Chicago Streetcar Pictorial: The PCC Car Era 1936-1958
CERA is hard at work on B-146, our next publication, which will be chock-full of classic views of PCC cars in Chicago. In order to identify some of the locations, we need your help.
Take a look at these pictures, which are under consideration for use the book. If you recognize any of the locations, drop us a line. We need your help in order to make this the definitive book about Chicago PCCs!
You can write to us at:
We are grateful for your responses to our initial post. It looks like at least some of the locations have now been identified. We will post the information below each photo.
Hopefully, all locations can be sorted out with your help. When writing, please use the photo number that have been added to each caption, thanks.
PS- If you have excellent original slides or negatives of Chicago PCCs, and haven’t contacted us yet, we would love to hear from you. But time is short… the book is being worked on feverishly right now, and will be published early next year. Time is of the essence.
This book will appeal to a wider audience than just railfans, since it is going to be full of great views of Chicago neighborhoods, long-gone buildings and businesses, classic automobiles, etc. that also showcase the Chicago PCCs at the same time.
This book will be the membership entitlement for 2012 CERA Members. We will also publish B-147 (TBA) next year, which will be the membership entitlement for 2013 members. This will get us back on our regular production schedule.
Top photo – car is southbound on Wentworth at 51st St. Building to the right of the car is the Rock Island commissary. Building just left of the car is the old RI car or machine shop. Smokestack is on RI power house, not in view. Newer building just to right of red truck in distance is new RI car shop (still there, I think). Buildings can be seen on the 1952 USGS aerial photos.
I can help with a couple of these – the first looks to be at 49th Place or 50th. The buildings to the east are the Rock island’s “Rocket House”.
gibson089 is identified as 51st Street by the industrial building on the northeast corner, which matches a black/white photo I have of a 51st Street car, right down to the ornamental trim. Bob Gibson is looking toward the northeast includes parts of the Chicago Rock Island & Pacific shop property.
Hoffman_012, PCC 7117, appears to be westbound on the 2300 block of Devon on a pullout. Pekin House, Edison Appliance, and the visible crossover switch were all located in that block. Edison’s building still looks pretty much the same, down to the terra-cotta urns on top, and Pekin House is still cooking sweet & sour (but now on the south side of the street).
The church steeple and spire in the distance of gibson064 are very similar to the edifice demolished in recent years at the southeast corner of Wentworth Av. and Garfield Blvd., so I believe that gibson064 looks south from a few blocks north of Garfield at either a STOP sign or traffic signal intersection as indicated by the yellow line on the pavement. But not 51st St., because buildings well over ten years old that occupy the left side of the view are different from those in views of 51st St. cars when Wentworth was the end of the line in the 1940s. Not north of 51st, because the Rock Island shops are not in the gibson064. Neither 52nd nor 54th was a cross street, and that steeple is well over a block away anyhow. Therefore I believe that 53rd St. and 52nd would be worth checking as to the building descriptions depicted in Sanborn maps, in the field, or otherwise. By the way: Have the proportions of gibson064 been altered? We should not do that. The streetcar and maybe the motor vehicles appear too tall for their width. It gives a wrong impression of what streetcars looked like.
Dennis McClendon (who researched this area using Sanborn Insuarance maps):
As for gibson064, the number of floors on the buildings and even the location of gangways matches looking south from 51st street quite well, with St. Anne’s Church in the distance at Garfield. There is no southeast corner of 52nd, and the southeast corner of 53rd was three single-story “parts” businesses, with vacant lots to the south.
Gibson094 is southbound near 6500 S Wentworth (that is, we’re looking north). That little filling station is at 6449, across from a big Hertz System garage. The Rock Island viaduct is out of view to the photographer’s right.
In kp_089 we are looking northwest. Car 4248 with a crew from Devon station is on 95th St. approaching the switch into southbound Michigan Av. I believe thie car is an early repaint into the Everglade (darker) green color scheme, as all the decals have Swamp holly orange borders as normally used with the earlier Mercury (lighter) green and orange stripe.
A safety island is not plausible on Michigan Av. as conjectured. The tree branches, one-story retail building, one house, hardware in the street lighting system, and a splice in the trolley wire over the westbound track match with a black/white snapshot in my file which includes track special work, making the location evident.
The one with the angle street is Western and Lincoln. The red and cream bus belongs to American Coach, which ran the predecessor to United Motor Coach’s 10-Lincoln route.
The bus is (American Coach?) — a United predecessor. View looks N/W.
I agree with Bill Shapotkin that the photo including the south end of a northbound bus is at Lincoln Av. as the other diagonals intersecting Western run at more nearly 45-degree angles.
The 1949 (Sanborn insurance) maps of volume 19 support Lincoln & Western for gibson306. There was indeed a gas station at the spot visible behind the streetcar, and the buildings flanking Gunnison have the right number of floors.
Gibson 307 is Western southbound at Ainslie (4900 North).
Categories: Chicago Area