Saturday, December 31, 2016

IC Freight Houses along Michigan Avenue in 1925 and later

(Update: See also IC icing platform. Views along the IC south of the freight yards are in Lake Front)

Paul Petraitis posted three photos with the comment: "End of the line ICRR, undated photography, maybe taken from atop the Tribune Bldg? From the ICRR Archives/Don Horn"
Paul Jevert Good shot of the Michigan Central Freighthouse to the starboard side of the laker excursion boater!

Ava Francesca Battocchio 1901 Sanborn Map collection for Chicago has a really sweet grain elevator section. Very attractive.


MWRD shared
 View looking south from Tribune Tower down Michigan Avenue - 1925 versus today.
Mike Tuggle also posted the 1925  view.
MWRD shared Living History of Illinois and Chicago posting
1925 view of Chicago's Michigan Avenue (south of the river), Grant Park, and the Wrigley Building.
[London Guarantee Building is the one in the middle.]

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.
Paul Petraitis posted
Our original river/rail connection, 1858, probably a Hesler photo.
Paul Petraitis Original in the Chicago History Museum collections, a gift of Mrs. Lizzie Moulton Kneeland.
Richard Fiedler shared
Rick Powell The Buckingham family owned many of the grain elevators at the north end of the IC tracks. Namesake of the fountain and also the tiny town in Kankakee County.
David Daruszka commented on Richard's share
Image of the IC holdings in the lakefront and river. There was quite a panoply of railroads using IC's first Central Station (#2 in the image). The CB&Q had their first office building next to the station.
Thomas Manz commented on Richard's share
What was the last business or industry north of Randolph Street to have a rail connection?

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.

Jim Arvites posted
Postcard view of the Illinois Central yard in downtown Chicago at Pleasure Craft Harbor and Randolph Street circa 1905. Note the Michigan Central passenger cars. The Michigan Central, a New York Central subsidary, used the IC's Central Station for its Chicago - Detroit passenger service until the late 1950's.
David DaruszkaDavid and 3 others manage the membership, moderators, settings, and posts for Chicago Railroad Historians. Other railroads that used the station prior to 1871 were the Chicago & Alton Railroad, the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, The Galena & Chicago Union and the Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago & St. Louis Railway from 1886 to 1893. At one time, and for years, through passenger trains were run between Chicago and Dubuque, Iowa. These trains ran between Chicago and Freeport, Il over the Galena & Chicago Union, and between Freeport and Dubuque over the Illinois Central. Two separate trains ran out of both Great Central Station and G&CU’s Kinzie Street Station. The two trains were combined at Oak Park as one train. On the return the train was split and each section ran to the respective stations.
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."]
Chicago newspapers: Turning the pages posted
In 1922: Before there was a Tribune Tower. The Wrigley Building opened its doors in 1921. It is considered the first major office building north of the Chicago River.
[Note the rows of boxcars inside the U-shaped freight house. And the ship in the lower-right corner being loaded from the grain elevator. To the left of the Wrigley building is the Kraft Plant and they have yet to dismantle the Rush Street Bridge.]
It looks like the above was cropped from this aerial.
Historic Chicago posted
Aerial view of Chicago (1922)
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 more 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]

See Prudential Building for some more photos of the IC freight yards.

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.

Edward Jarolin also posted
New York Central SW1 switching at the Illinois Central's Water Street Terminal in Chicago. NYC rented space here from IC. This April, 1943 photo by Jack Delano.
A close look will show the original stubby stack on the SW1.

Jim Arvites also posted
New York Central SW1 #622 switching reefers at the Illinois Central's South Water Street yard by downtown Chicago in April 1943.
(Jack Delano Photo)
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
Edward Jarolin posted
Part of the IC's South Water St. freight terminal in Chicago. 
April, 1943 photo by Jack Delano
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

David Daruszka posted
Jack Delano again. The Wrigley Building is in the center and The Chicago Tribune Tower is the tall building to the left of the Chessie freight house.
Dennis DeBrulerGroup Admin NKP and C&O is a surprise. The NKP came to town on NYC LS&MS tracks (La Salle Station area). The C&O came to town on the C&WI (Dearborn Station area).
Bob Lalich C&O of Indiana predecessor Chicago Cincinnati & Louisville originally used the IC from a location in Riverdale called Highlawn, to reach downtown Chicago.
Bob Lalich Both NKP and C&O used a connection at the north end of Fordham Yard to access the IC. C&O used NKP's Chicago terminal facilities for some time. They were both under Van Sweringen control for many years.
Joseph Tuch Santucci They ran over the IHB? Never heard that before.

Also Photo 10 in TheAtlantic
Illinois Central Railroad freight cars at the South Water Street freight terminal in Chicago in April 1943

Bob Lalich commented on David's posting
It was only for a short period of time, but IHB and predecessor Chicago Hammond & Western were used from a location in Burnham called Louisville Jct to Highlawn. This original route was out of service by 1915.

Photo 4 from TheAtlantic
A view of part of the South Water Street Illinois Central Railroad freight terminal in April 1943

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

Jack Delano, 1943, LoC   (source)

Screenshot -9:30 from a 1940s film about Chicago
David Daruszka posted
Looking north east shows the two elevators marking the Chicago River. To the left the the small white building with windows was the original headquarters of the CB&Q Railroad.
Dennis DeBrulerGroup Admin What is CB&Q doing in IC territory? I learned just today that CB&Q had offices over where thier tracks curved from heading east to heading north.
Dennis DeBrulerGroup Admin Was IC so important back then that CB&Q felt they had to have their offices close to the movers and shakers? Then later they thought they were important enough that they could have their offices near their own operations.Bob Lalich CB&Q used IC's station for a period of time, before Union Depot was built. CB&Q was a 25% owner of the St Charles Air Line, which provided access to IC's lakefront facilities.
David Daruszka posted
An illustration from a map book by Rand McNally shows the collection of freight terminals that covered the north end of the IC property.
Dennis DeBrulerGroup Admin The river still has swing bridges, but the boats are steamers instead of schooners.
Dennis DeBrulerGroup Admin It looks like the McCormick Reaper plant has already moved away from the north shore.

Paul Jevert I worked those North end Pier job switch engines out of Monroe Street Yard Office and So.Water Street Freight House yard engines !
Paul Petraitis posted
Detail scanned from the J.T. Palmatary lithograph, 1857, CHS
Paul Petraitis The City and the ICRR reached an uneasy agreement on the 3 mile breakwater...some have said the ICRR wanted to enter Chicago on the industrial West Side, instead it came downtown through a whole lot of Steven Douglas's southside property. Anybody seen any archives with correspondence between City Hall and the IC?Paul Petraitis Sure wish someone could find the original drawing that this litho was made from! Probably burned in the Great Fire...BTW this is a scan from CHICAGO;GROWTH OF A METROPOLIS and (bragging) I've learned how to virtually eliminate the halftone dots in any book, magazine or art print...just sayin'..
David Daruszka commented on Paul's posting
Another view
JoAnne Gazarek Bloom posted
From Illinois Central RR files. Lakefront circa 1866(&)

David Daruszka commented on Paul's posting
1871 same as this larger image

David Daruszka commented on Paul's posting
Here's your 1857 image, some tweaking involved.
Paul Petraitis commented on his posting
Here we're looking east at the Rush Street bridge about 1860.
[I originally saved this in the Rush Street Bridge notes, but it is worth copying here also.]

Lorri Redmon posted
"A 1937 view of the lakefront, with the rail yards that would became Grant Park on the left. The ivory Wrigley Building can be seen on the middle left of the photo. — Chicago Tribune historical photo"
Paul Grajciar Are you sure of the date? This looks to be at least a decade earlier.Lorri Redmon I took it as a quote from. Not sure if they're completely accurate. Bransky It did look a lot like that a decade earlier. However the Lake Shore Drive Bridge is present. It opened in 1937.

David Daruszka commented on Lorri's posting
Grant Park had already been built on landfill east of the Illinois Central tracks by 1937. A portion of the freight yards became surface parking for automobiles. That would eventually become todays Millenium Park. The area in the lower portion of this photo would be developed with buildings like the Prudential and Illinois Center.

David Daruszka commented on Lorri's posting
An older image of the same location.

Anamaria Spiteri commented on Lorri's posting
Compared to...Manage

Per my request, Paul digitally zoomed into the IC area as a comment on his posting
I shared Paul's posting. A discussion about a gantry crane over team tracks is now its own posting.
David Daruszka commented on my share
At one time there was a railroad swing bridge across the mouth of the Chicago River that connected the IC with the C&NW.
Dennis DeBrulerYou and 1 other manage the membership, moderators, settings, and posts for Chicago Railroad Historians. And the lower deck of the Lake Shore Drive Bridge was originally planned to be a railroad connection.
This photo provides another view of the gantry crane in the middle and, to the left, a row of boxcars parked near a freight house.
MWRD shared John Tkalec's post
Looking south towards the Chicago River from North Water Street. Michigan Ave is to the right. A pick up baseball game is being played on an empty lot which is now Pioneer Court and the Apple Store. Circa 1930.
VintageChicago also caught the gantry crane in 1964

Bill Archer commented on a posting
This is a digital photo of a picture that hung in the IC B&B Shop at 18th Street. As near as I can tell it is late 1930s or early 1940s.
[The comments date it between 1925 (Tribune Tower done) and 1929 (Carbon and Carbide building started).]
John Tkalec posted
1929, this area south of the Chicago River has been completely retransformed and looks nothing like this today.
This is not close to 1925, but it is part of the ongoing evolution of this area.
Steven J. Brown posted
South Shore trains at Randolph Street Station are exposed to the sky for the last time before the station is buried forever under Millennium Park in Chicago - November 26, 1999.
Richard Katz posted
Jeff Bransky This photo was probably taken just after the Wrigley Building south tower was completed (at least the exterior). Wrigley Building South Tower started 1920, 1921 completion. North tower completed 1924. Michigan Ave. Bridge completed 1920. Notice that the Rush Street swing bridge is still in place. It was removed soon after this photo was taken.
[You can also see the Kraft plant west of Wrigley. And IC still has a big grain elevator along the river.]
Jim Arvites posted
An early 1950's view looking south of the Illinois Central Railroad freight yard in downtown Chicago taken from the Chicago Tribune Tower.
Patrick McNamara The photo I posted is dated 1952.
Matthew Chapman I saw info from somewhere saying the Prude was finished in 1955. Need to check that.
Patrick McNamara It was. The initial photo was probably taken from the 333 N. Michigan Avenue Building.
[The Pabst sign was on Randolf.]
Chuck Roth posted
IC downtown yard 1980
Brandon McShane ICG was storing a lot of boxcars there before scrapping them.Brian Marra God I wish it still looked like that...
Dennis DeBruler Please skip this comment if you are interested only in railroads.

At least they have preserved the Michigan Avenue buildings. Since the Santa Fe building has round windows across the top, it was easy to find it in today's skyline.!3m6!1e1!3m4... It looks like that black monolith was the beginning of the end. Is it the building that is now at the southeast corner of Monroe and Wabash? If so, it appears they have done some remodeling of the exterior.

Randolph Street was the northern boundary of the no-buildings in the park rule that Montgomery Ward fought for. That rule is why we lost the Lucas Museum after we one it. This shows IC's grain elevators that were by the river and the tall-masted schooners on the river and lake.
Paul Clark posted
I found (and bought) this at the Chicago Antiquarian Map, Book, and Ephemera Fair at the Newberry Library this weekend.
It’s from Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper, August 30, 1879. The caption reads “First Annual Meeting of the National Archery Association at White Stocking Park, Chicago”
White Stocking Park was at the corner of Michigan and Randolph, basically the northwest corner of Millennium Park. The vantage point is looking north and east. Those are warehouses over the outfield wall, set among piers in what was then still Lake Michigan but today would be the rest of Millennium Park and Lake Shore Drive.

Historic Chicago posted
Aerial view of Chicago (1922)
Cropped from a photo about the Wrigley Building

Paul Patraitis posted
One of the best photos of Chicago you'll ever see, taken in 1968 by my boss, the late great Walter Krutz who shared the darkroom at CHS with me for 17 years...this tremendous panorama was commissioned by U of C Press as part of the monumental CHICAGOLAND; GROWTH OF A METROPOLIS. Taken with a large-format WIDELUX it captures the site of Ft. Dearborn as good as the Hesler photos from the 1850's...scanned from an original 8x10 silver print that Wally gave me when he cleaned out his stuff when he retired in 1985.
Dennis DeBruler This view is not only the first time I have seen the north side of the Prudential Building, this is the best view I have seen of the IC freight houses. This skyline makes you appreciate that there was a breakthrough in the 1970s for building foundations in a swamp for skyscrapers. Manhattan Island is built on the remnants of a mountain range. They barely had to scratch the surface to reach bedrock.
Phil Hanson It looks like the area south of the river and east of Michigan, where the IC freight houses are is below the level of the river. Is that possible or is it just an illusion?
Paul Petraitis I do beleive that the easternmost tracks in the yard were at original "Chicago datum" and yes would be below the river by a little...
Phil Hanson That's what I thought also. I've never seen such a clear illustration about how much the city has been raised.

Photo from LC-DIG-fsa-8a32937 from LOT 1073, Jul 1941
Coal dock. Chicago, Illinois
Photo from LC-DIG-fsa-8a32942 from LOT 1073, Jul 1941

Photo from LC-USF33-016114-M2 from LOT 1073, Jul 1941
Freight cars in yards, Chicago, Illinois
[These are probably in the "U" formed by the IC freight house.]

Photo from LC-USF33-016114-M3 from LOT 1073, Jul 1941
Freight cars in yards, Chicago, Illinois
[I presume the lower-left corner is the roof of the east arm of the freight house.]

John W. Barriger III Flickr, reversed and cropped

Photo from LC-USF33-016118-M5 from LOT 1073, Jul 1941
Buckingham Fountain. Grant Park, Chicago, Illinois
[Bonus photo :-). Actually, this is a reminder for me that LOT 1073 is a bunch of photos of the Chicago area taken by John Vachon for the U.S. Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information.]

Historic Chicago posted
The Chicago River as seen from the Rush Street Bridge (1880s)
[Michigan Ave Bridge wasn't built until 1920, so Rush was the eastern most bridge at that time. We can see IC's freighthouses and gran elevators on the south side of the river.]

Panorama video of Chicago lakefront with lots of boxcars in the second half (I contributed some posts as to why there were so many boxcars on the lakefront.)

Photos of the early impact of the IC along all of the lakeshore.

VintageChicago aerial

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