On October 10, 1952, an eastbound five-car Garfield Park “L” train approaches Western Avenue, where photographer William C. Hoffman was standing. The temporary trackage on Van Buren Street, visible at right, was then under construction.
April showers, as they say, bring May flowers. That kind of fits today’s post, since there is always a lot of preliminary work involved in what we do. In fact, you could say we have been working on this one for a month.
It’s finally taken root, and now you can stop and smell the roses! We have about 100 classic traction photos for you to enjoy. Most are our own, and some are from the collections of our friend William Shapotkin.
We also have two new products available. You can pre-order our new book Chicago’s Lost “L”s, and also purchase A Tribute to the North Shore Line, a two-hour DVD presentation put together in 2013 by the late Jeffrey L. Wien and Bradley Criss.
PS- FYI, we have a Facebook auxiliary for the Trolley Dodger here, which currently has 320 members.
Our Latest Book, Now Available for Pre-Order:
Chicago’s Lost “L”s
Arcadia Publishing will release our new book Chicago’s Lost “L”s on July 12, 2021. Reserve your copy today!
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
Publisher Arcadia Publishing (SC), 2021
ISBN 1467100007, 9781467100007
Length 128 pages
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.
For Shipping to US Addresses:
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For Shipping Elsewhere:
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)
The LaSalle Street tunnel under the Chicago River, shown prior to when it was rebuilt for use by cable cars in the 1880s. It had opened on July 4, 1871. This is one-half of a stereo photo.
A northbound Jackson Park-Howard “B: train descends into the State Street Subway sometime in the 1970s. A Lake-Dan Ryan train, made up of 2000s and 2200s, is on the nearby “L” structure.
An Englewood-Howard “A” train of 6000s in the State Street Subway in the 1970s.
This photo, showing a South Shore Line train running in the street in East Chicago, Indiana, must have been taken just prior to the relocation of these tracks in 1956. Since then, they have run next to the Indiana Toll Road. The location is on Chicago Street at Magoun Avenue, less than a mile east of the Indiana Toll Road. The train appears to be heading east. That’s a 1955 or ’56 Buick at left across the street.
The same location today.
J. W. Vigrass took this photo along the Red Arrow’s West Chester line on May 29, 1954, just about a week before buses replaced trolleys. This long side-of-the-road interurban fell victim to a project that widened West Chester Pike.
This may not be the sharpest picture, but it is an original Ektachrome slide shot by the late George Krambles. It shows North Shore Line 181 approaching Libertyville along the Mundelein branch on February 11, 1962.
A North Shore Line train in North Chicago, sometime in the 1950s. This was an Ektachrome slide that had shifted to red, and I was fortunate to be able to color correct it in Photoshop. (J. W. Vigrass Photo)
This photo did not come with any information, but it is a fantrip held on the Red Arrow’s West Chester trolley line on June 6, 1954, when the line was replaced by buses. We previously posted a color image taken at this photo stop, where the location was given as either Milltown or Mill Farm, the handwriting was difficult to make out. Apparently one of the three cars shown here broke down and had to be towed by one of the others.
Another photo of the South Shore Line in East Chicago in 1956. My guess is, this is the same location as the other photo, just looking the other way.
We recently posted a color image, similar to this and taken at the same location, shot in 1955 by William C. Hoffman. This is most likely from the same general time period, as prewar PCC 7003 is running on Western Avenue. The prewar cars ran here from 1955-56 after they had been on the Cottage Grove line, converted to one-man operation. The “L” train is running on the Garfield Park temporary trackage in Van Buren Street, which was used from 1953-58.
A view looking west along the Lake Street “L” sometime during the 1950s. The “L” ran in one direction then (counter-clockwise), so both the “L” train and North Shore Line train are heading west, away from the photographer. That’s Tower 18 behind the train of 4000s, before it was replaced in 1969.
Another photo taken at the same location in East Chicago in 1956. Here, we see a westbound train on Chicago Street at Magoun Avenue.
The view looking west along Lake Street from the front window of a North Shore Line train in July 1960. This was during the period when the Loop “L” ran in one direction, so the train we see near Tower 18 was also heading west. Soon, this North Shore Line train would turn north. (J. W. Vigrass Photo)
J. W. Vigrass took this picture looking out the front window of a northbound North Shore Line train approaching Armitage in July 1960, near the north portal to the State Street Subway.
J. W. Vigrass shot this photo of the Red Arrow operating along West Chester Pike on May 29, 1954. Much of the line was single track, and here we are at a passing siding.
On August 4, 1955, a westbound Garfield Park “L” train of 4000s ascends the ramp up to the “L” near Van Buren and Mozart (just west of California Avenue). East of here, the Garfield Park temporary trackage ran in the south half of Van Buren. Here, you can see the streetcar tracks in Van Buren, last used in 1951. (William C. Hoffman Photo)
The same location today.
This started out as an Anscocolor slide, but there was so little color left in it that I had no choice but to convert it to black-and-white. This is the view looking west from the Racine “L” station, on the Met main line, on February 26, 1954, showing a three-point switch leading to the Throop Street Shops, which would be demolished within a few months. While Garfield Park trains no longer took this path, Douglas Park trains still did, until April 1954, when that line was re-routed downtown via the Lake Street “L”. (William C. Hoffman Photo)
William C. Hoffman took this photo of what was then a new illuminated sign in the State Street Subway on March 6, 1955.
This Clark Frazier photo of San Francisco Muni “Iron Monster” 207 was processed in March 1958, which is about when Kodak started date-stamping slide mounts. This is surely among the last photos of this car in service. 207 has just changed ends in a then-new wye at the end of the M line.
A two-car CTA Garfield Park “L” train stops at Tripp Avenue on March 11, 1956. This was one of the stations that was not in the way of expressway construction, and continued in service until June 21, 1958, when the new Congress rapid transit line opened. These cars were part of the first group of 4000s built by the Cincinnati Car Company circa 1915. The center doors were never used in service and were blocked off. The head car is 4238. (William C. Hoffman Photo)
A Chicago Surface Lines bus stop sign in Chicago’s Loop on July 18, 1951. Interestingly, the late Jeff Wien had just such a sign in his collection. Not sure if it is an original or a copy, though.
I assume this is Altoona & Logan Valley car 62 in the early 1950s. Not sure what the two former railroad coaches are at left, repurposed after their retirement.
Again, I assume this is Altoona & Logan Valley. Cars 70 and 72 meet, and both are Osgood Bradley “Electromobiles” from 1930. Hardly any of these types of cars have survived.
Altoona & Logan Valley 72 at an unknown location.
Here, CTA 4000s are heading west on Van Buren Street temporary trackage on April 14, 1957. We are looking to the northwest, and the photographer was riding in a Douglas Park “L” train along Paulina. Douglas trains ran here from 1954-58, and do so now, as part of the rechristened CTA Pink Line.
While not the sharpest picture, this does show one of the two Liberty Liners (former North Shore Line Electroliners) on the Norristown line on January 26, 1964, their debut just one year after the demise of the Chicago North Shore & Milwaukee. The bridge crosses the Schuylkill River.
Another Red Arrow photo along West Chester Pike, taken on May 29, 1954 by J. W. Vigrass.
A southbound Bullet car at Bryn Mawr station in August 1961, on the Norristown line. (G. H. Landau Photo)
The entrance to the high point of the Angel’s Flight Railway, a funicular on the side of a hill in Los Angeles, prior to when this operation was closed in 1969, dismantled, and put into storage for many years. It has since been relocated and reopened. This hill was a victim of a redevelopment project.
This undated photo of North Shore Line train 172 in Waukegan must have been taken prior to this line’s abandonment in July 1955.
The view looking west from the Western Avenue “L” station on the Garfield Park “L” on August 19, 1953. (William C. Hoffman Photo)
On August 19, 1953, an eastbound five-car Garfield Park “L” train approaches the Western Avenue station, just out of view to the right. The area had been cleared for construction of the Congress Expressway. The excavated area has filled up with rain. (William C. Hoffman Photo)
On July 2, 1950, a westbound single-car Garfield Park “L” train is near California Avenue. Soon this entire area would be cleared out to make way for the Congress Expressway. (William C. Hoffman Photo)
It’s October 20, 1953, and we are looking west from the Marshfield station on the Metropolitan main line. The Garfield Park “L” tracks west of here are out of service and the tracks have already been removed. The platform at right had been used by the Chicago Aurora & Elgin interurban, and the sign advertising that has been covered up. (William C. Hoffman Photo)
On November 10, 1953, this is the view looking west from Marshfield. The Garfield Park “L” structure has already been removed to some extent west of here, due to construction of the Congress Expressway. The Douglas Park “L” was still using the old structure east of here, and would continue to do so until April 1954, when a new connection to the Lake Street “L” was finished. The Douglas Park “L” tracks here go off to the left. The new connection, going north-south, spans the width of the highway and connects to the “L” structure that had been used by Logan Square and Humboldt Park trains until 1951. (William C. Hoffman Photo)
The view looking west from the former Western Avenue station on the Garfield Park “L” on October 16, 1953. The “L” tracks have already been removed and demolition of the station would follow shortly. The last train ran on this structure (in one direction) on September 27. (William C. Hoffman Photo)
A North Shore Line fantrip train on February 19, 1961. Not sure of the location, or who the conductor is at left.
This undated photo by the late Mel Bernero was taken at the old CTA Logan Square terminal, looking east.
This shows the Garfield Park “L” station at Oak Park Avenue, before the construction of the Congress (now Eisenhower) Expressway. The view looks to the northeast. The buildings just to the north are still there.
I found a description of this photo online: “This real photograph postcard was taken on July 4, 1910, near the Methodist Church on Franklin Avenue in Valparaiso, Indiana. This public gathering commemorated the first run of the Valparaiso & Northern Railway interurban on the new line running from Valparaiso northward to Flint Lake. The first interurban left Valparaiso at 9:00 am in charge of Conductor C. C. Metsker. Valparaiso Mayor William F. Spooner, Valparaiso City Clerk Clem Helm, and other local notables were passengers on the inaugural sixteen minute, three mile trip to Flint Lake. An engine operated by Frank Chowdrey, hooked to two flat cars with seats and decked out in flags and bunting, followed the interurban to Flint Lake. A total of 3,500 passengers were transported to Flint Lake that inaugural day for the festivities. Incorporated in August 1908, the Valparaiso & Northern Railway construction was financed by citizens of Valparaiso and outside investors; the railway was to become one of the feeder lines the the Chicago-New York Electric Air Line Railroad. A section between Chesterton and Goodrum, located just north of Woodville, was completed and put into service on February 18, 1911. The section between Flint Lake and Woodville was completed on October 7, 1911; between February and October of 1911, a bus was used to transport passengers between Goodrum and Flint Lake. Complete interurban through service between Chesterton, Valparaiso, and LaPorte was possible after a bridge was constructed over the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad on February 17, 1912. Interurban service to Valparaiso ceased on October 23, 1938, largely due to the increasing use of automobiles, an improved highway system, and the financial depression.”
This is a nice picture of the South Shore illustration that became a rallying cry in the mid-to-late 1970s, when the interurban was threatened with extinction.
I think this slide, taken in October 1953, is misidentified. It shows car 2851 at the head of a Garfield Park “L” train, but identifies the location as Laramie. There was no such wooden or steel “L” structure there. What seems more likely is, this is an eastbound train going down the ramp just west of California Avenue, approaching the temporary ground-level trackage that Garfield used from 1953-58. There is no expressway at left because it hadn’t been built yet.
CTA 6574-6573 at the DesPlaines Avenue terminal in Forest Park on August 14, 1964. The tracks are in the same location today, but the terminal was replaced in the 1980s and the area around it was dug out. We are looking to the northwest. Those silos at rear are long gone.
SEPTA car 18, signed for Media, is at the 69th Street Terminal on a snowy night in February 1973.
North Shore Line 712 and train on the Mundelein branch on July 29, 1962, signed for Chicago. That must be 775 behind 712.
This photo came without any identification, but it shows the CTA off-street loop at Halsted near 79th Street, some time after buses replaced streetcars on Route 8 in 1954. Andre Kristopans: “Bus at 79th Halsted terminal is a 42B South Halsted, arriving from 127th Street. The bus facing other direction is an 8 or a 42 northbound.” Route 42 was discontinued in 1993, upon the opening of the new Orange Line rapid transit route.
North Shore Line car 732 is northbound at Dempster Street, Skokie (originally called Niles Center) at an apparently early date, considering how few buildings are present. Don’s Rail Photos: “732 was built by Cincinnati Car Co in 1926, #2890. It was modernized in 1939.”
Toonerville Trolley Celebration in Pelham, NY
There was an actual railfan comic strip in the daily papers during the first half of the 20th Century– Fontaine Fox’s Toonerville Trolley.
It was inspired by an actual trolley in Pelham, NY. Author Blake A. Bell was until recently the Pelham town historian, and has written extensively about the cartoon’s connections to that area in suburban New York City.
The Toonerville Trolley met all the trains, and its inspiration ran to the New Haven Railroad station. It is said that the cartoon “Skipper” was inspired by longtime Pelham trolley operator James Bailey.
On July 31, 1937, Fox staged an event, attended by hundreds of people, to commemorate the end of trolley service in Pelham. The local streetcars did not resemble the cartoon one enough, so a small Birney car was brought over from another property to serve as the “Toonerville Trolley” for this occasion.
We recently acquired several photos from this event. The nattily dressed man in one picture is Fontaine Fox himself.
Cartoonist Fontaine Fox (1884-1964) in 1911.
From the Collections of William Shapotkin
CTA 5532 is southbound on Paulina, running on Route 9 – Ashland. In the background, we see the Marshfield “L” station on the Metropolitan main line. This was where all the Met lines diverged, going to Logan Square, Humboldt Park, Garfield Park, and Douglas Park. There was also a platform for the Chicago Aurora & Elgin interurban, seen at rear. As you can see at right, some clearing has already been done for the Congress Expressway. (William Shapotkin Collection)
CTA work car W-205 at 77th and Vincennes in January 1951. (William Shapotkin Collection)
While the caption on this photo erroneously says it is Gary, Indiana, it is actually East Chicago instead. The date given is October 1953. The location is much the same as in some of the other South Shore black-and-white photos in this post (Chicago Street near Magoun Avenue). Note the same stores across the street. (William Shapotkin Collection)
CTA trolley bus 9588 is southbound on Pulaski at Grand Avenue on March 12, 1973, not long before the end of electric bus service. Jimmy’s Red Hots is at left. (William Shapotkin Collection)
Brand new CTA 2414 is at Rockville (MD?) on March 19, 1977. It’s part of the 2400-series, built by Boeing-Vertol. (R. Anastasio Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)
CTA 6027 is at Kedzie and 33rd in April 1949. (William Shapotkin Collection)
Chicago Surface Lines 2821 and 2818 at 111th and Halsted in 1944. (William Shapotkin Collection)
CTA one-man streetcar 3220 is at 67th and South Shore Drive in June 1952, running on Route 67. (William Shapotkin Collection)
CTA 3238 at 67th and Lake Shore Drive (also known as South Shore Drive here) in May 1950. Note the same ice cream stand as in shapotkin116. (William Shapotkin Collection)
CTA 6207 is at an unknown location, while a postwar PCC turns in the background. The red car is signed for Route 93. Jon Habermaas says the “location is 95th Street west of State Street showing the west end of the 93/95 route. PCC in background is a Broadway-State car turning north on to State after a short jog on 95th from Michigan Ave route segment from 119th Street.” (William Shapotkin Collection)
CTA 6182 at Lawrence and Clark in March 1950. (William Shapotkin Collection)
CTA 653, signed to head south on Route 8 – Halsted. (William Shapotkin Collection)
CTA 6031, with no route sign visible. (William Shapotkin Collection)
CTA 551. Michael Franklin writes, “This is looking south on State Street from Roosevelt Road. (The) building with round arches is still standing.” (William Shapotkin Collection)
The info on the slide mount says this is CTA 6153 at 47th and Indiana in June 1949. However, the car is signed for Route 28. Kevin Doerksen says this is “actually 47th and Cottage Grove, NE corner. The old bank building is still there.” (William Shapotkin Collection)
It’s not clear to me just where this picture was taken, but at least I can say that it is Ashland Car Works slide #820. (William Shapotkin Collection)
This is slide #814 from Ashland Car Works, and shows wooden “L” cars running along Van Buren street downtown. The photographer was most likely standing on the platform at Franklin and Van Buren. The view looks east, and that’s Tower 12 at right. The tracks and structure west of Van Buren and Wells were replaced in 1955 by a new connection, running through the former Well Street Terminal, just north of here. The tower, “L” structure, and the Franklin Street station were all removed shortly thereafter. (William Shapotkin Collection)
This is an image we have most likely run before, but it never hurts to see it again. It shows one of the original 5000-series “L” trains, which were numbered 5001-5004, heading west along the Metropolitan main line just west of the Chicago River. The train is passing over the south train platforms at Union Station. This is slide #812 from Ashland Car Works (put out by the late Jack Bailey) if that helps. (William Shapotkin Collection)
1973 Trolley Bus Fantrip
These images, also from Bill Shapotkin‘s collection, are from a CTA trolley bus fantrip at night, that took place on March 31, 1973.
Keep those cards and letters coming in, folks!
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. Order Our New Book Building Chicago’s Subways There were three subway anniversaries in 2018 in Chicago: 60 years since the West Side Subway opened (June 22, 1958) 75 years since the State Street Subway opened (October 17, 1943) 80 years since subway construction started (December 17, 1938) To commemorate these anniversaries, we have written a new book, Building Chicago’s Subways. While the elevated Chicago Loop is justly famous as a symbol of the city, the fascinating history of its subways is less well known. The City of Chicago broke ground on what would become the “Initial System of Subways” during the Great Depression and finished 20 years later. This gigantic construction project, a part of the New Deal, would overcome many obstacles while tunneling through Chicago’s soft blue clay, under congested downtown streets, and even beneath the mighty Chicago River. Chicago’s first rapid transit subway opened in 1943 after decades of wrangling over routes, financing, and logistics. It grew to encompass the State Street, Dearborn-Milwaukee, and West Side Subways, with the latter modernizing the old Garfield Park “L” into the median of Chicago’s first expressway. Take a trip underground and see how Chicago’s “I Will” spirit overcame challenges and persevered to help with the successful building of the subways that move millions. Building Chicago’s subways was national news and a matter of considerable civic pride–making it a “Second City” no more!
Title Building Chicago’s Subways Images of America
Author David Sadowski
Publisher Arcadia Publishing (SC), 2018
ISBN 1467129380, 9781467129381
Length 128 pages Chapter Titles: 01. The River Tunnels 02. The Freight Tunnels 03. Make No Little Plans 04. The State Street Subway 05. The Dearborn-Milwaukee Subway 06. Displaced 07. Death of an Interurban 08. The Last Street Railway 09. Subways and Superhighways 10. Subways Since 1960 Building Chicago’s Subways is in stock and now available for immediate shipment. Order your copy today! All copies purchased through The Trolley Dodger will be signed by the author. The price of $23.99 includes shipping within the United States. For Shipping to US Addresses: For Shipping to Canada: For Shipping Elsewhere:
Redone tile at the Monroe and Dearborn CTA Blue Line subway station, showing how an original sign was incorporated into a newer design, May 25, 2018. (David Sadowski Photo) Help Support The Trolley Dodger
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A remarkable photograph, this shows a group of early Chicago streetcar conductors and motormen, some displaying the tools of their trade (controller handles and switch irons). I am sure it was a tough job, and they look like a bunch of tough men. While Chicago’s population has always been diverse, integration did not come to their ranks until October 1943, thanks in part to wartime manpower shortages. (And I do mean “manpower,” since the CTA did not hire its first female bus driver until 1974.) I am wondering if this photo shows employees of the Chicago City Railway. If anyone can shed light on this photo, please let us know.
Lately, we have been hard at work on our upcoming book Chicago Trolleys. Meanwhile, new images have been piling up. It’s about time we started sharing them with you. Today’s batch is just the “tip of the iceberg,” so to speak.
The group picture above is just such an image. It came to us by way of a very large 11″ x 14″ negative. This in itself is rather remarkable. It was too big to scan all at once, but necessity is the mother of invention.
I scanned the image in quarters, and then discovered free software from Microsoft that flawlessly “stitched” the four back together. As old as this negative seems to be, it may not be the original. I have a feeling this neg was made from a glass plate.
Glass plate negatives are fragile, and there was some damage to the image, which I corrected using Photoshop. This took many hours of work, but the results speak for themselves. Chances are, this picture was taken between 1895 and 1915.
There are eight million stories in Railfan City.
Here is how the image originally looked, before I spent several hours eliminating the scratch using Photoshop.
The man in the middle not only has pointy shoes, but holds a switch iron.
Note the controller handle.
Perhaps this badge may offer a clue as to which private operator these men may have worked for. One of our readers thinks the badge might say “C & S C,” which could stand for the Calumet and South Chicago Railway Company, which was formed in 1908 through a merger of the South Chicago City Railway Co., and Calumet Electric Street Railway Co. It operated on the far south side of Chicago. In 1914, it became one of the underlying companies that formed the Chicago Surface Lines. Of course, it’s pretty hard to make out. On the other hand, James Fahlstedt writes: “My take on the hat badge is that it reads CCSR. For what it is worth, it is put on the hat with and band or strap rather than fastened directly to the hat with split pins or similar device. The thing that I do not understand is that it is a metal badge. My CCR badge is leather. Could it read CGSR? Another thing I noticed is that there is something on the left side of the badge on the same line as the mystery letters that is totally illegible. Is a puzzlement.” CCSR probably stands for Chicago City Street Railway. Perhaps the mystery has been solved.
CTA PCC 7256 heads south on State Street at Van Buren in the 1950s.
This mid-1950s view of PCC 4406 is at Clark and Birchwood, it having just left Howard Street, north end of Route 22.
CTA trolley bus 9193 on a March 2, 1958 Omnibus Society of America fantrip, at Kedzie Garage. Andre Kristopans: “This is in BACK of Kedzie, facing south. The wire came in off Kedzie between the carhouse and the washhouse, looped around in back and split into the three wired bays.”
CTA Marmon-Herrington trolley bus 9737 heads east at Lawrence and Austin in August 1969. (Gerald H. Landau Photo)
On January 1, 1954, eastbound CTA 1769 turns from Pine onto Lake Street, crossing the Lake Street “L” at grade. Streetcars were replaced by buses on May 30 that same year.
CTA Pullman PCC 4169 at the south end of Route 36 – Broadway-State, near 119th and Morgan, probably in the early 1950s. (Eugene Van Dusen Photo)
Passengers get off CTA trolley bus 9514, which is heading eastbound on Roosevelt at State in April 1964. The Roosevelt Road station on the South Side “L” was closed as of January 1963, when the North Shore Line quit. From 1949-63, NSL had exclusive use as N-S trains were routed through the State Street subway. These tracks were put back into regular service in 1969, with the opening of the Dan Ryan line, but the station was demolished and was not replaced by a new one until 1993, with the opening of the Orange Line.
Roosevelt and State today.
This photo shows the Kilbourn station on the Garfield Park “L” around 1954. By then, the station had been closed, and the stairways removed, in order to reduce running time due to the slow 2.5 mile temporary trackage at ground level east of Sacramento. The two-car train of CTA 4000s is about to cross the Congress Expressway, but the highway does not appear to be open yet. The “L” tracks were higher than normal at this location to cross railroad tracks just west of here. The line was relocated into the expressway median in 1958.
The CRT 42nd Place Yard, the end of the line for the Kenwood “L” branch, probably in the late 1920s.
The Stock Yards “L” branch, looking east to Exchange, as it appeared on June 7, 1927.
The North Side “L”, looking south from Montrose. On the right, you see the ramp leading down to the Buena Yard.
CRT trailer 3237, possibly at Skokie Shops.
CA&E 315 at an unknown location.
Chicago, Aurora & Elgin cars 407 and 432 at the Forest Park terminal in September 1955. CA&E service was cut back to here two years earlier. 407 was a Pullman, built in 1923, while 432 was a 1927 product of the Cincinnati Car Company. Riders could change here “cross platform” for CTA Garfield Park “L” trains.
CTA PCC 4265, a Pullman product, heads north on State at Lake circa 1948, while Alfred Hitchcock’s film Rope plays at the State-Lake Theater. This has since been converted into production facilities for WLS-TV.
Here is a nice side view of CSL 4005 at Kedzie Station (car barn). At this time, the 83 Prewar PCCs were assigned to Route 20 – Madison.
Faced with a manpower shortage during World War II, some transit lines hired female operators (although the Chicago Surface Lines did not). Here, we see Mrs. Cleo Rigby (left) and Mrs. Katherine Tuttle training in North Chicago on June 25, 1943. That would be for the North Shore Line’s city streetcar operations, which were mainly in Waukegan.
A northbound two-car Evanston shuttle train is held up momentarily at Howard in the 1950s, as track work is going on up ahead. The rear car is 1766. Don’s Rail Photos says, “1756 thru 1768 were built by Jewett Car in 1903 as Northwestern Elevated Railway 756 thru 768. They were renumbered 1756 thru 1768 in 1913 and became CRT 1756 thru 1768 in 1923.” Wood cars last ran on Evanston in 1957. Notice that the station is also being painted.
CTA postwar PCC 4404 is heading south, turning from Archer onto Wentworth on June 20, 1958, the last full day of streetcar service in Chicago. This was the last photo of a Chicago streetcar taken by the late Bob Selle.
A close-up of the previous photo shows some evidence of Bondo-type patch work on 4404.
CTA 7051 is southbound at State and Delaware on route 36 Broadway-State in the early 1950s. We ran another picture taken at this location in our post Recent Finds, Part 2 (December 12, 2016), showing a PCC going the other way. (Walter Hulseweder Photo)
The controller car of CTA Red Pullman 144, as it looked on a mid-1950s fantrip. This car is preserved at the Illinois Railway Museum. (Chuck Wlodarczyk Photo)
CTA Red Pullman 225 at 77th and Vincennes on a mid-1950s fantrip. This car is preserved at Seashore Trolley Museum in Maine. (Chuck Wlodarczyk Photo)
CTA Red Pullman 445 is on Route 21 – Cermak circa 1950. Behind it, you see the Lakeside Diner and Boulevard Buick, the latter located at 230 E. Cermak. Today, this is near the location of McCormick Place.
CTA Red Pullman 104 is at Cermak and Prairie, east end of Route 21. This was just a few blocks away from Kodak’s Prairie Avenue processing plant, located at 1712 S. Prairie Avenue. Many a railfan’s Kodachrome slides were developed and mounted there, until the facility closed in the mid-1980s. You can read more about it here. The landmark R.R. Donnelley and Sons Co. Calumet Plant, also known as the Lakeside Plant, is at rear. The plant closed in 1993, after Sears discontinued their catalog, and the building is now used as a data center.
CSL “Big” Pullman 183 is eastbound on Roosevelt at Ashland on January 15, 1937, while 5502, an Ashland car, is turning west onto Roosevelt to jog over to Paulina. That’s Immanuel Lutheran Church in the background.
CTA 7238 on State street in the early 1950s. The clock at right belongs to C. D. Peacock jewelers, a Chicago institution since 1837. (Water Hulseweder Photo)
Chicago, South Shore & South Bend car 31 and train at Wilson, Indiana, on an early CERA fantrip (possibly September 20, 1942). Mitch adds, “The photo of the South Shore Line fan trip, 1942 in this episode of “The Trolley Dodger,” appears to be at Power Siding, between Sheridan and the Highway 12 crossing west of Michigan City.”
Here, we see a rare shot of a CSL trolley bus on North Avenue in 1940. While route 72 – North was not converted to trolley bus until July 3, 1949, there was wire between the garage near Cicero Avenue and Narragansett. TBs ran on Narragansett until 1953, when route 86 was combined with the one-mile extension of North between Narragansett and Harlem. This TB is signed for route 76 (Diversey), which used TBs until 1955. The destination sign also says North-Lamon, site of the garage, but the slope of the street would indicate the bus is actually heading west. There is TB wire special work turning off to the right in the background, perhaps indicating that the bus has just left the garage. Andre Kristopans: “I THINK WB about Lavergne, pulling out.” There would be streetcar tracks on this section. Andre again: “There are car tracks. You can barely see a couple of hangers to the right of the bus. North Av is very wide at this point, almost 6 lanes, and TT’s did not share wire.”
North Shore Line wood car 300, during its time as the Central Electric Railfans’ Association club car, probably circa 1939-40.
Don’s Rail Photos says, “300 thru 302 were built by Jewett in 1909 as mainline coaches. As the steel cars arrived, they were downgraded to local and school tripper service. In 1936 they became sleet cutters. In 1939 300 was turned over to the Central Electric Railfans Association as a private car. The ownership remained with the CNS&M, but the maintenance was taken over by CERA. During the war, with many members in service, CERA relinquished control, and the car was scrapped in 1947. 301 and 302 were retired in 1939 and scrapped in 1940.”
Perhaps someone can help us identify the location of car 300, somewhere along the Shore Line Route.
A rear view of two Lehigh Valley Transit ex-Cincinnati & Lake Erie “Red Devils” shows how their squared-off ends were not designed for multiple-unit operation. By comparison, car 1030, adapted from Indiana Railroad car 55, had a rounded end and was designed for multiple unit operation. Presumably, this is the Fairview car barn in Allentown. Liberty Bell Limited interurban service ended in 1951.
Jack Bejna writes:
Hi Dave, here’s a few more of my CA&E images. All of these shots were cleaned up with Photoshop.
Here’s a head-on shot of CA&E cars 48 (Stephenson 1902) & 316 (Jewett 1913).
CA&E 30, my shot near the shops circa 1955.
CA&E 18 looking good in this shot.
A train of the first cars with just the top of the old dispatcher tower in the background.
Here is an image of the old tower, just about the only one from this angle.
This is my shot of the new Dispatchers tower, circa 1955.
Here’s one more that I think you’ll like. It looks like CA&E 310 (Hicks 1908) just came out of the paint shop, and boy did they do a nice job!
One more for you that I completed this morning. It’s CA&E 319 (Jewett 1914) heading a line of cars. I got the original from Hicks Car Works, which is the JJ collection. It was a really bad picture and it took about 4 hours to complete.
James Fahlstedt writes:
I just recently discovered your blog and really enjoy it. First of all, I do not know much regarding Chicago traction, but have always been a fan. I love the city, I loved the interurbans (I was fortunate to have ridden all three of the big ones) and I even love the buses. I have made a small purchase of your books and videos and plan to buy more as my finances allow.
Second, I like the way those who know things seem to be willing to share their knowledge. I firmly believe that knowledge is something to be shared, not hidden.
Third, I like that the photos on the blog are of a sufficient resolution that they can actually be seen and enjoyed.
Anyway, if I know anything appropriate, I will pitch in.
Great, thanks! Glad you like the site.
Eric Miller writes:
I am looking for a photographer named C. Scholes to return some photo prints.
We posted a 1952 photo by a C. R. Scholes in One Good Turn (January 20, 2017). That’s all the information we have. Perhaps one of our readers can help further, thanks.
Mr. Miller replies:
That would be great!
Here are some shots of “Betty” making the rounds in Uptown, Dallas for you.
(Editor’s note: This is the the McKinney Avenue trolley, aka the M-Line.)
Scans of several new publications have been added to our E-book Chicago’s PCC Streetcars: The Rest of the Story, available in our Online Store. These include:
Surface Service (CSL employee magazine), February 1942, March 1942, July 1943, June 1945, and June 1946
CTA brochure advertising National Transportation Week, May 1960
Hi-res scan of 1957 CTA Annual Report
Gorilla My Dreams
While this isn’t transit related, I figured our readers might enjoy seeing these pictures, which show a publicity float for the 1949 film Mighty Joe Young. This was a sort-of remake of King Kong, which reunited much of the same creative team involved with the 1933 original, including Merian C. Cooper, Ernest B. Schoedsack, Robert Armstrong. Ruth Rose, Marcel Delgado, and Willis O’Brien. If anyone knows where this parade may have taken place, please let me know.
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CTA 1758 at Randolph and Clark in the 1950s, with the Woods Theater in the background. It closed in 1989. “The Beauty and the Outlaw,” playing at the Woods, is more typically known as Ride, Vaquero!. This western starred Robert Taylor and Ava Gardner and was released on July 15, 1953, which helps date the photo.
As we work hard to finish our new book Chicago Trolleys, we thought we would take this opportunity to share some interesting images that our readers recently shared with us. Most of these are from a single individual who would prefer to remain anonymous.
Many of these are slides that were sold by the late Jack Bailey, under the name Ashland Car Works. Mr. Bailey also sold models using the ACW brand name.
The collector who shared these purchased most of the black-and-white prints from Downtown Hobby, which is now called Chicagoland Hobby.
That doesn’t tell you who took the pictures, in most cases, but that is where they came from.
We thank everyone for their contributions.
CTA PCCs 7070 and 7168 at Clark and Howard, the north end of route 22 – Clark-Wentworth, in the 1950s. (Ashland Car Works)
A CTA Sedan at 115th adn St. Lawrence, near the south end of the Cottage Grove line.
CTA PCC 4019 heads east on 63rd Place private right-of-way in 1949. This is a completely built up residential area today.
Patrick wirites,”CTA 1733 is actually on 25th Street east of Laramie. Ogden is a diagonal street and the street is too narrow for Cermak. The bank building seen over the top of 1733 is still there.” This would be the west end of route 58 – Ogden.
Andre Kristopans: “Re 723 at ‘Pulaski and North’ – no way. However, look carefully at the front truck of 723. It is not following the curve to its right, but is turning left. Seems like we are looking east on Harrison at Halsted and that is a Blue Island car about to go down Blue Island Av. That was a very awkward intersection before Circle Campus street realignments.”
CTA 7260 at 119th and Morgan. One of our regular readers writes, “I seem to recall that this photo was taken by Bill Janssen on December 4, 1955, the last day (early morning) that route 36 Broadway-State still existed. It is a Broadway-State car laying over, waiting to head north to Clark and Schreiber. It is not Broadway and Ardmore.” We were only going by what was written on the slide, which appears to be in error, thanks. This picture appears to be a time exposure (see the light streaking at right). My guess is that the photographer had his camera on a tripod, and used an exposure time of a few seconds for each picture.
CTA 4408 is southbound on Clark at Lake Street.
CTA 653 is northbound on Dearborn.
CTA 144 on a fantrip at Broadway and Ardmore, with a PCC behind.
The view looking north from State and Van Buren in the 1950s.
CTA 7193 heads south on State Street in the 1950s.
CTA 7192 northbound on Dearborn, after both Clark and Dearborn were converted to one-way streets.
CTA 7175 is westbound and Polk and Dearborn.
CTA 7210, southbound at Clark and Van Buren.
CMC GM bus 624 on route 34 – Diversey in the early 1950s. The fare at this time was 13 cents.
Chicago Motor Coach bus 1281, newly painted, at Wilcox garage on May 11, 1946. The CMC assets were purchased by the Chicago Transit Authority on October 1, 1952. Route 26 – Jackson became CTA route 126.
CMC double-decker 146 in July 1936.
CMC double-decker 146 in the 1930s.
CMC Mack bus 1005, eastbound on Addison near Wrigley Field. Andre Kristopans: “Cmc Mack was built in 1951.”
In this tricked-up photo, we see a GM demo bus, the design of which eventually became the 500 series, at an unidentified location (not Chicago) circa 1950. George Trapp adds, “The bus is the GM Model TDH5502 Demo which became Chicago Motor Coach #500 in 1951. This bus may have been the first paired window version of the Yellow/GM so called “Old Look” buses. It differed somewhat from the production buses #501-600 delivered from Oct. – Dec. 1948. The demo lacks the “Michigan marker lights” front and rear and has two rectangular shaped vents between the headlights which the 501-600 lacked. The CMC TDH5103’s 601-650 of 1950 and 651-700 of late 1951 as well as Fifth Avenue Coach TDH-5104’s of 1952 also lacked them.” Dan Cluely adds, “I believe that the demo bus picture is downtown Pontiac MI. The S.S. Kresge store seem to match, and this would only be a short distance from GM’s bus plant.”
Fifth Avenue Coach Company (NYC) double-decker 2030.
CSL gas bus #1 in the 1930s.
A CTA Lawrence Avenue trolley bus turning from Leland onto Broadway in the 1950s. This is how Lawrence TBs looped at the east end of the route. Notice the trolley bu wires were not shared with Broadway streetcars. (Gary Johnson Photo)
The famous Norfolk and Western Class J steam engine 611. Retired in 1959, and resurrected 21 years later, the 611 has three excursions planned for this April.
Illinois Terminal double-end PCC on the St. Louis-Granite City route.
CTA’s historical cars 4271-4272, now 95 years young.
1898 – General Electric and the forerunner to the Chicago Transit Authority make history with the world’s first electric multiple-unit cars. That must be inventor Frank Julian Sprague at the front of the car.
In 1972, CTA 4358 emerged as rail grinder S-I “Shhhicago.” Don’s Rail Photos: “4358 was built by Cincinnati Car in 1924, (order) #2860.”
A CTA wooden “L” car, signed as a Lake Street “B” train.
The Lake Street Elevated Railroad in the 1890s, when it was steam-powered.