Thursday, April 19, 2012

What A Difference

Constructing the elevated tracks over Montrose, 1897, looking north.
Wayne Johnson posted on UU's Facebook page about a site featuring "Forgotten Chicago Ephemera," Calumet 412.  It features an amazing photo showing the construction of the concrete footings for the L tracks over Montrose. You can see the pointed top of the Sheridan Park Station in the background on the left. It stood just about where the Wilson Men's Club is today.

UU Note: It is listed as Evanston (Broadway) and Wilson on the Calumet 412 site but it was actually a few blocks south of there.

Update: Thanks to commenter "Edgewaterite" for citing the correct location as listed in Bruce G. Moffat's book "The L."


  1. Judging by how much the concrete is deteriorating at the stop there. Those are probably the same exact concrete footings that the CTA has never replaced in over a 100 years!

    Obviously not true I hope. That is hard to imagine that area looking like that.

  2. Because the Sheridan Park Station is on the left the view was taken south of it looking north. The footing for the tracks appear to be for those under the Sheridan station of the L not Lawrence. The Lawrence station was not opened until the 1920's and the tracks were not extended past Wilson until 1907-1908.

  3. From and the Lawrence entry:
    "Lawrence occupies a spot where the elevated right-of-way transitioned from the 1900-vintage steel elevated structure to the 1920s-built solid-fill embankment."

    I've been racking my brain trying to come across the original book/posting where I saw this photo.
    If the photo had been taken at the Sheridan L station, would the Sheridan Park station's tower at the site of the Wilson Men's Club be visible from almost 8 blocks away?
    The posting above states that there was an elevated structure at Lawrence in 1900, and if this photo is from 1897 with construction in the early stages, that would make sense, right?

  4. Yes, I believe the tower of the Sheridan Park station would have been visible from 8 blocks away.

    To clarify: when the Northwestern Elevated opened in 1900, it ended at Wilson with the structure just north of Wilson Ave. The elevated structure across Broadway to and past Lawrence was not constructed until 1907-1908 when the line was constructed into Evanston. The opening day was May 16, 1908. The trains crossed Broadway on the new elevated structure then came down an incline between Lawrence and Ainslie. There was no stop and station at awrence until after the elevation was completed in the early 1920s.

    The photo (from CTA's collection) appears on page 180 of Bruce Moffat's book, The "L"; however, the location is given as Montrose rather than south of Irving Park. In this I stand corrected.

  5. So I am completely confused...where, exactly, is this photo from and in what direction is it looking? Seems to be a number of opinions...thanks

  6. USH: According to the book that Edgewaterite referenced with the photo, this would be under the L tracks on Montrose, looking north.