Saturday, March 26, 2016

Wabash's 1955 Freight House Fire

(Satellite, everything has been redeveloped)

Wabash also had an outbound freight house west of Dearborn Station.

Glen Miller posted
5-11 Alarm fire in Chicago at the Wabash Railroad Freight House
27 W Roosevelt Road December 26, 1955. photographer unknown
So the person that labeled this picture thinks "freighthouse" is one word. I have struggled with using a compound word vs. using two words for months.
In this 1938 photo, I left the "demagnify icon" on what I believe is the freight house on fire. In the aerial excerpt, Roosevelt is across the top, Clark is on the left and State is on the right.
1938 Aerial Photo from ILHAP
I made the following map excerpt to research Marty Bernard's photo that is looking south from Roosevelt. The freight house on fire was their outbound freight house. You can tell by the two rows of box cars parked next to it in Marty's photo. In the fire photo, the freight house to the left of the burning one was the Wabash inbound freight house.

1964 Dearborn Station's Access

Photo by Tom Bedwell taken in the 1950s from a share
[The two-story part that burned would be out-of-frame on the left so I can't tell if this was before or after the 1955 fire.]

Tom Bedwell posted
Waiting for work.
Dennis DeBruler A nice view of the running boards on the box cars. They would put planks between the inner and outer rows of boxcars so that outgoing LCL (less than carload) freight can be rolled into the boxcar that is going to the proper destination for that LCL.
Dennis DeBruler We are looking south of Roosevelt with the Wabash Outbound Freight House on the left and the C&EI Inbound Freight House on the right. The signalling bridge in the distance is just this side of 14th Street.

David Daruszka posted the fire photo that is at the top.
Lenny Hendricks Did the Wabash ever rebuild it? I know LCL freight was falling at that time. Had many other roads given it up yet in 1955?
Bob Lalich Yes, the Wabash built a smaller replacement after the fire. The house was leased to Lifshultz at some point. Here is a Marty Bernard photo from Roosevelt Road showing the replacement.

Bill Molony shared
Santa Fe F3A #34-C leads train #2, the eastbound "San Francisco Chief" into Chicago's Dearborn Station on December 26, 1967. Roger Puta photo.
[We are looking Southeast from Roosevelt Road. The rebuilt Wabash outbound the inbound freight houses are on the left. Obviously, Meadow Gold Butter is in the background.]

William Shapotkin posted
On February 2, 1969, C&EI's N/B DANVILLE FLYER -- the sole remaining C&EI psgr trn (which would survive until Amtrak) is seen arriving Chicago. Note the Mopac-inspired logo on the locomotive. View looks south off the Roosevelt Rd bridge. Wm Shapotkin Collection.
[It was the Great Northern goat that caught my eye.]
Bob Lalich At least one of the refrigerator cars next to the freight house looks to be wood sided. Surprising to see one in service in 1969.
Mitch Markovitz When I first hired out on the C&NW [Summer of 1969] there were a number of NP wood refers. In brakeman class our instructor taught us about wood cars and if you get a splinter from one.

Steve S Czajkowski posted
Plymouth Court east side of Dearborn Station Aug.11 1930
Dennis DeBruler shared
The building in the middle background that looks like a steel mill building was the train shed of the Dearborn Station. The brick building in front of it was the Monon freight house until 1954, and then the Railroad Express Agency.
Brandon McShane The Wabash freight house, at the corner of Clark and Polk, is visible too.Dennis DeBrulerYou and 1 other manage the membership, moderators, settings, and posts for Chicago Railroad Historians. Clark and Polk is what I'm calling the REA/Monon facility. Others have also called that Clark & Polk building a Wabash freight house. But my research indicates the Wabash freight facilities were south of Roosevelt between the Dearborn approach tracks and State Street.
Brandon McShane The building had a big Wabash sign on it at one point, but I don't know whether it was subsequently sold to REA or Monon. Railroads often operated separate inbound and outbound freight houses, so that may account for the one south of Roosevelt Road.
Dennis DeBrulerYou and 1 other manage the membership, moderators, settings, and posts for Chicago Railroad Historians. Brandon McShane The building that burned was outbound. They had a separate inbound building south and east of their outbound building. I wonder if the Wabash sign was just advertising their presence at Dearborn. There would be a lot more train passenger eyeballs on Polk than south of Roosevelt. But a big Wabash sign would introduce some confusion. For rail freight customers as well as railroad historians.
Mitch Markovitz Speaking of Railway Express Agency an aspect of railroading that I dearly miss are all baggage-mail-express trains. All head end all the way to the hind end.
Ned Carlson posted
REA in Chicago. Photo from collection of Greg Smith.
Joseph A. Fay Circa 1961
John Foster shared
Chicago. 1960 or so, with a nice combine at mid-photo.
Brandon McShane Actually the small NYC yard north of Roosevelt Road with Clark Street and the Wabash freight house leads in the background.
Ken Myles I like (from left to right) the 1960 Chevy, 1959 Chevy and 1961 Pontiac...

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