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|
|1938 Aerial Photo from ILHAP|
|1938 Aerial Photo from ILHAP, at photo resolution|
|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.
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.We now have enough context to interpret several views of Wrigley Field.
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.
|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 Field 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.
[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 postHere 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.]
|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: https://flic.kr/s/aHsiNF7Tq1
[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 McKittrickMy 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. https://www.oldest.org/sports/baseball-teams-america/
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).
|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.
When the line was abandoned, they paved over the ties and we would ride our bicycles and feel a long stretch of rumble pavement!
That track carried a lot of coal (on the L north of Montrose) from the Lill coalyard at Granville and Broadway.
...'TO' the Lill Coalyard, and another near Granville....from the Buena Yard.....at 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...
|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.
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...
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.
Mitch Markovitz Yes I know...Dennis mentioned the 'coal or coke' spot on Clark St. just N of Addison....that was Sahara.....
Paul Musselman The Lill coal yard was at Berwyn & Broadway.
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.....
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.
|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." https://ogrforum.ogaugerr.com/.../it-s-team-track-tuesday...
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 https://www.facebook.com/172945836672145/posts/529190881047637/?d=n
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.