Monday, March 28, 2016

March 28, 1943 -- First Run for the State Street Subway

March 28, 1943 -- Chicago officially becomes a city with a subway when at 3:18 p.m.a three-car train leaves the elevated tracks south of Arrmitage Avenue and enters the Cloybourn-Diviision-State Street tube, today's Red Line. The train carries newspaper reporters and about 150 employees of the subway department. Operating the train is Charles Blade of 1127 Newport Avenue, an elevated lines motorman for 29 years. Since Blade had never seen the inside of a subway, an electrical engineer, C. J. Beck, stood at his shoulder. Although Chicago's first subway would not officially open for another six months, this trip and another one on April 2, 1943, shown in the photo above, were made just in time for the re-election campaign of Mayor Ed. Kelly, According to the Chicago Daily Tribune, "Women standing in their backyards waved as the train dipped into the ground. Kids lined the railings. A passenger shouted for a bottle of champagne to christen the subway but only a cask of drinking water had been brought along."

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