Saturday, December 2, 2017

December 2, 1967 -- Twentieth Century Limited Makes Last Run

December 2, 1967 – The New York Central Railroad’s Twentieth Century Limited pulls out of the LaSalle Street station for the final time.  No ceremony is held to mark the occasion as the 250 passengers on board settle in for the overnight trip to New York City.  Dale Hoffman, a conductor on the train for 15 years, says, “There was no announcement made of the last run, and no ceremony is planned as far as I know.  The Limited is just making another run as far as the railroad is concerned.” [Chicago Tribune, December 3, 1967] The Limited made its first run 64 years earlier, carrying 27 passengers on a run that took 20 hours. The train will be replaced with a slower train that makes more stops.  The romance will be gone from a train that inspired plays and movies … the new train will be known simply as Number 28.

December 2, 1945 – Before it falls to the wreckers, the mansion of Cyrus Hall McCormick at 675 North Rush Street is opened to Chicago Daily Tribune reporter Edward Barry for one last look.  Barry writes, “To a person entering the old house suddenly from the busy streets of the near north side the impression was strong that he had stepped into a more tranquil, a more spacious age.  Before him heavy walls of mellow walnut converged toward the fireplace set into the far wall . . . In an austere room to the right of the entrance hall were found the objects of art which the McCormicks brought back with them from their trips to Europe, and had sent to them from the ends of the earth.  China of every imaginable design huddled under dust cloths . . . The deserted rooms were empty and cold.  Where open fires formerly crackled and laughter resounded there was nothing to be heard but the hushed voice of the traffic outside.”  [Chicago Daily Tribune, December 2, 1945]  The 35-room mansion, reportedly patterned after a wing of the Louvre, took five years to build and was finished in 1879.  After World War II ended, though, the old world order, at least as far as elaborate urban mansions for the rich were concerned, began to give way, and the McCormick mansion was finally demolished in 1955.

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