Saturday, May 20, 2017

Retail Coal Bunkers

When studying old maps of railroad branches in Chicago that are now abandoned, many were surrounded by industry. (That is why the branch existed.) And it was common to find companies that sold various grades of coal because homes were heated and factories were powered by coal. (Gas in the 1800s was manufactured from coal and was used for lighting, not heating.)

These were retail companies that delivered coal with horse and wagon. Later coal was delivered by truck and the density of retail coal companies dwindled. The development of natural gas pipelines that could deliver gas to each household killed the retail coal company business.

People took pictures of trains, but not of coal bunkers. Fortunately, one is in the background of this picture.

Carl Venzke posted
Also note the ice company that helped supply ice for the icebox that once was in many households.

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