Monday, July 6, 2020

July 6, 1954 -- Chicago Transit Authority Makes Major Upgrade on Lake Street Line
July 6, 1954 – The last trips are made by wood and steel elevated cars on the Lake Street branch of the system, today’s Green Line, between the Loop and Forest Park.  The general manager of the Chicago Transit Authority, Walter J. McCarter, reports that enough modern cars have been received to provide all metal cars for the Lake Street branch.  Metal cars have not previously been used on the Lake Street line because of a city ordinance that requires any elevated branch that heads into a subway to be made up of all metal cars.  Those lines had priority for the new cars.  Wood and steel cars will continue to be used during rush hours on the Ravenswood, Douglas Park, and Garfield Park branches and for the Evanston-Wilmette line.  The wood and steel cars date as far back as 1914 and 1915 when 250 of them were built by the Cincinnati Car Company.  A second order of 200 similar cars was delivered between 1922 and 1924.  The St. Louis Car Company delivered 200 of the new 6000-series cars to the C.T.A., beginning in August 1950.  Interestingly, the C.T.A. had purchased 600 brand new streetcars in 1947 and 1948 “when it became painfully evident that a tremendous shift was underway in travel habits from public transit to private automobiles”. []  The agency solved two problems at the same time by rebuilding the streetcars into rapid transit cars.  Although the existing streetcar could not be modified as a whole, all of the components, right down to light fixtures and window frames, were used to outfit a new body shell, work which the St. Louis Car Company did between 1950 and 1959.  Three generations of equipment used on the Lake Street line are shown above – a wood car, a 4000-series car (the ones replaced in the early 1950’s), and a car of the bicentennial era.

July 6, 1964 – The 35-story Equitable building, now 401 North Michigan Avenue, is topped out in a light rain as a 35-foot white beam with the names of 6,000 Chicagoans written on it is hoisted into place at the top of the tower.  Also on the beam is the number 192,113,484, corresponding to the population of the United States at this time.  The building, designed by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill in the mid-century modern style, is already 75 percent rented.  At a luncheon for about 200 civic and business leaders at the Sheraton Chicago Hotel, James F. Coates, the chairman of the Equitable Life Assurance Company of the United States, says that the landscaped area to be built south of Tribune Tower and in front of the Equitable building will be “the most beautiful in the world.”  [Chicago Tribune, July 7, 1964]  Today the trees that have stood in that area for 44 years have all been cut down and the area to the southwest of the tower is the site of the Michigan Avenue Apple store, which opened in the Fall of 2017.  In the above photo 401 North Michigan sits on Michigan Avenue with another Skidmore design, NBC Tower, to the east.

July 6, 1935 – The razing of the old Coast Guard station at the mouth of the Chicago River begins, work that is expected to take three weeks to complete.  Dedicated in 1903, the station’s days became numbered when part of it was destroyed by fire in 1933.  As soon as the demolition is complete, work will begin on a new station with work expected to wind up by late fall.  The old station had responded to 8,454 calls for assistance.   The old station with flag still flying proudly is shown above, along with the photo showing the station today.

July 6, 1915 – On its way to the Panama-Pacific Exposition in San Francisco, the Liberty Bell Special makes a stop at the La Salle Street station on a rainy evening.  Three hundred police officers are stationed around the station as “modern patriots by the thousands – grown patriots and patriots of the public schools, war patriots and peace patriots, Republican, and Democrat, and Socialist patriots – stormed the station.” [Chicago Daily Tribune, July 7, 1915] Some were fortunate to gain entrance to the station, but “tens of thousands” had to remain outside in a downpour. When the train arrives, over an hour behind schedule, three Army buglers, “trim and ramrod straight” signal its entrance. Then the line of people that stretches from Van Buren to Monroe Streets begins an orderly entrance to view the Liberty Bell, which stands on a specially constructed flat car, suspended in a wooden frame. A special guest is 10-year-old Margaret Cummins of 1102 Wellington Avenue, whose great-great-great grandfather, Jacob Mauger, took the bell to his farm and buried it when he learned that British soldiers were coming to seize it.  The bell remains in the city until midnight when it begins the next leg of its coast-to-coast trip.  This is the second trip that the Liberty Bell has made its appearance in the city ... the first visit was a much longer stay at the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition as the above photo shows.

No comments: