Chicago Commuter Rail collection
MSCCR_84

 An inventory of the collection at the University of Illinois at Chicago

Summary Information

Repository
Richard J. Daley Library Special Collections and University Archives
Creator
Chicago Commuter Rail.
Title
Chicago Commuter Rail collection
ID
MSCCR_84
Date [inclusive]
1898-1947
Extent
0.25 Linear feet
Language
English
Abstract:
The Chicago Commuter Rail Collection includes stereoscopes of a Metropolitan West Side Elevated Railroad station, a photograph published on a calendar sheet, acceptance and bond agreements for the Chicago City Railway Company with the City of Chicago, and bus schedules for the Chicago and West Town Railways, Inc.

Preferred Citation

Chicago Commuter Rail collection, Special Collections and University Archives, University of Illinois at Chicago

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Administrative History of Chicago Commuter Rail

Chicago's first streetcars were horse-drawn vehicles operated by the Chicago City Railway Company and the North Chicago City Railway Company during the late 1850s and early 1860s. Cable cars and electric-powered trolleys were later substituted in the 1880s. The Metropolitan West Side Elevated Railroad Company was incorporated on April 7, 1892. The Metropolitan West Side Elevated Railroad Company, known as the "Met" or "Polly L" constructed a four branch railroad system between downtown Chicago and the western city limits. After overcoming financial problems in 1897, the Met's "L" system embarked on a continuous expansion, later forming the backbone of mass transit in Chicago during the 1930s and 1940s.

Consolidation of Chicago's commuter rail companies proceeded relatively quickly during the 1890s, and by 1905 the City voted to place surface railways under municipal ownership, but not operation. Private companies continued to operate the lines, subject to rehabilitation and maintenance requirements, and a new agency, the Board of Traction Supervising Engineers, had the right to approve or deny any construction or expansion plans. Chicago could boast the world's largest public transportation system during the Century of Progress held in 1933 and 1934, but by the late 1940s, the automobile and other changes in the urban economy and society had made Chicago's private transportation firms unprofitable. The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), a public entity, was created on April 12, 1945 to acquire, own, and operate the mass transit system in the Chicago metropolitan area of Cook County.

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Scope and Contents

The Chicago Commuter Rail Collection includes stereoscopes of a Metropolitan West Side Elevated Railroad station, a photograph published on a calendar sheet, acceptance and bond agreements for the Chicago City Railway Company with the City of Chicago, and bus schedules for the Chicago and West Town Railways, Inc.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

Richard J. Daley Library Special Collections and University Archives 2004-06-28

801 S. Morgan Street
Chicago, Illinois, 60607
312.996.2742

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • Chicago & West Town Railways, Inc.
  • Chicago City Railway Company.
  • Chicago Commuter Rail. -- Archives
  • Metropolitan West Side Elevated Railroad.

Subject(s)

  • Chicago Neighborhoods.
  • Local transit -- Illinois -- Chicago.
  • Railroads, Elevated -- Illinois -- Chicago.
  • Street-railroads -- Illinois -- Chicago.

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Collection Inventory

Chicago Commuter Rail Collection, 1898-1947 

Box Folder

Metropolitan West Side Elevated Railroad - Stereoscopes and photographs, 1898-1910   

1 1

Chicago City Railroad Company - Acceptance and Bond agreements with City of Chicago, 1907   

1 2

Chicago and West Town Railways, Inc. - Bus Schedules, 1943-1947   

1 3

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