Monday, January 30, 2017

Navy Pier

Michael Wesolowski posted
Navy Pier - 1920

In the 1960s, after the St. Lawrence Seaway opened, Navy Pier was a cargo pier.
Early 1960's
Anton Wenzel posted , this is an enhanced version by Jerry Jackson

Kenneth Andresen provided three more views of some ships using the pier from postcard pictures.

Dennis Popiela posted
Navy Pier • Late 60s
This posting has some interesting comments.]
Chicago & North Western Historical Society posted
This is Chicago's "Navy Pier" when it really was a shipping pier. Note the tank cars along the big "boat". They got there courtesy of the C&NW which ran a line from Kinzie Street west of the north branch of the Chicago River all the way out to the pier. Isn't that a City of Chicago fire boat in the foreground?
Don Walsh Even though tank cars were smaller then, it's crazy to see how tiny they look next to the ship.
Makingsalembetter CHICAGO fire academy was located in a building at the eastern end of this pier... actually on the west end of this line of ships.... Logival for it to be moored here... I believe there were rails (two tracks - INSIDE the center of the building as well as on the outside edges that we see here.... The 'auditorium' is just out of the image on the right..... Nice pic.. Nice memory... thanks! ....

Dennis DeBruler commented on a post
Here is a photo from its glory years (from an industrial history perspective) after the St. Lawrence Seaway opened.
"This is Chicago's 'Navy Pier' when it really was a shipping pier. Note the tank cars along the big "boat". They got there courtesy of the C&NW which ran a line from Kinzie Street west of the north branch of the Chicago River all the way out to the pier. Isn't that a City of Chicago fire boat in the foreground?"
Are those sailing masts on the foreground ship?
The masts are part of the ship's cargo handling equipment. At the base of each mast, you can see about four booms sticking up and out from the mast at an angle. Each boom can be independently controlled to hoist cargo between the ship and the pier. You can barely make out the cables that are used to move and secure each boom and to hoist cargo with each boom.
Notice the tank cars are grouped along side almost every ship . This is for refueling the ships .

I thought this was just a cropped version of the above, but the smoke out of the stack is different.
Johnny Conlisk shared his web page
Navy Pier, possibly in the early 1960s, with 5 ocean-going ships along side. Note the skyline and the FDR Lake Shore Drive Bridge in the distance. This was just after the opening of the St Lawrence Seaway, a system of locks & canals that allowed ships from the Atlantic Ocean to go to the far reaches of the Great Lakes. Only a few years later, the advent of container shipping made it far cheaper to ship containers of goods from foreign ports to US coastal cities and on to Chicago by truck or rail. When that happened the Pier fell into disuse until the 1980s, when it was turned into an entertainment venue. It is currently one of Chicago's most popular tourist destinations. Photo: A Pictorial History of the Great Lakes - Read more about it here…/
[Lots of discussion of post port history in the comments.]

Back when boats actually used it: 1962196219631965, and (barely used) 1981.

Lou Gerard posted
Chicago & North Western train going into Navy Pier in 1975.

A photo of the early construction of the pier showing the many pilings that had been driven from a posting.
Stan Nettis When I went to University of Illinois at Navy Pier we were told it was built on 18,000 pilings.

Frank Pajak commented on the above posting
Nelson Herrera also posted
The construction of Navy Pier in 1914
Cost 4.5 million dollars
James McKay That's $107M in 2016 dollars.
[Some comments indicate that it could not be built today for $107M.]
Matt McClure Streetcar in the center. C&NW line on the south side of the pier.
Jeff Nichols posted
May 1916 photo of men working on train tracks on Navy Pier (which, of course, was then known as Municipal Pier). Chicago History Museum, DN-0066200
Glen Miller posted
Municipal Pier in 1919.
Martin Trombetta Before the warehouse days smile emoticon

Sylvia Rzeminski shared a post by Jack Spatafora
Navy Pier in one of its many lifetimes , 1940
Bruce Gordon: Very few people remember how it was used. Train tracks ran down the lower level into the docks. Trucks would go on the ramps to the upper level to unload. Freight would go into the building and go from train to truck, etc.We drove over the tracks so many times in the 1950's. What memories. In my semi-adult year's I was there working at ChicagoFest and Taste of Chicago from 1979 on.
Historic Chicago posted
We are giving away this amazing print for free to all our followers, simply go to
Navy Pier Streetcars 1921 Print

Nelson Herrera posted
Navy Pier 1931
[The "white line" is a plane flying by blowing smoke.]
Jeff Nichols posted
Navy Pier, c. 1933. University of Alabama.
Jamie Moncrief commented on Jeff's posting
The City of Holland was a Goodrich boat and regular visitor to the pier...but the stern doesn't look the same.. The Christopher Columbus as well, but her stack was pushed back more towards the stern...
Mike Tuggle posted
Navy Pier, circa 1947.
The University of Illinois had a branch here from October 1946 until February 1965 when the new University of Illinois at Chicago Circle (now University of Illinois at Chicago) opened.

Georgia Rasmussen posted
Are any of you survivors of the University of Illinois ay Navy Pier? When
It rained the roof leaked, hall floors flooded, ceiling material fell down...
It was chilly and to top it all off...occasionally a freighter would run into
It. We worked hard for our education before the Chicago Circle campus
Was built. I was there from 1959-61 before transferring to the Urbana
[The comments talk about waves coming in on the classroom floors, asbestos, and ice water dripping down the back.]
Bob Wolfberg Don't forget the rail cars running down the center of the pier.
Mike Haislet Bob Wolfberg Thats right!!!
Thank you for bringing that to our attention.
Robert Holzer I was there from 1956 to 1958 the roof didn’t leak then And we had great instructors. Then finished up in Champaign . Aski wa wa!
Mitch Simon I was at the "Pier" for the last year 1964-65.

Jay DiDomizio commented on Georgia's post
[A view of Ogden Slip before the west end was filled in.]

Eddie Yung posted
The good old "S" curve on LSD. Lake Shore Drive.
Ginny Teister Morton This definitive S-Curve photograph, was taken from the Prudential building in 1963 by the venerable Charles Cushman.
Bob Lalich The white buildings along Ogden Slip were known as North Pier Terminal.
Note that some of the Illinois Central freight houses still exist on the south side of the river and that there is still some heavy industry on the north side of the river.]

Dennis DeBruler commented on William's comment
I just remembered that this was what freight ships looked like before container shipping was developed. In fact, I've read that it was container shipping that killed the Navy Pier freight traffic. It was cheaper to offload containers at the coasts and ship to the Midwest using rail rather than run a ship up the Seaway. And if the freight is too big to fit in a container, they now use pedestal cranes.
Paul R. Murry posted the photo with the comment:
"MUNTGRACHT - Upbound Port Huron, Michigan 5-14-2017"

Chris West posted
Chicagofest, 1981 - Navy Pier
[You can see tracks are still running along the side of the pier.]
Tina Sifrer posted
Navy Pier
Daniel Bovino posted
Aerial of Navy Pier back when the University of Illinois Chicago was located there c. 1962.
Paul Jevert shared
Chicago & North Western Historical Society posted
WE at the C&NW Historical Society archives bet that today's tourists and young people cannot believe that this is a photo of Chicago's Navy Pier (about where the wheel is today). It is a "Port of Chicago" photo taken on August 17, 1963. The SW-8 was, according to Stephen Timko, a C&NW one of a kind.
Sunny Dhillon shared

Jerry Hund posted
American Freedom Train at Chicago's Navy Pier in 1975.

Jerry Hund posted two photos with the comment:
I took this photo at Chicago Navy Pier, 1975. American Freedom Train. The 4449 was taken at Proviso the day before. Not sure how the cars made their way through the “Chicago underground” and into Navy Pier.
Franklin Campbell It was the Reading T1 2101 that derailed several times on the Navy Pier line near the Merchandise Mart I think the train was handed off to 4449 at Proviso soon thereafter.


Sunny Dhillon posted two photos with the comment: "Freedom Train Navy Pier    1975 ... found on the internet"


Mark Llanuza posted
Its Aug 1975 the great American Freedom train is on display on the CNW tracks at Navy Pier in Chicago IL.
[The steam locomotive was not part of the display. Comments are conflicting about weather or not it derailed on its way to the pier. Two said it did and one said it wasn't attempted.]
Paulene Spika: I used to do work for the City out at the Navy Pier Auditorium. The tracks in the picture ran along the outside length of the pier. They were for loading/unloading cargo from rail cars to ships docked at the pier. They were there all through the 1980's, until they turned Navy Pier into the amusement park that it is now.

Grace E. Kennings-Kwiatkowska posted
Navy Pier, 1914.
Pierre Hamon shared
Construction of Municipal Pier in 1914. 
Later renamed Navy Pier in 1927.

BDBRCPC posted
The building of Municipal Pier (Navy Pier) 1914.
Raymond Kunst shared
How..HOW?? It’s to complicated..
Is that behemoth built on wood ??
Is mud holding it up?
I need answers!!!
Moss Tornero
 wood piles are driven by large (and heavy) weights into the bed of the lake. These weights are continually dropped, while advancement of the pile after each blow recorded. Generaly this continues until "refusal"; the point at which the advancement of the pile is below the required design point.
The weight with which the pile is driven, and the height from which it is dropped, and the amount of advancement with each blow, can then be used to calculate the bearing capacity of each installed pile. With the necessary design loading already known, it is the calculated how many piles are needed.
It should be noted that a significant portion of a driven pile's bearing capacity is derived from friction as the soils surrounding the length of the driven pile consolidate.
Underlaying much of the surface soils of Chicago is a layer of "fat clay"; a clayey soil with a very high silt content, generally greyish blue in color. This type of soil is relatively impervious to water infiltration, thus minimizing subsurface pile rot, as well as providing frictional support when these clays (relatively quickly) re-consolidate after being disturbed by the driven pile.
...but Im sure this is clearer.

Diane Bassman posted
University of Illinois, Navy Pier
Howie SilverHowie and 63 others joined Windy City Historians within the last two weeks. Give them a warm welcome into your community! I went to “The Pier” (Navy Pier) and then moved over to “Circle” (as UIC was called).Pat Howe I went to school there. Cold cold winter mornings out on the lake with ice jams grinding away at the foundations.

Sunny Dhillon shared
David M Laz posted
And there were freight trains running at Navy Pier to exchange goods with the docked freighters!
Michael Bose Engine 1241 is a Baldwin VO660M built in 1945. It was rebuilt in 1958, along with all of CNW's other Baldwin switchers, with an Electromotive 1200 hp 8-567 prime mover and a new long hood that is the same as the SW1200, NW2, SW1201, SW1300 & SW1500. So the looks are deceiving!
Robert Burnett Those guys looks fake. whats going on with this pic? look how long the red guys left arm is, it looks like an HO train locomotive and people, but the background looks real.
Sunny Dhillon I'm guessing someone at the warehouse behind had some manikins and decided to put them on the engine for the fun photo.
Bill Barden Robert Burnett real people I worked that job with them.
Patrick King Robert Burnett ... that’s what I thought.... look like a couple a Ken dolls.
[I don't follow this group. Is Bill Barden a troll? I'm going with the manikin theory.]
Sarah Johnson posted
When the Taste was Chicago Fest at Navy Pier!
Historic Chicago posted
Chicagofest (1979)
Rell Walker: I remember our parents taking us to Chicago Fest as a kid. Fond memories.
Unfortunately politics and the insensitivity of Chicago Mayor Jane Byrne to social justice issues related to public housing killed it leading to boycotts of the event. Her successor Mayor Harold Washington canceled it. It lasted from 1978 (started by Mayor Michael Bilandec) and ended in 1983 never to return. 

Jeff Nichols posted
Navy Pier. From the 1966 Circle Campus yearbook. University of Illinois at Chicago
Jennifer von Springhorn I remember my Mom taking me down to watch them load the ships. The cranes lifting netted crates and pallets to be stored in the hold.

Grand Ballroom
"Now named the Aon Grand Ballroom, its interior has an 80-foot, half-domed ceiling and an 18,000-square-foot floor space. The room holds up to 1,400 people."

More pictures of the interior thanks to Chicago Fest 1981.

During the 1970s and 1980s there was a concerted effort to move shipping and industry south to the Calumet Lake area. C&NW tracks were removed from the Ogden Slip and thus the pier. The pier has now been redeveloped a couple of times as a tourist attraction, and it has been a successful draw of tourists. Now passenger boats dock along the south side instead of freighters.

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