 1905 postcard view is not very clear, this appears to be the Central Avenue station on the ground level portion of the Lake Street “L”, at a time before the nearby Chicago & North Western elevated its tracks onto an embankment. According to Bill Shapotkin, the C&NW called this station either Austin or “Boulevard.” Clarification from Bill: “This image is indeed of the Central St station of the Lake St ‘L’. That said, the C&NW station was known as “Austin,” NOT “Boulevard.” As confusing as it is, The “Austin” C&NW station was at Central Ave and the “Boulevard” station was at Austin Blvd. This threw me for a while as well — and had to have a old-timer explain it to me.”

In March 1958, the Illinois Electric Railway Museum ran a fantrip on parts of the CTA "L" system, using car 1024 and a work car. This was some months after the last wood car was used in regular service. Here, we see train on a siding in Evanston. We previously ran a photo of the same train on the Garfield Park "L" temporary trackage. 1024 went to IERM and has since been restored as car 24.

In March 1958, the Illinois Electric Railway Museum ran a fantrip on parts of the CTA “L” system, using car 1024 and a work car. This was some months after the last wood car was used in regular service. Here, we see train on a siding in Evanston. We previously ran a photo of the same train on the Garfield Park “L” temporary trackage. 1024 went to IERM and has since been restored as car 24.

There was only a short time frame when this picture could have been taken at Halsted and Congress. In the late 1940s, PCCs were used on Halsted, but they were removed starting in 1953, and service ended the following year with older red cars such as this. Under the new bridge, part of the Congress Expressway project, are the subway portals which now serve the rapid transit line that replaced the Garfield Park "L" seen at left.

There was only a short time frame when this picture could have been taken at Halsted and Congress. In the late 1940s, PCCs were used on Halsted, but they were removed starting in 1953, and service ended the following year with older red cars such as this. Under the new bridge, part of the Congress Expressway project, are the subway portals which now serve the rapid transit line that replaced the Garfield Park “L” seen at left.

New 6000s being delivered to Skokie Shops via the North Shore Line. Unfortunately, this picture is too fuzzy to make out the car numbers.

New 6000s being delivered to Skokie Shops via the North Shore Line. Unfortunately, this picture is too fuzzy to make out the car numbers.

This and the following picture show DC Transit pre-PCC 1053 in June 1961. n This historic car survived for many years before being destroyed in a museum fire. (Charles L. Tauscher Photos)

This and the following picture show DC Transit pre-PCC 1053 in June 1961. n This historic car survived for many years before being destroyed in a museum fire. (Charles L. Tauscher Photos)

The Homan station on the Lake Street "L" in August 1965. This station was closed as part of the 1990s semi-rebuild of the lake line, and was then moved a few blocks to become the Garfield Park Conservatory station.

The Homan station on the Lake Street “L” in August 1965. This station was closed as part of the 1990s semi-rebuild of the lake line, and was then moved a few blocks to become the Garfield Park Conservatory station.

A family portrait by CTA articulated compartment car 51 at Dempster in Skokie in October 1968. This car was originally 5001 as delivered in 1947.

A family portrait by CTA articulated compartment car 51 at Dempster in Skokie in October 1968. This car was originally 5001 as delivered in 1947.

In June 1978, work is already underway on the new Forest Park CTA terminal. This was made much easier after the nearby Chicago Great Western train line was abandoned around 1972. The temporary station here occupies the oldd CGW right-of-way and used their bridge over DesPlaines Avenue. Once teh new station was built, the temporary one was torn down (along with the bridge) and the north side of the station now has pickup/dropoff lanes for buses.

In June 1978, work is already underway on the new Forest Park CTA terminal. This was made much easier after the nearby Chicago Great Western train line was abandoned around 1972. The temporary station here occupies the oldd CGW right-of-way and used their bridge over DesPlaines Avenue. Once teh new station was built, the temporary one was torn down (along with the bridge) and the north side of the station now has pickup/dropoff lanes for buses.

The late Gordon E. Lloyd took this picture at North Chicago Junction on April 23, 1961. Chuck W. notes, "The fan trip train on the left, is coming off the Shore Line Route. The train on the right, is the mainline to Chicago, which will split at Upton Junction, with the main line continuing on the Skokie Valley Route and the other branch heading to Libertyville and Mundelein."

The late Gordon E. Lloyd took this picture at North Chicago Junction on April 23, 1961. Chuck W. notes, “The fan trip train on the left, is coming off the Shore Line Route. The train on the right, is the mainline to Chicago, which will split at Upton Junction, with the main line continuing on the Skokie Valley Route and the other branch heading to Libertyville and Mundelein.”

The CTA station at Linden Avenue in Wilmette in January 1970. The building has been preserved, but is no longer used as the station entrance.

The CTA station at Linden Avenue in Wilmette in January 1970. The building has been preserved, but is no longer used as the station entrance.

The Chicago Surface Lines kept some historic streetcars for use in parades and special events. Since the experimental pre-PCC 7001 is present here, I would say this picture most likely predates the arrival of PCCs in late 1936. It could be from a couple of events in 1936, when Ashland was extended across a new bridge, or when two segments of 87th Street were joined by a new connection.

The Chicago Surface Lines kept some historic streetcars for use in parades and special events. Since the experimental pre-PCC 7001 is present here, I would say this picture most likely predates the arrival of PCCs in late 1936. It could be from a couple of events in 1936, when Ashland was extended across a new bridge, or when two segments of 87th Street were joined by a new connection.

This picture was found together with the previous one, and as they are sequentially numbered, it may or may not be from the same event. The occasion is a parade, and here we see an authentic 1859 horse car, probably in 1936. This is now at the Illinois Railway Museum. CSL made some recreations of things in 1934, including a faux cable car, but this is the real thing.

This picture was found together with the previous one, and as they are sequentially numbered, it may or may not be from the same event. The occasion is a parade, and here we see an authentic 1859 horse car, probably in 1936. This is now at the Illinois Railway Museum. CSL made some recreations of things in 1934, including a faux cable car, but this is the real thing.

A northbound Ravenswood "A" train at Chicago Avenue in the late 1950s.

A northbound Ravenswood “A” train at Chicago Avenue in the late 1950s.

There were several Red Arrow cars used in afantrip on the West Chester line in Philadelphia's suburbs on June 6, 1954, and car 68 appears to be one of them. There was a photo stop here at Patrick Avenue, and the bridge is highway 202. This 19-mile interurban line had good ridership, but fell victim to a project that widened West Chester Pike. It was replaced by buses.

There were several Red Arrow cars used in afantrip on the West Chester line in Philadelphia’s suburbs on June 6, 1954, and car 68 appears to be one of them. There was a photo stop here at Patrick Avenue, and the bridge is highway 202. This 19-mile interurban line had good ridership, but fell victim to a project that widened West Chester Pike. It was replaced by buses.

Recent Correspondence

Wooje Song writes:

I’m looking for the copyright holder who took attached photos. Attached are the photos I’m looking for.

I’m working in Chopin Theatre as an intern and my boss wants to use those pictures.

The surrounding streets in the first photo are Division and Milwaukee Avenue. The two cars pictured are No. 3208 and No. 3256.

The second one was taken at Ashland (left-right) and Milwaukee (up-down) at the Polish Triangle.

I googled to find out and finally reached you. I hope you have any ideas about this.

Chances are these pictures, circa 1930, are in the public domain. Back then, you had to individually copyright photos. There wasn’t the sort of automatic protection we have today.

Also, any new claim of copyright would depend, today, on their having been unpublished until now. Obviously, that is not the case. These pictures have likely been circulating for a long time.

They don’t look familiar, but I can also ask my readers if they might know who took these.

Hope this helps.

From Our Resident South Side Expert M.E.:

Let me start off by saying your hard work is much appreciated. The CNS&M pictures in particular are dazzling.

Now, on to my commentary for today.

https://thetrolleydodger.files.wordpress.com/2020/06/rbk335.jpg
I have a lot to say about this photo.

First: Your caption says “The photo says this is a Kenwood train, but I am
wondering if this is Stock Yards instead.” The answer is: neither. These cars are just sitting idle in storage. But they are probably assigned to the Stock Yards line.

Second: Judging by the water tower in front of the stored cars, and seeing the barrier along the rear of the platform at the right, I conclude this view looks west. The barrier convinced me there is no Stock Yards stub track on the other side of that platform. Ergo, the Stock Yards stub track is off the left side of the picture. And the Stock Yards train went west from Indiana. So the view is west.

Third: The 4000-series steel train is a through train from the north side to either Englewood or Jackson Park. That train, heading east through the station but on its way south, was on either the Howard-Jackson Park line or the Ravenwood-Englewood line. The corresponding westbound/northbound track used the track farthest from the camera.

I tried reading the destination sign on the 4000-series front car, but it is too faint. As I recall, it would have said either
Howard St.- or Ravenswood-
Jackson Park Englewood
via subway via subway
and the signs in the opposite direction would have said either
Jackson Park- or Englewood-
Howard St. Ravenswood
via subway via subway

The three-track setup through the station means the picture was taken before several major system revisions were made on 1 August 1949:
— the northern terminus of the Englewood line became Howard St.
— Ravenwood got its own separate line into downtown.
— Englewood/Howard A and Jackson Park/Howard B skip-stop service started.
— the Kenwood-to-Wilson line was cut back to a shuttle from Indiana Ave. to 42nd Place.

At that time, the trackage and platforms at Indiana Ave. also changed:
— the track at the right was almost totally covered over by extending the west/northbound platform out over the track.
— the remaining (uncovered) portion of that track became the stub terminal for the Kenwood shuttle.
— what was the middle track became the west/northbound track.

Third: The three tracks continued in both directions out of the station. From the east end of the station, the north/south service turned south, and all three tracks continued to just north of the 43rd St. station. From the west end of the station, the north/south service turned north, and all three tracks continued all the way past 18th St. to where the subway began.

This meant the middle track was available for car storage, even through the station. And that is what you see in the picture.

Fourth: Were these stored cars used on the Kenwood or Stock Yards line? I’m going with the Stock Yards line, for four reasons:
— The Kenwood line, at its eastern end at 42nd Place, had storage tracks. The Stock Yards line never had a place on its own trackage to store cars.
— As your photo in
https://thetrolleydodger.files.wordpress.com/2020/06/rbk334.jpg
illustrates, Kenwood cars could also be stored around the curve east/south of Indiana.
— West of the Indiana station, there were five tracks — two for the Stock Yards line and three for the north/south lines. And there were lots and lots of switches between the five tracks. In order to keep the switches clear, Stock Yards cars had to be stored someplace else, such as right there in the station.
— I tried reading the sign on the closest stored car (next to the car’s number), and I think the first word says “Stock”.

Your next three photos,
https://thetrolleydodger.files.wordpress.com/2020/06/rbk332.jpg
and
https://thetrolleydodger.files.wordpress.com/2020/06/rbk333.jpg
and
https://thetrolleydodger.files.wordpress.com/2020/06/rbk334.jpg
further illustrate the setup at Indiana Ave. post-1949 change.

https://thetrolleydodger.files.wordpress.com/2020/06/rbk327.jpg Your caption says “…the station in the rear is Congress and Wabash, which was closed in 1949 and removed soon after, as Congress was widened for the expressway project.” I contend it was closed on 1 August 1949 when the Kenwood line no longer ran downtown and then up to Wilson. Furthermore, this station could not have been closed due to Congress Xwy construction because, given the timeline in https://thetrolleydodger.files.wordpress.com/2020/06/rbk315.jpg ,
construction didn’t begin until 1952 or 1953.

Several other stations south of downtown were also closed on 1 August 1949: 18th, 26th, 29th, 33rd, and Pershing (leaving Cermak and 35th). Those stations also served the north/south line, but with the new skip/stop service, the stations were closed, and customers had to use surface routes. Here is a list of all closed L stations:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_former_Chicago_%22L%22_stations

Thanks very much as always for your insightful comments.

The idea of a Congress Parkway highway goes back to the Burnham Plan at least, but was kicked around locally through the 20s and 30s before being pushed by Harold Ickes, FDR’s Secretary of the Interior, who came from the northern suburbs. This was his favored alternative to the plan Mayor Kelly was pushing, starting in 1937, which would have converted several of the “L” lines into elevated highways. (A plan which, if realized, would have been a disaster IMHO.)

Congress was not a wide street downtown. It had to be widened for the highway project, and from Dearborn to the west, there was also additional subway construction. The first phase of subway work only brought the Dearborn line as far as Congress, where it stopped.

This work was quite complicated near LaSalle Street Station, as the subway was built, and the street widened, at the same time that trains had to be kept running there.

Work on widening Congress as far east as Michigan Avenue was already happening in 1949, and it was around this time that buildings on the north and south sides of Congress were altered, and new sidewalks were carved out of those structures (including the Auditorium Theater building) so the street could be made wider. In other areas further west, some buildings were actually demolished.

Likewise, work on creating the lower level of Wacker Drive, the section running north and south along what had been Market Street, also began in 1949. The old Market Street Stub was in the way and was torn down. Work proceeded at the rate of about one block per year on that major project, which I think had reached Madison Street by about 1953. A bit further south, this also resulted in the old Met “L” connection to the Loop being rerouted through the former Wells Street Terminal. This took place in 1955 and then a section of “L”, including the station at Franklin and Van Buren, was removed.

All this was taking place, even though many parts of the expressway itself did not open until later– 1955, I believe.  Once it was decided to build a highway that would end downtown, the question of how traffic would be distributed there was a major concern, and one which had to be addressed fully even before the highway itself was opened.

-David Sadowski

Product News

We recently acquired some documents that have been scanned, and added to our E-Book The “New Look” in Chicago Transit: 1938-1973, available as a DVD data disc in our Online Store. The first is a brochure detailing (as of 1953) the reasons for the creation of the Chicago Transit Authority, and their accomplishments up to that time.

The second is the Report of the Committee on Signals and Interlocking for the Chicago Subway, dated June 1941. This committee was made up of representatives from the Department of Subways and Superhighways (City of Chicago), the Committee on Local Transporation (City of Chicago), the Illinois Commerce Commission, Chicago Surface Lines, and Chicago Rapid Transit Company.

Faced with answering the question of what type of signals and interlocking equipment should be used in the subway, which opened in October 1943, the committee did research and made recommendations, as well as presenting their rationale for their particular choices and the reasoning behind certain policies and practices.

Keep those cards and letters coming in, folks!

-David Sadowski

Now Available On Compact Disc
CDLayout33p85
RRCNSLR
Railroad Record Club – North Shore Line Rarities 1955-1963
# of Discs – 1
Price: $15.99

Railroad Record Club – North Shore Line Rarities 1955-1963
Newly rediscovered and digitized after 60 years, most of these audio recordings of Chicago, North Shore and Milwaukee interurban trains are previously unheard, and include on-train recordings, run-bys, and switching. Includes both Electroliners, standard cars, and locomotives. Recorded between 1955 and 1963 on the Skokie Valley Route and Mundelein branch. We are donating $5 from the sale of each disc to Kenneth Gear, who saved these and many other original Railroad Record Club master tapes from oblivion.
Total time – 73:14
[/caption]


Tape 4 switching at Roudout + Mundeline pic 3Tape 4 switching at Roudout + Mundeline pic 2Tape 4 switching at Roudout + Mundeline pic 1Tape 3 Mundeline Run pic 2Tape 3 Mundeline Run pic 1Tape 2 Mundeline pic 3Tape 2 Mundeline pic 2Tape 2 Mundeline pic 1Tape 1 ElectrolinerTape 1 Electroliner pic 3Tape 1 Electroliner pic 2Notes from tape 4Note from tape 2

RRC-OMTT
Railroad Record Club Traction Rarities – 1951-58
From the Original Master Tapes
# of Discs- 3
Price: $24.99


Railroad Record Club Traction Rarities – 1951-58
From the Original Master Tapes

Our friend Kenneth Gear recently acquired the original Railroad Record Club master tapes. These have been digitized, and we are now offering over three hours of 1950s traction audio recordings that have not been heard in 60 years.
Properties covered include:

Potomac Edison (Hagerstown & Frederick), Capital Transit, Altoona & Logan Valley, Shaker Heights Rapid Transit, Pennsylvania Railroad, Illinois Terminal, Baltimore Transit, Niagara St. Catharines & Toronto, St. Louis Public Transit, Queensboro Bridge, Third Avenue El, Southern Iowa Railway, IND Subway (NYC), Johnstown Traction, Cincinnati Street Railway, and the Toledo & Eastern
$5 from the sale of each set will go to Kenneth Gear, who has invested thousands of dollars to purchase all the remaining artifacts relating to William A. Steventon’s Railroad Record Club of Hawkins, WI. It is very unlikely that he will ever be able to recoup his investment, but we support his efforts at preserving this important history, and sharing it with railfans everywhere.
Disc One
Potomac Edison (Hagerstown & Frederick):
01. 3:45 Box motor #5
02. 3:32 Box motor #5, May 24, 1953
03. 4:53 Engine whistle signals, loco #12, January 17, 1954
04. 4:13 Loco #12
Capital Transit:
05. 0:56 PCC car 1557, Route 20 – Cabin John line, July 19, 1953
06. 1:43
Altoona & Logan Valley:
07. 4:00 Master Unit car #74, August 8, 1953
Shaker Heights Rapid Transit:
08. 4:17 Car 306 (ex-AE&FRE), September 27, 1953
09. 4:04
10. 1:39
Pennsylvania Railroad GG-1s:
11. 4:35 August 27, 1954
12. 4:51
Illinois Terminal:
13. 5:02 Streamliner #300, northward from Edwardsville, February 14, 1955
14. 12:40 Car #202 (ex-1202), between Springfield and Decatur, February 1955
Baltimore Transit:
15. 4:56 Car 5706, January 16, 1954
16. 4:45 Car 5727, January 16, 1954
Niagara, St. Catharines & Toronto:
17. 4:19 Interurbans #83 and #80, October 1954
18. 5:20 #80, October 1954
Total time: 79:30
Disc Two
St. Louis Public Service:
01. 4:34 PCCs #1708, 1752, 1727, 1739, December 6, 1953
Queensboro Bridge Company (New York City):
02. 5:37 Cars #606, 605, and 601, December 31, 1954
03. 5:17
Third Avenue El (New York City):
04. 5:07 December 31. 1954
05. 4:47 Cars #1797, 1759, and 1784 at 59th Street, December 31, 1954
Southern Iowa Railway:
06. 4:46 Loco #400, August 17, 1955
07. 5:09 Passenger interurban #9
IND Subway (New York City):
08. 8:40 Queens Plaza station, December 31, 1954
Last Run of the Hagerstown & Frederick:
09. 17:34 Car #172, February 20, 1954 – as broadcast on WJEJ, February 21, 1954, with host Carroll James, Sr.
Total time: 61:31
Disc Three
Altoona & Logan Valley/Johnstown Traction:
01. 29:34 (Johnstown Traction recordings were made August 9, 1953)
Cincinnati Street Railway:
02. 17:25 (Car 187, Brighton Car House, December 13, 1951– regular service abandoned April 29, 1951)
Toledo & Eastern:
03. 10:36 (recorded May 3-7, 1958– line abandoned July 1958)
Capital Transit:
04. 16:26 sounds recorded on board a PCC (early 1950s)
Total time: 74:02
Total time (3 discs) – 215:03



The Trolley Dodger On the Air
We appeared on WGN radio in Chicago in November 2018, discussing our book Building Chicago’s Subways on the Dave Plier Show. You can hear our 19-minute conversation here.
Chicago, Illinois, December 17, 1938-- Secretary Harold Ickes, left, and Mayor Edward J. Kelly turn the first spadeful of earth to start the new $40,000,000 subway project. Many thousands gathered to celebrate the starting of work on the subway. Chicago, Illinois, December 17, 1938– Secretary Harold Ickes, left, and Mayor Edward J. Kelly turn the first spadeful of earth to start the new $40,000,000 subway project. Many thousands gathered to celebrate the starting of work on the subway.
Order Our New Book Building Chicago’s Subways

There were three subway anniversaries in 2018 in Chicago:
60 years since the West Side Subway opened (June 22, 1958)
75 years since the State Street Subway opened (October 17, 1943)
80 years since subway construction started (December 17, 1938)
To commemorate these anniversaries, we have written a new book, Building Chicago’s Subways.

While the elevated Chicago Loop is justly famous as a symbol of the city, the fascinating history of its subways is less well known. The City of Chicago broke ground on what would become the “Initial System of Subways” during the Great Depression and finished 20 years later. This gigantic construction project, a part of the New Deal, would overcome many obstacles while tunneling through Chicago’s soft blue clay, under congested downtown streets, and even beneath the mighty Chicago River. Chicago’s first rapid transit subway opened in 1943 after decades of wrangling over routes, financing, and logistics. It grew to encompass the State Street, Dearborn-Milwaukee, and West Side Subways, with the latter modernizing the old Garfield Park “L” into the median of Chicago’s first expressway. Take a trip underground and see how Chicago’s “I Will” spirit overcame challenges and persevered to help with the successful building of the subways that move millions. Building Chicago’s subways was national news and a matter of considerable civic pride–making it a “Second City” no more!

Bibliographic information:
Title Building Chicago’s Subways
Images of America
Author David Sadowski
Edition illustrated
Publisher Arcadia Publishing (SC), 2018
ISBN 1467129380, 9781467129381
Length 128 pages
Chapter Titles:
01. The River Tunnels
02. The Freight Tunnels
03. Make No Little Plans
04. The State Street Subway
05. The Dearborn-Milwaukee Subway
06. Displaced
07. Death of an Interurban
08. The Last Street Railway
09. Subways and Superhighways
10. Subways Since 1960
Building Chicago’s Subways is in stock and now available for immediate shipment. Order your copy today! All copies purchased through The Trolley Dodger will be signed by the author.
The price of $23.99 includes shipping within the United States.
For Shipping to US Addresses:

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Redone tile at the Monroe and Dearborn CTA Blue Line subway station, showing how an original sign was incorporated into a newer design, May 25, 2018. (David Sadowski Photo) Redone tile at the Monroe and Dearborn CTA Blue Line subway station, showing how an original sign was incorporated into a newer design, May 25, 2018. (David Sadowski Photo)

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DONATIONS

In order to continue giving you the kinds of historic railroad images that you have come to expect from The Trolley Dodger, we need your help and support. It costs money to maintain this website, and to do the sort of historic research that is our specialty.

Your financial contributions help make this web site better, and are greatly appreciated.