Thursday, February 21, 2019

C&E: Between Diversey and Wilson (Past Wrigley Field)

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

Marty Bernard shared
Lawrence Smith even in the depression people still had money for baseball.
Michael Riha Before television and free agency, it was very affordable.
Frank Chambers Jr Only one problem. The caption of this photo. That’s the great Chicago neighborhood of a Lakeview. Wriglyville is the imagination of realtors in the 80’s trying to get more white people into the neighborhood.

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.

Mike Tuggle posted
CTA Green Hornet streetcar 7214 heads south on Clark Street at Addison Street on September 4, 1957.
The Cubs would lose two of their three next games to the Cincinnati Redlegs (“Reds” was at the time apparently too politically incorrect a name because of the Communist Party) on their way to finishing the season with a record of 62 wins, 92 losses and a 7th place tie with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
That railroad crossing in the lower-left part of the photo is where the Lakewood Branch of Milwaukee Road C&E North Line was passing. I walked along its tracks almost sixteen years ago to take pictures. Some of the traces of by then almost completely abandoned railroad have since disappeared. Here are the photos, if anyone's interested:
[I was going to skip these comments about the oldest team. Then it occurred to me that baseball and sports in general is an industry. In fact, I wonder if today sports has a bigger income than railroads.]
The oldest professional team in baseball, mostly made up of Civil War vets before the National League existed , was always know as the Cincinnati Redlegs. It refers to northern guerillla units from Ohio that raided into Missouri.
James McKittrick
 My father always said the Cubs were the oldest (founded 1871, MLB membership 1876) but apparently it's a toss-up between them and the Atlanta Braves.
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I’ve been trying to find out when the tracks next to Wrigley were laid? I’ve read up until 1917 you can take a commuter train from the Loop up to then Weeghman Park built in 1914. But I’ve never read about anything before that time. Wondering if they were there when the seminary was opened in 1891.
It might be 1861. It was a part of the Chicago and Evanston line.
Only image I have seen yet showing the newer Clark crossing signals that replaced these gates was a brief one in "This Old Cub".
Note the very old manual gates. They are often seen in old black & white photos showing Wrigley crowds (especially 1945 WS).
. . . and that was when there was only 8 teams in each league ! Go Cubs Go ! ! !
Edward Kwiatkowski shared
[I added a couple of photos concerning the C&E tracks by the silos.]

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:

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.]

Jim Arvites posted
View of a CTA PCC Car crossing the Milwaukee Road tracks by Wrigley Field, Home of the Chicago Cubs, in the early 1950's.
Manuel Jose MolinaWhen the line was abandoned, they paved over the ties and we would ride our bicycles and feel a long stretch of rumble pavement!
Jeff GrunewaldThat track carried a lot of coal (on the L north of Montrose) from the Lill coalyard at Granville and Broadway.
Paul Musselman...'TO' the Lill Coalyard, and another near Granville....from the Buena one time the MILW RD had a 'per carload' special price, and because of it, Lill ordered a ton of cars....they filled the yard and CTA was kept super busy, going back and forth from Lill with the stuff...

R CM Peterson posted
Saw this on another FB group, is this accurate?
Greg Reynolds: Photo taken in 1954 based on the green IL license plate on the black '53 Ford parked along the back wall of what is now The Cubby Bear Lounge.
Pauly Zee: Sure is. My very first trip to Chicago took me to Wrigley in the late 1960s. That line was still intact. When I moved to Chicago in 1980 it had been truncated back to just north of Diversey to serve a candy factory.

Dennis DeBruler commented on Jeff's comment
This is more insight as to how industry was strung out along the railroads near residential areas in Chicago.
1938, red rectangle highlights Lill.

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.

Jeff Branksy also commented on a post
You can see the ball park left field wall on the right in this photo.

Chicago History posted
CTA Green Hornet streetcar 4390 heads south on Clark Street at Addison Street, about to pass Wrigley Field in September 1957.

Paul Webb shared
David Marshall: Clark & Addison looked kind of grimy back in the day!
James Binder: David Marshall wrigleyville was pretty seedy until the 80s.
[According to some comments, Illinois Railway Museum has #4391, the only one that still exists.]
Tyson Park: Passing over the Milwaukee Road's Chicago & Evanston branch line. It interchanged freight cars with the CTA at the Buena Yard by Irving Park Road.

Bill Edrington commented on Paul's share
Love the Sahara Coal sign on the silo at the coal yard. Sahara was a major southern Illinois coal producer, located near Harrisburg, and a big customer of the Big Four/New York Central/Penn Central/Conrail for many years. (Photo from the Saline County Historical Society archives)
Mike Tuggle posted
Wrigley Field aerial view in 1950.

Dennis DeBruler shared
I did not realize that Milwaukee's Chicago & Evanston route had three tracks going past Wrigley Field until I saw this photo. The silos on the left side were part of a coke and/or coal retailing operation.
Paul Musselman
That was Sahara coal....i think the three tracks were just around there to handle the coal loads....probably went to two and then one not too far N & S of here...
Mitch Markovitz
Paul Musselman The Milwaukee Road "C&E" (Chicago and Evanston) line. Connected to the "L" at Buena Yard at Irving. The "L" tuns on Milwaukee Road right of way from Wilson to Wilmette.
Paul Musselman
Mitch Markovitz Yes I know...Dennis mentioned the 'coal or coke' spot on Clark St. just N of Addison....that was Sahara.....
Jeff Grunewald
Paul Musselman The Lill coal yard was at Berwyn & Broadway.
Paul Musselman
Jeff Grunewald Yes it was......saw the electric loco siting up on the tracks many times when I got off at Bryn Mawr back in the day.....
Bruce Moffat
The line had two main tracks for its entire length with a third track in a few spots so freight could clear the many suburban passenger runs that existed prior to the L opening on the far north side.
Aaron Grace
This was the only video I could find of any operations taking place on it, but I do remember two instances of seeing trains on the Lakewood Branch and imagining them traveling even further, past Wrigley Field as they once would have.
Bob LeBailly posted
I've heard stories that the reason the Cubs dugout is on the third base side of the field was because it was closer to the tracks which minimized work loading equipment for train trips to road games. The visiting team had to lug their equipment a longer distance, Not sure if this is true.

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."

Mike Coker posted
Ken Morrison The joke was on the Cubs. When the Milwaukee Road was going bankrupt, and pulling up this line, the Cubs bought the land from the railroad for future expansion of Wrigley Field. Years later, when the Cubs began that expansion, the City of Chicago stopped them. Seems the Milwaukee Road had only operated there on an easement from the city...
John Kenney Believe those were players cars in foreground.

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.]

Paul Webb posted
David Thompson Tracks in foreground are Milwaukee Road's old Evanston Line which once had commuter service, now part of the CTA Red Line north of Wilson Ave. The South end was the Kingsbury Line.
AJ Grigg
Image: Robert Heinlein, Tim Collins Photo Collection, 7/14/57.
Andrew Sparberg The year is 1957 - last year for NY Giants, before the move to SF.
Michael Bose Ron Wenzel, the freight trains that did run through the Weeghman Field and later Wrigley Field site, other than deliveries to the coal yard next to the ballpark, all ran late at night and we're rather short, with the freight cars handed off to the Rapid Transit and later the CTA at Wilson. The main customer for the freight traffic north of the ballpark was another coal yard at Broadway and Berwyn, where the Jewel is now.
Jt Turner Michael Bose is this the same rail system that ran along Lockport by Peerless Candies? There was always a car or two parked next to their building.
James Ward Jt Turner Yes it was.

The photos concerning the Wilson Yard have been moved to RTA Wilson Avenue and Yard.

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.


  1. Why was that car parked on the tracks?

  2. Did anyone notice, maybe remember the Tastes Freeze. Was across from Henry's on Clark Street? I grew up just blocks away, and remember much of this. My Dad would always take me to that Tastes Freeze for a cone after dinner. The gate crossings and lights were still there, hadn't been used in years obviously. On occasion they would mysteriously go off (lights). My Dad at the time worked for the C&NW and had a signal key. I always thought he was the Man being able to turn off the lights. Was very cool they still had power to them. I miss the old Wrigley area.