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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Legends and Legacies

All in all, I would have to say this is an amazing photograph. It shows Five Mile Beach Electric Railway car 22 on June 30, 1943, in the middle of World War II, and just two years before streetcars were abandoned in this coastal town (Wildwood) in New Jersey. From what I have read, the war and the resulting nightly blackouts negatively affected tourism and contributed to the demise of the streetcars here. With such an early abandonment, color photos of this operation are very rare, indeed, and the colors on this Red Border Kodachrome have held up quite well. A sign on the car advertises Marty Bohn and His Floor Show at the "Nut Club." The blackouts were not without reason, as German submarines were just offshore, and sometimes crew members would sneak ashore.

All in all, I would have to say this is an amazing photograph. It shows Five Mile Beach Electric Railway car 22 on June 30, 1943, in the middle of World War II, and just two years before streetcars were abandoned in this coastal town (Wildwood) in New Jersey. From what I have read, the war and the resulting nightly blackouts negatively affected tourism and contributed to the demise of the streetcars here. With such an early abandonment, color photos of this operation are very rare, indeed, and the colors on this Red Border Kodachrome have held up quite well. A sign on the car advertises Marty Bohn and His Floor Show at the “Nut Club.” The blackouts were not without reason, as German submarines were just offshore, and sometimes crew members would sneak ashore.

I am both humbled and grateful beyond measure that my late friend Jeffrey Wien made me the beneficiary of his extensive photographic collection (except for his motion picture films, which he donated to the Chicago Film Archives).

Naturally, I would rather that he still be around to enjoy his collection, comment on my posts, and point out where I got something wrong, or help identify some locations. But unfortunately, we don’t get to choose in these matters.

I think the best way I can honor his memory is to keep up the work of historic preservation and education that meant so much to him.

While this post may not have an overall theme, it is full of legends and legacies. It is thanks to the hard work and sacrifice of many people, Jeff included, that anything at all has been saved from the electric railways of the past. Some of the photos here were taken after the North Shore Line quit, and show various railcars sitting around, waiting to be saved or scrapped. There are also pictures of the fledgling and somewhat ramshackle early days of the Illinois Electric Railway Museum, at its original and temporary home in North Chicago.

You if had told one of the founders of what is now IRM back then all the progress that has been made since at Union, they hardly could have believed it possible. Institutions like IRM are saving this history and preserving it for future generations, while also making it possible to have some of the same experiences riding the equipment in the collection, that people enjoyed in the past.

If we can maintain the same spirit, all this important history will be our legacy to those who come after us. I am intent on doing my part.

-David Sadowski

PS- We thank Jack Bejna, Andre Kristopans, William Shapotkin, and Colin Wisner for contributing to this post.

We also have a Facebook auxiliary for The Trolley Dodger where you can participate further. It is a private group, so unfortunately you won’t be able to see the content unless you join. It is free. As of this writing, we have 183 members.

From Jeff Wien’s Collection

The North Shore Line ticket cabinet from the Dempster Street station in Skokie. It still has the tickets in it.

The North Shore Line ticket cabinet from the Dempster Street station in Skokie. It still has the tickets in it.

I will have to straighten this out, as the tickets were jostled when the cabinet was moved. The balls were apparently placed behind the tickets.

I will have to straighten this out, as the tickets were jostled when the cabinet was moved. The balls were apparently placed behind the tickets.

This metal route sign hung on the side of a wooden Metropolitan "L" car, and was of a type in use for a half-century prior to the opening of the Dearborn-Milwaukee Subway in 1951. Remarkably, it has survived for 70 years since it last could have been used in service. The sign was reversible, and the other side says Humboldt Park.

This metal route sign hung on the side of a wooden Metropolitan “L” car, and was of a type in use for a half-century prior to the opening of the Dearborn-Milwaukee Subway in 1951. Remarkably, it has survived for 70 years since it last could have been used in service. The sign was reversible, and the other side says Humboldt Park.

A fare counter from a Chicago streetcar. There was a Chicago streetcar 3351, a Peter Witt that was scrapped around 1952, but I am not certain that these didn't have their own numbers.

A fare counter from a Chicago streetcar. There was a Chicago streetcar 3351, a Peter Witt that was scrapped around 1952, but I am not certain that these didn’t have their own numbers.

This metal sign appears to show the original version of the CTA's "Metropolitan Transit" logo, first introduced in 1958. By then, the agency wanted the public to know that it served more than just Chicago.

This metal sign appears to show the original version of the CTA’s “Metropolitan Transit” logo, first introduced in 1958. By then, the agency wanted the public to know that it served more than just Chicago.

The North Shore Line eventually joined the Insull Empire that, by the mid-1920s, included all three major Chicago interurbans and the "L". So it should not be too much of a surprise that the North Shore had its own rider publication for a few years, with leaflet holders presumably made by the same firm as the "L"s. The North Shore Line version is said to be rare, as many were melted down for scrap during WWII.

The North Shore Line eventually joined the Insull Empire that, by the mid-1920s, included all three major Chicago interurbans and the “L”. So it should not be too much of a surprise that the North Shore had its own rider publication for a few years, with leaflet holders presumably made by the same firm as the “L”s. The North Shore Line version is said to be rare, as many were melted down for scrap during WWII.

Leaflet holders from 4000-series "L" cars. The Elevated News was published by the Chicago Elevated Railways Collateral Trust, formed in 1913 as a voluntary association by the four independent (or at least they started that way) "L" firms. The 4000-series, which eventually ran to 455 cars, was the first designed for use on all the various "L" lines. The title of their rider publication was changed to Rapid Transit News in 1924, coincident with the formation of the Chicago Rapid Transit Company. The Chicago Transit Authority had its own publication, the Rider's Reader, for a few years starting in 1948.

Leaflet holders from 4000-series “L” cars. The Elevated News was published by the Chicago Elevated Railways Collateral Trust, formed in 1913 as a voluntary association by the four independent (or at least they started that way) “L” firms. The 4000-series, which eventually ran to 455 cars, was the first designed for use on all the various “L” lines. The title of their rider publication was changed to Rapid Transit News in 1924, coincident with the formation of the Chicago Rapid Transit Company. The Chicago Transit Authority had its own publication, the Rider’s Reader, for a few years starting in 1948.

This leaflet holder is marked as having come from CTA PCC 7213, the last Chicago streetcar that ran on June 21, 1958.

This leaflet holder is marked as having come from CTA PCC 7213, the last Chicago streetcar that ran on June 21, 1958.

Although Chicago had a total of 600 postwar PCC streetcars, this was too much for a single manufacturer to produce in the immediate postwar era, so the order was divided between Pullman (310) and St. Louis Car Company (290). The "Read As You Ride" leaflet holder at left came from a St. Louis PCC (7213), while the one at right may have come from a Pullman. Their interiors were painted different colors.

Although Chicago had a total of 600 postwar PCC streetcars, this was too much for a single manufacturer to produce in the immediate postwar era, so the order was divided between Pullman (310) and St. Louis Car Company (290). The “Read As You Ride” leaflet holder at left came from a St. Louis PCC (7213), while the one at right may have come from a Pullman. Their interiors were painted different colors.

Jeff's collection included a leaflet holder from another city. Several cities had "Public Service" in their streetcar operator's names, so offhand, I am not sure which city this came from. (Frank J. Flörianz Jr. says it is from New Jersey.)

Jeff’s collection included a leaflet holder from another city. Several cities had “Public Service” in their streetcar operator’s names, so offhand, I am not sure which city this came from. (Frank J. Flörianz Jr. says it is from New Jersey.)

I found this clipping that Jeff cut out of the Chicago Tribune in 1978 inside the "Read As You Ride" leaflet holder from PCC 7213, the last Chicago streetcar.

I found this clipping that Jeff cut out of the Chicago Tribune in 1978 inside the “Read As You Ride” leaflet holder from PCC 7213, the last Chicago streetcar.

Recent Finds

There were a few cities besides New York, Chicago, Boston, and Philadelphia to have some sort of elevated electric railways, and Kansas City was among them. Here, Kansas City Public Service car 785 is descending from the 8th Street "L" at Baltimore Avenue on September 3, 1952. I was fortunate to win this original Red Border Kodachrome slide, because I had lost an auction for it once before when someone sold it. Kansas City abandoned streetcars in 1957, but has since reopened a modern streetcar line. (Edward S. Miller Photo)

There were a few cities besides New York, Chicago, Boston, and Philadelphia to have some sort of elevated electric railways, and Kansas City was among them. Here, Kansas City Public Service car 785 is descending from the 8th Street “L” at Baltimore Avenue on September 3, 1952. I was fortunate to win this original Red Border Kodachrome slide, because I had lost an auction for it once before when someone sold it. Kansas City abandoned streetcars in 1957, but has since reopened a modern streetcar line. (Edward S. Miller Photo)

A single CRT wooden "L" car is at the Dempster Street terminal in Skokie, probably in the 1940s. This "L" branch was replaced by buses in 1948, but returned in 1964 in the form of the Skokie Swift (today's Yellow Line), a year after the North Shore Line (who owned these tracks) ended all service.

A single CRT wooden “L” car is at the Dempster Street terminal in Skokie, probably in the 1940s. This “L” branch was replaced by buses in 1948, but returned in 1964 in the form of the Skokie Swift (today’s Yellow Line), a year after the North Shore Line (who owned these tracks) ended all service.

This is one of the experimental "Bluebird" articulated compartment car trains (probably the prototype) being tested on the Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit system circa 1939. BMT ordered 50 of these units from the Clark Equipment Company, intended to be "fast locals" to mix with slower express trains on El lines. But when the City of New York purchased BMT in 1940, they cancelled the order, except for five units that had already been built. They lived out the rest of their days as oddball equipment before being scrapped in 1956. But the Bluebirds were the first rapid transit cars to use PCC technology, and were a major influence on the four articulated 5000s that CRT ordered at the end of World War II.

This is one of the experimental “Bluebird” articulated compartment car trains (probably the prototype) being tested on the Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit system circa 1939. BMT ordered 50 of these units from the Clark Equipment Company, intended to be “fast locals” to mix with slower express trains on El lines. But when the City of New York purchased BMT in 1940, they cancelled the order, except for five units that had already been built. They lived out the rest of their days as oddball equipment before being scrapped in 1956. But the Bluebirds were the first rapid transit cars to use PCC technology, and were a major influence on the four articulated 5000s that CRT ordered at the end of World War II.

The former Chicago Aurora & Elgin station in Villa Park still exists and is a local landmark. But here we see it under construction in 1929. The Ovaltine plant at left has since been converted to residential.

The former Chicago Aurora & Elgin station in Villa Park still exists and is a local landmark. But here we see it under construction in 1929. The Ovaltine plant at left has since been converted to residential.

I spent some time cleaning up this image, which was part of a stereo pair meant to be viewed in 3-D using a handheld device called a "stereopticon." It shows Chicago's Loop "L" circa 1905, and this is the original left-hand running, bi-directional configuration, before it was changed in 1913. So the train at right is moving towards us, while the train at left is moving away from us. The view looks west along Van Buren Street, and that is the old Tower 12 at left. A Metropolitan "L" train is on the inner Loop, while a Lake Street train trails a Northwestern "L" train on the outer Loop. At this stage, only the Lake trains would have needed trolley poles. The station at Van Buren and State is visible in the distance.

I spent some time cleaning up this image, which was part of a stereo pair meant to be viewed in 3-D using a handheld device called a “stereopticon.” It shows Chicago’s Loop “L” circa 1905, and this is the original left-hand running, bi-directional configuration, before it was changed in 1913. So the train at right is moving towards us, while the train at left is moving away from us. The view looks west along Van Buren Street, and that is the old Tower 12 at left. A Metropolitan “L” train is on the inner Loop, while a Lake Street train trails a Northwestern “L” train on the outer Loop. At this stage, only the Lake trains would have needed trolley poles. The station at Van Buren and State is visible in the distance.

A Stereopticon viewer.

A Stereopticon viewer.

Chicago Surface Lines car 2802 is on a charter trip on June 12, 1940. This was apparently a fan favorite, as we have previously published a photo of the same car on a 1941 fantrip.

Chicago Surface Lines car 2802 is on a charter trip on June 12, 1940. This was apparently a fan favorite, as we have previously published a photo of the same car on a 1941 fantrip.

North Shore Line car 709 at the Branford Trolley Museum in Connecticut in October 30, 1966, just three and a half years after the interurban quit. The location given is Farm River Road. Don's Rail Photos: "709 was built by Cincinnati Car Co in 1924, #2725. It was sold to Branford Trolley Museum in 1963."

North Shore Line car 709 at the Branford Trolley Museum in Connecticut in October 30, 1966, just three and a half years after the interurban quit. The location given is Farm River Road. Don’s Rail Photos: “709 was built by Cincinnati Car Co in 1924, #2725. It was sold to Branford Trolley Museum in 1963.”

This is another remarkable photograph, showing Monongahela West Penn car 320 at night in June 1946. Such night shots were very difficult to achieve back then, due to the slow film speed of the time (this is Kodachrome 10, as in ASA/ISO 10). About the only way to take such a picture would have been with a very long exposure, with the camera resting on a tripod. (Dr. H. Blackbunn Photo)

This is another remarkable photograph, showing Monongahela West Penn car 320 at night in June 1946. Such night shots were very difficult to achieve back then, due to the slow film speed of the time (this is Kodachrome 10, as in ASA/ISO 10). About the only way to take such a picture would have been with a very long exposure, with the camera resting on a tripod. (Dr. H. Blackbunn Photo)

South Shore Line cars 105 and 1 in April 1963.

South Shore Line cars 105 and 1 in April 1963.

Another great night shot, this time it's Illinois Terminal 473 on the line that ran from St. Louis to Granite City in the 1950s. This was IT's final passenger line and was abandoned in June 1958, on the same weekend that the last Chicago streetcar ran.

Another great night shot, this time it’s Illinois Terminal 473 on the line that ran from St. Louis to Granite City in the 1950s. This was IT’s final passenger line and was abandoned in June 1958, on the same weekend that the last Chicago streetcar ran.

CTA PCC 4406, a product of the St. Louis Car Company, at Clark and Archer in April 1954. (William Shapotkin Collection)

CTA PCC 4406, a product of the St. Louis Car Company, at Clark and Archer in April 1954. (William Shapotkin Collection)

This is DesPlaines Avenue in Forest Park, the end of the CTA Congress rapid transit line. The license plates would indicate a date of 1961, perhaps in the Fall since that is a 1962 Chevy in the parking lot. The various signs on the Leyden Motor Coach bus might confuse you, but on the side, it is marked "OSA" meaning this is a fantrip. (William Shapotkin Collection) Bill Shapotkin writes: "Unable to read the bus number, bus OSA operated trips on 06/17/61 (trip #2) using Leyden bus #95 and on 03/18/62 (trip #10) using Leyden buses #90, 157 and 164. If you can identify the fleet number, that would cement down the details." This is bus #90, so that makes the date March 18, 1962.

This is DesPlaines Avenue in Forest Park, the end of the CTA Congress rapid transit line. The license plates would indicate a date of 1961, perhaps in the Fall since that is a 1962 Chevy in the parking lot. The various signs on the Leyden Motor Coach bus might confuse you, but on the side, it is marked “OSA” meaning this is a fantrip. (William Shapotkin Collection) Bill Shapotkin writes: “Unable to read the bus number, bus OSA operated trips on 06/17/61 (trip #2) using Leyden bus #95 and on 03/18/62 (trip #10) using Leyden buses #90, 157 and 164. If you can identify the fleet number, that would cement down the details.” This is bus #90, so that makes the date March 18, 1962.

CTA 6053 is at the rear of a northbound Ravenswood All-Stop train approaching Armitage in August 1986. The two center tracks lead down to the State Street Subway. (William Shapotkin Collection)

CTA 6053 is at the rear of a northbound Ravenswood All-Stop train approaching Armitage in August 1986. The two center tracks lead down to the State Street Subway. (William Shapotkin Collection)

A southbound CTA Englewood train (lead car: 2033) has met a northbound Howard train at Armitage station in April 1985, and is descending into the State Street Subway. (William Shapotkin Collection)

A southbound CTA Englewood train (lead car: 2033) has met a northbound Howard train at Armitage station in April 1985, and is descending into the State Street Subway. (William Shapotkin Collection)

North Shore Line former merchandise dispatch car 215 at the Harrison Shops in Milwaukee on July 7, 1953. Don's Rail Photos: "215 was built by Cincinnati Car in October 1922, #2605. The loading doors (were moved) from the ends to the center. It was demotorized and used as a tool car."

North Shore Line former merchandise dispatch car 215 at the Harrison Shops in Milwaukee on July 7, 1953. Don’s Rail Photos: “215 was built by Cincinnati Car in October 1922, #2605. The loading doors (were moved) from the ends to the center. It was demotorized and used as a tool car.”

On May 22, 1944, Illinois Governor Dwight H. Green (1897-1958) poses with officials from the Illinois State Militia, next to a 1700-series Chicago Surface Lines car promoting that branch of the military during World War II. Green served two terms as governor from 1941-49 before his defeat by Democrat Adlai Stevenson.

On May 22, 1944, Illinois Governor Dwight H. Green (1897-1958) poses with officials from the Illinois State Militia, next to a 1700-series Chicago Surface Lines car promoting that branch of the military during World War II. Green served two terms as governor from 1941-49 before his defeat by Democrat Adlai Stevenson.

While I don't have the negative that goes with this Chicago Sun photo file slip, it does at least identify some of the notables in the negative I do have. The Chicago Sun was a morning newspaper, started in 1941 by the Field family. It bought the Chicago Times in 1948 and the paper has been the Chicago Sun-Times ever since (although no longer owned by Field Enterprises).

While I don’t have the negative that goes with this Chicago Sun photo file slip, it does at least identify some of the notables in the negative I do have. The Chicago Sun was a morning newspaper, started in 1941 by the Field family. It bought the Chicago Times in 1948 and the paper has been the Chicago Sun-Times ever since (although no longer owned by Field Enterprises).

North Shore Line cars 192 and 187 at Highwood in September 1963, looking much worse the wear, nine months after abandonment. But in actuality, these cars had been retired some years earlier. Don's Rail Photos: "187 was built by Cincinnati Car in August 1920, (order) #2450. It was retired on December 31, 1955. It was scrapped at Rondout on January 29, 1964. 192 was built by Cincinnati Car in August 1920, #2450. It was retired on December 31, 1955. It was scrapped at Rondout on January 29, 1964." Apparently these cars were considered surplus after the abandonment of the Shore Line Route in 1955.

North Shore Line cars 192 and 187 at Highwood in September 1963, looking much worse the wear, nine months after abandonment. But in actuality, these cars had been retired some years earlier. Don’s Rail Photos: “187 was built by Cincinnati Car in August 1920, (order) #2450. It was retired on December 31, 1955. It was scrapped at Rondout on January 29, 1964. 192 was built by Cincinnati Car in August 1920, #2450. It was retired on December 31, 1955. It was scrapped at Rondout on January 29, 1964.” Apparently these cars were considered surplus after the abandonment of the Shore Line Route in 1955.

This photo is a bit of a mystery. It is dated September 1963, which means these are probably North Shore Line cars in dead storage at Highwood, awaiting disposition. However, that doesn't explain the Shore Line Route sign, as that portion of the Interurban had been abandoned in 1955. And after the 1963 abandonment, a lot of these signs were scarfed up by fans and were missing from the trains that were scrapped. Don's Rail Photos: "(Combine) 256 was built by Jewett in 1917. It seems to be the only one which retained its original configuration." It did not survive. The fate of the Silverliner at right is not known.

This photo is a bit of a mystery. It is dated September 1963, which means these are probably North Shore Line cars in dead storage at Highwood, awaiting disposition. However, that doesn’t explain the Shore Line Route sign, as that portion of the Interurban had been abandoned in 1955. And after the 1963 abandonment, a lot of these signs were scarfed up by fans and were missing from the trains that were scrapped. Don’s Rail Photos: “(Combine) 256 was built by Jewett in 1917. It seems to be the only one which retained its original configuration.” It did not survive. The fate of the Silverliner at right is not known.

On June 16, 1962, the late Maury Klebolt talks to the North Shore Line train crew during a fantrip at Harrison Street in Milwaukee. This must have been an Illini Railroad Club excursion. There were many such trips during the last year of the interurban's existence. (Richard H. Young Photo)

On June 16, 1962, the late Maury Klebolt talks to the North Shore Line train crew during a fantrip at Harrison Street in Milwaukee. This must have been an Illini Railroad Club excursion. There were many such trips during the last year of the interurban’s existence. (Richard H. Young Photo)

A close-up of Maury Klebolt (1930-1988). Not sure who is at left.

A close-up of Maury Klebolt (1930-1988). Not sure who is at left.

CTA Pullman PCC 4077 heads southbound at 2600 N. Clark Street in the early 1950s. It may be running on either Route 22 or 36. The Pullmans had almost entirely disappeared from service by the end of 1954, for the so-called "PCC Conversion Program."

CTA Pullman PCC 4077 heads southbound at 2600 N. Clark Street in the early 1950s. It may be running on either Route 22 or 36. The Pullmans had almost entirely disappeared from service by the end of 1954, for the so-called “PCC Conversion Program.”

The same location today.

The same location today.

The Illinois Electric Railway Museum in North Chicago in September 1963, shortly before the collection was moved to its permanent location in Union. From left to right, we see Milwaukee streetcar 966, a Milwaukee Electric interurban car (either 1129 or 1135), and Indiana Railroad car 65.

The Illinois Electric Railway Museum in North Chicago in September 1963, shortly before the collection was moved to its permanent location in Union. From left to right, we see Milwaukee streetcar 966, a Milwaukee Electric interurban car (either 1129 or 1135), and Indiana Railroad car 65.

This September 1963 (or at least, that's when the film was processed) view of the Illinois Electric Railway Museum is not the sharpest, but it does show, from left to right, CTA snow sweeper E223, Illinois Terminal 101, one of the Chicago Aurora & Elgin interurbans, and a Milwaukee Electric car.

This September 1963 (or at least, that’s when the film was processed) view of the Illinois Electric Railway Museum is not the sharpest, but it does show, from left to right, CTA snow sweeper E223, Illinois Terminal 101, one of the Chicago Aurora & Elgin interurbans, and a Milwaukee Electric car.

North Shore Line Silverliner 409 at Roosevelt Road on august 4, 1956. Don's Rail Photos: "409 was built by Cincinnati Car in May 1923, #2465, as a dining car motor. In 1942 it was rebuilt as a coach and rebuilt as a Silverliner on March 30, 1955. Since it had no bulkhead between smoking and non-smoking sections, it was our favorite car to be used for meetings of the Milwaukee Division of the Electric Railroaders Association in Milwaukee. The North Shore was very cooperative in making sure that the car was in the location shown on meeting nights." The 409 is now at the Illinois Railway Museum. (C. G. Parsons Photo)

North Shore Line Silverliner 409 at Roosevelt Road on august 4, 1956. Don’s Rail Photos: “409 was built by Cincinnati Car in May 1923, #2465, as a dining car motor. In 1942 it was rebuilt as a coach and rebuilt as a Silverliner on March 30, 1955. Since it had no bulkhead between smoking and non-smoking sections, it was our favorite car to be used for meetings of the Milwaukee Division of the Electric Railroaders Association in Milwaukee. The North Shore was very cooperative in making sure that the car was in the location shown on meeting nights.” The 409 is now at the Illinois Railway Museum. (C. G. Parsons Photo)

This amazing real photo postcard sold on eBay for $77.89. I unfortunately was not aware of the auction. It shows the Ridgeland "L" station on South Boulevard in Oak Park. The postcard was mailed in 1909 and hence can't be any later than that. Work is already underway to elevate the Chicago & North Western tracks at left. The Lake Street "L" itself would join it on the embankment in 1962.

This amazing real photo postcard sold on eBay for $77.89. I unfortunately was not aware of the auction. It shows the Ridgeland “L” station on South Boulevard in Oak Park. The postcard was mailed in 1909 and hence can’t be any later than that. Work is already underway to elevate the Chicago & North Western tracks at left. The Lake Street “L” itself would join it on the embankment in 1962.

NYCTA Brooklyn PCC 1049 is running on the 72 Smith Line to the Brooklyn Bridge in this undated photo, taken between 1946 and 1956. According to the information on the half frame slide mount, this is on 10th Avenue at 17th Street, at the 9th Avenue Depot. Half frame had a brief vogue in the early 1950s, as a way to double the number of pictures on a 35mm roll, while still maintaining some level of quality. But most photographers back then didn't need twice as many pictures on a roll. In the long run, it Kodak downsized their film over time, from sizes 126 to 110 and Disc, in order to make bigger profits. But sharpness was reduced in turn, and full-frame 25mm is still with us today. These 1950s Brooklyn PCCs appear to have had about as many dents as their Chicago cousins. (R. Fillman Photo)

NYCTA Brooklyn PCC 1049 is running on the 72 Smith Line to the Brooklyn Bridge in this undated photo, taken between 1946 and 1956. According to the information on the half frame slide mount, this is on 10th Avenue at 17th Street, at the 9th Avenue Depot. Half frame had a brief vogue in the early 1950s, as a way to double the number of pictures on a 35mm roll, while still maintaining some level of quality. But most photographers back then didn’t need twice as many pictures on a roll. In the long run, it Kodak downsized their film over time, from sizes 126 to 110 and Disc, in order to make bigger profits. But sharpness was reduced in turn, and full-frame 25mm is still with us today. These 1950s Brooklyn PCCs appear to have had about as many dents as their Chicago cousins. (R. Fillman Photo)

The Magic of Clark Frazier

Clark Frazier is an excellent photographer who has been active since around 1956. Among the first 35mm slides that I took home from Jeff’s collection were over 100 that he had purchased from Mr. Frazier over the last few years. Even better, Mr. Frazier did a lot of traveling, so his work covers many different cities. In his retired years, Jeff loved purchasing excellent slides that not only reflected his own type of shooting, but filled in gaps in his collection– views that he was unable to capture himself, or places he couldn’t get to before something ceased operating. For example, in this representative sampling, I am not certain that Jeff was able to visit Washington D.C. prior to the abandonment of streetcars there in 1962, and I don’t think he could get to San Francisco in time to ride the “Iron Monsters” before they were all taken out of service around 1957. So here they are.

All the photos in this section are © by Clark Frazier.

DC Transit 1572 on Route 70 at Georgia and Alaska on February 7, 1959. (Clark Frazier Photo)

DC Transit 1572 on Route 70 at Georgia and Alaska on February 7, 1959. (Clark Frazier Photo)

DC Transit 1566 inbound on Route 82 at Riverdale on September 1, 1958. (Clark Frazier Photo)

DC Transit 1566 inbound on Route 82 at Riverdale on September 1, 1958. (Clark Frazier Photo)

SF Muni 77 turn back meets 130 on Geary Boulevard in 1956. Hope that dog made it across the street safely. (Clark Frazier Photo)

SF Muni 77 turn back meets 130 on Geary Boulevard in 1956. Hope that dog made it across the street safely. (Clark Frazier Photo)

DC Transit 1322 at the Department of the Interior on Route 82, on September 2, 1958. (Clark Frazier Photo)

DC Transit 1322 at the Department of the Interior on Route 82, on September 2, 1958. (Clark Frazier Photo)

DC Transit 1567 on Route 82 on Rhode Island Avenue, September 1, 1958. (Clark Frazier Photo)

DC Transit 1567 on Route 82 on Rhode Island Avenue, September 1, 1958. (Clark Frazier Photo)

Boston MTA 3311 and 3305 are stuck in the snow at Riverside after a "Noreaster" on March 4, 1960. (Clark Frazier Photo)

Boston MTA 3311 and 3305 are stuck in the snow at Riverside after a “Noreaster” on March 4, 1960. (Clark Frazier Photo)

SF Muni 139 turns left from Geary onto 33rd Avenue in 1956. (Clark Frazier Photo)

SF Muni 139 turns left from Geary onto 33rd Avenue in 1956. (Clark Frazier Photo)

St. Louis Public Service PCC 1628 arrives at South Broadway carhouse on August 23, 1958. (Clark Frazier Photo)

St. Louis Public Service PCC 1628 arrives at South Broadway carhouse on August 23, 1958. (Clark Frazier Photo)

DC Transit 1555 from Cabin John in Brookmont on June 7, 1959. (Clark Frazier Photo)

DC Transit 1555 from Cabin John in Brookmont on June 7, 1959. (Clark Frazier Photo)

SF Muni 195 on the C Line at Geary and Van Ness in January 1957. (Clark Frazier Photo)

SF Muni 195 on the C Line at Geary and Van Ness in January 1957. (Clark Frazier Photo)

SF Muni 205 and 1014 at the end of the N Line in 1957. (Clark Frazier Photo)

SF Muni 205 and 1014 at the end of the N Line in 1957. (Clark Frazier Photo)

SF Muni 176 outbound on the N Line to the beach in 1957. (Clark Frazier Photo)

SF Muni 176 outbound on the N Line to the beach in 1957. (Clark Frazier Photo)

DC Transit 1469 is on Rhode Island Avenue (Route 82) in Maryland, August 11, 1958. (Clark Frazier Photo)

DC Transit 1469 is on Rhode Island Avenue (Route 82) in Maryland, August 11, 1958. (Clark Frazier Photo)

SF Muni 199 at 46th and Vicente on the L line on September 9, 1957. (Clark Frazier Photo)

SF Muni 199 at 46th and Vicente on the L line on September 9, 1957. (Clark Frazier Photo)

El Paso 1500 backs up at the Cotton Street Carbarn on June 12, 1959. (Clark Frazier Photo)

El Paso 1500 backs up at the Cotton Street Carbarn on June 12, 1959. (Clark Frazier Photo)

DC Transit 1321 at the Soldier's Home end of Route 74 on February 7, 1959. (Clark Frazier Photo)

DC Transit 1321 at the Soldier’s Home end of Route 74 on February 7, 1959. (Clark Frazier Photo)

SF Muni 156 is an inbound J Line car at Market and Duboce in 1957. (Clark Frazier Photo)

SF Muni 156 is an inbound J Line car at Market and Duboce in 1957. (Clark Frazier Photo)

SF Muni 178 is heading to the beach on Carl Street (N Line) in 1957. Don's Rail Photos: "178, K Type, was built by Bethlehem Shipbuilding Co in 1923." From wrm.org: "The Bay Area Electric Railway Association purchased the 178 from the Muni in February of 1959, and moved it to Marysville, California, for storage on a Sacramento Northern spur for occasional operation on the electrified trackage in the Marysville-Yuba City area. It was moved to Rio Vista Junction in August, 1964 to join the rest of the BAERA collection. 178 returned to San Francisco in 1982 to be part of the Trolley Festival on Market Street while the City rebuilt it’s cable cars lines. In 1983 the 178 returned to the Western Railway Museum and still operates today." (Clark Frazier Photo)

SF Muni 178 is heading to the beach on Carl Street (N Line) in 1957. Don’s Rail Photos: “178, K Type, was built by Bethlehem Shipbuilding Co in 1923.” From wrm.org: “The Bay Area Electric Railway Association purchased the 178 from the Muni in February of 1959, and moved it to Marysville, California, for storage on a Sacramento Northern spur for occasional operation on the electrified trackage in the Marysville-Yuba City area. It was moved to Rio Vista Junction in August, 1964 to join the rest of the BAERA collection. 178 returned to San Francisco in 1982 to be part of the Trolley Festival on Market Street while the City rebuilt it’s cable cars lines. In 1983 the 178 returned to the Western Railway Museum and still operates today.” (Clark Frazier Photo)

SF Muni 105 on the B (Geary) Line at Leavenworth Street in 1956. (Clark Frazier Photo)

SF Muni 105 on the B (Geary) Line at Leavenworth Street in 1956. (Clark Frazier Photo)

DC Transit (ex-Capital Traction) 303 at the Mt. Rainier Loop on September 1, 1958. Don's Rail Photos: "303 was built by American Car Co in 1898 as Capital Traction Co 303. It is now at the Smithsonian (National Museum of American History)." The 303 was retired from regular service in 1913 but was kept for charter use until the end of DC streetcar service in 1962. (Clark Frazier Photo)

DC Transit (ex-Capital Traction) 303 at the Mt. Rainier Loop on September 1, 1958. Don’s Rail Photos: “303 was built by American Car Co in 1898 as Capital Traction Co 303. It is now at the Smithsonian (National Museum of American History).” The 303 was retired from regular service in 1913 but was kept for charter use until the end of DC streetcar service in 1962. (Clark Frazier Photo)

SF Muni 206 is on the C Line at 2nd Avenue and Cornwall in 1956. (Clark Frazier Photo)

SF Muni 206 is on the C Line at 2nd Avenue and Cornwall in 1956. (Clark Frazier Photo)

SF Muni 188 is running on the K Line on Market Street between 5th and 6th in 1957. (Clark Frazier Photo)

SF Muni 188 is running on the K Line on Market Street between 5th and 6th in 1957. (Clark Frazier Photo)

DC Transit 1399 on Route 90, at Pennsylvania Avenue SE, on June 7, 1959. (Clark Frazier Photo)

DC Transit 1399 on Route 90, at Pennsylvania Avenue SE, on June 7, 1959. (Clark Frazier Photo)

DC Transit 1288 at Friendship Heights, running on Route 30, on June 7, 1959. (Clark Frazier Photo)

DC Transit 1288 at Friendship Heights, running on Route 30, on June 7, 1959. (Clark Frazier Photo)

Chicago Rapid Transit Route Descriptions

“L” operations were rather complex prior to the October 1, 1947 takeover by the Chicago Transit Authority, so much so that Chicago Rapid Transit Company maps typically made no attempt to explain them. There were pocket guides published over the years by third parties that included explanations, but often these were considerably out of date by the time of publication.

Here, courtesy of Andre Kristopans, are the various CRT route descriptions that describe the service in place at the time when CTA assumed control. The dates vary from 1940 to 1946 because service hadn’t been altered on those lines by October 1, 1947.

“L” service “grew like Topsy” in the early years, as the saying goes, reflecting its origins as four separate companies, operating independently. There were expresses and locals, and by 1913, some trains through-routed from the north and south sides, some trains ending or originating at the four downtown stub-end terminals, and the several branch lines. Trains were split at some locations, with one part going one way, the other part a different way.

Powering the Metropolitan West Side Elevated

We recently acquired the August, 1895 edition of Power magazine, which featured a three-page article describing the then-new Metropolitan West Side Elevated‘s Loomis Street power plant. The Met was the first of Chicago’s four “L”s to operate exclusively with electricity. The South Side and Lake Street “L”s began life with steam locomotives. The Met was greatly influenced by the success of the experimental Columbian Intramural Railway at the World’s Columbian Exposition in 1893.

In 1895, there was no such thing as commercially available electricity on this kind of scale. You had to make your own.

You can read the entire article here.

Recent Correspondence

Colin Wisner writes:

I spent the morning talking to a friend over zoom and doodling this, Indiana Railroad Car 65. I showed the drawing to him and he was kind of impressed.

Thanks! In case you don’t know him, Colin is a very talented young man who enjoys searching the former Chicago, Aurora & Elgin right-of-way in search of artifacts that have until now been overlooked. He has found, among many other things, a small section of third rail.

Jack Bejna writes:

I enjoyed the latest post as I always do. I really like the shot of the Highwood Shops and since I have some time this morning I decided to help out the image by getting rid of the bad portion. Hope you like it!

ps: I never took the time to get over to the shops and get some pictures, so I rely on you for keeping the memories of the North Shore alive! Thanks for your great work.

Thanks! Our regular readers are probably familiar with Jack’s great work, which has graced these pages many times in the past, and will hopefully do so in the future.

From our resident South Side expert M.E.:

First, Happy New Year, a bit late because your last few postings were so heavily weighted toward the north side, I had nothing to comment on. But I have a few things today.

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This is the schedule sheet for south side service. At the bottom of the page is “Stock Yard Services”. Notice the heading “Jackson Pk.” and its associated train times. According to the route description, two morning trains ran from Jackson Park to Indiana Av., then onto the Stock Yards tracks. And two evening trains ran from the Stock Yards to Indiana Ave., then to Jackson Park. This is the first time I have heard of any trains doing that.

I had always thought the switches west of Indiana made it difficult to get between the main line and the Stock Yards line. But this schedule sheet piqued my curiosity, so I dug out my CERA Bulletin 115, which has great trackage maps toward the back. Plate 8, Detail 15, page 235, illustrating the trackage at Indiana Ave. in 1914, shows there were usable switches between the Stock Yards and main lines. Those switches could have still existed in April 1946 — the date of this schedule — because Plate 8 also shows the switch arrangement starting in 1949 (the one I remember), which would not have worked well to switch between the two lines.

The date April 1946 is after World War II, so even if this route was put in place during the war, it continued after the war. Interesting.

Thanks very much!

https://thetrolleydodger.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/cci10302016_0017.jpg

This sheet verifies that Englewood trains ran to Ravenswood. That is the route I first rode on the Rapid Transit Lines.

For Further Reading

Several issues of The Elevated News and Rapid Transit News from the 1920s can be read here via Google Books. You can even download the entire book.

These publications include important historical information that might not be available otherwise. To cite a couple of examples, here are excerpts from the May 1, 1926 issue of Rapid Transit News.

First, we had a recent discussion here (see Our Sixth Anniversary, January 21, 2021) that mentioned an underground passageway that connected Union Station to the Canal Street “L” station on the Met main line. Well, this is not only mentioned in Rapid Transit News, but there is both a map and a photo. We also learn that it was used by 8,000 people per day.

Second, there is a progress report on the new “L” service to Bellwood and Westchester, then set to open, including a picture of the tower that controlled movements on this branch off the Chicago, Aurora & Elgin main line.

Keep those cards and letters coming in, folks.

-David Sadowski

PS- We have added the two nocturnal shots to our previous post Night Beat (June 21, 2016). If you like this style of photography, you might want to check it out.

New Steam Audio CD:

FYI, we have digitally remastered another classic steam railroad audio LP to Compact Disc. Many additional titles, including the complete output of the Railroad Record Club, in our Online Store.

misc676-001

STEAM CDs:

RGTS
Rio Grande to Silverton:
A Sound Portrait of Mountain Railroading
Price: $14.99

These are vintage 1960 narrow gauge steam train recordings, in true stereo, and originally released on LP in 1961.  It is long out of print.
Includes:
01. Riding The Train To Silverton
02. Photo Run At Elk Park
03. Arriving At Silverton
04. Train Time At La Jara
05. Illini Special At Cumbres Pass
06. Doubleheader Starting At Monero
07. Eastbound Freight
08. Arriving At Chama
09. Whistles At Coxo
10. Freight With Pusher At Coxo

Gone are the nostalgic sounds of steam echoes and thundering exhausts, but the memory is immortal. May they live on in the locomotive lexicon, as a monument to the era when trains were pulled by STEAM POWER.

As with all of our recordings, this CD comes with the complete, original liner notes.

Total time – 45:49

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)
Help Support The Trolley Dodger

This is our 264th 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 740,000 page views, for which we are very grateful.
You can help us continue our original transit research by checking out the fine products in our Online Store.
As we have said before, “If you buy here, we will be here.”
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Loose Ends, Part Two

Now here is a very unusual view, taken on April 14, 1957 from the wooden trestle used by Garfield Park "L" trains to loop around at Forest Park circa 1953-59. This arrangement was necessary due to the separation of CTA and CA&E tracks, when the latter cut back service due to the Congress Expressway construction project in the city. Interurban trains turned on a loop between the CTA tracks on the east side of the terminal, while CTA trains went up and over the CA&E on the west end. To get this picture, the photographer either had to be inside a train, or on the walkway. This is only the second such picture I have seen, and the view looks to the north. In the background, you can see the Chicago Great Western freight tracks, abandoned in the early 1970s. The terminal area has been redone twice since then, and the buildings at right in the background are where a parking lot is now. The Altenheim retirement home (at left), built in 1886, is still there today at 7824 W. Madison Street. A two-car train of CTA "Baldy" 4000s negotiates the loop.

Now here is a very unusual view, taken on April 14, 1957 from the wooden trestle used by Garfield Park “L” trains to loop around at Forest Park circa 1953-59. This arrangement was necessary due to the separation of CTA and CA&E tracks, when the latter cut back service due to the Congress Expressway construction project in the city. Interurban trains turned on a loop between the CTA tracks on the east side of the terminal, while CTA trains went up and over the CA&E on the west end. To get this picture, the photographer either had to be inside a train, or on the walkway. This is only the second such picture I have seen, and the view looks to the north. In the background, you can see the Chicago Great Western freight tracks, abandoned in the early 1970s. The terminal area has been redone twice since then, and the buildings at right in the background are where a parking lot is now. The Altenheim retirement home (at left), built in 1886, is still there today at 7824 W. Madison Street. A two-car train of CTA “Baldy” 4000s negotiates the loop.

Here are more “loose ends” for your enjoyment. Most of today’s pictures were scanned a year ago as part of a much larger batch, and are from the collections of William Shapotkin, for which we are most grateful. Most of these are classic black-and-white pictures of Chicago Surface Lines streetcars.

If you have questions, comments, or additional information about any of the locations in these pictures, we would love to hear from you. As always, please refer to each image by its file name, which you can find by hovering your computer mouse over it. (For example, the image at the top of this post is rbk501.) As of July 22nd, thanks to our readers, we have updated the captions on 20 of these photos.

Enjoy!

-David Sadowski

Recent Finds

What is known today as the East Troy Electric Railroad survived to the present day due to its continued use as an electric freight line, as this scene from April 16, 1965 shows. Once part of the TMER&L interurban network, there was passenger service between East Troy and Milwaukee from 1907 to 1939. The railroad continued to operated freight for another ten years after that, and starting in 1950, the interchange line was owned and operated by East Troy. Museum operations began to be phased in as early as 1967. Here, we see line car M-15 at Mukwonago. This car is now at the Illinois Railway Museum.

What is known today as the East Troy Electric Railroad survived to the present day due to its continued use as an electric freight line, as this scene from April 16, 1965 shows. Once part of the TMER&L interurban network, there was passenger service between East Troy and Milwaukee from 1907 to 1939. The railroad continued to operated freight for another ten years after that, and starting in 1950, the interchange line was owned and operated by East Troy. Museum operations began to be phased in as early as 1967. Here, we see line car M-15 at Mukwonago. This car is now at the Illinois Railway Museum.

CSL PCC 4062, on its way toward delivery from the Pullman plant in Massachusetts to Chicago in 1946, as the city's first postwar streetcar.

CSL PCC 4062, on its way toward delivery from the Pullman plant in Massachusetts to Chicago in 1946, as the city’s first postwar streetcar.

Through a process of elimination, it can be determined that this is a rare photo of the interior of experimental CSL pre-PCC car 7001, built by Brill in 1934. The Cottage Grove destination sign means we are in Chicago, and the seat configuration is different than the 1936 PCCs. The flat back window means this is not the 4001, so this is the 7001 for sure. Interestingly, the seats looks nearly identical to those found in Washington DC pre-PCC 1053 (see the following picture). The Washington cars were built in 1935 and while the order was split between Brill and St. Louis Car Company, the seats were most likely sourced from a third vendor and were the same in all those cars (and unfortunately, none exist today).

Through a process of elimination, it can be determined that this is a rare photo of the interior of experimental CSL pre-PCC car 7001, built by Brill in 1934. The Cottage Grove destination sign means we are in Chicago, and the seat configuration is different than the 1936 PCCs. The flat back window means this is not the 4001, so this is the 7001 for sure. Interestingly, the seats looks nearly identical to those found in Washington DC pre-PCC 1053 (see the following picture). The Washington cars were built in 1935 and while the order was split between Brill and St. Louis Car Company, the seats were most likely sourced from a third vendor and were the same in all those cars (and unfortunately, none exist today).

Here are some pictures we previously posted of 7001 and 1053:

The experimental Brill-built pre-PCC 7001 as it appeared at 77th and Vincennes on September 10, 1959, shortly before it was scrapped. (Clark Frazier Photo)

The experimental Brill-built pre-PCC 7001 as it appeared at 77th and Vincennes on September 10, 1959, shortly before it was scrapped. (Clark Frazier Photo)

DC Transit pre-PCC streamlined streetcar at the National Capital Trolley Museum in 1993. Part of a 20-car order in 1935, split between Brill and St Louis Car Company. This is a St. Louis Car Company product. Sadly this car was lost to a carbarn fire at the museum in 2003. (John Smatlak Photo)

DC Transit pre-PCC streamlined streetcar at the National Capital Trolley Museum in 1993. Part of a 20-car order in 1935, split between Brill and St Louis Car Company. This is a St. Louis Car Company product. Sadly this car was lost to a carbarn fire at the museum in 2003. (John Smatlak Photo)

1053 interior. (John Smatlak Photo)

1053 interior. (John Smatlak Photo)

1053 interior. (John Smatlak Photo)

1053 interior. (John Smatlak Photo)

From the Collections of William Shapotkin:

CSL 6226 at Damen and 63rd in 1944.

CSL 6226 at Damen and 63rd in 1944.

CSL 6073 at Roosevelt and Wabash.

CSL 6073 at Roosevelt and Wabash.

CSL prewar PCC 4002 at Kedzie Station, pulling in after operating on the Madison-Fifth line.

CSL prewar PCC 4002 at Kedzie Station, pulling in after operating on the Madison-Fifth line.

CSL 6148.

CSL 6148.

CSL 1812, signed for Adams-Downtown.

CSL 1812, signed for Adams-Downtown.

CSL 6122,

CSL 6122,

CSL 1545.

CSL 1545.

CSL 1859 is near a construction site. But the extreme contrast of this picture offers no clue to the location. Andre Kristopans: "1859 at construction site WB on Adams at Clinton." Marty Robinson adds, "This improved view clearly show Adams on the street sign, and the sign on the building to the left says Franklin Bowling."

CSL 1859 is near a construction site. But the extreme contrast of this picture offers no clue to the location. Andre Kristopans: “1859 at construction site WB on Adams at Clinton.” Marty Robinson adds, “This improved view clearly show Adams on the street sign, and the sign on the building to the left says Franklin Bowling.”

CSL 3180.

CSL 3180.

CSL 3123 at Cermak and Prairie, east end of the Cermak route.

CSL 3123 at Cermak and Prairie, east end of the Cermak route.

CSL 2617.

CSL 2617.

CSL 6235 on the South Chicago-Ewing route. Mike adds, "6235 is heading south on Ewing just past 94th. The bar in the background still exists."

CSL 6235 on the South Chicago-Ewing route. Mike adds, “6235 is heading south on Ewing just past 94th. The bar in the background still exists.”

CSL 392 is heading to 74th and Ashland.

CSL 392 is heading to 74th and Ashland.

CSL 6243 on the Pershing Road line.

CSL 6243 on the Pershing Road line.

CSL 6248 is on the South Chicago-Ewing route. Mike adds, "6248 is heading north on Ewing across the 92nd St. Bridge. The tower in the background is visible in the photo of 6235, too. The blast furnaces of Youngstown Sheet & Tube are visible at left."

CSL 6248 is on the South Chicago-Ewing route. Mike adds, “6248 is heading north on Ewing across the 92nd St. Bridge. The tower in the background is visible in the photo of 6235, too. The blast furnaces of Youngstown Sheet & Tube are visible at left.”

CSL 793, signed to go to Damen and Blue Island, is near Diamond Lil's Tavern. Mike adds, "793 is at the corner of 18th & Damen – the Diamond Lil’s building is still standing."

CSL 793, signed to go to Damen and Blue Island, is near Diamond Lil’s Tavern. Mike adds, “793 is at the corner of 18th & Damen – the Diamond Lil’s building is still standing.”

CSL 3120 on a 1940s charter. Mike adds, "3120 is at the corner of 79th & Vincennes. The building in the background recently burned down and was demolished."

CSL 3120 on a 1940s charter. Mike adds, “3120 is at the corner of 79th & Vincennes. The building in the background recently burned down and was demolished.”

CSL 5723,

CSL 5723,

51st and South Park, circa 1929. The Willard Theater was located at 340 E. 51st Street. It closed in the 1950s, and the building is now used as a church and community center.