June 15, 2015

North Side Transits

Public & Private Transportation: 
the bike/car/bus/streetcar & elevated
'Nocturne Railway Crossing Chicago 1893' by Childe Hassam 
via William Voegeli/Forgotten Chicago Discussion Group
 postcard - Ebay
State Street via Devon/Clark 

either at the 'City Limits Garage' or the garage on Devon
 This post is related to Transport Lake View and another post called North Shore at Belmont. This particular post is a tale 
of the northward expansion of transportation in both the City of Chicago and the former Township/City of Lake View. 
Vintage Tracks Discovered 
In 2019 during street repairs at 2810 N Lincoln Avenue 
streetcar rails were discovered
image below - CTA 2019 calendar/October
A View into the Past
The Road to Green Bay
by Ray Noesen
published by Edgewater Historical Society in 1999
The imagination is strained to picture Clark Street two-hundred or even one-hundred years ago. Much of the terrain as well as the function of the road has changed. As one of the oldest roads in Chicago, it has gone from a narrow meandering trail traversed by Indians and European traders to a bustling thoroughfare. Straightened out, paved, lit by overhead electrical fixtures and flanked on either side by commercial enterprises, Clark Street travels through any number of developed settlement areas that were built and have survived as a direct result of this ancient road.
It was retreating glaciers that caused the area’s ridge formations which became the route of Indian trails and, later, highways. As the ice sheet retreated irregularly, it occasionally paused long enough to permit shore currents in the lakes formed by the melted ice to create spits, bars, and beaches. In later times, these sandy strips were the only well-drained ground in the spring, and the Indians used them for overland travel when the surrounding area was water logged.1 As with most early diagonal trails and roads, Green Bay Road followed the glacial ridges, or other high ground, because it was less susceptible to being washed out by mud and flooding. Today Clark Street and Ridge Avenue remain positioned along the geographical inheritance. 
The Native American Trail
map - Chicago History Museum via WTTW
There were many thoroughfares that played an important role in the development of Chicago. The Indian, like his European successor, originally had a choice of routes by which to travel to his chosen destination. Roads to the south linked the trading post, and later the city, with eastern centers. Roads that led westward sought Galena as a terminating point where the Galena and Chicago railroad linked Chicago with the eastern portion of the United States. In contrast, the objective of the ancient highway leading north had Green Bay as its terminus where Fort Howard was an important trading post. 
illustration - Chicago’s Highway: Old and New
Green Bay, Wisconsin, as well as Chicago, Illinois, were important areas first to the Indians and later to the European settlers. To the Indians, Green Bay and Chicago were trading areas within the Great Lakes region. Both were portages between Lake Michigan and river systems, making them natural trading centers. In the era of European and American settlement, these two trading posts were marked by forts. In Chicago it was Fort Dearborn and in Green Bay it was 
Fort Howard. To move from area to area the Indians established connecting trails between the two cities. 
The Europeans, mostly French and German, adopted and developed them for their own use. Andrew J. Vieau, whose father came as a trader to Milwaukee in 1795, referring to the road between Green Bay and Milwaukee in 1837, writes: “This patch was originally an Indian trail and very crooked but the whites would straightened it by cutting across lots each winter with their jumpers, wearing bare streaks through the thin covering, to be followed in the summer by foot and horse back travel along the shortened path.” A jumper was the type of sled known as a French train, consisting of a box some six feet long and three feet wide, which was drawn over the surface of the snow.
map - existing routes in 1850 
The Green Bay Trail began in Chicago with two alternative routes, each of which gave rise, in the period of European settlement, to an important highway. The first, which is the one more commonly identified with Green Bay road, started at the north end of the Michigan Boulevard bridge and ran north along the height of land between the lake shore and the North Branch of the river. The route led north on Rush Street as far as Chicago Avenue and from there northwesterly for a mile to the intersection of Clark Street and North Avenue. In the earlier life of the city this diagonal path was represented by a road, but modern city building pays little heed to the preservation of Indian trails, and all traces of this diagonal path has long since disappeared. Professor Halsey, an industrious historian of Lake County, recorded in 1860 that he lived at the south end of this diagonal, and it was then and for several years afterward known as the Green Bay Road. Continuing northwest, the trail kept inland from the lake some distance, coming in sight of it between Chicago and Milwaukee only at Gross Point (now part of Eanston). It passes Waukegan three miles inland, Kenosha five miles, and Racine about the same distance. 
illustration - Chicago’s Highway: Old and New
In 1831, a post office was established in Chicago and for some time cities for 50 miles around became tributary to Chicago for its postal facilities. It wasn’t until the middle 1830’s that settlers in any numbers began to turn their attention to the wooded area to the north of the city. 
The primary use of the Green Bay road during the pioneer days of Chicago was as a mail route between the two forts and it is here where most of our information about the conditions of this road are gathered. 
Instances of northern settlement can be observed as early as the 1820’s. A mail route between the military posts at Green Bay and Chicago, over which a carrier passed once a month, was in use as early as 1825. The earliest descriptions of travel over the road, known as Green Bay Trail, are from the narratives of the mail carriers who, before the coming of the settlers, traversed the wilderness between Fort Howard in Green Bay, Wisconsin and Fort Dearborn in Chicago. John H. Fonda, with his French Canadian companion, Boiseley, “ran the mail” between these two forts in the winter of 1826. 
According to a book called Chicago’s Highway: Old and New, Fonda was garbed in a smoke-tanned buckskin hunting shirt, trimmed leggings of the same material, a wolf-skin chapeau with the animal’s tail still attached, and moccasins of elk-hide. He carried a heavenly mountaineer’s rifle with shortened barrel and a strap attached so that it could be slung over his back. A powder horn hung by a strap from his shoulder, while a belt around his waist held a sheath knife and a pair of pistols, in addition to a short-handled axe. Attached to the belt, also, was a pouch of mink-skin in which he carried his rifle bullets. Boiseley was dressed similarly and he had with him a long Indian gun and always carried in his belt a large knife, pistol, and hatchet. Like most of the voyagers he was superstitious, and tied to his horn were several charms which were supposed to possess some mysterious power to preserve the wearer from harm. The most important item of the outfit, however, was the receptacle which contained the mail-a-flat tin box or canister, covered with untanned deer hide. At this time the mail was carried by messenger on foot. Later, stage coach companies competed for business to deliver the mail as well as to transport passengers. For Fonda and Boiseley however, the round trip of nearly 500 miles on foot usually consumed a month, and since the region traversed was an utter wilderness the men were forced to rely entirely upon their own resources. If for any reason the carrier was delayed beyond the expected time, the presumption was that he had been detained by Indians or fallen a victim to starvation. 
illustration - Chicago’s Highway: Old and New
Leaving Green Bay on foot, laden with arms, blankets, and provisions, as well as the mail, the two men traveled the two hundred and fifty miles following the Indian trail leading to Green Bay southeast, passing through dense woods of pine interspersed with cedar swamps and the occasional grove of red oak. Encounters with all kinds of animal life supplied them with food as well a little danger such as the occasional encounter with a wildcat. It can be assumed that given the proximity to the lake of what later became Edgewater, this portion of the area traversed by these two men was primarily prairie land with sand dunes, tall grass, and little in the way of trees except along the river banks. While an abundance of wildlife provided nourishment for the long journey, the real hazards of such a trip were those of the hardships and exposure of wilderness travel. A Canadian half-breed who had frozen his feet while carrying the mail from Green Bay to Chicago became the subject of the first capital surgical operation on record to be performed at Chicago. The incident took place in 1832 and the surgery was conducted by Dr. Elijah Harmon, who has been denominated the “Father of Medicine” in Chicago. The procedure consisted of tying up the man, applying a tourniquet to each lower extremity, and with the aid of rusty instruments, removing one entire foot and a large portion of the other. 
Though Indians during this time period were generally peaceful, they were liable to avenge upon travelers for harm done to them by some other European, creating another problem for the mail carriers. 
Improvements in the road by the military, though slow, made travel on Green Bay Road much easier. 
Improvements of Roadways made for Military Use
illustration - Chicago’s Highway: Old and New
The process of transforming the Green Bay trail into a highway able to accommodate the needs of the European settlers was begun by the federal government. A logical complement to the establishment of garrisons at Chicago, Green Bay, Portage, and Prairie du Chien was the construction of roads to make possible the free movement of troops between points. The first military road in Wisconsin was designed to connect Fort Howard at Green Bay with Fort Winnebago at the Fox-Wisconsin Portage. In 1830, Congress appropriated funds of $2,000 for the purpose of improving this road. However, the work of surveying the area did not begin until October, 1832. The road as surveyed ran up the south side of the Fox and along the east side of Lake Winnebago, the route being identical as far as Fond du Lac with the Indian trail to Milwaukee. The work of improvement chiefly consisted of cutting a narrow track through the forest. Captain Martin Scott had the oversight of the twelve-mile section east of Lake Winnebago. He cut the road straight as an arrow for the entire distance, and this section was long known as “Scott’s straight cut”. 
The road from Chicago to Green Bay dates its beginning from an act of Congress approved June 15, 1832, for the establishment of a post road between these points. A report made to the Secretary of War in October, 1833, states that the funds appropriated had been applied to the purpose intended, while a later report indicates that the survey was completed the following year. Andrea’s History of Chicago states that stakes were driven and blazed along the line, and that as far as Milwaukee the road was “somewhat improved” by cutting out the trees to the width of two rods (33 feet) and laying puncheon and log bridges over the impassable streams. Yet one person who traveled the road in the spring of 1835 relates that from Waukegan to Milwaukee the road was still a primitive Indian trail. Present day single lane roads are thirty-three feet wide and a double lane road measures sixty-six feet wide. With parking not an issue during this time period the thirty-three foot road would have been sufficient for the passage of two truck farming carts or the ability for one to turn around. By 1832, when improvements began on Green Bay Road, farming settlement had already begun in the area covered in this thesis. 
Sometime in the mid-1820’s, a man named John K. Clark, generally known as “Indian Clark,” built a cabin some distance up on the North Branch, at Northfield, a few miles west of where Winnetka now stands, and devoted himself to hunting and horse trading. Archibald Clybourn had a farm and slaughtering establishment about four miles up the North Branch, near the spot now known as Clybourn Junction, and furnished vegetables and meat to the military post at Fort Dearborn. Clybourn’s farm for a long time was the limit of settlement to the north. “Indian Clark” was a half brother of Archibald Clybourn. The name Green Bay Road at a later date changed to Clark Street but is not named after the early settler John K. Clark. It was named after General George Rogers Clark (1752-1818) a revolutionary war hero who captured much of the Northwestern territory including the present state of Illinois from the British. However, Clybourn Street is named after John Clark’s half brother Archibald Clybourn. 
In the 1840’s and 1850’s, traveling on Green Bay Road became more frequent as Europeans immigrating from countries such as Luxembourg and Germany were attracted to the northern area’s good farming soil. Here they could own and cultivate far more land than could ever be possible in their home countries. A few of them settled in the area that is now Edgewater, and as a result Green Bay Road became a truck farming route that led into the South Water Market area of Chicago in near the central city. Green Bay Road at this time was being called a road rather than a trail. As were the majority of the road at this time, Green Bay was still a dirt road. However, travel became easier as Chicago began implementing plank roads.
 Transport by Rail
The Gripman - Chicago Cable Cars, Harper’s Weekly 1893 via Calumet 412
Chicago at one time did claim to have the largest streetcar system in the world, with a fleet of over 3,200 passenger cars and over 1,000 miles of track – a claim backed up in several sources we found. It all started in 1859 with a horse-drawn car running along a single rail track down State Street. By the 1880s, a handful of different streetcar companies were in operation across the city. Gradually, the horse-drawn lines were replaced with cable cars – so called because they hooked to a constantly moving cable underneath the street. Electric streetcars powered by an overhead trolley line gradually replaced the cable cars.
from thetrolleydodger
This Brill is located 'Limits' carbarn once located on 
Clark between Dewey and Wrightwood
1910 photo - Ebay
According to WBEZ, 'a Chicago streetcar was a two-man operation — “man” is appropriate here, since CSL crews were all male. The motorman was the driver. He operated from a standing position at the front of the car. Since his vehicle was on tracks, he didn’t have to worry about steering.
Fares were collected by the conductor. Passengers entered at the rear doors, paid the conductor, and passed into the car. When everyone was aboard, the conductor signaled the motorman by clanging a bell, and off they’d go. Exit doors were in the front. Car stops were indicated by a white band painted around the black pole that supported the trolley wire. Passengers waited on the curb, then walked into the street to board the car when it stopped. Wide streets, like Western Avenue, had safety islands located in the street next to the track.' In 1914, the streetcar companies unified under a new name: Chicago Surface Lines. A nickel would get you a ride to just about anywhere in the city. The advent of affordable automobiles in the 1920's caused streetcar ridership to decline – but streetcar operators weren’t going to just give up. In 1929 they formed the Presidents’ Conference Committee, or PCC, which determined that the way to stop the decline in ridership was to make streetcars as fast, smooth, convenient and comfortable as the family car.
Chicago was chosen as the 'guinea pig' city to test two experimental designs. The winning design became known as the PCC car and was used in cities all over the country. Chicago ordered 600 of them in 1945 and 1946. Here they were nicknamed Green Hornet streetcars because of their speed and the Chicago Surface Lines’ green paint job.
At almost the same time the Chicago Surface Lines and the ‘L’ were consolidated as the CTA – and the CTA’s general manager Walter McCarter wasn’t a fan of streetcars and their unsightly web of overhead wires. He oversaw phasing out streetcars in favor of buses starting in 1947, just a year after the Green Hornets went into service. The last Chicago streetcar click-clacked down Vincennes Avenue on June 21, 1958. There are still lasting vestiges of the streetcar system in Chicago. Many of today’s CTA bus routes and route numbers are the same as they were in the days of streetcars. And as for the tracks – a few of the streets had the tracks pulled up, but most were covered with asphalt and are still in the streets under pavement.
1910 photo below - Northwest Chicago Historical Society
riding along on Graceland Avenue (Irving Park Road)
A History Chart of Transport 
First 30 Years of Rail Transit
From 'Chicago L' by Greg Brozo
Newspaper advertisement in 1900

 Public Trans on Evanston Avenue in 1893
Evanston = Broadway by 1913
No Overhead Electrical Wires Please in 1894
Railway Companies by 1897
(privately owned)

Charles Tyson Yerkes
'After Yerkes came to Chicago, it was not long before the street railways caught his eye in his search for profit-making ventures. The low price of the North Chicago City Railway's stock and its room for expansion and modernization drew Yerkes's eye and he and his business partners, Peter A. B. Widener and William C. Elkins, chose it as their first acquisition in 1886.' Read more from the links above.
... and his railway (private) companies
'In 1881, Charles Tyson Yerkes, then 44 years old, moved from Philadelphia to Chicago. In Philadelphia, Yerkes had earned a fortune in banking and with the street railways there. In 1886, Yerkes formed the North Chicago Street Railroad Co., which acquired the North Chicago City Railway Co. And in 1887, Yerkes formed the West Chicago Street Railroad Co., which acquired the Chicago West Division Railway Co. Yerkes thus gained control of all of the street railways on Chicago's north and west sides.
once located in the Township of Lake View
indicated by this 1887 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map
Yerkes later formed several additional streetcar companies in the outlying areas on Chicago's north and west sides, feeding into his existing systems. In 1899, those companies were combined into the Chicago Consolidated Traction Co. And in 1899, the North Chicago Street Railroad Co. and the West Chicago Street Railroad Co. were merged into the Chicago Union Traction Co. By 1910, those companies had all been consolidated into the Chicago Railways Co.
image - Ebay
In 1893, Yerkes moved into the elevated railroad field as the principal backer in the incorporation of the Northwestern Elevated Railroad Co. Service began in 1900. In 1894, he acquired control of the Lake Street Elevated Railroad Co., and also formed the Union Elevated Railroad, which built the "Loop" which opened in 1897.
In 1897, Yerkes acquired the Suburban Railroad Co., whose streetcars had served the western suburbs and connected with the competing Metropolitan West Side Elevated Railroad Co. After gaining control, the Suburban Railroad Co. routes were changed to connect instead with his Lake Street Elevated Railroad. In 1901, Yerkes sold nearly all of his transit holdings in Chicago and moved to London, where he worked on expanding that city's subway system.'
Private Companies Operated Public Transportation
The Northwestern Elevated 1897
 zoom view below
The North Chicago 1897
  zoom view below
The Chicago North Shore 1897
 zoom view below
The Private Transit Companies Financials
Transportation license for a horse
Forgotten Chicago-Facebook contributor Chris Mason
 postcard - Ebay
the sign on the streetcar reads the 'Limits' which was the name of the car-station just south of the former City of Lake View's southern border with Chicago - Fullerton Avenue
An  Old Lake View Transportation Story
by Edgewater History Society
Linking the ground with the elevated

As of 1861 rail tracks for public transportation - streetcars were planned along Green Bay Road (Clark Street) and Evanston (Broadway). The residents along Evanston Avenue would had a hate/love relationship with new technology of its day. The residents loved their horses and did not like private companies telling them what they needed.
An Evanston Avenue Transport
image - Chicago Transit by David Young
A steam engine called the 'dummy' train was used along Evanston Road (Broadway Avenue) from Fullerton Avenue to Graceland Cemetery during 1870's. The first car of this steamed powered train was designed for the engine. The engine was enclosed so that it would look like a passenger car, hence the name 'dummy'. The story goes that if the horses saw the engine they would get spooked.
As a reminder the City of Lake View was annex to the City of Chicago in 1889. This new annexed area was a power-house of sorts in city politics at the time.
Evanston Avenue Residents 
say NO in 1893

A Minority Opinion in 1893
 Bees & Commuters 1893
Citizens Organized in 1893
Protests in 1894
Major railroad & cable routes 1895
 a zoomed view of the north side
 New service proposed along Evanston Avenue  
Graceland=Irving Park Road
Jefferson=Lawrence Avenue
Church=Devon Avenue
A Gap in Service in 1895
Electric Trolley Wins Out by 1897
Map indicating public transportation routes - 1893
Read more about the rail transportation system 
In this period of time both the ground and all elevated tracks were owned the Northwestern Railroad Company.
An Advertisement in 1900
from the Chicago Daily Tribune
a zoomed section from above ...
The Two Ends 
of Old Lake View Transport:
The Car Barns:
Car barns would be basically garages where mass transit vehicles would be housed and maintained. The most notable barns were 'The Limits' and Devon Avenue Carbarn. According to ChicagoRailFan.com the 'Limits' was coined the 'limits' because
it was the end of the line northward along Clark Street for riders from Chicago since era of Lake View Township. Lake View Township territory ranged from Fullerton Avnue to Devon Avenue.
'The Limits'
2660-2684 N. Clark Street
a 1887 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map
a 1923 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map
at the carbarn on Dewey - Ebay
the barn on Clark
1990's photo - John Keating via Forgotten Chicago-Facebook
1990's photo - Chicago Rail Fan.com
and below - unknown source
CTA's Heritage Fleet that operated their during the 1960's & 70's
The Devon Avenue Garage
Devon-Broadway carbarn and turn-around with enlargement
photo - thetrolleydodger

Devon-Broadway carbarn and turn-around with enlargement
photo - thetrolleydodger
Devon-Broadway car-barn and turn-around with enlargement
photo - thetrolleydodger
Devon-Broadway carbarn and turn-around with enlargement
photo - thetrolleydodger
Devon Street Car-House (barn)
mid 1950's photo - TheTrolleyDodger.com
1937 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map
a zoomed view below
Devon Street was the northern border of the former City of Lake View with its construction in 1901. According to the Rogers West Park Ridge Historical Society the property occupied two complete blocks off  Clark Street. The building was closed in 1957 due to the transfer of electrical streetcars to gas powered buses.
Evanston Avenue and Ardmore carbarn with enlargement
photo - Trolley Dodger
The other notable barn of its time was located in the then community of and now neighborhood of Edgewater, According to the Edgewater History Society this barn was and still is located at 
5837-5845 Broadway Avenue formerly known 
as Evanston Avenue as of 1916. 
Another Carbarn
1894 Sanborn Fire Map highlights a car-barn complex owned by North Chicago Street Railroad Company.
 For those railroad buffs a pdf handbook on the company.
Streetcars & Trolley Routes 
red dots indicated car-barns
Streetcars in 1941
 images - Cera Chicago

Transfer Tickets
pre 1947 - first year of the CTA

images - Ebay

The Rails Above the Streets
image - Chuckman Collection
This poster shows all the elevated companies 
of this time period - all were privately owned
a 1902 elevated transit map

Can you pick the stations that no longer exist today? 

 1913 pamphlet
photo - Wikipedia
Growth, Issues, and Progress
 a 1924 transit ticket - Ebay
Chicago's population continued grew from the annexation of a number of townships that included City and former township of Lake View; reaching 1 million by 1890. The several street railway company executives began looking for more efficient ways to carry the growing number of commuters. The use of small steam locomotives called “dummies” to pull streetcars was not as successful, but after 1882 many horse-car lines and dummy trains were successfully converted to cable powered streetcars, and after 1890 to electric trolley cars. Increased traffic congestion in downtown Chicago in 1892 led to the construction of the city's first elevated railways but not before 'The Battle of Lake View' (P.47) was resolved in 1890. That so called public opinion and legal battle began on Southport Ave. near Clark Street 20 years earlier in 1874. 
By 1924 the Chicago "L" system was a unification of lines built and formerly operated by competing private companies, although the operations of the previous companies were maintained as divisions of the united systematic unit. In 1947, the system went public and underwent many changes before taking on its present form now currently as the Chicago Transit Authority - CTA.
 Animal power to motor power in the 
Township of Lake View 1866
The Timeline of this kind of Transport
1893  The NorthWestern Elevated Railroad Company is incorporated. The entire rail system (surface and elevated) operated until 1995. This was the main Midwestern rail connection for the Township/City of Lake View from Chicago to other locations north of the main station. 
1895 The Chicago Tribune article-commentary below tells a tale about the older transportation structure of Evanston (Broadway) and the newer transport system along Halsted Street. (click to enlarge article below)
1890's Read about the twist and turns of the elevated 
provided by WBEZ along with an interesting fact about the
Sheridan Station (interactive site) elevated route curve.
1896 The first steel of the 'L' structure outside the loop is erected at Fullerton and Sheffield Avenues. 
This website tells a tale about the issues and corruption of the private and public transportation systems and the private companies in Chicago that owned them, in particular a 'robber baron' named Charles Tyson Yerkes (section 4) who used his privately owned surface rail system in Chicago on Clark Street to reach his pet project - Ferris Wheel Park. 
On Willow Street apparently looking towards 
Clybourn Avenue 1897
1897  The structure stretches from Dayton Avenue (near the intersection of Halsted Street and North Avenue) to Buena Avenue. Work is suspended due to financial problems. Another extension is granted, pushing to deadline to January 1, 1899. Also, 1897 the residents of the new District of Lake View protested against a Yerkes land grab.
(click to enlarge the article)
1899  Most of the surface rails between Halsted Street and Montrose Avenue are in place.
1900  A train leaves Wilson Avenue in defiance of a commissioner's order. Four policemen board at Wrightwood Avenue and placed the crew under arrest.
Forgotten Chicago on Facebook, David Daruszka contributor
Before the Wilson Elevated Station there was the 
Sheridan Park Station
1904 - The Northwestern Elevated and the Chicago
with the Sheridan Depot on the right of photo
Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway reach an agreement allowed rapid transit to route to Evanston Township, via the St. Paul's tracks (the elevated & surface railway met at Wilson Avenue & Evanston Avenue - Broadway). Privately held franchise problems stalled on an official agreement for another three years. The photos above show Sheridan Park Depot located near Wilson Avenue and Evanston (Broadway) Avenue before the elevated was constructed to be later shared with a much larger space with newer Wilson Station
1910 photo - JJ Sedelmair 
farm country on Evanston & Wilson Avenues 
photo - Uptown Update via Calumet412
The guts of the Wilson Station Station before the elevated 1900-ish from Evanston (Broadway) Avenue
photo - Daily News Archives
Lower Wilson Station before the elevated 
- Chuckman Collection
The lower Wilson Avenue station. This was once the terminal before the “L” was extended north. This station opened on March 5, 1907. The intent was to alleviate crowding at the upper Wilson station, already in use. Lower Wilson closed on August 1, 1949, early in the CTA era. - TrolleyDodger.com
Side note: View the new development as of 2013 of the Wilson Yards Station via Facebook
construction phase of the Yards over the ground rails
 photo - Uptown Update via Calumet412
Ground Surface & Elevated Rail Map
1902 zoomed image - Alabama University
the singular black line indicates the Chicago-Evanston branch of the Northwestern Railroad - south-to-north 
- the only mode of rail transport at this time.
The Evanston Branch of the 
Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul RR
Sanborn Fire sectional Maps 1909

The RR routes southwestward

Ground vs Elevated in 1912
1912 zoomed image - Alabama University
the two white/black lines indicate rail service  
one elevated and one ground - both property of the Northwestern Rail Company. Freight would use the ground service while the commuters used the elevated.
A Chicagoland View in 1914
image - Alabama University
1914 view of the rail system of Chicago area
with a zoomed view below

image - Alabama University 
1914 legend for the above map
image - Alabama University
1914 legend for the above map
Chicago-Northwestern stop at Lawrence
1952 photo - Russell Woelffer, Chicago Public Library 
via Explore Chicago Collection
1900 The North Western Company Elevated after several financial mishaps reopens for service. The stations, north from the Loop, include Halsted, Center (later Armitage), Webster, Fullerton, Wrightwood, Diversey, Wellington, Belmont, Clark, Addison, Grace, Sheridan, Buena Park & Wilson. Stations at Willow and Oak would be added later. The four track structure included express & local trains, with express trains stopping only at Wilson, Sheridan, Belmont, Fullerton, Halsted, Sedgwick, Kinzie and the Loop stations. 
Working along Newport and Racine Streets along the Ravenswood Elevated (Brownline)
Daily News Archives - 1906
1903  A franchise is presented to the city counsel to build an extension of the North Western's tracks to serve the Ravenswood community.
  An Account from The Evanston Historical Society:
'St. Paul Railroad (ground transport) and the Northwestern Elevated finally signed an agreement that permitted the Northwestern to extend its service into Evanston over the tracks of the St. Paul, contingent on approvals by the City of Evanston and the City of Chicago. However, it wasn’t until 1907 that such approvals were given. In March, the City of Evanston gave its approval for electrification of the line. That approval was contingent on the tracks being elevated by the end of 1910. Stations were erected at all the former commuter stops on the St. Paul. In Chicago, they were (in south to north order): Argyle (Argyle Park), Edgewater (Bryn Mawr), North Edgewater (Granville), Rogers Park (Morse) and Birchwood (Jarvis). Stations were added at Hayes Avenue (later renamed Loyola) and Howard Avenue (later renamed Howard Street). Community agitation for stops to be added at Thorndale and Berwyn date to as early as 1911. A stop was added at Thorndale in 1915 and at Berwyn in 1916. The Lawrence stop was not added until February, 1923. Though Wilmette was only a short distance north of Central Street in Evanston, the new line was not extended to Linden Avenue until April, 1912, and, when it was, it was not with the blessing of Village authorities. Quite the contrary was the case. The Village sued to stop “L” service, but to no avail. The opening of the Evanston line necessitated extensive revisions of the schedule. 
by Chicago Architecture Center
The following summary of these changes appeared in the May 23, 1908, issue of the Street Railway Journal and is reproduced here thanks to the scholarship of Bruce Moffat:
“A complete rearrangement of the schedule of the entire line has been worked out to accommodate the extra trains which will run over the new extension. Through trains will leave the terminal at Central Street, Evanston, every 10 minutes from 6.a.m. until midnight, making all stops to Wilson Avenue. During the rush hours they will run express between Wilson Avenue and the Loop, but between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. and after 7 p.m. they will run local from Wilson to Belmont Avenue and then express to the Loop. Between every two Evanston trains one Wilson Avenue Express will be started during the non-rush hours, giving a five-minute service south of Wilson Avenue, and during rush hours two extra trains will run, giving a 3-1/3 minute service. The Wilson Avenue expresses will also run local north of Belmont Avenue during the non-rush hours. In addition to this express service Wilson Avenue local trains will be run at intervals from 4 to 5 minutes. Trains for the Ravenswood branch which now run express south of Belmont Avenue at all hours will run at 5-minute intervals as local trains during the non-rush hour and as express south of Belmont during the rush hours. This will give a 2-1/2 minute local service and a 5-minute express service during the non-rush hours south of Belmont Avenue and a 4 minute local and a 2-minute express service during the rush hours.
“The service on the Evanston extension will be started with two-car trains, adding and cutting off additional cars southbound and northbound respectively at Wilson Avenue. The running time between Central Street, Evanston, and Wilson Avenue will be 20 minutes, and from Wilson Avenue to the Loop 20 minutes, with 13 minutes on the Loop. The total time from Evanston to the Loop stations will average therefore about 45 minutes, as against 33 minutes by Chicago & North Western suburban trains, which land passengers, however, at Kinzie Street across the river.”
The schedule south of Wilson was undoubtedly a complicated one and was often revised over the first several years that followed the opening of the Evanston line.
Though the extension of the “L” was welcomed by commuters in the communities through which it passed, it didn’t take very long for complaints to be raised. The practice of cutting off cars at Wilson for north bound trains proved especially irritating. As early as June 2, less than three weeks after service began, a meeting was called to protest the practice of forcing patrons riding north of Wilson Avenue to give up their seats and “move to the car ahead” where there was standing room only. Edgewater architect J.E.O. Pridmore was one of those objecting and urging through service. There was also a report of an instance of several commuters refusing the order to move to the car ahead. It was a sit-in. This act of civil disobedience had its effect, for the practice was soon dropped as additional cars on order came into service.'
Kissing the Tracks in 1906
by Garry Albrecht
This story was published by the Ravenswood-Lake View Historical Association newsletter in 2018
First, some background. Public transportation in the 19th and early 20th centuries were not owned and operated by local municipalities but by privately owned companies. One such company was the Northwestern Elevated Railroad. This company was granted a fifty-year lease to build and operated transportation rails and stations for the citizens of Chicago in 1893. The first elevated structure was laid at Fullerton and Sheffield avenues in 1896. The construction and operation of the elevated had a rocky start according to ‘Chicago L. org’.  In the winter month of January 1900, the Chicago Public Works claimed the structure unsound and the company to end operations. After some apparent negotiations the Northwestern Elevated Company was allowed to begin operations again in May of the same year. 
image – Chicago L. org
The stations along the elevated tracks that year north of ‘2400 north’ included the Fullerton, Wrightwood, Diversey, Wellington, Belmont, Clark, Addison, Grace, Sheridan, Buena Park and Wilson stations.  The City of Chicago approved the Ravenswood line in 1905 and then was extended to Kimball by 1907. By 1908 the elevated reached Howard Street.  In 1911 the first (voluntary) consolidation of all privately-owned elevated companies began. By 1947, the Chicago Transportation Authority (CTA), as we know it, was established.
Typically any company’s financial bottom line is to operate for a profit – the more profits the better while keeping expenses at an operational and acceptable minimum. Companies like the Northwestern Elevated Railroad used city owned alleyways granted to it to reduce costs. If private property got in the way of the elevated the municipalities would allow some latitude on the subject called the ‘right of way’.  
The Arlene Nybakken Chase Story
So, was the case with the property and buildings owned by Nels Anderson, grandfather of Arlene Nybakken Chase, located at 1412 Noble or 946 W Barry Avenue as of 1906.
Mr. Anderson owned a city lot that would have two houses on it prior to 1906; one in front of the other. One of these houses apparently caused problems for the newly constructed elevated. Mr. Anderson received a letter from the Northwestern Elevated Railroad Company on February 1906 to ‘surrender’ part of his property (building shingles) and other attributes of his property with the building address of 1414 Noble, the building located in front of his family home at 1412 Noble Avenue.
The entire letter below
The photo below shows Mr. Anderson’s sidewalk entrance to his home at 1412 and the house in front of it at 1414. Looking closely the viewer will notice the house in front at 1414 is situated a few yards east of 1412 due to the sidewalk entrance to his home at 1412 Noble or 946 Barry Avenue hence 1414 was built more toward the newly constructed elevated. The 1414 Noble house was the building the Northwestern folks at an issue with – pieces of it obstructed the proper use of the elevate; an apparent safety issue. 
1412 Noble or 946 Barry Avenue
a closer view of the entrance to the house in the back
All photos from Arlene Nybakken Chase
Arlene mentioned that "My father built the archway leading to our house at 946. That long gangway was scary at night, so dark. Dad would send me for the Sunday Tribune which came out on Saturday night, and maybe a bottle of ginger ale from 'the corner store' and he would promise to stand on the porch 'til I returned. Sometimes he'd go inside for a minute and if he wasn't there, I was terrified. Many bad characters hanging around that area at that time. I saw more than one "flasher" hanging around under the El tracks. Momma said, "Just run away!""
The 1894 & 1923 Sanborn Fire Maps below will assist 
in the location of the two buildings and future 
and present locations of the elevated 
– Redline formerly called the Howard Line.
 the above image is from a 1894 Sanborn Fire Map 
six years before the elevated was constructed 
while the image below dates 1923
The blueprint for the necessary adjustments 
that was enclosed with the letter
a view east toward the elevated 
Arlene, the granddaughter of Nels Anderson indicated the sign in the photo above would make her feel hungry when viewed out one of the bedroom windows. The below photo is the entire family hanging out on the porch of their ‘home in back’ – three generations. Apparently, all generations learned to sleep soundly next the periodical noises of the El until 1947 when the family moved from Lake View.
All the images minus the edited Sanborn Maps are photos and artifacts that are owned by Arlene Nybakken Chase. I found her story online and she offered the rest of her to story to me for this newsletter. She indicated that all the photos in this story may been lost forever if not for her grandmother who retrieved them from a ‘trash can’ episodic error. 
relatives yards west of tracks with stairs to the front house
Developments Continue in the North...
1907  To relieve congestion, a new "lower Wilson Avenue" station and a loop track was built and put into service, with express trains routed to itAlso, that year Ravenswood
service is inaugurated at Western Avenue.
1908  Howard Avenue station finally opens, late due to construction delays. Also that year, the construction of an elevated embankment begins in Evanston.
 1913 brochure image - Print Mag
1914  The Chicago City Railway, Chicago Railways Company, Southern Street Railway, and Calumet and South Railway merged to form Chicago Surface Lines - an operationally united but privately owned rail system.
1915 part of a brochure
photo - Print Mag
(1900-1960) photo - Chicago L .com
1916  Trains on the Lawrence-Howard stretch were moved onto a temporary wooden trestle, allowing the demolition of the original tracks and stations. Construction of the permanent embankment were slowed due to manpower and material shortages caused by World War I.
1922  The new elevated four track main line between Lawrence and Howard were completed. 
1923  The new station at Lawrence Avenue opened. 
Later in the year, a newer and larger station was constructed at Wilson and the original terminal yard is demolished.
Chicago Rapid Transit Company
1924  Samuel Insull, a utility magnate who took an interest in public transportation and a visionary, realized that for the sake of the ‘L's continued longevity, it would have to be completely consolidated by publicly held entity, with all the companies officially merging into one. At that time their were four  independently owned and operated ‘L’ lines of which the North Western ground rail system was of one. The Chicago Rapid Transit Company accomplished this and under the CRT, the 'L' service was funded by State of Illinois.
A 1924 Design
image - Cera Chicago
The Man who Saved the Elevated
Mirroring the country as a whole, the various companies that made up the Chicago "L" coasted through the 1920's on the misguided belief that the good years would never end. It was a time of unbridled prosperity and optimism for America of which the Chicago transit companies proudly demonstrated in their capital improvements during this time. Although ridership was the highest it would ever be, it was utilities magnate Samuel Insull's vast and profitable network of companies that helped offset the usually unprofitable "L", financing new construction, upgraded equipment, and infrastructure improvements. Without Insull's immediate capital improvements it is unlikely that the Chicago "L" and interurbans would have survived the Great Depression. Insull's generous civic spirit and love for the Chicago area also seemed to motivate this desire to acquire and improve these electric lines as much as bottom line profit possibilities. But little did Insull or the "L" know the reversal of fortune October 1929 would bring

'The Chicago Motor Coach Company was formed in 1923 after a merger of three motorbus carriers, Chicago Motor Bus Co., the Chicago Stage Co., and the Depot Motor Bus Lines.
In 1924, John D. Hertz merged Chicago Motor Coach and the Fifth Avenue Motor Coach Corp. of New York City, creating the Omnibus Corp. In 1952, when it owned nearly 600 buses, Chicago Motor Coach’s operations were taken over by the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), the city’s public mass-transit enterprise. With fifty in operation the buses will run from three to six minutes apart. 
The first bus made the trip downtown in forty minutes. It is proposed to shorten this schedule to twenty-five and thirty minutes. Express and local buses will be a part of the system. The fare is ten cents. At present the buses stop whenever hailed at street intersections.The route is from Devon avenue south in Sheridan road through Lincoln park, the Lake Shore drive and Lincoln parkway to Ontario street, to Rush street, to Michigan avenue, to Randolph street, to La Salle street to Adams street, to a terminal at State street. The buses run from 6 o’clock in the morning until 1:30 at night. They are manned by a chauffeur and conductor.' - Chicagology
1940 map -  Barry Lawrence Ruderman Antique Maps
zoomed for our area
no date photo via Ron Tamulis 
'Chicagoland Before We Were Born'/Facebook
a #151 heading north and south through Lincoln Park
a 1936 photo of the #146 below
A 1930's City-wide Safety Video
'indy chauffuer' via YouTube
Tickets,Tokens & Brochures
A ticket 1916 via Chuckman Collection

 Chicago Rapid Transit tickets via Ebay

The History of Tokens
along with a graphic demonstration by WBEZ
Chicago Rapid Transit token

images - Ebay
CTA token - Ebay
City-Wide Paper Transfers Samples

samples of paper transfers 

1928 Point of Interest Map
part of my personal collection
selective pages
Baseball Parks & Bathing Beaches
 zoomed view of the above map - northside
Lincoln Park landfilled to Cornelia Avenue only
Surface Line safety certification 1932 & 1937
Forgotten Chicago - Facebook contributor Chuck Edmonson
1933 Transportation Map 
part of my personal collection

a zoomed view of the above map 
Lincoln Park landfilled to Foster Avenue

detailed routes
that included a route for Riverview 
1938 Railway System Map
(link to an enlarged view)
1941 Chicago Street Guide
 part of my personal collection

Motor Coach only 

Lincoln Park, the park was at Bryn Mayw Avenue and
apparently there was not a Howard Line ...

 1942 Transportation Map 
pre CTA
 part of my personal collection
Lincoln park is landfilled to Foster Avenue
zoomed view of the stations prior to 1947 
- the first year for the CTA
The stars represented elevated Chicago Motor Coach Transfer Stations per this schedule brochure
 image - from a CTA 2018 calendar
1947  The Chicago Transit Authority begins operating Chicago's rapid transit trains after purchasing the privately owned Chicago Rapid Transit Company for $12 million. 
1954  delivery of new cars to replace the older fleets
Out with  Old and in the New
rolling out the signs in 1954
photo above - CTA web via TimeOut Chicago 
1950ish pamphlet - Ebay

1964 images - Ebay 
The A/B System in 1970
 images - York M Chan via LakeView Historical-Facebook 
with a more local zoomed look below
1974 Marker
El stop markers light combinations 
Ray Piesciuk via Forgotten Chicago-Facebook
The Sequel
of the 6000 series CTA cars near the Sheridan L Station.
The 6000's were used by the CTA from 1950-1992
 initially by David Harrison & 
copied by Vincent Ecter
1983 photo - Lou Gerard via Chicago L - Facebook
1994  The CTA officially changes the last of it's route names to color designations. The lines are now as follows: Red Line (Howard-Dan Ryan); Blue Line (O'Hare-Forest Park-54/Cermak); Orange Line (Midway); Brown Line (Ravenswood); Purple Line (Evanston); Green Line (Lake-Ashland/63-East 63rd); and Yellow Line (Skokie Swift).  
image - Ebay
Since 1949 til the mid 1990's L transport was divided between A & B stations. For example, the Addison B station would be bypassed by a A train so the A train could run express to its next A station.
1999  The CTA retires the token as the exchange for a ride accepting only Transit Cards and cash fares (on buses and in turnstiles) as payment.
2001 An article from Preservation Magazine about the Ravenswood Line now called the Brown Line ...
The Ravenswood L in 2001
(click on image to enlarge)
page 1
 page 2
 page 3
  page 4
  page 5
  page 6
  page 7
2012  New Planning and Expansion projects for CTA tracks particularly the Redline. The solid bold red line indicated a slight realignment along the existing route.

2012  CTA may offer 'naming rights' to rail stations to corporations to enhance their budgets for construction.
A BRT on Ashland Avenue in 2013??
Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) idea for Ashland Avenue was approved that year for an express bus from 95th through LakeView ending at Irving Park Road. Check out the conversion on Facebook. Read more about the plans via Chi.Streets.Blog.
Citizen's Complaints of the Ravenswood in 1907
The 2016 Plan Development ...
the new route vs the old one
Planned completion in 2024
the overpass leaving northward from Belmont Station 
a 1907 view of the tracks viewed south (Howard/Redline) 
and east to south from the  (Ravenswood/Brownline)
photos - Elevated Railway Review
along with a view of its Ravenswood underbelly
 2016 view from Google Earth of what 
remains of the old station platform/tower at the 'V'
(Redline to the right & Brown line to the left)
 a 1950 Sanborn Fire Map view of the unused Clark Street Station
with a zoomed view below
 This was once a part of a regular (control) station platform 
during the first half the 20th century

above photo - Chicago L. org
2017 photo - Curbed Chicago

The second Clark Street Junction Tower on School Street
this tower was located south and east of the original one
photos - David Harrison via Chicago L/Facebook 

2016 Google Map view from street level
below  2002 photo - Chicago Tribune 
 CTA images above
The CTA announced in April plans to construct an additional track at the Belmont station, which connects Brown, Red and Purple lines. This plan would demolish at least 16 buildings so to make this project happen. The $320 million project, which would be funded with federal grants, could alleviate delays. In November election 2014 the voters in the effect precincts will vote on the project. Listen and view about this project via Chicago Tonight. The opposition has a Facebook presence but Streetsblog mentions the opposition is vocal but not the majority on this issue. In January 2017 weeks before a new federal administration was sworn-in the CTA received their funding for all the CTA planned projects that included this controversy one.
2017 Google Earth of the area affected 
 2017 Google Earth of the area affected 
just north of Belmont Station
2017 Google Earth of the area affected
towards the old Clark Junction 
A new federal administration had different priorities
The 2016 presidential election created a time sensitive happenstance. A future Republican administration would probably not fund this infrastructure project so the race was on to grant the new funding before January 21st to the CTA.
The funding includes the following:
According to the CTA the first phase of RPM will rebuild the Lawrence, Argyle, Berwyn and Bryn Mawr rail stations and more than a mile of adjacent tracks and track structure. It will also construct a Red-Purple bypass to improve service that will benefit the entire Red Line by improving reliability & increasing capacity so that more trains can be added to alleviate chronic overcrowding during peak travel times.
all images from CTA
A Belmont Plaza?
'Based on an informal review of responses from the Lake View meeting, neighbors gravitated toward a few specific concepts: adding affordable and diverse housing, retaining historical buildings and creating pedestrian friendly streetscapes with traditional architecture and small businesses. Neighbors wrote that a plaza on Belmont Avenue would "serve as [the] heart of Belmont strip" and become a gathering place for events like farmers markets or the Belmont-Sheffield Music Festival. One possible area for such development is the patch of gravel to the east of the Belmont "L" station, left abandoned and poorly maintained, neighbors have said over the years.' - DNAinfo
The 16 dark green properties include buildings that will be displaced according to the CTA. - both CTA images

photos - DNAinfo
DNAinfo reports that the several year project includes plans to rebuild the 100-year-old embankment that supports the track between Lawrence and Bryn Mawr avenues, making it possible for six to eight more trains per hour to travel from Howard to 95th streets on the Red Line. There is no date set for the bypass as of mid 2017. The overall project includes plans to rebuild the 100-year-old embankment that supports the track between Lawrence and Bryn Mawr avenues, making it possible for six to eight more trains per hour to travel from Howard to 95th streets on the Red Line. 
The Demolition Begins in 2018

Some of the buildings that will be demolished according to the CTA via Curb Chicago-Lake View along with a complete list of demos for this project. View the latest video renditions of the planned realignment north of Belmont Station. Below is a CTA map of the buildings to be removed in 2018. According to Preservation Chicago
'Buildings slated for demolition include five buildings on the west side of Wilton Avenue, between 3240 and 3252 N. Wilton Avenue, four on Clark Street, including 3334-3344, 3346-3348, 3366 and 3401-3407 N. Clark Street, plus 947 W. Roscoe Street. Scheduled for fall demolition are four more buildings on Clark, including 3328, 3413, 3415-3419 and 3421 N. Clark Street.'
 from the CTA via Triangle Neighborhoods Association
Demolition Along Clark Street
photos from Google Maps
After removing the angular building they discovered 
a 'ghost sign' in 2018 - a Bankes Coffee sign
The Ghost Sign Discovered
once located at 3413 N Clark Street

the story about the ghost sign by Chicagology
Chicagology called this coffee store the Starbucks of its day
2018 photo - Laura Radtke 
a 1927 advertisement below
ad images - Chicago Public Library
above 2018 photo - Chicagology
below 2019 demo photo - Dasson Wallace
A [typically] Ghost Sign Story
via 2001 Preservation 
(magazine from New York City)

a video of the demo to this building on March 30th 2018 
by Sam Prus via Forgotten Chicago-Facebook
Demolition Along Wilton Avenue
from Belmont to School Street
photos from Google Maps
Advocate Illinois Medical Center
was part of the hospital complex once locate at 3030 Wilton Avenue
that was built in 1991 as apartments
A Naked Landscape 
along Clark Street in 2018
This will be the Google Map scene for awhile until the 
elevated construction begins: this will take a awhile!
 southwest view from Roscoe/Clark Street
and the other side of the tracks 
south along Clark
Structural Changes Begin in 2019

Last summer Con Ed rerouted all the electrical lines 
in the impact area during most of the 
demolition of the effective buildings. The work on the overpass began in 2019
 all images from the 44th ward office - Tom Tunney, alderman
Four million dollars in improvements 
for this station as a prep for the Belmont Station Overpass

Prepping for Change at Addison Station
2019 photos - Garry Albrecht 

Early Prepping in the Autumn 2019
Per Curbed Chicago
According to Curbed Chicago in addition to the overpass elevated south of Belmont Station “The project will rebuild a six-mile section of century-old section of tracks between Lawrence and Bryn Mawr stations and construct a new rail bypass bridge just north of Belmont station. The Lawrence, Argyle, Berwyn and Bryn Mawr Red Line stations will be made fully accessible and close for more than three years. Temporary stations will be opened during the closures. The bypass construction is expected to finish at the end of 2021 followed by new track lines between Belmont and Newport /Cornelia ending in 2024. The station reconstructions will begin in late 2020 and wrap up in 2024 - total of 23 track miles will be updated to improve signals, flow, and reliability.”
Per Chicago Block Club
According to Chicago Block Club “CTA officials have said the current track alignment is the equivalent of having a traffic signal in the middle of a busy highway. To add more trains to alleviate overcrowding, getting rid of that “traffic light” is essential. By building the bypass, the CTA previously said it could add up to eight trains during rush hour on the Red Line alone and ultimately would be able to accommodate 7,200 more passengers per hour on the three lines.”
on Clark toward Roscoe
new vs old ...
 view south over Clark/Roscoe

The Butterflies
One resident, however, is displeased with the installation. “I think the butterflies are an attempt to make it more beautiful, but they’re slightly gaudy,” said Anna Mancuso, whose house sits on east Wilton Avenue, facing the construction site. Mancuso said she and her husband asked the CTA to plant trees to block dust from construction and the sound of train traffic, which she says has heightened after the demolition of the homes across the street. For the Mancusos, the construction has made the area far less homey. “We miss having a neighborhood,” she said. While she isn’t a fan of the butterflies, Mancuso does appreciate the CTA putting in floral arrangements. “The flowers are what’s beautiful,” she said. 
“I love the flowers.”
 photos - their Facebook page
2020 Google view towards the tracks
'In a Facebook post announcing the move, Pick Me Up management paid homage to the “community of misfits” that became the business’ “de facto family.” With the massive changes that have come to Wrigleyville in recent years, the move would allow Pick Me Up Cafe to be in a location more suited to the business.' 
- Chicago Block Chicago
    Permit Approved
3356 N Clark Street
was located under and between the tracks
Red line tracks in the forefront and 
the Brown line tracks to the right in the background
The Clark Street CTA substation was demolished and then will be reconstructed on the southeast corner in order to facilitate construction of a new track; new steel beams and modified joists to support the lowered roof. Work includes  architectural, structural, mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and communication systems 
– per Chicago Cityscape
images - Google map & satellite view
An Email Alert

location of this location site
 A Covid Virtual Meeting
Moving a Building
moving it 35 feet toward Clark Street from the tracks
Permit Issued in December 2020
'6 dwelling units, 3 story, non-occupied structure, no parking. historic building to be relocated 29' west and 4' south of its existing location in order to facilitate construction of a new track structure. the relocated building will bear on combination of concrete strip footings with integrity cast concrete foundation walls, and individual spread footings. all existing electrical, mechanical, and plumbing connections to be disconnected prior to relocation. new utility connections for electrical, gas, sanitary and water. interior buildout to be permitted separately.' - Chicago Cityscape
2019 Google photos
view southwest on Newport
view west of the tracks along the alley
view southwest on Newport east of tracks
view east on Newport
view northeast from Clark Street
view from the corner of Clark & Newport east below
 one of many general meetings to follow ...
photo via Curbed Chicago
'The $2.1 billion project was first discussed in 2014, and now the starting phase is kicking off in Lake View. The project will rebuild a six-mile section of tracks between Lawrence and Bryn Mawr stations and create a new rail bypass bridge just north of the Belmont station. While the construction starts today [October 2019], residents have already felt the inconveniences of long-term work. In May, the Lawrence, Argyle, Berwyn, and Bryn Mawr Red Line stations closed for three years so the city could make them fully accessible. Temporary stations are open at Argyle and Bryn Mawr.' - Curbed Chicago
Per Alderman Tom Tunney/Facebook
"Broke ground this morning on the Chicago Transit Authority's RPM Project at Belmont [Oct 8th] with Mayor Lori Lightfoot, Senator Dick Durbin, Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, Congressman Mike Quigley, Alderman Howard B Brookins Jr and neighbors along Wilton Avenue."
by Block Chicago Club
nothing but clay below
'Construction workers are in January of 2020 are excavating 70-foot-deep shafts for the foundation for the Belmont Bypass, a key part of the CTA’s $2.1 billion Red-Purple Line Modernization Project. Construction on the bypass is now in its third month. It’s the most ambitious public transportation construction project in the city’s history, playing out in one of Chicago’s most densely populated neighborhoods. One of the many obstacles faced to date is avoiding underground utilities that are almost a century old amid the excavation.' - Block Chicago Club
Micropyle Drilling & Installation Notice
via email
 via an email notice from the CTA
Planting the Columns
map of construction zone
photos - Chicago Cityscape
Wilton & School
along Wilton north of Belmont
The Summer of 2020
The ridership is down due to the Covid Virus so, 
a good time to do to advance the project 
a sign at Belmont & Wilton avenues
Feedback Notice 2020
A November 2020 Report
Early Construction Photos 
by Central Lake View Neighbors Association
near Clark/Roscoe toward School Street
Wilton toward Clark /Roscoe
pass the watch tower on School Street
video - CTA RPM project
The Walsh Group - Fluor Corporation installed this 84-foot steel beam across four Red and Purple Line tracks. The beam will support the new Red-Purple Bypass near Belmont, which will improve Chicago Transit Authority service by carrying Kimball-bound Brown Line trains over Red and Purple Line tracks, eliminating a chronic train traffic bottleneck.
the bypass over Roscoe/Clark Email Alert
January 2021
2021 CTA photos
Sheffield Ave. closure Janurary 2021
the 2019 view of it below
by Buddy Casanova - Chicago L-Facebook
along Clark Street south of Roscoe
CTA RPM/Facebook  photos along Wilton Avenue
view south toward Belmont Station
below view north from Belmont Station

Work on the $2.1 billion Red-Purple Modernization Project is expected to significantly ramp up in the coming months, when crews will begin to demolish and rebuild four stations and track infrastructure between Lawrence and Bryn Mawr in Uptown and Edgewater. Two virtual meetings will be held this week. CTA officials will update neighbors on the construction timeline and expected work.   The meetings will be location-specific. At 6 p.m. Tuesday, officials will discuss the Lawrence and Argyle station area’s timelines and impact. At 6 p.m. Thursday, officials will discuss the Berwyn and Bryn Mawr station area plans.To register for the meetings, click here. Neighbors can attend one or both meetings.In January, the CTA unveiled designs for the newly rebuilt stations at Lawrence, Argyle, Berwyn and Bryn Mawr. Crews have already begun to work on temporary stations at Argyle and Bryn Mawr that will allow for continued “L” service while the new stations are being built.

Old & New in 2021
photo looking south at the intersection of Clark and Roscoe 
by Jon Chefflings
Personal Photos April 2021
by Garry Albrecht
I personally wanted to take a closer look one still chilly afternoon.
The location were the Roscoe/Clark - Roscoe/Sheffield intersections

just north of Roscoe on Clark
the double tracks underbelly
the main cross-over brace facing Clark south of Roscoe
walking west on Roscoe toward Sheffield
view southwest from Clark south of the Roscoe southeast corner
views west from Clark/Roscoe
view from Clark/Roscoe northwest
view of the southeast from Roscoe
view directly of the directly south from Roscoe below 
between Clark & Sheffield
northeast corner of Roscoe/Sheffield
view southwest and west from Sheffield
below photos Wilton north of Belmont
Aerial Views
May 2021
Wrigley Aerials via Twitter
zoomed view below
zoomed view below
another angle - north/south
zoomed view below
Professional Photos in April 2021
via Rolando Moreira 
first some edit Google maps
the X marks the range of the photographs
the Redline is in red
Google Earth view east above
Google Earth view north below
the construction of the new tracks, at this point, end or begin 
east of Seminary Avenue
on the old tracks heading east toward the curve
making the curve below
below the tracks is Sheffield/Roscoe
to the left of photo is Clark Street just north of Roscoe Street
we now heading south toward the School Street tower
(to the right of photo) with Clark Street to the left of photo 
toward Belmont Station
April 2021
The Building Move
2021 photo prior to the relocation
The Initial Steeps
the removal of the back porch
photos by CTA RPM-Facebook
Digging Down & Slowly Moving
photos from Carter O'Brien June 2021
Ready for the Actual Move
Inching westward toward Clark Street
photos via Sam Prus
More Photos from Carter O'Brien
moving along the rails ...
Now, Let's Pause & Recap
The First Overpass  :)
    by Greg Eagel
Removal of the Old Tracks
one rivet at a time
Renovations North of Lake View 
as of July 2021
Laying on the tracks in August
photo - CTA RPM
Community of Uptown

Beginning in 2015 the Wilson Station renovation began so to once again become the super hub of the northside. I have devoted a lot of space on the Wilson Station due to its importance to the Howard (Red) Evanston (Purple). This station and the Belmont Station once served the former North Shore Line that took folks to Milwaukee, Wisconsin while stopping at several stations along the North Shore.
1900ish - Chicago L.org
1900ish photo - J.J. Sedelmaier via Uptown Update 
with a view of the same photo in 2009 via Google
and view of of it in 2019 via Google
photo & text from a book called Chicago:growth of a metropolis
The first building vs the second building 
postcard - Ebay
 Ron Tamulis, Living History of Illinois & Chicago - 1899 
Its focus was the transfer of commuters to and from the Chicago North Shore and Milwaukee Wisconsin
Curt Seeliger via Chicago L-Facebook 
notice the freight trains 
photo - Lou Gerard via Chicago L-Facebook
apparently the former freight train only tracks
 were used for the Evanston line?
Inside the 'Yards'
the maintenance building was located east of the tracks
photo - via Ronald Jackson
view northward - unknown source/date
Photos of the Buena Yard 
south of the Wilson Yard
1973 photos
according to Chicago L.org the Buena Yards closed by 1973.
The Buena Yards stretched from Irving Park Road
to Montrose & connecting with the Wilson Yards 
image above - Uptown Update
   West of the Redline (Howard Line) were the tracks & yard for the Evanston branch of the Chicago, Milwaukee, & St. Paul. This railroad cut through Lake View like a knife with factories and homes constructed around it since its construction in the mid 19th century. This line was meant for freight while the elevated was designed for commuters.
Inside the former Wilson Yards
 photos - Lou Gerard via Chicago L-Facebook
1970's photos per Lou Gerard
a repair bay

 images above - Chicago Transit Authority-Facebook
Lou Gerard via Chicago L-Facebook 1973
Lou Gerard via Chicago L-Facebook also in 1973
control tower in 1997 
Lou Gerard via Chicago L-Facebook
and below the Wilson Yards
1985 photo - Lou Gerard via Chicago L-Facebook
The Wilson Yards burned and closed in 1996. The property was finally re-developed in 2008 that was part of redevelopment project (TIF-217 blockby the city in 2000
The Two Main Entrances
 2009 Google Maps view along Broadway
2011 Google Maps view on Wilson east of Broadway - southside of the block
Clearing the Space
 photos - Chicago News Bench
The Main Entrance
photo via Uptown Update
 Don Andrade via Chicago L-Facebook 1950's?
1980 photo - Ebay
via Brian Weber, Original Chicago-Facebook
2015  CTA ridership was way up last year! The number of rides provided on CTA’s rail system rose to 238.1 million in 2014, the highest level for rail ridership since the agency began tracking ridership in 1961. View a photography trip from Wilson to Belmont in 1972 - a JJ Sedelmaier album.
a map of the renovation - CTA
the last look before renovation

2015 Deconstruction Photos
removing the old tracks by Broadway and Leland
photos by Jim Huffman, Chicago L on Facebook
Reconstruction Photos
new tracks are laid  photo - Uptown Update
2015 photo - CTA
2016 photo - CTA
2016 photo - CTA
March 2016 - Chi.Streetsblog
Protecting the Center Piece
2017 photo - J.J. Sedelmaier Productions
photo - Robert Constant via Original Chicago-Facebook
2017 photo - Kelly McFadden via Forgotten Chicago-Facebook
2017 photo - Kelly McFadden via Forgotten Chicago-Facebook

2017 photo - Kelly McFadden via Forgotten Chicago-Facebook
 2017 photo - Kelly McFadden via Forgotten Chicago-Facebook
 2017 photo - Kelly McFadden via Forgotten Chicago-Facebook
 2017 photo - Kelly McFadden via Forgotten Chicago-Facebook

 2017 photo - Kelly McFadden via Forgotten Chicago-Facebook
below photo - Uptown Update
taking shape
both 2017 photos - Uptown Update-Facebook
it's back from renovation holiday!
2018 photo via Alan Fischer, Forgotten Chicago-Facebook
below photo by Karen Miles via Uptown Update
a 2017 aerial view of the new station
from Uptown Update-Facebook
Riding the Red Line in 2014
from Howard to 95th 
TOD - Buildings Hugging the L Tracks
(a few samples)
Transit-oriented development (TOD) is anchored by some form of public transportation, typically a train line. It has been widely accepted as an important planning paradigm to create attractive, livable and sustainable urban environments. The purpose of TOD is to concentrate housing and commercial development close to existing (or occasionally, extended) transit infrastructure, thereby providing an alternative to automobile trips. Most TOD development radiates roughly a half mile – or less than 10 minutes walking distance – from its anchoring rail station - CMAP . The developments in 2015 according to Curbed Chicago are the following:
with more news from DNAinfo and Streetsblog
located one block east of the Redline entrance
more news from 44th ward office and Lake View Patch
Other Types of Transportation:
The Bike & Automobile:
  Mr. Pitkins lived in the East Ravenswood community of Lake View. The back of the image above was signed by the daughter of grand-dad of Lake View Township, Conrad Sulzer. According the publication Hidden History of Ravenswood & Lake View by Patrick Butler there was another resident of the District of Lake View who shared Mr. Pitkins adventures. There was William Adams, a Roscoe Street resident, who tested his invented contraption along the only paved roads - Marshfield Avenue between Lincoln and Addison. He apparently  "dropped out of sight forever" sometime in 1902. Two years later a Chicago based company called Rand McNally would produce the first vehicle map for the driving public.
"In 1904, Rand McNally produced what is generally agreed to be the first road map intended for the ''automobilist,'' adapted from bicycling maps." The earliest motorists navigated by using bicycle touring maps that were drawn up by organizations like the League of American Wheelmen. ''The same roads that would have been suitable for bicyclists were also suitable for automobiles because they were almost as fragile,'' said James Akerman, a pre-eminent road map historian and the director of the Hermon Dunlap Smith Center for the History of Cartography at the Newberry Library. ''The first cars were a lot like bicycling mechanisms with a motor on them.'' To make navigating easier on a road system where signs were almost nonexistent, Rand McNally came up with a ''photo-auto guide'' in 1907. The guides were a series of photographs of intersections or landmarks like a big tree or a barn, with text along the lines of ''turn left here.'' The first one was put together by Andrew McNally II, the founder's grandson, and shows the route he took on his honeymoon from Chicago to Milwaukee.' 
'First Came the Car. Then the Wrong Turn'  Voila: The Map.
Newman, AndyNew York Times, Late Edition (East Coast) [New York, N.Y] 11 Oct 2000
Read about the history of the 'wheeled vehicle'
A trailer used for garbage collection that apparently used horses - photo at 1620 West Grace Street as of 1938
The Other Means of Transport:
The Bicycle
Cycling began with only a few & hardy males in the 1870's but, within twenty years, Chicagoans of all ages and both sexes were indulging in a heady love affair with the bicycle. By the 1890s, the "wheel" had become a means of both recreation and transportation for almost everyone with enough balance to stay on and enough strength to push the pedals. The entire city, it seemed, was caught up in the cycling craze. In fact, for Chicago as well as the entire nation, the golden age of cycling begun. In 1895, the normally reserved New York Times ranked the discovery and development of the bicycle as "of more importance to mankind than all the victories and defeats of Napoleon," In April of that same year, a writer for Harper's Weekly estimated that four hundred thousand bicycles had been manufactured since the first of January and predicted that production would continue to soar in 1896.
Lake View Cycle Club
 The Lake View Cycling Club had a clubhouse 
at 401- 403 (2224 post 1909 address) 
Orchard Street in Lincoln Park. 
Their initial meeting up was at the Payne residence on the southeast corner of Addison and Evanston (Broadway)
The below photo is Stewart Reed Brown on his bicycle. Brown was a member of Lake View Cycling Club 

racing team and editor of the club’s magazine called Dash 

The Consolidation of Two Clubs in 1897

The Club Ground location was on Barry Avenue
below is a 1894 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map 
of the location of their club house
The Ravenswood's Wheelman
1895 photo - Northside Collection via Sulzer Regional Library
via Chicagology
with the most notable via this 1894 Sanborn Fire Map
 zoomed area below
extra zoomed - depicting a paint room & machine shop
known for its cycling races

The future of cycling for the City of Chicago by 2013
Divy Biking
Bike Sharing for Chicago
NIMBY on Pine Grove 2013
Divy Bike Station on Pine Grove south of Addison Avenue 
The Divy Stations in Lake View are as follows:
Sheridan Red Line
Addison/Racine (tentative)
Addison Red Line
Southport Brown Line
Aldine/Lake Shore Drive
Belmont Red Line
Belmont/Lake Shore Drive
Wellington Brown line
Wellington/Lake Shore
Diversey Brown Line
Diversey/Lake Shore
2015  Read on how Divy Bikes survived a winter - one of the coldest. View the an interactive map of all the latest bikes in our neighborhood with this link. In October DNAinfo reported the usage of the bikes in the city with this interactive map.
Also in 2015 the Lakeview Chamber of  Commerce established a bike district where by local business promote bike travel to their establishments. 
More Modern Public Transport Plans
2016  First 'RPM' TIF for public transportation approved that includes building developments such as TOD's as well.
Read more about this innovative approach to mass transit via Chicago Cityscape including a interactive map of the 
'Red Purple Modernization Project' that includes Lake View.
per StreetsBlog Chicago
images - StreetsBlog Chicago

This plan involves new stations beyond the most recent Wilson Station and Belmont Overpass renovations and projects. It involves new stations, tracks, and platforms north of Wilson Avenue using the land around the station location for TOD - Transit Orientated Developments. While TOD residential projects are still relatively new type of planning in urban settings like Chicago the collaboration with the CTA, developers, city administrators, and neighborhood association groups will be the norm for the future. Parking will be shared to save space for residential and commercial developments along the Red/Purple transit lines. 
Began in 2019 in selected neighborhoods 
Can the Streetcars Return? 
maybe ... along Clark Street

Until the 1950's Chicago had the biggest streetcar system the world had ever seen, John Krause the architect who founded the movement called Chicago Streetcar Renaissance explains that virtually every major street had an electric streetcar line. But in the postwar era diesel buses and private cars replaced the trams and soon the roads became snarled with traffic. Nowadays Chicago is ranked as one of the most congested cities in the country, with the cost of time wasted in traffic estimated at $7.3 billion a year. Take a ride on the Redline from Howard to 95th and then take a ride on the Brownline from Kimball to the Loop.
An interesting Google-book read on cable cars of the past. Also, view recent and countless photographs of Chicago transportation. Also, read an article about the future plans for transportation in Chicago as well as an inactive map site called Transit Future.

Post Notes: 
Covid-19 Railcar Signs 2020-21
photos - Garry Albrecht

Important Note:
These posts are exclusively used for educational purposes. I do not wish to gain monetary profit from this blog nor should anyone else without permission for the original source - thanks!

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