Thanks to everyone who sent in submissions to our Mystery Filmstrip Contest. We have selected George Foelschow as the winner, based on his answers as a whole. Honorable mention must go to Andre Kristopons, Dennis McClendon, and Jeff Wien, who all made excellent entries.
Mr. Foelschow wins a copy of CERA Bulletin 97, published in November 1953, which covers the electric railways of Wisconsin. There is an interesting story regarding this “Trolley Sparks” publication. Ray DeGroote says much of the original press run for this book was destroyed by flooding in his basement. He had two feet of water, and the books, which were in cardboard boxes, were all floating around in the water.
Subsequently, the book was reprinted, and this time, three blank pages at the end of the book were eliminated. That’s how you can tell the difference between the two printings. (While Ray did get more basement flooding with our recent heavy rainfall, it was more like three inches this time.)
While one entrant put the time period of the pictures down as “early 1940s,” this is obviously wrong and a date of Fall 1952 or Spring 1953 is indicated by a number of factors:
1. This is the CTA era, which began on October 1, 1947
2. Postwar PCCs were put into service in 1948
3. Red cars last ran in regular service on May 30, 1954
4. Prewar PCCs were scrapped in 1956-57
5. The “38” sign on a Cottage Grove car indicates it terminated at Grand. This would indicate a date between June 29, 1952 and March 16, 1953, according to the book Chicago Surface Lines by Alan R. Lind (page 252).
6. The Museum Shuttle operation ran from August 12, 1951 to April 12, 1953 (same source, page 298).
So, we can narrow down the date this film was shot as being between June 29, 1952 and April 12, 1953. There may be other things in the pictures that would narrow it down even further, but we are not aware of them. Apparently, it’s not winter based on the clothing people are wearing. So if you said Fall 1952 or Spring 1953, you are probably correct, and most likely on a Sunday to boot.
As for frames 0, 1, and 2, George Foelschow notes: “UP Railway Post Office, and a steam loco, all unknown locations.” As for 19, 20, and 21, he opines, “Mainline railroad tracks approaching Dearborn Station, presumably viewed from Roosevelt Road.”
Andre Krisotpons also made an astute observation, saying, “I can even say what streets the photographer walked down- started at Van Buren and Green, east on Van Buren, south on State, east on Roosevelt to Michigan, then west of Roosevelt to west of State.”
Frame 7 – “The Met “L” mainline at Clinton Street looking northwest with the Burlington building behind. A flat-door 6000 eastbound (Douglas?) with a single headlight above teh end door. Wire suggests the west portal of the van Buren streetcar tunnel.” -GF “About 321 S. Clinton.” -DM Another clue is the sign for the Trav-Ler Radio Corp., which was located at 571 West Jackson Boulevard
Approximately the same location as frame 7 as it looks today. With steam engines long gone, the Burlington building looks much cleaner. You can still see where the old Met “L” structure curved around it.
Frame 18 – Looking southwest from Wabash and Roosevelt. Prewar PCC 4023 is heading northbound. “Note #38 sign! This is an Indiana sign, but (the) car is obviously on 4-Cottage Grove. Apparently there was no 4 Wabash-Grand sign, but amazing that a PCC would have a sign for Indiana Ave., which could not use PCCs!” -AK
Frame 11 – “Postwar PCC 4132 northbound on Clark (at) Van Buren Street (pre-one-way Dearborn Clark pairing).” -GF “Note part of trough under (the) “L” in picture.” -JW
Frame 12 – “Pullman PCC, presumably 36-Boradway State, northbound on State at Harrison, subway staircase in evidence.” -GF “Location of University Center now.” -JW
Frame 13 – “Prewar PCC, presumably 4-Cottage Grove, northbound on Wabash at 11th Street. The Ludington Building at right is a good clue.” -GF “1104 S. Wabash Ave.” -JW
Frame 14 – “Bus 5495 as 12-Roosevelt on layover on East 11th Street between Wabash and Michigan.” -GF “Fageol Twin Coach propane bus… note Getz Theater building behind bus (Indiana limestone building).” -JW
Frame 10 – “Postwar Pullman 4202 on Clark southbound approaching Van Buren. with the Federal Building and Old Post Office in the background.” -GF
Frame 9 – “6000-series train, presumably Douglas, on Met “L” mainline east of Canal. over Union Station trainshed, viewed from Van Buren Street in front of the Main Post Office.” -GF
Frame 8 – Met “L” car 2836 with fishbelly underframe in same location as (9) as Garfield Park. The single car suggests Sunday, when Garfield was at its nadir, when the west terminal was Laramie Avenue between December 1951 and September 1953.” -GF “Looking north from approximately 321 S. Canal.” -DM
Frame 15 – “Red car 3132 on layover at Roosevelt and Wabash as a Roosevelt shuttle. View is looking northwest, with the Roosevelt North Shore Line terminal in the background… Hillside Lounge next to the station.” -GF “Roosevelt Road Shuttle to Museum Loop on Route 12A.” -JW
Frame 16 – “Prewar PCC 4028 as a 4 (Cottage Grove) car southbound on Wabash approaching Roosevelt.” -GF
Frame 17 – “Bus 5456 as 12-Roosevelt turning from eastbound Roosevelt to northbound Wabash on its terminal loop, 11th, Michigan, and back to Roosevelt. Roosevelt west of Wabash is paved and dewired.” -GF “Fageol Twin Coach” -JW