February 10, 2008

Wilson Yard, 1961

My guess is that this picture was taken from a top floor in the Uptown Bank Building, looking south toward Wilson Yard. You can spot the Broadway Building in the foreground, the distinctive tower of St. Mary's Church at the top of the photo, and the McJunkin Building just below that. It is one of the many fabulous photos that appear in The Chicago "L" by Greg Borzo.

Caption reads: "In 1908, the 'L' extended service to Howard and beyond to Evanston at ground level. In 1914-1922, it elevated the track from Wilson to Howard on an embankment rather than a steel structure. This was done to support the weight of freight cars that the 'L' handled from 1920 to 1973 between Church Street in Evanston and Irving Park Road in Chicago. A huge yard was built at Wilson in 1900. Much later, a massive four-track repair and maintennce building, seen in the center background of the view south in 1961, was added. A continuous four-track main line had just been completed here, replacing a two-track bottleneck."

Greg Borzo is a co-author of The Windies' City: Chicago's Historical Hidden Treasures.

My birthday is coming up on Thursday (hint-hint), and this would make a terrific addition to my book collection. :-)


Anonymous said...

Although correctly stated this is Montrose Yards. Montrose Yards was always the historical name for the CTA maintenance yard west of Broadway at Montrose and stretching to a thin point to nearly Wilson Avenue. The term "Wilson Yards" was invented by Alderman Shiller when she decided to create a Tax Increment Financing district, presumably to justify excluding the neighbors bordering Montrose on the south in the decision making.

Once Lived In Uptown said...

Many years ago (mid 60's) my brother and some of his friends were playing softball along the El tracks just south of Montrose when the ball was hit up on the tracks. My brother and his pals watched as one of the boys decided to scale the El structure.The boys watched him make it to the top and step forward only to trip and fall then unfortunately heard his horriffic screams as sparks rained down to the ground. My brother immediately knew the boy had come in contact with the 3rd rail,and of course everybody quickly ran away, but my brother ran to a store nearby on Broadway and told the store owner who called the Police and Fire Departments which soon came to the scene. El traffic was stopped as the FD scaled the structure and recovered the boy who was brought down and loaded into a waiting ambulance. Sadly he was pronounced dead on arrival at nearby Cuneo hospital. To this day my brother will not even go near that area much less ride the Red line which travels through there.

Joanne said...

What a tragic story; I'm so sorry to hear it.

I'm one of those paranoid people who stands waaaay back on the platform when the train approaches.


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