Thursday, February 21, 2019

Chicago & Evanston: Between Diversey and Wilson

AJ Gibbs
Railroads (CTR/CP/Soo/Milwaukee) provided service on Milwaukee's C&E up Lakewood Avenue to Diversey until 2007. The C&E route further north was abandoned in 1973. Andrew's map on the right traces the C&E route up to Wilson. The "L" RoW traces the rest of the route on up to the C&E terminus in Wilmette. Milwaukee's goal was to build the route to another one of their branches at Rondout. They missed achieving that goal by about a half-dozen suburbs along the lake shore.

This abandoned route is rather infamous because it is the one that went past Wrigley Field. There are quite a few photos of the railroad (and retail coal silos) because people take photos of Wrigley. But to understand those photos, you have to be aware that before the Ricketts plowed a lot of money into the area, Seminary Avenue used to go south along the west side of Wrigley. And there was a triangle of land between Seminary and Clark Street. Since the Ricketts' investment is recent, I can use Global Earth to see what it used to look like.

Global Earth, 4/2/2013
Note that the diagonal "street" south of Addison Street doesn't have a name. That is because it was part of the C&E right-of-way (RoW) that went from Lakewood at Barry Avenue to the west side of Seminary Avenue at Wrigley. You can still see quite a bit of evidence of the diagonal RoW on a satellite image.
1938 Aerial Photo from ILHAP
I zoom in on the 1938 photo to get a view comparable to the Global Earth image above. We can't see the C&E tracks, but we can see that both Addison and Clark had two streetcar tracks. (It is not unusual to not see tracks in a 1938 aerial. It makes you appreciate the resolution of our modern satellite images.)
1938 Aerial Photo from ILHAP, at photo resolution
Note the triangle is full of coal retailing, including a row of white silos. It wasn't until after WWII that natural gas was used to heat homes and businesses. Before then, coal was used for heating and manufactured gas was used for lighting. More pictures of the coal company are in the retail coal bunks posting.

David Daruszka commented on a share

David Daruszka commented on a share
Initially built as a competitive commuter service to the C&NW, it ran as far north as Wilmette. Passenger service ceased in 1917, while freight only continued as far as Irving Park. Freight north of Irving Park was handled by the Northwestern Elevated, and later the CTA, with electric freight motors. That service ended in 1973. The line was slowly cut back until the end of freight service north of Clybourn in 2007. As Wrigley Field was built in 1914 it was possible to take a train from the old Union Station to Addison to catch a game for the final 3 years of passenger service.
A comment on a post:
Susan Reibman Groff From Chicago Switching: Those two tracks are part of the original Chicago & Evanston (C&E) line of the Milwaukee Road, with northbound and southbound mains shown. You can still see remains of these tracks just outside the northwest corner of Wrigley Field where they are embedded in the sidewalk on the south side of Waveland Avenue. The bumps in the pavement on Waveland past the sidewalk cover the rails trying to break free.
The Chicago Surface Lines (and later, CTA) had a streetcar line that ran on Clark Street and which crossed the Milwaukee Road\'s C&E line just a few steps to the left or north of this view.
Through 1917 it was possible to take a passenger train from downtown Chicago to Wrigley Field on the Milwaukee Road. There was even a station to the right of this camera view.
The last train ran in front of Wrigley Field in 1973. Service was cut back to Racine and Newport to access a fuel oil dealer.
We now have enough context to interpret several views of Wrigley Field.

Raymond Kunst posted
Wrigley Field, home of the National League’s Chicago Cubs — Built in 1914, as Weeghman Park for the Chicago Federal League baseball team, the Chicago Whales.
David Borck actually, the site was originally a seminary! see this: Before the Federal League
Chicago Lutheran Theological Seminary, seen around 1900, from Sheffield Avenue. The president's house on the right is located near the site of the present-day Wrigley Fie
ld scoreboard and center field bleachers. The building in the center, Eliza Hall, is in the present location of the left field bleachers. Off to the left in the background are campus houses for professors, now occupied by the grandstand along the left field line. Note the wooden frame houses across Waveland Avenue as seen between the president's house and Eliza Hall.

At the turn of the 20th century, the block bounded by Clark, Addison, Waveland, and Sheffield streets was home to the Chicago Lutheran Theological Seminary, with the Hildebrandt Coal Factory across the street to the west. William Passavant, a prominent Lutheran missionary, had inherited the land decades before. Passavant began to develop the land as early as 1868, including the construction of St. Mark's Church by 1874. In 1891, Passavant helped establish the Chicago Lutheran Seminary on the site.[1][2]
[Note the watchtower for the crossing guard.]
David Borck commented on Raymond's post
good shot from 1914 - seminary buildings just outside of LF fence
[I include this photo as a "bonus" because I want to save it, but I don't think it is worth its own post. They didn't have to worry about video boards blocking roof-top seats back then.]

Stephen Karlson commented on Rollie's share
I scanned this picture from an issue of First and Fastest. The grease joint appears to be on the site of the coal dealer used to be across the street from the ballpark.
[At least one boxcar is setting on the team track.]
Dennis DeBruler commented on Stephen Karlson's comment
I cropped the following from your photo to get better resolution. It appears there were two coal companies. The wooden dock and elevator were owned by Collins & Wiese Coal Co. and the concrete silos were owned by Chicago Solvay Coke. Or is it all C&W and Solvay is the name of the company that supplies their coke?
Stephen Karlson Dennis DeBruler There's another reference to coke below the Collins and Wiese sign. "Solvay" refers to one of the patented methods of coking, and it might be that's Chicago Solvay's retail silo behind, or perhaps Collins and Wiese deal in Chicago Solvay.

Raymond Kunst posted
[Note the tracks on the right side of the photo. We can see a cut of freight cars parked on the team track.]

Wayne DeMunn commented on his own post
Here an overhead view from the 30s. Wonder if anybody has modeled this scene.
[The Milwaukee is curving in from the bottom, past the coal silos, then straight north. There are a couple of boxcars on the team tracks.]
I was originally going to do a chronological order of the Wrigley Field photos. But grouping these three views together allows you to see how the bleachers grew and how the staff for the scoreboard kept having to climb higher to do their job.
Wes Merkel commented on John Matthew's post
For the curious.
[Top photo was Summer 1955.]

Nelson Herrera posted
1935 Wrigley Field
Tim M. Hickernell I love the train that is visible on the old Milwaukee Road Evanston Line, just about to cross Clark Street.
Bob Lalich Hard to tell if that is a train or just a cut of cars. It could be though. I have never seen a good photo of a train on that line.
Dennis DeBruler replied to Bob on Nelson's post
 It looks like a steam locomotive on the front to me. I doubled the size of the crop. You can see a white arc on the smokebox and some domes. And the tender is lower than the cars behind it.

Tim M. Hickernell shared
Gary Elliott When I was a little kid, my Grandpa took me to the Cubs game and I'd go stand by the top row third base side and watch the Milw. switch the coal yard and a couple of warehouses in the area. Never got hassled by the Andy Fraines cause there was no one there anyway.

Jeff Bransky also posted

Jim Arvites posted a better scan of the above photo
From a bygone era, possibly 1930's, it is Game Day at Wrigley Field in Chicago. It looks like the Cubs were playing the old New York Giants. The game has just ended and baseball fans are catching the elevated Chicago Rapid Transit and Clark Street Streetcars to go home.

Paul Bourjaily commented on Tim's post [I lost the post link.]
Here's another with the crossing gates in prominent view, probably from the 40's.

Jeff Bransky commented on a post
The ball park, coal yard, and tracks from a different perspective. Note, the bleachers are under construction all around the field. This photo was found at this website, date and original source not available:
http://gradyent.blogspot.com/.../on-road-to-bathgate-act...

Jim Arvites posted
A CTA PCC Car crosses the Milwaukee Road tracks at Wrigley Field in Chicago in the early 1950's.

Matt McClure also posted
The Milwaukee Road tracks and the streetcar are long gone as is the concrete plant. And Wrigley Field dropped it's concrete panels in this 1954 public domain photo. Photographer unknown.
David Daruszka It was a coal yard.
[Lots of comments by Michael Murray providing more information.]

OGR Forum, scroll down a little  (credited as Illinois Railway Museum, ca 1950.)
Looking north from the intersection of Clark and Addison. Notice the silos where Henry's would later be built.

Rollie Tocups shared
Cub fans line up outside Wrigley Field next to boxcars on the Milwaukee Road team track. 1967.
Ted Lemen There were only a few blocks of this track remaining about 1976 when I contacted the Milwaukee Road and requested they donate the rail and switches that ran across Irving Park Road and behind some apartment buildings to the Monticello Railway Museum. Because City of Chicago alderman Chris Cohen was lobbying for a park when the track was gone, the railroad made it known they were donating the rail and switches if we would properly repair the Irving Park grade crossing to Illinois State highway code. I contacted a rail laying and salvaging company called Swanson, who gave us a couple of thousand bucks for what was really ratty rail and took care of the road. It was interesting to be called to a meeting at City Hall with Richard J. Daley presiding, acknowledging our donation and in three minutes with 50 people in the room, the track soon became gone and the park sprung up. All of the work had been worked out in advance and the City Hall meeting was the rubber stamp.
[Both the original and and shared posting have interesting comments. Note that food has replaced coal in the triangle.]

Another posting of this photo
Susan Reibman Groff "photo from 1967. These are Cubs fans waiting to enter Wrigley Field, which is located just to the left out of the photo. They are walking past two boxcars that were spotted on the team track just west of the ballpark. The street in the background is Clark Street, with Addison Street just beyond it. The tracks are long since paved over for parking." https://ogrforum.ogaugerr.com/.../it-s-team-track-tuesday...

Jeff Bransky commented on  Jim's post
Whenever the subject of RR tracks at Wrigley Field comes up I love to pull out this USGS map clip from 1963. The Milwaukee Road tracks and the red line elevated tracks can be seen on the map.


Now that we have had a good look at Wrigley Field, let's go further north on the C&E.

Dave Weber posted
North of Wrigley field
[
All the comments agree the picture label is wrong. This is looking south and you can see Wrigley Field on the left side of the tracks in the background. The cars look like the 1950s.]


Milwaukee transferred the route north of Wilson to the CTA with the understanding that the CTA would serve the few remaining industries along the track, mostly coal retailers. Milwaukee handed off freight cars to the CTA at Wilson. For an extensive history and description of this freight operation, see L-freight.

Sam Carlson posted
Lou Gerard Wow! At Wilson Yard!
Ralcon Wagner Terrific! The freight loco used to move loads of coal between Milwaukee Road branch and CTA el line at Montrose/Wilson connecting track in Chicago. This image was made between 1960 and 1973. Looks like the loco was freshly painted. Great find!
Lou Gerard According to the info on the back of the print, it is from 1961.

1938 Aerial Photo from ILHAP
Satellite

David Daruszka commented on Matt's post
The line was originally built as a commuter line that ran as far north as Wilmette. Commuter service was abandoned in the early 1900's and the Northwestern Elevated assumed operations over the right of way north of Wilson Ave. That line was later elevated. There was a freight exchange yard at Wilson with the CTA, who provided freight service for the remaining businesses that needed it. Slowly but surely freight service south of Wilson diminished as well.
["During the last month of freight service, locomotive S-104 is pushing two empty hopper cars back to Buena Yard on the freight lead in April 1973. The freight train has just passed over Montrose Avenue and is heading north on the elevated connection between Buena Yard and Track 1 at Wilson station, seen looking southwest from the Wilson Shops lunchroom. (Photo by Lou Gerard)" [L-freight]]

Craig Holmberg commented on a post
Joshua Sutherland Lakewood line from the 1870's to 1973, used to switch cars to the CTA for the CTA's freight service that ended in 1973 when Lill coal yard stopped receiving shipments.
Joshua Sutherland Craig Holmberg We have one of those (CTA S104) at the Museum in Union.
[Comments implied there were two of these electric freight locomotives to serve industries on the CTA part because they were named Delores and LaVerne.
"On the last day of CTA freight service, locomotive S-104 is seen shoving the last empty hoppers south down Track 1 back to Buena Yard, passing Berwyn station on April 30, 1973. This would be the last in-service freight run on the "L". (Photo by Lou Gerard)" [L-freight]]
Due to their substantial weight -- about 100,000 pounds -- electric locomotive S-104 and its twin, S-105, were well-suited to snow clearance duty during the winter months when not needed for freight service. Here, S-104 is seen in Lower Wilson Yard with a snowplow attached to its front on February 1, 1939. The four-track North Side Main Line and the elevated Wilson Shops are visible in the background. (Photo by George Krambles, from the Krambles-Peterson Archive) [L-freight]



Back when the C&E still ran all the way through Evanston.
Bill Molony posted
This is a Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad pile driver elevating the Evanston branch - undated.

Some redundant postings: crossing gate, watchtower.


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