Milwaukee Then and Now

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

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

The same location today.

The same location today.

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

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

Looking east along Clybourn today.

Looking east along Clybourn today.

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

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

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

-David Sadowski

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

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

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

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

Milwaukee Then and Now by Larry Sakar

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The same location in 2016. A Chris Barney Photo.

The same location in 2016. A Chris Barney Photo.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Next Stop: Oklahoma Avenue

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Postscript

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

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

-Larry Sakar

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

-David Sadowski

Recent Finds

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

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

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

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

CTA PCCs 7175 and 7160 at 81st and Halsted.

CTA PCCs 7175 and 7160 at 81st and Halsted.

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

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

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

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

Chicago’s Lost “L”s Online Presentation

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

The Trolley Dodger On the Air

We appeared on the Dave Plier Show on WGN radio on July 16, 2021, to discuss Chicago’s Lost “L”s. You can hear that discussion here.

Our Latest Book, Now Available:

Chicago’s Lost “L”s

From the back cover:

Chicago’s system of elevated railways, known locally as the “L,” has run continuously since 1892 and, like the city, has never stood still. It helped neighborhoods grow, brought their increasingly diverse populations together, and gave the famous Loop its name. But today’s system has changed radically over the years. Chicago’s Lost “L”s tells the story of former lines such as Garfield Park, Humboldt Park, Kenwood, Stockyards, Normal Park, Westchester, and Niles Center. It was once possible to take high-speed trains on the L directly to Aurora, Elgin, and Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The L started out as four different companies, two starting out using steam engines instead of electricity. Eventually, all four came together via the Union Loop. The L is more than a way of getting around. Its trains are a place where people meet and interact. Some say the best way to experience the city is via the L, with its second-story view. Chicago’s Lost “L”s is virtually a “secret history” of Chicago, and this is your ticket. David Sadowski grew up riding the L all over the city. He is the author of Chicago Trolleys and Building Chicago’s Subways and runs the online Trolley Dodger blog.

The Images of America series celebrates the history of neighborhoods, towns, and cities across the country. Using archival photographs, each title presents the distinctive stories from the past that shape the character of the community today. Arcadia is proud to play a part in the preservation of local heritage, making history available to all.

Title Chicago’s Lost “L”s
Images of America
Author David Sadowski
Edition illustrated
Publisher Arcadia Publishing (SC), 2021
ISBN 1467100007, 9781467100007
Length 128 pages

Chapters:
01. The South Side “L”
02. The Lake Street “L”
03. The Metropolitan “L”
04. The Northwestern “L”
05. The Union Loop
06. Lost Equipment
07. Lost Interurbans
08. Lost Terminals
09. Lost… and Found

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

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

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NEW DVD:

A Tribute to the North Shore Line

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

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

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

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

Total time – 121:22

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

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Loose Ends, Part One

On February 6, 1941, the North Shore Line ran some special trips to introduce its new, streamlined Electroliners. Here we see one of the two sets at the North Water Terminal on Chicago's "L" system.

On February 6, 1941, the North Shore Line ran some special trips to introduce its new, streamlined Electroliners. Here we see one of the two sets at the North Water Terminal on Chicago’s “L” system.

With this, and our next post, we are tying up some loose ends, so to speak. We have collected a great number of images over the last five years, and haven’t always had an opportunity to finish working on them and present them to you here. Just the caption writing alone takes a long time, and there is often research involved.

This is in addition to our usual work in scanning, cropping, straightening, color correction, spot removal, etc., which also takes a considerable effort. There are times when the images pile up, and there are various things that need to be done to them. We recently got around to some of those things.

We hope you enjoy the results, and if you have any questions or comments about these images, be sure to drop us a line. Be sure to refer to each image by its identifying file name. You can generally see what that is by moving your mouse over the image itself.

We also thank our various contributors to today’s post, Jeff Wien of the Wien-Criss Archive, Craig Berndt, and Bill Shapotkin, who have generously shared images from their collections.

I would also be remiss if I failed to note that July 15th was Ray DeGroote’s 90th birthday. Ray is a longtime friend and mentor. He is the dean of Chicago railfans, and has traveled all over, taking unforgettable pictures, sharing his wisdom and experience with others, for a lot longer than most of us have been alive. We wish him all the best.

-David Sadowski

Recent Finds

Through an act of serendipity, at almost the same time that we acquired the Electroliner picture above, we also obtained a souvenir ticket from that same event.

Through an act of serendipity, at almost the same time that we acquired the Electroliner picture above, we also obtained a souvenir ticket from that same event.

After the North Shore Line abandonment in 1963, the two Electroliners were purchased by the Philadelphia Suburban Transportation Company (aka Red Arrow), for use on their 13-mile-long Norristown High Speed Line. Liberty Liner "Valley Forge" at Bryn Mawr in September 1964. (Richard S. Short Photo)

After the North Shore Line abandonment in 1963, the two Electroliners were purchased by the Philadelphia Suburban Transportation Company (aka Red Arrow), for use on their 13-mile-long Norristown High Speed Line. Liberty Liner “Valley Forge” at Bryn Mawr in September 1964. (Richard S. Short Photo)

Although the Chicago Aurora & Elgin had an admirable safety record, I am sure, sometimes there were accidents. Here, we see cars 400 and 318 have collided. 318 must have been repaired, as it did survive the interurban, at least for a while. Don's Rail Photos notes: "318 was built by Jewett Car Co in 1914. It had steel sheating and was modernized in 1944. It was sold to Wisconsin Electric Raiway Historical Society in 1962. It was wrecked in transit and the parts were sold to IRM to restore 321." This picture was taken at Lockwood Yard, just west of Laramie, in June 1945. Not sure if the modernization was actually done prior to the crash, or as a result of it. Dates for these things are sometimes approximate. (Don Mac Bean Photo)

Although the Chicago Aurora & Elgin had an admirable safety record, I am sure, sometimes there were accidents. Here, we see cars 400 and 318 have collided. 318 must have been repaired, as it did survive the interurban, at least for a while. Don’s Rail Photos notes: “318 was built by Jewett Car Co in 1914. It had steel sheating and was modernized in 1944. It was sold to Wisconsin Electric Raiway Historical Society in 1962. It was wrecked in transit and the parts were sold to IRM to restore 321.” This picture was taken at Lockwood Yard, just west of Laramie, in June 1945. Not sure if the modernization was actually done prior to the crash, or as a result of it. Dates for these things are sometimes approximate. (Don Mac Bean Photo)

Here, we see the Chicago, South Shore & South Bend interurban (commonly known as the South Shore Line) running down the street in East Chicago, Indiana, in the late 1920s.

Here, we see the Chicago, South Shore & South Bend interurban (commonly known as the South Shore Line) running down the street in East Chicago, Indiana, in the late 1920s.

This is a Chicago & West Towns Railway streetcar, signed for the La Grange line, circa 1915.

This is a Chicago & West Towns Railway streetcar, signed for the La Grange line, circa 1915.

The names of the two C&WT employees shown in the previous photograph.

The names of the two C&WT employees shown in the previous photograph.

Here is a mystery photo, It was identified as Chicago "L" workers, but Andre Kristopans doubts that this is actually Chicago. Such vintage pictures usually have the employees wearing darker uniforms than this, and where would there have been such a structure as is shown here?

Here is a mystery photo, It was identified as Chicago “L” workers, but Andre Kristopans doubts that this is actually Chicago. Such vintage pictures usually have the employees wearing darker uniforms than this, and where would there have been such a structure as is shown here?

The lone gate car we see in this picture is identified as work car S-2, and the date is September 9, 1957. Can this be 61st Yard?

The lone gate car we see in this picture is identified as work car S-2, and the date is September 9, 1957. Can this be 61st Yard?

Our resident south side expert M.E. writes:

You might be correct that this is the 61st St. yard on the Jackson Park line. I didn’t ride that line very much, because I lived along the Englewood line, so I can’t be sure. If it is 61st St., the view looks southeast.

In the 61st St. yard, I recall the long diagonal track in your picture. I also remember this track seemed to cleave the yard into two parts, such that the trains stored in the northern part would first have to move to the southern part, then onto the diagonal track to reach the mainline. That was rather clumsy.

I tried to recollect the big building in the background on the right. Or maybe there are more than one building. Either way, I think the building(s) could have been low-income project buildings that showed up on the South Side in the 1950s. The building(s) in this picture would be located south of 63rd and west of South Park Way (now King Drive).

The most convincing reason this might be 61st St. yard is, believe it or not, the way the switch is set in the lower right. That switch is set for mainline operation, in particular the northbound track. With this in mind, everything else in this picture falls into place correctly.

UPDATE: After writing all the above, I consulted my Central Electric Railfans Association (CERA) bulletin 115, dated June 1976, which covers the L system between 1947 and 1976. In the back of that book are numerous trackage layouts, including — yes — the 61st St. yard. And that trackage looks exactly like what is in your picture.

You might wonder where the connection between the southbound mainline track and the yard is. According to CERA 115, it is right where the camera is. It is a switch from southbound to northbound mainline track. In fact, you can see part of that switch precisely where your trolleydodger label (watermark) starts.

Thanks for figuring that out.

From 1949 to 1957, the CTA operated the Kenwood 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 Kenwood 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.

M.E. writes:
I learned from this picture that the Kenwood stub at Indiana Ave. had room for three cars. I thought it was just two. I guess I never saw a third (idle) car sitting in that space, because the presence of an idle car meant the passengers had to walk farther to connect between Kenwood and mainline trains. (And if Kenwood passengers wanted to connect to southbound mainline trains, they also had to use the overhead bridge between the two mainline platforms.)

I also learned from CERA 115 that the Stock Yards line did have its own yard, east of the Halsted St. station, but that was way back in 1913. No wonder I never saw it.

There is some speculation that the Stock Yards yard from 1913 was never actually used.

Regarding three cars in the Kenwood stub, it’s possible that a portion of the rear car went past the platform, and they didn’t open the rear door, as was the practice at other stations, where the trains ended up being longer than the platforms. (This could also be done with the front door on the head car in other places, but not here.)

M.E. again:

More about your Kenwood stub picture:

Judging by the space between the two cars at the left, I’d have to say the leftmost car was not connected to the other two, and was in fact sitting idle. And, as you mentioned, perhaps the rightmost car isn’t fully next to the platform.

I’d have to agree with that, for another reason: I don’t know whether old wooden cars were ever upgraded to enable a single conductor (or maybe the motorman) to control all doors. If the old cars were not upgraded, then a three-car Kenwood train would need two conductors. The amount of business the Kenwood shuttle did would never justify two conductors. This fortifies my recollection that the Kenwood shuttle never ran with more than two cars, and ran most of the time with just one car.

This picture was taken from the old Halsted "L" station on the Met main line, which was just north of the Congress Expressway footprint. That station remained open until 1958, when the CTA Congress median line opened. I believe this picture was taken in 1954, but after the end of May, when buses replaced streetcars on Route 8 - Halsted. This section of highway opened in 1955. The two subway portals at right are used by the CTA Blue Line today, but the ones at left were never used. They were intended for use by Lake Street "L" trains, if that line had been re-routed onto the highway, and would have connected to a Clinton Street Subway, forming an underground "loop" along with the Lake, Dearborn, and Congress legs.

This picture was taken from the old Halsted “L” station on the Met main line, which was just north of the Congress Expressway footprint. That station remained open until 1958, when the CTA Congress median line opened. I believe this picture was taken in 1954, but after the end of May, when buses replaced streetcars on Route 8 – Halsted. This section of highway opened in 1955. The two subway portals at right are used by the CTA Blue Line today, but the ones at left were never used. They were intended for use by Lake Street “L” trains, if that line had been re-routed onto the highway, and would have connected to a Clinton Street Subway, forming an underground “loop” along with the Lake, Dearborn, and Congress legs. Steve D. points out that the sign has Richard J. Daley on it as mayor, which means it can’t be prior to April 20, 1955.

The old Cicero Avenue station on the Garfield Park "L" stood at regular height, but to the west, Laramie was at ground level, and to the east, the Kilbourn station was at a higher level, as the "L" crossed other railroads. Here, we are looking east around July 1, 1957. Kilbourn closed in 1953 to help speed up service on the rest of the line, which was slowed down once it started using temporary trackage in Van Buren Street, between Sacramento Avenue and Aberdeen, a distance of about two-and-a-half miles.

The old Cicero Avenue station on the Garfield Park “L” stood at regular height, but to the west, Laramie was at ground level, and to the east, the Kilbourn station was at a higher level, as the “L” crossed other railroads. Here, we are looking east around July 1, 1957. Kilbourn closed in 1953 to help speed up service on the rest of the line, which was slowed down once it started using temporary trackage in Van Buren Street, between Sacramento Avenue and Aberdeen, a distance of about two-and-a-half miles.

In this view, taken around July 1, 1957, we see a westbound Garfield Park train at the Kedzie station, which was not in the direct path of the Congress Expressway. The tall smokestack in the distance belonged to the old Garden City Laundry at 3333 W. Harrison. Here, the "L" was south of the expressway, and at other points, it was north of the highway. The station off in the distance is St. Louis (3500 W.). Both stations remained open until 1958.

In this view, taken around July 1, 1957, we see a westbound Garfield Park train at the Kedzie station, which was not in the direct path of the Congress Expressway. The tall smokestack in the distance belonged to the old Garden City Laundry at 3333 W. Harrison. Here, the “L” was south of the expressway, and at other points, it was north of the highway. The station off in the distance is St. Louis (3500 W.). Both stations remained open until 1958.

The former Garden City Laundry building today.

The former Garden City Laundry building today.

This picture, and the next one, were taken around July 1, 1957 from the Kedzie Avenue bridge over the then-Congress Expressway, looking east towards Sacramento Boulvard. Tracks are in place for the Congress median line, and in the distance, we can also see where the Garfield Park "L" crossed the highway. East of Sacramento, there was a ramp, leading down to Van Buren, where there was a temporary right-of-way at ground level. Tracks were in place for the new line at this time, but as you can see, there was no third rail yet. There is still a crossover at this location. Notice that there were support columns for the "L" right in the middle of the highway. It is inconceivable that this would be done today.

This picture, and the next one, were taken around July 1, 1957 from the Kedzie Avenue bridge over the then-Congress Expressway, looking east towards Sacramento Boulvard. Tracks are in place for the Congress median line, and in the distance, we can also see where the Garfield Park “L” crossed the highway. East of Sacramento, there was a ramp, leading down to Van Buren, where there was a temporary right-of-way at ground level. Tracks were in place for the new line at this time, but as you can see, there was no third rail yet. There is still a crossover at this location. Notice that there were support columns for the “L” right in the middle of the highway. It is inconceivable that this would be done today.

Around July 1, 1957, a westbound CTA Garfield Park "L" train is westbound on the Van Buren temporary trackage. I believe the cross street is California Avenue (2800 W.).

Around July 1, 1957, a westbound CTA Garfield Park “L” train is westbound on the Van Buren temporary trackage. I believe the cross street is California Avenue (2800 W.).

This is mid-1950s view of the then-Congress Expressway, looking east from Kedzie. We see the new CTA rapid transit line in the median, then under construction, and the old Garfield Park "L" in the distance. This portion of the highway opened in 1955 as far west as Laramie. I think this picture may have been taken before the other one in this post.

This is mid-1950s view of the then-Congress Expressway, looking east from Kedzie. We see the new CTA rapid transit line in the median, then under construction, and the old Garfield Park “L” in the distance. This portion of the highway opened in 1955 as far west as Laramie. I think this picture may have been taken before the other one in this post.

This view of the Congress Expressway looks east from Central Park (3600 W.) towards Homan (3400 W.). On the right, the smokestack closest to the highway belongs to the Garden City Laundry, which was located at 3333 W. Harrison Street, and is mentioned elsewhere in this post. This may be circa 1956, as the highway is open here, but tracks appear to only recently have been added to the median.

This view of the Congress Expressway looks east from Central Park (3600 W.) towards Homan (3400 W.). On the right, the smokestack closest to the highway belongs to the Garden City Laundry, which was located at 3333 W. Harrison Street, and is mentioned elsewhere in this post. This may be circa 1956, as the highway is open here, but tracks appear to only recently have been added to the median.

Chicago Surface Lines 3294 near the Ravenswood 'L' station at Montrose (today's CTA Brown Line)

Chicago Surface Lines 3294 near the Ravenswood ‘L’ station at Montrose (today’s CTA Brown Line)

From the Collections of Craig Berndt

Craig Berndt shared these really nice images, which he purchased from the estate of the late Ken Luttenbacher, who may be the photographer. All were taken on the north side, and many of these pictures were shot from the front of a train, looking out the window (which was most likely opened, since this was in the days before air conditioned rapid transit cars).

While we don’t see a lot of “L” cars, what we do see are some excellent shots of the rights-of-way on the Howard and Evanston lines (today’s Red and Purple Lines).

He adds:

I wrote a book about the Toledo & Chicago Interurban that operated the Ft. Wayne-Garrett-Kendallville-Waterloo line, part of which operated in freight service until May 1945. I made presentations about it at Hoosier Traction Meet a few years ago.

All the pictures in this section are from the Craig Berndt Collection.

This August 1963 view is just south of Lawrence, looking north. The overhead wire at left was used by CTA electric locomotives, a holdover from the days when the Milwaukee Road had service here, prior to this line being electrified and put up on an embankment. Apparently, North Shore Line trains sometimes used the overhead and switched over to third rail further south.

This August 1963 view is just south of Lawrence, looking north. The overhead wire at left was used by CTA electric locomotives, a holdover from the days when the Milwaukee Road had service here, prior to this line being electrified and put up on an embankment. Apparently, North Shore Line trains sometimes used the overhead and switched over to third rail further south.

Loyola, looking north, in August 1963.

North of Loyola, looking north, August 1963.

North of Loyola, looking north, August 1963.

Linden Terminal, Wilmette, in August 1963.

Linden Terminal, Wilmette, in August 1963.

Here, in August 1963, we are just north of the Berwyn station on the North-South main line. Off to the left, there was Lill Coal and Oil, which used freight service on the 'L' until 1973. In this photo, you can see part of their siding heading off from the freight track, which has overhead wire. Lill was the last freight customer the CTA had. Once they stopped using the service, the CTA was able to eliminate freight. This was a carryover from the days when this portion of the route started out as part of the Milwaukee Road. That railroad interchanged with the rapid transit just north of Irving Park Road. Freight cars were hauled by electric locomotives using overhead wire. There was a ramp up to the 'L' structure near Montrose.

Here, in August 1963, we are just north of the Berwyn station on the North-South main line. Off to the left, there was Lill Coal and Oil, which used freight service on the ‘L’ until 1973. In this photo, you can see part of their siding heading off from the freight track, which has overhead wire. Lill was the last freight customer the CTA had. Once they stopped using the service, the CTA was able to eliminate freight. This was a carryover from the days when this portion of the route started out as part of the Milwaukee Road. That railroad interchanged with the rapid transit just north of Irving Park Road. Freight cars were hauled by electric locomotives using overhead wire. There was a ramp up to the ‘L’ structure near Montrose.

The same location today.

The same location today.

Fullerton, looking north, in August 1963.

Fullerton, looking north, in August 1963.

Just south of Belmont, looking north, in August 1963.

Just south of Belmont, looking north, in August 1963.

Approaching Wilson, looking north . in August 1963. Wilson shops are visible.

Approaching Wilson, looking north . in August 1963. Wilson shops are visible.

Just south of Addison, looking north, in August 1963. You can see the Wrigley Field scoreboard at left.

Just south of Addison, looking north, in August 1963. You can see the Wrigley Field scoreboard at left.

Howard Terminal, August 1963. This station was completely redone in the early 2000s.

Howard Terminal, August 1963. This station was completely redone in the early 2000s.

Morse, looking north, in August 1963. The old No Exit Cafe, a Beatnik coffehouse established in 1958, was located not far from here, starting in 1967.

Morse, looking north, in August 1963. The old No Exit Cafe, a Beatnik coffehouse established in 1958, was located not far from here, starting in 1967.

Just north of Sheridan, looking north towards Wilson, in August 1963.

Just north of Sheridan, looking north towards Wilson, in August 1963.

We are looking south off the rear of a northbound Evanston train at Foster Station in August 1963. The station in the distance is Davis Street.

We are looking south off the rear of a northbound Evanston train at Foster Station in August 1963. The station in the distance is Davis Street.

Looking south from the old Isabella station on the Evanston line in August 1963. The bridge in the distance goes over the North Shore Channel.

Looking south from the old Isabella station on the Evanston line in August 1963. The bridge in the distance goes over the North Shore Channel.

The old Wilson Avenue Upper Yard in August 1963. The shops building burned in 1996 and was removed.

The old Wilson Avenue Upper Yard in August 1963. The shops building burned in 1996 and was removed.

This August 1963 shot shows the yard at Linden Avenue in Wilmette, at the north end of the Evanston branch. There are overhead wires at left because this branch did not use third rail until 1973 (although the yard did). The station was behind the photographer, since moved to the left (east), I believe. To the left was also where the North Shore Line continued north on its own tracks for about a block, before heading west on Greenleaf Avenue.

This August 1963 shot shows the yard at Linden Avenue in Wilmette, at the north end of the Evanston branch. There are overhead wires at left because this branch did not use third rail until 1973 (although the yard did). The station was behind the photographer, since moved to the left (east), I believe. To the left was also where the North Shore Line continued north on its own tracks for about a block, before heading west on Greenleaf Avenue.

DePaul University is near Fullerton Avenue on the North-South main line. There were four tracks north of Chicago Avenue on this line, with a few gaps between there and Howard Street, where the Evanston and Skokie branches begin. This August 1963 view, taken from out the window of a northbound train (as are some of the others) looks north to the Fullerton "L" station.

DePaul University is near Fullerton Avenue on the North-South main line. There were four tracks north of Chicago Avenue on this line, with a few gaps between there and Howard Street, where the Evanston and Skokie branches begin. This August 1963 view, taken from out the window of a northbound train (as are some of the others) looks north to the Fullerton “L” station.

The Sheridan Road CTA station in August 1963. It still looks much like this today.

The Sheridan Road CTA station in August 1963. It still looks much like this today.

The Ravenswood (today's Brown Line) terminal at Lawrence and Kimball, looking north, in January 1960.

The Ravenswood (today’s Brown Line) terminal at Lawrence and Kimball, looking north, in January 1960.

All the trains I see here in this July 1964 scene are Douglas Park ones, leading me to think this is the old Pulaski road yard on that line. This route is now called the Pink Line, but that yard has been removed. The configuration of tracks from a map I have looks like it fits what I see in the picture. On the other hand, Steve D. says this is Logan Square, due to the building in the back with a sign for the Hollander Storage & Moving Company, which is still there on Fullerton Avenue.

All the trains I see here in this July 1964 scene are Douglas Park ones, leading me to think this is the old Pulaski road yard on that line. This route is now called the Pink Line, but that yard has been removed. The configuration of tracks from a map I have looks like it fits what I see in the picture. On the other hand, Steve D. says this is Logan Square, due to the building in the back with a sign for the Hollander Storage & Moving Company, which is still there on Fullerton Avenue.

This is the bridge over the North Shore Channel on the Evanston route in August 1963. We are looking south, and the station in the distance is Central Street.

This is the bridge over the North Shore Channel on the Evanston route in August 1963. We are looking south, and the station in the distance is Central Street.

From the Wien-Criss Archive

All the images in this section were taken by the late Charles L. Tauscher, and are shared by Jeff Wien, of the Wien-Criss Archive. These pictures show Kenosha buses, most on a fantrip held by the Omnibus Society of America. Bill Shapotkin notes, “OSA Fantrip 33 operated on July 9, 1967. The carrier was then known as Lake Shore Transit/Kenosha. Two different buses where used during the trip- #705 and 709.”

I recognize the former Kenosha North Shore Line station, four years after abandonment. The building still exists, but has been altered. It served as a restaurant for many years, and is now a day car center.

There are also two pictures taken in Racine, with the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Johnson Wax Building in the background.

The large Pepsi bottlecap ad on the front of one bus reminds me of the streetcars in Johnstown, Pennsylvania that had these too, in pictures taken near the end of service there in 1960.

If anyone can help identify the other locations, that would be greatly appreciated. Again, please refer to each image by file name, thanks.

Bill Shapotkin: "This photo looks east on 6th Street across Park Avenue in Racine, WI. Note that the Greyhound station is located on S/E corner of intersection. Aside from Greyhound, Wisconsin Coach (which operates a suburban bus service between Milwaukee and Kenosha) also served this station."

Bill Shapotkin: “This photo looks east on 6th Street across Park Avenue in Racine, WI. Note that the Greyhound station is located on S/E corner of intersection. Aside from Greyhound, Wisconsin Coach (which operates a suburban bus service between Milwaukee and Kenosha) also served this station.”

How this area looks today.

How this area looks today.

Bill Shapotkin: "This photo was taken in Racine, WI facing N/B on Main JUST NORTH of 5th Street. The view looks east."

Bill Shapotkin: “This photo was taken in Racine, WI facing N/B on Main JUST NORTH of 5th Street. The view looks east.”

Bill Shapotkin: "This photo was taken in ILLINOIS -- on SW corner of State Line (aka Russell) Road and Sheridan Road in Winthrop Harbor. View looks south (that is Sheridan Road at left)."

Bill Shapotkin: “This photo was taken in ILLINOIS — on SW corner of State Line (aka Russell) Road and Sheridan Road in Winthrop Harbor. View looks south (that is Sheridan Road at left).”

Bill Shapotkin: "This photo was taken in Kenosha, WI facing east in 57th Street between 6th and 7th Streets. The building behind the bus is still standing today!" On the other hand, Russ Schultz says this is 56th Street.

Bill Shapotkin: “This photo was taken in Kenosha, WI facing east in 57th Street between 6th and 7th Streets. The building behind the bus is still standing today!” On the other hand, Russ Schultz says this is 56th Street.

A contemporary view.

A contemporary view.

From the Collections of William Shapotkin

We will round out today’s post with four excellent images shared by Bill Shapotkin. More will follow in our next post, Loose Ends, Part Two.

This and the next image: Joseph Canfield took this picture of CTA PCCs at Western and Berwyn, the north end of Route 49, on June 13, 1956, just a few days before buses replaced streetcars on this line.

This and the next image: Joseph Canfield took this picture of CTA PCCs at Western and Berwyn, the north end of Route 49, on June 13, 1956, just a few days before buses replaced streetcars on this line.

CTA trolley bus 9300 at Grand and Nordica (west terminal of Route 65) in July 1969.

CTA trolley bus 9300 at Grand and Nordica (west terminal of Route 65) in July 1969.

CTA trolley buses 9300 and 9588 at Grand and Nordica in July 1969. This was my neighborhood, and I boarded buses here all the time back then. There was a supermarket next door (I think it was a national). In recent years this is now a resale shop.

CTA trolley buses 9300 and 9588 at Grand and Nordica in July 1969. This was my neighborhood, and I boarded buses here all the time back then. There was a supermarket next door (I think it was a national). In recent years this is now a resale shop.

Recent Correspondence

Barry S. writes:

With reference to your material on the launch of the Electroliner, I am passing along this contemporaneous promo /faux ticket. It’s about 30″ high. Due to my inept photo skills, it took three images to capture at least some details. Use and enjoy at your discretion. If any of your readers are interested, the item is for sale. It can be removed from its frame for easier/cheaper shipping.

I will make note of that, and if anyone wants to contact you, I will be sure to forward their info your way, thanks (using my ‘good offices,’ as opposed to my bad ones I guess).

Martin Baumann writes:

I recently discovered your very interesting website. In one post you said you are not sure what happened to Aurora Fox River and Elgin 305.

According to Cleveland’s Transit Vehicles: Equipment and Technology by James A. Toman and Blaine S. Hays it went to Cleveland with the rest of the batch and was retired in 1954 after its motors burned out during a blizzard at Thanksgiving.

That’s good to know, thanks!

Steve De Rose writes:

I am (still) Steve De Rose. If I did not previously mention this, I am also a member of the _American Breweriana Association_, which *just merged* with the East Coast Breweriana Association. Issue 226 of its journal arrived here very recently. John Warnik, of the sub-organization Chicagoland Breweriana Society has a fascinating story about the Yusay Brewery (formerly of 26th St. & Albany Ave). Yusay was one Chicago brewery which did a bunch of ads on transit vehicles. J. Warnik met someone who had seven medium-sized ads and he obtained them. Then came the questions of when these were used and where they appeared?

An ad for Dodge automobiles had Dodge’s 1953 slogan, “You’ve Got To Drive It To Believe It! 1953 Dodge”. This dated the signs to late 1952. He specifically focused on an ad for Yusay which illustrated its character ‘Local Boy’ at a banquet welcoming convention delegates to Chicago. As both the Democratic & Republican 1952 Presidential nomination conventions were held at the International Amphitheatre in Chicago, ‘Local Boy’ was seated between an elephant and a donkey on the dais. This more precisely identified the time frame. From your ‘Trolley Dodger’ weblog, he discerned a route 4 Cottage Grove streetcar, converted to one-man service (4056) with this ad in one of the outside slots near the front of the streetcar. He credits it to all three authors of *_Chicago Streetcar Pictorial, the PCC Car Era 1936-1958_*, including you. But the photograph he identifies and reproduces in this journal article is not the one on page 57 in the book. It looks like it is running southbound in downtown on Wabash between Wacker and Lake. (He shrewdly placed the top of the Yusay ad over the lower right corner of the photograph.)

What this informs us of is that 4056, converted to one-man service in May 1952, made many (if not all) of its runs on Cottage Grove. {Did Madison & Madison-Fifth CTA routes use one-man PCC Cars?}

Thanks for writing.

Looks like we have run two pictures of PCC 4056 with this ad, which probably dates both to the summer of 1952.

Madison and Madison-Fifth did not use one-man PCCs (and I do mean that literally, female bus operators weren’t hired until the 1970s). But after buses replaced streetcars on Madison in 1953, the branch on Fifth was operated briefly as a shuttle, using older red cars (1700-series) that were one-man.

Two-man cars, in any event, were required on any streetcar lines that crossed a railroad. The car would stop and the conductor would get out and look both ways before the car crossed the tracks.

CTA wanted to use one-man cars on 63rd Street, but first held two public hearings, and at one of them (the one on the west portion of the line), there was opposition to the plan, so the line was converted to buses instead. The one-man cars were used on Cottage Grove from 1952-55, and after that became a bus route, Western Avenue got them from 1955-56.

Another thing that CTA did was to substitute buses for PCCs on weekends. This had been a recommendation of a 1951 consultant report.

Keep those cards and letters coming in, folks.

-David Sadowski

St. Louis-built PCC 4056, signed for route 4 - Cottage Grove, has just crossed the Chicago River. While the iconic Wrigley Building and Tribune Tower are at rear, the Sun-Times building (1958) had not yet been built when this picture was taken. Note a Chicago Motor Coach bus at rear. CTA purchased Motor Coach's assets as of October 1, 1952, probably not too long after this picture was taken. In the 1950s, some Cottage Grove cars (usually signed as Route 38) went north of the river and terminated at Grand and Navy Pier. (Railway Negative Exchange Photo)

St. Louis-built PCC 4056, signed for route 4 – Cottage Grove, has just crossed the Chicago River. While the iconic Wrigley Building and Tribune Tower are at rear, the Sun-Times building (1958) had not yet been built when this picture was taken. Note a Chicago Motor Coach bus at rear. CTA purchased Motor Coach’s assets as of October 1, 1952, probably not too long after this picture was taken. In the 1950s, some Cottage Grove cars (usually signed as Route 38) went north of the river and terminated at Grand and Navy Pier. (Railway Negative Exchange Photo)

CTA 4056 is running on Route 4 - Cottage Grove in 1953. This is one of the postwar PCCs that was converted to one-man operation.

CTA 4056 is running on Route 4 – Cottage Grove in 1953. This is one of the postwar PCCs that was converted to one-man operation.

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.

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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)

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At the Hop

It has been 60 years now since Milwaukee had a streetcar line, but that will soon change as its new line, christened The Hop, is expected to begin operating this November. Milwaukee officials held an open house on June 8th at the new maintenance facility, where two new streetcars, built by Brookville Equipment Corporation were on display– and your roving reporter was there.

Ultimately, there will be five vehicles to start, and they are being delivered at the rate of about one per month. From the looks of things, it may be another month or so before testing begins along the line.

The day after the open house, we drove around, taking numerous pictures that we hope will gave you an idea of how track work is progressing. Not all portions of the route will use overhead wire, as modern streetcars have batteries too.

Finally, on Sunday the 10th, we journeyed to the East Troy Electric Railroad, where we were fortunate to ride Milwaukee streetcar #846 for the first time. While 60 years may separate the running of the old and the new, there’s nearly a century between lightweight “safety” car 846, built by St. Louis Car Company in 1920, and its modern equivalent.

That just goes to show how much our expectations of what a streetcar should be have changed and grown over the last 100 years. We expect better safety, performance, comfort, and accessibility than our grandparents and great-grandparents did.

When the new Milwaukee streetcar was first proposed, there were plenty of nay-sayers who thought it was a useless idea, didn’t go anywhere, was pointless, and that no one would ride it. But as the time draws near to actual operations, many of these same people have changed their tune. While modern streetcar lines may not work for all cities, or even some cities that have started them, I feel confidant that Milwaukee’s will be successful.

We hope these photos will give you the “flavor of the event.”

-David Sadowski

PS- Our congratulations go out to Russ Schultz, who has for some years been driving a bus for the Milwaukee public transit system. He will now cap off his career as one of The Hop’s new streetcar operators.

The East Troy Electric Railroad had a table at the open house.

The East Troy Electric Railroad had a table at the open house.

Part of the East Troy Electric Railroad display.

Part of the East Troy Electric Railroad display.

Part of the East Troy Electric Railroad display.

Part of the East Troy Electric Railroad display.

The idea behind Milwaukee's approximately two-mile-long first streetcar line is park your car, then hop on and off the streetcar as you make your way around the center city. Thanks to a generous donation from a local casino, fares will be free for the first year, and probably $1 after.

The idea behind Milwaukee’s approximately two-mile-long first streetcar line is park your car, then hop on and off the streetcar as you make your way around the center city. Thanks to a generous donation from a local casino, fares will be free for the first year, and probably $1 after.

The inspection pit.

The inspection pit.

It's not often you can get a close-up look at the pantograph on a streetcar. There were no wires in the maintenance facility, so in all likelihood, the cars will enter and leave by either using battery power, or being towed.

It’s not often you can get a close-up look at the pantograph on a streetcar. There were no wires in the maintenance facility, so in all likelihood, the cars will enter and leave by either using battery power, or being towed.

The new streetcar maintenance facility makes use of space underneath a highway.

The new streetcar maintenance facility makes use of space underneath a highway.

Local news reporters interviewing Alderman Bob Bauman, a strong streetcar supporter.

Local news reporters interviewing Alderman Bob Bauman, a strong streetcar supporter.

Free “hop corn.”

We shook Milwaukee Alderman Bob Bauman's hand and he graciously agreed to pose for pictures for us in front of one of the new streetcars.

We shook Milwaukee Alderman Bob Bauman’s hand and he graciously agreed to pose for pictures for us in front of one of the new streetcars.

The streetcar line makes a rather tight turn at this intersection.

The streetcar line makes a rather tight turn at this intersection.

This is the northern end of the line.

This is the northern end of the line.