Saturday, December 31, 2016

IC Freight Houses along Michigan Avenue in 1925

(Update: see also icing platform)
MWRD shared
 View looking south from Tribune Tower down Michigan Avenue - 1925 versus today.
Mike Tuggle also posted the 1925  view.

David M Laz posted
This 1857 bird’s-eye view of Chicago shows that the area where Grant Park now sits was then completely under water. An Illinois Central Railroad trestle acted as a breakwater.
David M Laz posted
An older view of the downtown IC yard. Note the old Chicago Public Library (now the Cultural center) to the far right.
Paul Petraitis 1880's Id guess...I don't see the Auditorium, do you?
Dave Creighton posted
Chicago. Along the lakefront in 1893.

Glen Miller posted
1906 postcard of the Illinois Central's yard. The Michigan Central Railroad, a subsidiary of the New York Central, shared track rights with the Illinois Central. The Michigan Central also shared the IC's Central Station in Chicago as well. A switcher locomotive sneaking behind the freight cars, lower right.
Glen Miller Vintage Railroad Postcards
David M Laz also posted
David Daruszka commented on a posting
Markham Yard in Harvey wasn't built until 1926. There were yards at Wildwood, Fordham and the main yards on the lakefront. Here's a postcard image of downtown.
From Glen's postcard source above, same vintage
[You can use the two water towers to orient this view with the 1880s view above.]
Grant Park, 1906 from Chicago Curbed
Dan Imal posted
Grant park 1920.
[You can barely see the yards by the river, and that is the point. This shows why a 1915 Smoke Abatement Report forced the IC to electrify its service in Chicago's "front yard."]
By 1927 the large grain elevators built with wood along the river served by the IC and other tenants of Central Station such as NYC's Michigan Central had been replaced by freight houses.

Don Andrade posted
Looking South from the top of the Tribune Tower at night, 1927.
[This shows more of the IC yards to the east. Too bad it's an "artsy" nighttime shot instead of an informative daytime shot.]
Mike Tuggle posted
Chicago at the river, 1943.

Curtis Carter posted
1954 - Looking north on Michigan Ave. Prudential Building under construction. What a GREAT idea to get rid of the freight train yard and above-ground parking lot.

Alexander Goman  >> Forgotten Chicago
Near the north end of the Illinois Central looking southish.
[This shows the large number of outbound boxcars they would park between the two freight handling wings.]
David M Laz posted
The old IC yard just north of Monroe, where Millennium Park and Illinois Center now stand.
[Note the crosswalk at the end of the boxcars is closed in this shot.]

Track side images of the freight houses along Michigan Avenue near the river.

Frank Smitty Schmidt posted
NYC switch engine working at the IC's South Water St freight terminal in 1943. NYC did lease space from them.
Delano / OWI

A Jack Delano Photo
South Water Street Freight Depot - Chicago, 1943

Jack Delano, LoC, 1943
Gregory Russell commented that the RR cars by the freight warehouse are directly on top of where Stetson Street is now. [LoC]

David Habben posted
I finally found out what "Blended 33 to 1" meant. For consistency, they blended 33 vats of beer together each time they bottled it so it was as close to the same flavor every time as possible.
Chet Lunsford South Water Street freight depot of the Illinois Central Railroad, Chicago. May 1, 1943. Photo - Jack Delano FSA/OWI
Glen Miller They took down this sign to make room for the Prudential Building which was built on air rights over the railroads.
[Before it was a PBR sign, it was a Chevrolet sign.]

Chet Lunsford The sign was animated and employed a company of workers to keep it operating. Here is a video explaining the workings of the sign when it was the "Bow Tie"
Billy Hartford Just amazed by the crew of men , climbing around without any safety equipment on whatsoever. What is insane to us..was once the norm . Very informative video..thanks .
Chet Lunsford A link to a very high resolution image of this photo, via Shorpy. If you look closely, you can still make out the old Chevy bow tie logo on the sign. 
David M Laz also posted
[Jack Delano, May 1, 1943, LoC]
Illinois Central Railroad Scrapbook posted
Around 1956 an IC train powered by GP9's 9139, 9080, and 9215 was photographed at South Water Street Yard in downtown Chicago. In the background is the recently completed Prudential Building. The 41 story skyscraper was constructed between 1952 and 1955.
This view shows how the Prudential building was built over IC's tracks. Prudential paid the IC over $2.2 million for air rights. These air rights allowed Prudential to build atop IC's tracks and to sink 260 caisons into the ground to support the building, but the railroad retained ownership of the ground underneath the building. The concept of air rights was still relatively novel in the 1950's and several lawsuits were filed against the IC. All were settled in favor of the railroad and helped set legal precedent.
Today the freight yard is gone, but the IC's electrified commuter line into Randolph Street Station (now renamed Millennium Station) remains. The whole area is now covered by Millennium Park (and its underground parking garages).
IC photo, Cliff Downey coll.
Update: I thought I already had a posting on IC's South Water Street Freight House. At least I didn't post duplicate topics. I just copied the other content to here. I include Edward Jarolin's posting even though it is a duplicate of David Habben's posting because it has better color.

Edward Jarolin shared
Edward's comment:

The IC yard at Grant Park on Chicago's lakefront. Looking north between Central Station (behind) and the electric line's Randolph St. Station(beyond the Pabst sign).

Martin G. Sorenson posted
Chicago, April 1943. "New York Central diesel switch engine moving freight cars at the South Water Street terminal of the Illinois Central R.R." 4x5 Kodachrome transparency by Jack Delano for the Office of War Information.
Cliff Downey posted two photos with the comment:
The Illinois Central operated one of the largest freight houses in Chicago at South Water Street. The facility specialized in "less than carload" freight, i.e. if a shipper didn't have enough freight to fill an entire freight car, the freight could be loaded into a freight car (usually a boxcar) with LCL freight from other shippers. Each day large volumes of freight moved from the facility. To help improve efficiency, and enable crews to move quickly from one side of the facility to another, the retractable walkway seen in these photos was installed. Typically the walkway sat perpendicular across the tracks. But shortly before the yard switcher arrived to pick up and drop off cars, the walkway swung out of the way, as seen in these two photos. Electric motors moved the walkway across a wooden platform built across the tracks. Only about 5 minutes were needed to move the walkway in either direction. As a side note, part of the outbound freight house was damaged by a fire on the night of March 14, 1957. Despite the damage the facility was open for business the next day. Today, the South Water Street freight house is long gone, and the site is now occupied by Millenium Park. IC photo, 1958, Cliff Downey collection.


(FMI: IC Jack Delano search)

Jack Delano, 1943, LoC
Jack Delano, 1943, LoC

Jack Delano, 1943, LoC

Jack Delano, 1943, LoC
Jack Delano, 1943, LoC
Jack Delano, 1943, LoC
The building with the statue on top would be Montgomery Wards first Headquarters building.
Jack Delano, 1943, LoC
Jack Delano, 1943, LoC
Jack Delano, 1943, LoC
I skipped his night views in the search results except this one because it traces a crewmember walking with a lantern.

Jack Delano, 1943, LoC
Screenshot -9:30 from a 1940s film about Chicago

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