The Huge Checkered Top Tanks


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The Huge Checkered Top Tanks
Posted by: Chipast ()
Date: September 25, 2010 02:53AM

Around 1200 W.North, The Stevenson Expy, The Chicago Skyway there were huge tanks filled with something. What was their purpose?. They existed until the early 1970's.

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Re: The Huge Checkered Top Tanks
Posted by: Chipast ()
Date: September 29, 2010 05:51PM

If I'm not mistaking, Were those gas co tanks????????.

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Re: The Huge Checkered Top Tanks
Posted by: captain54 ()
Date: September 29, 2010 09:31PM

These were called "gasometers' or "gas holders"..

Used to store gas for household use, and used mainly back in the day when coal was used to produce natural gas for the home..they were able to keep the gas at the same atmospheric pressure as the homes it was supplying, thus making it a pretty effective way to transport natural gas..it must have been pretty nerve wracking though, to think that you have a huge tank of explosive gas in your neighborhood

In the 60's and 70's gas, Peoples Gas Light and Coke began to store in other, safer, and more efficient ways...namely underground...

The gasometers were, and are still used all over the world...

the checkerboard pattern at the top was used for air navigation, and as an alert for low flying aircraft...Peoples Gas and Coke also offered the tops of some of the tanks to be painted with guideposts and landmarks for pilots

the "M-Squad" series has a number of these tank views...there was one a few blocks directly north of the Racine police station, which was used for the headquarters of "M-Squad"....there also was another one in the film "Northside 777 (1948), seen near the Holy Trinity Parish neighborhood, where Jimmy Stewart is searching for "wanda"



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/29/2010 09:35PM by captain54.

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Re: The Huge Checkered Top Tanks
Posted by: daveg ()
Date: September 30, 2010 01:55PM

Thanks for the explanation Captain54. I recall those tanks and assumed that the checkered pattern was an aircraft beacon of some sort.

BTW, were these the tanks that moved up and down or am I thinking about something else?

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Re: The Huge Checkered Top Tanks
Posted by: captain54 ()
Date: September 30, 2010 09:10PM

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/5040432010/" title="gasometer 1902 - Deering Street Chicago by captain54_01, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4112/5040432010_0de7e9cb2a_z.jpg" width="456" height="640" alt="gasometer 1902 - Deering Street Chicago" /></a>

This 1902 ground photograph shows a large, mostly-filled,
coal gas gasometer located near Deering Street in Chicago
(Chicago Daily News). These large coal gas reservoirs or
"gas holders" were collapsible like an accordion and could
extend down into the ground as much as 80 feet (Gregory Kientop,
Illinois State Geological Survey). Gasometers were located in
the vicinity of coal gas works as well as elements of the gas
distribution network to provide temporary storage for continuous
gas production during peak demand.

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Re: The Huge Checkered Top Tanks
Posted by: 222psm ()
Date: September 30, 2010 11:15PM

Wow! That thing is huge. I would hate to think the devastation they would cause if one blew up.

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Re: The Huge Checkered Top Tanks
Posted by: tseals ()
Date: October 01, 2010 06:25PM

I rememeber one near Devon & McCormack somewhere near the Sunset drive-in

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Re: The Huge Checkered Top Tanks
Posted by: shoreline ()
Date: October 01, 2010 07:57PM

The far north side holder was at 6600 N, and east of Kedzie. At the time, few people worried about risk of explosion.

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Re: The Huge Checkered Top Tanks
Posted by: captain54 ()
Date: October 01, 2010 10:11PM

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/5043161096/" title="gas holder - Devon &amp; Kedzie - 1962 by captain54_01, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4132/5043161096_4c1a6597f8_b.jpg" width="703" height="537" alt="gas holder - Devon &amp; Kedzie - 1962" /></a>

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Re: The Huge Checkered Top Tanks
Posted by: Rustymuscle ()
Date: October 02, 2010 12:49PM

I've wondered if the tank in M Squad is the same one as in Northside 777. If one stands in front of the church on Noble and looks directly east, it lines up with where a tank may have been on Racine.

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Re: The Huge Checkered Top Tanks
Posted by: captain54 ()
Date: October 02, 2010 01:36PM

Rustymuscle Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I've wondered if the tank in M Squad is the same
> one as in Northside 777. If one stands in front of
> the church on Noble and looks directly east, it
> lines up with where a tank may have been on
> Racine.

I searched the aerial views and the only tank I could locate was at Cortez and between Elston and Racine...Cortez is a block north of Augusta

Holy Trinity is @ 1111 N Noble, so if you were standing in front of HT you would be looking SE to get a view of the tank, about 1/2 mile away...I'll have to look at Northside 777, but as usual you're probably on the money.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/02/2010 01:40PM by captain54.

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Re: The Huge Checkered Top Tanks
Posted by: Rustymuscle ()
Date: October 02, 2010 02:54PM

I haven't seen Northside in a couple years, but made a wild guess about the tanks when I started watching M Squad.

BTW, I too had been nosing around trying to find the Honore Street sight....no luck. Thought I was the only "goofy" one around that liked this stuff!



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/02/2010 02:55PM by Rustymuscle.

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Re: The Huge Checkered Top Tanks
Posted by: backwardk4501 ()
Date: October 03, 2010 02:10AM

Rustymuscle Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I haven't seen Northside in a couple years, but
> made a wild guess about the tanks when I started
> watching M Squad.
>
> BTW, I too had been nosing around trying to find
> the Honore Street sight....no luck. Thought I was
> the only "goofy" one around that liked this stuff!


Rustymuscle...What is the Honore Street sight?

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Re: The Huge Checkered Top Tanks
Posted by: Rustymuscle ()
Date: October 03, 2010 10:50AM

I should have benn more specific, sorry. In the film Northside 777 there is a scene where Stewart visits Wanda's apartment. He is shown walking near an elevated track and the scene shows an Honore street sign in the 700 block, which is incorrect so the sign must be placed for the scene. On another thread, it appeared others were attempting to find the actual location of the scene.

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Re: The Huge Checkered Top Tanks
Posted by: captain54 ()
Date: October 03, 2010 03:54PM

Jimmy Stewart approaching home of "Wanda" on "N Honore Street"
<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/5048132170/" title="Northside 777 Honore street 1948 by captain54_01, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4150/5048132170_0a4bfce91f_z.jpg" width="640" height="427" alt="Northside 777 Honore street 1948" /></a>

Jimmy Stewart ringing doorbell of home of "Wanda" @ "725 N Honore"..(no such address)
<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/5048148922/" title="Northside 777 725 N Honore St by captain54_01, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4090/5048148922_2654bfdc74_z.jpg" width="640" height="427" alt="Northside 777 725 N Honore St" /></a>

in addition to there not being any such address @ "725 N Honore", the location of the RR tracks and viaduct the Stewart passes on his way to Wanda's on N Honore don't add up either. The only logical explanation I can come up with is that they filmed this location @ the 4800 block of South Honore, and switched the street sign to make it "N Honore", and also used a fake "725" above the doorway of the Wanda home.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/03/2010 03:57PM by captain54.

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Re: The Huge Checkered Top Tanks
Posted by: captain54 ()
Date: October 05, 2010 02:58PM

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/5054256759/" title="Gas Holder - M-Squad - 1958 by captain54_01, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4089/5054256759_04faef165a_b.jpg" width="978" height="836" alt="Gas Holder - M-Squad - 1958" /></a>

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Re: The Huge Checkered Top Tanks
Posted by: SuperCFL ()
Date: November 30, 2010 01:49AM

There was a gasholder near Division Street, just east of the C&NW tracks. I have a C&NW photos from the 1950s with it visible to the side. There's a People's Gas office and yard of some sort on the site now.

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Re: The Huge Checkered Top Tanks
Posted by: Jeff_Weiner ()
Date: March 07, 2013 07:14PM

One of the landmarks along the route we used to take to visit my grandparents at Halsted & Roscoe was one of the gas tanks on Goose Island, at the kink in the Ogden Avenue viaduct. I remember it was light green, with the red & white checkerboard around the top, looking like the picture from that M-Squad screen capture. It was torn down in the late 60's or early 70's, as I remember the side was cut open when we last passed by it. My grandparents moved west on Roscoe, between Cicero and Laramie after that. The other landmarks included the Curtis Casket building at 2350 W. Ogden, which is now leased by the City of Chicago (and where I worked for a time), and the old building at Ashland, Ogden, and Madison with the Turtle Wax sign on top, which was torn down before the gas holder, and replaced by a 2 story clinic.

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Re: The Huge Checkered Top Tanks
Posted by: Jeff_Weiner ()
Date: March 09, 2013 10:56PM

That tank east of the C&NW was probably the same tank in the M-Squad picture, as there is a Peoples Gas yard at Division and Elston. I'm betting that most, if not all former gas holder sites are still in use by Peoples Gas.

I don't think I've ever heard of a gas holder explosion in real life, but I remember a scene from, of all things, a Mighty Mouse cartoon, that had a gas holder tank lit off like a rocket!

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Re: The Huge Checkered Top Tanks
Posted by: b.a.hoarder ()
Date: March 10, 2013 01:37AM

See the following for a post about a military airplane crash into a gas holder in 1943.

http://forgottenchicago.com/forum/1/1435



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/10/2013 06:31PM by b.a.hoarder.

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Re: The Huge Checkered Top Tanks
Posted by: Jeff_Weiner ()
Date: March 10, 2013 10:51PM

From the City website:

[url=http://www.cityofchicago.org/dam/city/depts/cfd/general/PDFs/HistoryOfTheChicagoFireDepartment_1.pdf]City of Chicago: History of the Chicago Fire Department[/url]

1943 May 20, the largest gasholder tank located
at 73rd near Central Park was destroyed when a B-25 aircraft crashed into it.

[hr]

Anyone know about any online resources with the Sun-Times or Tribune that might go back that far?

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Re: The Huge Checkered Top Tanks
Posted by: Jeff_Weiner ()
Date: March 11, 2013 05:40PM

After looking at the aerial view of the Peoples Gas installation on WBEZ's website, which is obviously at Elston and Division, I'm pretty sure that the big enclosed gas holder there is the one you see in both [i]Call Northside 777[/i] and [i]M-Squad[/i]. Racine would have lined up pretty much with it, and since it was the biggest structure around at that time in the neighborhood, it would stand out in almost all directions.

I wonder if Peoples Energy still have the plans for these structures, and pictures in their files. It would make an interesting article for FC.

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Re: The Huge Checkered Top Tanks
Posted by: tomz ()
Date: March 12, 2013 07:02PM



Check out this aerial photo from 1938. It probably features all the tanks you're talking about.

Note especially the tank just to the west of Goose Island: Chicago Municipal Airport: 10 miles -- thataway.

Here's the link to the rest of the maps in the series: http://ilaerialphotos.com/photos.php?county=Cook

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Re: The Huge Checkered Top Tanks
Posted by: b.a.hoarder ()
Date: March 12, 2013 09:33PM

Gas holder from plane crash is here-

Good tip tomz, thanks.

Click on shadow that is standing tall in upper left for close up.

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Re: The Huge Checkered Top Tanks
Posted by: WayOutWardell ()
Date: March 12, 2013 10:04PM

Found an aircraft crash history website that has the bomber vs. gas holder crash in lots of detail, with clippings and photos!

[url=http://www.arizonawrecks.com/wrecksfromtonymireles/b24tony.html]B-24 Crashes Into Gas Holder, 1943[/url]

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Re: The Huge Checkered Top Tanks
Posted by: Jeff_Weiner ()
Date: March 12, 2013 11:49PM

Yow! That tank must have been the tallest structure in the area, even considering the war plants along Pulaski (future Ford City). I still don't understand why I never heard about this when I was growing up in Marquette Manor. It's the kind of thing that people would talk about for years afterwards.

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Re: The Huge Checkered Top Tanks
Posted by: Rustymuscle ()
Date: March 13, 2013 03:14PM

The Facebook Forgotten Chicago archives has several photos of the tank hit by the B-24....crash and pre-crash photos.

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Re: The Huge Checkered Top Tanks
Posted by: jvp55 ()
Date: March 18, 2013 04:49PM

i seem to recall tanks like those at the peoples gas yard that was just south of six corners on the nw side.

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Re: The Huge Checkered Top Tanks
Posted by: Jeff_Weiner ()
Date: March 22, 2013 01:20AM

I'm going to have to look at some of the aerials for the SW side location to see if Peoples gas ever rebuilt the tank. The article about the crash stated that the alderman was trying to get them to relocate it. I also sent an email to Peoples Energy asking if they had any general information on the gas holders, but haven't heard back.

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Re: The Huge Checkered Top Tanks
Posted by: b.a.hoarder ()
Date: March 22, 2013 02:03AM

Jeff, go to www.historicaerials.com and enter 73rd & Lawndale, Chicago, IL. The tank shows in the '38 air survey, but the next done in '51 only shows a circle where the tank stood. You can zoom in for a good look. A later survey shows the spot paved over.
After the '43 incident Peoples Gas probably realized that the holders would be obsolete and there was no need to rebuild. That, or the thought of rebuilding a 500 foot tall bomb on an approach to Municipal Field scared them off.

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