Sunday, January 10, 2016

CN&W's State Street Yard and Grain Elevator

A comment in this posting indicates that the name of this river front yard is State Street.

MWRD shared
Jeff Bransky Wow. Look at those railroad tracks. Wabash Bridge is the hockey stick shaped road.

Jim Jasiota posting
Looking west from the Wrigley Building. Chicago, 1954. Photo by Mildred Mead.
Jim Mac Donald Before Marina City

Paul Petraitis posted
One of my favorite Chicago City Views (as they call them in the print trade) a gorgeous panorama of a smoky downtown looking south on Michigan Avenue across the river in 1925. Look! They're working on Wacker Drive! And what? There's a rail yard west of the Wrigley building? Prints of this spectacular Kaufman & Fabry photo are in several archives inc. CHM, Uof I and I think the Newb...This would make a great banner photo administrators! IMHO 
(Update: London House has a better exposure of the IC facilities.)
[State Street Yard is on the right of this photo along the north side of the Chicago River.]

I have read that the Sun Times Building was built in the leased air-rights over a railroad yard. I have finally found some photos of that yard. I presume Trump bought the land and forced Sun-Times out when the air-rights lease expired. Since he owned the land, he tore out the tracks. But by this time (building topped out in 2009), all of the industries had moved from the Ogden Slip and the Navy Pier no longer needed rail service. The Jardine Filtration Plant now gets its chlorine from trucks instead of tank cars.
Matt McClure posted
Chicago and North Western Navy Pier line next to the Sun-Times Building circa 1969. All of this is long gone: the open space, the line, the C&NW, the building itself. Cool Ford Mustang from the Bullett era. Not my photo; no owner listed.
Mark Hershoren shared

Leonard Grossman comment in above posting, 1935-36
The Kraft plant is at the east end of the yard on the left, the Michigan Avenue Bridge is over the river, and the Mandel Building is on the north side of the river.

By 1953 the picture in CALUMET 412 shows that a lot of the tracks were removed to create a parking lot.

Leonard Grossman comment in above posting,  1935-36
Leonard's comment indicates this view is from a building on Wabash near S. Water. The State and Dearborn bridges look like they are still Scherzer rolling lift bridges. This picture explains why Marina Towers was also built using air-rights.
1938 Aerial Photo from ILHAP

The above aerial photo shows that the yard extended east of the Wabash Avenue to the Kraft Plant that was next to the Wrigley Building. The following 1956 aerial shows That the Kraft building has been removed and the yard has been truncated back to Wabash Avenue to make room for the Sun Times Plant that was competed in 1958. Delivering newsprint to this building was the last revenue service for this C&NW route on the north side of the river.
Piere Hamon shared
Mike Joyce Wow, the Prudential Building dwarfs them all; in today's skyline, you can barely find it. Now, I realize why they charged me an exorbitant fee to go to the observation deck in 56 or 57. I think it was $1.25 if you were 12 or older, maybe even $1.50. That was a lot of money for a kid back then.
Historic Chicago posted
Aerial view of Chicago. (1956)
Cropped to original resolution

I didn't realize that State Street Yard had a freight house until I saw this 1920 photo. Note the Kraft building  on the right to correlate this photo with some of the other photos.
Cropped from Chicagology

In fact, if you go back to 1903, the yard had a grain elevator and freight house next to the river. 
MWRD posted
A northeasterly view of the State Street Bridge over the Chicago River on March 1, 1903.

Historic Chicago posted
Rush Street Bridge (1900)
[I include this photo of the Rush Street Bridge because it provides another view of the grain elelvator.]

Paul's photo at the top shows that it still existed in 1925. Other photos in this post show that the freight house was removed by 1935 and the land was used for more tracks.
Cropped from Paul's post

I posted the freight house photos on Facebook.
David Daruszka commented on my post
David Daruszka commented on my post

Urban Remains posted
original photographic print of aerial view of downtown chicago taken in the 1930s.    courtesy of private collection.
[Because of the construction of the Merchandise Mart, the comments date this photo as 1929. Note the lone tank car in the yard near the Kraft Building.]

I include this picture not because it illustrates the corncob nickname for the building, but because it illustrates the core of the building that provides the strength needed to make the apartments span free. When completed, the towers were the tallest reinforced concrete structures in the world. I read that the owner of the House of Blues Chicago parked his private railway car in the basement of Marina City. Now I understand that the basement was a railroad yard.

Nelson Herrara posted, 1960

Aerial photo from 1950 for the Metropolitan Planning Council, from FLDR
The Kraft building is still present and the Sun-Times has yet to be built.

Update: Patrick McNamara identifed this as Mildred Mead's 1954 photo in a comment on Daved Kuntz's posting.

ChicagoLoopBridges also posted this photo with the comment:
Nice photo posted by Mark Reiner. Interesting moment in time captured with respect to the visible bridges. The Dearborn St. bridge (foreground) is the rolling lift bridge built in 1907 and the State St. bridge was "new" having opened in May 1949. Fun to see the building housing Harry Caray's steakhouse visible from the river and the rail yards now filled in by Marina City, AMA (IBM) Plaza, Trump Tower, etal.

Illustration prepared by Bertrand Goldberg Associates, from FLDR
This illustration is based on a later view that does include the Sun-Times building.
Glen Miller posted
Chicago Skyline (1972)
The black building was built on the little sliver of land between the two bridges. It must have also been built in the air-rights of the yard. According to Google Map, it is The Langham Chicago: "Contemporary, luxury hotel offering lake views, a sleek health club & an upscale restaurant" I knew it as the "IBM Building" that was designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. At 52 stories, it was his second tallest building. It was built in 1973, so why it looks done in a 1972 photo is a puzzle. IBM moved to another location in 2006 and Langham remodeled floors 2-13 as a hotel that opened in 2013. In 2013 the American Medical Association move its headquarters and entire workforce to 330 N. Wabash and the building was renamed AMA Plaza. It is the newest building that has been placed on the Chicago Landmark and National Register of Historic Places lists. Because of the curve of the river, the east side rooms have a view of the river and the lake. (Wikipedia)

Glen Miller posted, 1935
Glen's comment:
A tug boat pulls a ship off Lake Michigan, west along a very cold, ice clogged Chicago River in 1935.
Note the yard in the left-middle of the picture on the right.

From Calumet412

Untitled, 1926, Chicago. Claude C. de Brueys
Collotype, Meriden Gravure Co.
David M Laz posted
Looking north in a much earlier Chicago we see the nearest open bridge is the State Street Bridge, the rail yard to its west now Marina City
[I wonder which building has the clock tower on the river side. It appears the Merchandise Mart is in the background, so the clock tower would not be the C&NW Station.]
[Before the IBM Building and Marina Towers. You can see the "mainline" of the Navy Pier branch.]
Neil Gale posted
Looking east on Carroll Avenue from Clark Street bridge in Chicago towards the London Guarantee Building and Mather Tower in 1954.
Carroll Avenue (328 North) was a ground-level alley just north of the Chicago River and south of Kinzie Street.
[State Street Yard is in the background. Very little of Carrol Ave. is left. Kinzie Street RR Bridge is west of here and provided access to this branch. The branch went all the way to the end of Navy Pier.]
Xavier Quintana posted
A Chicago and North Western train sits on Kinzie Street next the Wrigley Building in an undated photo. The train ran on the industrial track alongside Tribune Tower. (Vintage Tribune)
David Daruszka The self-propelled Rail Diesel Car (RDC) was introduced in 1949 as a low-cost alternative for branchline and commuter runs, available in five combinations of coach seating and baggage and mail space. Power was provided by two diesel engines and a mechanical drive. Unlike earlier gas-electric "Doodlebugs", multiple RDC's could be coupled and controlled from one cab.

The Chicago & North Western purchased three RDC's (9933-9935) to evaluate for local and commuter service. By 1957, C&NW elected to convert to diesel-hauled bi-level commuter trains, and traded all three RDC's to the Chesapeake & Ohio. C&NW 9933 operated on the C&O (as car 9061) and affiliate Baltimore & Ohio (as 1971) until 1984, when it was purchased by the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority. The car remained in Boston-area commuter service (as MBTA 10) until its retirement and acquisition by IRM.

Mike Breski posted four photos with the comment:
The old Chicago Sun-Times building stood where the Trump Tower stands today. The Sun-Times facility included a printing plant. Newsprint was delivered by the Chicago & North Western on the Navy Pier Line that ran underneath the Merchandise Mart, under the Sun-Times, and out to Navy Pier.
This set of photos shows a C&NW locomotive delivering a boxcar for the Sun-Times printing plant. The middle photo shows the Merchandise Mart (looking west). The Marina City Towers appear above Dearborn Street in the fourth photo (current site of House of Blues).
August 6, 1986
Photos by John Smatlak
Chris Schultz I loved driving down there, I was a messenger in 1986 and would see the CN boxcars at the dock under the Sun-Times building.




Chicago & North Western Historical Society posted
Although you might say that this photo of two iconic Chicago buildings (Wrigley - center, TRIBUNE right) is not a railroad photo, it was taken by the publicity department of the C&NW! Note the area just beyond and to the right of the Michigan Avenue bridge is (now - Pioneer Court). Can you see the freight cards which have been staged for Navy Pier on the rail line which runs under the Wrigley Building? That is the C&NW line from Canal and Kinzie to Navy Pier. We also like the "boat" unloading paper for the SUN TIMES (now - someone's Tower).
[It looks like the Tribune Tower has a lot of coal soot on it.]
Maria Canzoneri posted

Chicago 1955 
Looking east down the Chicago River 
As a barge inches its way under the bridge 
From Chicago Past

Philip Wizenick That was the largest ship ever to pass through the Chicago River. She was too long for the controlling lock at the lake. She ( I have forgotten the ships name and am too lazy to look it up ) was towed in, the outer gates opened and the tugs strained to pull her against the flood of water from the lake. When she cleared the inner gates, they were closed and she was towed out into the lake.
Dennis DeBruler The advertisement on the side of the Kraft building is "Jim Beam." I did not realize whiskey was one of Kraft's products back in 1955. Or maybe Jim Beam was willing to pay a lot of money to use the side of Kraft's building. This is also an excellent view of the C&NW State Street Yard before Marina City bought the air rights.

MWRD posted
A view from the Chicago River looking toward the east side of State Street on the north side of the Chicago River on February 25, 1902. The stairway at left leads up to the street and what remains of an old State Street bridge that was being replaced. The new bridge would be completed in 1903 and was later replaced with the current bridge in 1949.
[The yard would be to the left of the warehouse and grain elevator. Is that the Kraft factory in the background?]

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