ICRR South Side Rail Spurs
ICRR South Side Rail Spurs
Posted by: WayOutWardell ()
Date: December 01, 2013 01:32PM

I was looking at maps posted in a link here on the forum in a different topic (Sanborn Maps) and noticed something maybe some of you can answer.

In the 1907 George Cram Map Of Chicago, there seem to be two distinct rail lines off of the Illinois Central line. One heads west along 61st Street and terminates at the Washinton Park Race Track, and the other also heads west, along 67th, inside the boundary of Oak Woods Cemetery (serving the funeral trains, I assume).

The topographic map feature of Historic Aerials show the similar routes but only in the 1891 map - by 1900, those lines aren't there any more.

Did these rail lines actually exist or were they just planned and never built?

Re: ICRR South Side Rail Spurs
Posted by: Mr Downtown ()
Date: December 01, 2013 09:04PM

Both branches definitely existed, though I can't find an exact date for their removal.

The Oak Woods spur is shown on the 1895 Sanitary District map, but gone on a 1904 Talbot's railroad map.

The Washington Park racetrack closed in 1905, and the tracks were probably removed by 1910. There's a line of identical teens or early 20s apartment buildings along the south side of 61st that's evidence that the strip was all sold off at once.

Commercial street maps aren't all that trustworthy, as they often included some wishful thinking in an effort to be current and saleable for a couple of years into the future. But fire insurance and topographic maps seldom show anything not actually present on the ground (although I can cite a couple of funny 20th century screwups).

Re: ICRR South Side Rail Spurs
Posted by: davey7 ()
Date: December 02, 2013 03:27PM

61st Street curves a bit to the north between Dorchester and the remnants of Blackstone immediately west of the IC ROW/Embankment (which wasn't built until the 20's I think). That certainly seems logical if there was a branch line to the west for passenger traffic.

The "gatehouse" in Oak Woods almost looks as if it is a depot!

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