C&NW Mayfair Cutoff

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C&NW Mayfair Cutoff
Posted by Anonymous on Sunday, January 4, 2004 10:29 AM
I'm looking for information regarding the history of the C&NW's Mayfair Cutoff (see map at http://rani.sir.arizona.edu/~khan/mayfair.jpg), especially the commuter/passenger service which used to run along that line. I know they tore down the overpass at Green Bay Road within the last few years; when was it built? When did they tear down the passenger stations at Emerson and Greenwood?

Any info or references would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks!



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Posted by Anonymous on Sunday, January 11, 2004 11:56 PM
C&NW (JUNCTION RAILWAY COMPANY)
The Evanston Index carried the following item in its February 23, 1889 (Vol. XVII, No. 41) issue:
As was hinted in The Index some weeks ago, Evanston is soon to have another railroad line. The North Western Railroad Company is to build as soon as the spring opens a branch line from Evanston to Montrose Ave. , , on the Wisconsin Division. The chief aim of this spur is to relieve the freight traffic on the city end of the Milwaukee Division. When the branch is completed, which will be early in the season, all through freight from the north will be carried over the branch line into the city. This is necessary, the officials of the railroad say, to enable them to put on more passenger trains and to decrease the time between Evanston and Chicago. This being the case, the value of this branch line to Evanston and the villages south will be seen at once. With only the local freight to look after much better time can be made by passenger trains. The company proposes to start from the main line at about the junction of Washington Street and Jackson Avenue , and run in a general southwestern direction, along the western bank of what is popularly known as the “Big Ditch .” The traffic over the branch line, therefore, will pass entirely west of that portion of the village now occupied for either residence or business purposes. The effect of the construction of the cut-off will be to reduce largely the number of trains running through thickly populated portions of the village, and therefore, of course, to relieve the people of much of the smoke, confusion, noise, annoyance, and danger which is necessarily attendant on a large freight business on any line of railroad. The new branch is certain in the end to build up the section through which it passes, while it will have an immediate effect on real estate in the western portion of the village. An ordinance granting a right-of-way is now before the village council and will in all probability be passed.

More on the planned extension appeared on page 2 in the same issue of The Evanston Index:
A communication was read from Mr. Marvin Hughitt, president of the Chicago & North Western Railway Company, asking the favorable consideration of the council upon an ordinance which accompanied the communication, granting the right of way to that company from a point about the intersection of Washington Street and their tracks along the west bank of the Big Ditch, southwest through the village to Montrose. President Miller said that he had a conference with Mr. Hughitt and had learned that it was the intention of the company to increase the number of trains and decrease the running time between here and Chicago. The company would run all of their heavy freight trains over the new line, and thereby relieve the tracks between here and the city. The communication and the ordinance were referred to a special committee, consisting of Messrs. Sargent, Stewart, and Gilbert.

The Evanston village council met to consider the railroad ordinance on March 11, 1889. The proceeding was detailed to the public by The Evanston Index on March 16, 1889 (Vol. XVII, No. 44):
Evanston Village Council President Miller stated that the object of the meeting was the consideration of the railroad ordinance.
The special committee, to whom was referred the petition of the Chicago & North Western Railway Company reported as follows:

Your special committee, to whom was referred the petition of the Junction Railway Company, begs to leave to state that this railroad, if built, will be owned and controlled by the Chicago & North Western Railway Company. The petition presented is in the form of a letter, which is signed by Mr. Hughitt, president of the North Western Company, who states that the route selected for the railroad lies along the western bank of what is known as the “Big Ditch”, and will pass nearly, if not entirely, west of that portion of our village now occupied for either residence or business purposes. It is stated by the management of the North Western Company that this railroad will be used principally for freight purposes, although passenger trains will be run if it is found they are required; that the effect of using this road for freight will be to greatly reduce the number of freight trains running through the thickly populated portions of our village, and will thereby increase the security, comfort, and convenience of our people, as well as to afford them more efficient and speed passenger service, and in consequence will relieve our inhabitants from much of the smoke, confusion, annoyance, and especially danger which necessarily attend the transaction of a large freight business upon any line of railroad.
At the last meeting of this board, on the fifth last, several petitions were presented, having a total of something over 200 signatures. These petitions represent that the signers thereto have property interests on and near the line of the proposed railroad, and unless passenger trains are run thereon, the value of the property along the line will seriously decrease or depreciate. The petitioners, therefore, ask that an ordinance when drawn shall provide that the railroad company be required to run daily passenger trains and erect suitable depots. Your committee, feeling that the claims set forth by these petitions should receive careful and impartial attention, asked for further time before reporting, and this adjourned meeting has been appointed for the action regarding the ordinance.
It will be clearly seen from the foregoing statement that the real question for your committee to consider was, what is for the best interests of our entire village, and in doing this it could look neither to the pecuniary interests of the railroad nor individual interests singly.
Viewing the situation in the first place from the standpoint of those who live in the thickly settled portions of our town, we must realize if we give the subject attention, that the business of the Chicago & North Western Railway is constantly increasing in volume and of a necessity additional freight trains must be added from time to time in order to meet the growing demands for transportation. The growth of our village is such that already more frequent and speedy passenger service is demanded, hence, in the very near future the North Western Company will be compelled to either increase its track capacity on its main line, or construct a new road, as contemplated. Your committee feels, especially in view of the sad occurrence within the past week, that the action of this board should be in the direction of lessening rather than increasing, if possible, the great dangers which even now exist, by reason of the numerous trains passing through the center of our village. Desiring to know with more certainty the views of the management of the Chicago & North Western Railway in regard to this railroad and its proposed business, your committee requested the general manager for an expression of views regarding the same; whereupon Mr. J.M. Whitman, the general manager, addressed a letter to the board saying, that while the primary object of the North Western Company in constructing the proposed railway between Evanston and Montrose, is to relieve the main line south of Evanston from through freight traffic and thereby increase the security, comfort, and convenience of the people of Evanston, as well as to afford them more efficient and speedy passenger service, it is nevertheless the purpose of this company to provide amply for any freight or passenger business that may now or hereafter exist along the line of said proposed railway. At present there is not any apparent necessity for passenger service along the proposed route; but, if in the future the development of manufacturers, or the aggregations of population render passenger service needful for the accommodation of the people, and the business tributary to said line of railway ample facilities for passenger and freight service will be provided.
Finally, your committee has prepared an ordinance which is submitted herewith, the provisions of which have been very carefully considered, it having been the aim and endeavor, not only to recognize the interests of the signers to the petition presented, but also to carefully consider the welfare and interests of our whole community. We recommend the ordinance herewith submitted.
Very respectfully submitted,
George M. Sargent
J.F. Stewart
C.J. Gilbert

The report was approved, and the chairman of the committee then proceeded to read the ordinance section by section, and in order to get it before the meeting for discussion moved its passage. The first three sections speak of the location of the new road, from the intersection of Washington Street with Jackson Avenue southwesterly to the limits of the village, about West Avenue ; the road is to be subject to all general ordinances of the village now in force or hereafter passed. Section 4 provides that the company shall indemnify the village from all damages, judgments, decrees, costs, or expenses which may be obtained by reason of the granting of this ordinance. Section 5 limits the time I which the road can be guilt to two years. Section 6 requires the grade to conform approximately to the grade of the streets intersected. Section 8 specifies that adequate and suitable passenger service shall be provided and depot accommodations be furnished. This section was not definitely decided on, but was referred back to the committee and village attorney for revision. Section 9 requires the company to erect and maintain two oil or gas lamps, as may be designated by the village authorities, at such crossings as the village trustees may from time to time prescribe. Also that the Junction Railway Company shall connect the tracks of the new line with the main tracks of the Chicago & North Western Railway Company near Washington Street, on a curve of eight degrees . Section 10 says tat the ordinance shall be in force from and after its passage by the board and acceptance by the said Junction Railway Company, also upon the approval by the president of the Village of a bond in the sum of $25,000 given by the Chicago & North Western Company to indemnify the village from any and all damages that may result from the construction and operation of said junction railway.
Mr. Magill thought that some portions of the ordinance should be changed. Among the changes suggested was that the company be compelled to run at least four passenger trains daily between here and the city. One train a day would be useless. The company was asking for certain privileges that were very valuable, and we ought to get something in return. The people who own the property on the west prairie have been paying taxes for years and have been receiving no benefit. Now that the sewer takes off all the surface water, and other improvements are being made, the property is becoming more valuable for residence property. Then he was in favor of locating the depot somewhere between the junction and Greenwood Boulevard . A car yard was not wanted in that vicinity, unless it was confined between two streets or outside the village limits. A provision should be inserted forbidding the blocking of any street by freight trains for more than five minutes at any time. Also some agreement should be made with the railway company for the extension of Meridian Street , in order that the village may continue the sewer system north. He was not hostile to improvements, but thought that the passage of the ordinance without providing for these things would be a permanent injury to the property.
Mr. Gilbert asked if there were not some communications from the North Western Railway Company which had not been read, and in reply Mr. Sargent read two letters from Mr. Whitman, the general manager of the company [C&NW], in one of which a promise is given of allowing the extension of the sewer through Meridian Street at any time. It was also stated that the general ordinances of the village prohibited the blocking of the streets by any trains, and consequently it was not necessary to provide for the same thing in the new ordinance.
Mr. F.R. Grover spoke for the property owners in the vicinity of the proposed railroad. He urged the board to provide for two passenger stations and for daily passenger trains. The owners would object to any ordinance not embodying these restrictions. He said the distance over the proposed new line between here and the Chicago Depot was less than one half mile greater than over the St. Paul Railway.
Mr. R.N. Freeman addressed the board in the interest of the citizens at large. He said the people had been robbed by the North Western and St. Paul railways long enough. The rate of single fare, 35 cents was too much. Before granting this ordinance the trustees ought to insist on a reduction of the rates. If the reduction was made on this new road, the North Western would have to follow suit on its other divisions, and the St. Paul company would do the same.
Mr. M.H. Saks said that he some property in the vicinity. He wanted provisions made for passenger trains, and have it stipulated that they be run between Evanston and Chicago as the patrons of the road would not want to run to Montrose.
It was then decided to drop the discussion of the railroad ordinance for a while and consider the lake shore drive question.

The discussion about the Junction Railway continued a week later. The Evanston Index reported on this in its March 23, 1889 (Vol. XVII, No. 45) issue on page 2. The regular meeting of the trustees occurred on Tuesday, March 19:
…Mr. Sargent … read the ordinance prepared by the committee in accordance with the instructions received at the last meeting. He also read the state law governing the question of depot, passenger and freight service.
Mr. Magill offered a substitute ordinance, the chief point in which it differed from the one just read being the requirement of four passenger trains each way per day, instead of one.
Mr. H.B. Hurd spoke in favor of the substitute ordinance, and endeavored to show wherein it was better than the one offered by the committee.
Mr. S.F. Burden addressed the board in behalf of the signers of the petitions asking for four trains daily. He said he had seen each name signed to the documents and knew that the signers had acted intelligently. The people living along the line of the proposed railway considered that it would be doing them an injustice not to protect their interests.
Mr. F.R. Grover then called attention to a few points in which he thought that Mr. Magill’s ordinance was stronger and more binding in its requirements than the committee ordinance.
After a lull in the debate … the railroad ordinance was then taken up, section by section, thoroughly discussed and finally passed.
… Section 8—Be it further ordained and it is hereby agreed by said railway company that it will furnish adequate and suitable passenger service at the same rate of fares as are established by the Chicago & North Western Railway Company on at least one passenger train per day each way through the village, and erect two depots within the Village of Evanston not less than one-half mile apart.

March 30, 1889 saw The Evanston Index (Vol. XVII, No. 46) reporting on page 2 that:
An adjourned meeting of the board of trustees was held last Saturday evening [March 23] with all of the members at their desks.
The Junction Railway Company accepted the ordinance passed at the last meeting in the following letter:
“To the President and Board of Trustees of the Village of Evanston: Be it known that the Junction Railway Company, acting by its board of directors has accepted and does hereby accept the ordinance adopted by the president and board of trustees of the Village of Evanston at a meeting thereof held on the 19th day of March, 1889, entitled “An ordinance granting certain privileges to the Junction Railway company,” which ordinance was filed in the Village office on said 19th day of March 1889. Witness the official signatures and the corporate seal of said company this 22nd day of March, 1889.
Junction Railway Company,
Attest: By M. Hughitt, President
J.B. Redfield, Secretary.

The bond of $25,000 signed by Marvin Hughitt, president of the Chicago & North Western Railway company, was also filed and approved by the president of the village.
In a separate letter filed with the ordinance from the C&NW, the railway agreed to allow Evanston to construct a sewer and to allow Evanston personnel to repair or reconstruct the sewer and also agreed to not cover any manhole covers with a building or structure which may block them.

Although nothing more was published in The Evanston Index about the Junction Railway, for another 19 months, the discussion didn’t simply fall off the ends of the earth. It reared its head, once again when the October 18, 1890 Evanston Index (Vol. XIX, No. 22) published this letter to the editor on page 3:
Editor of The Index:
Evanston, October 17—It is a question whether or not we west siders fully appreciate the benefits we may derive from the building of this (to me) very important railroad. As we know, it is now laying a double track from Evanston to Montrose, and there forms a junction with the Wisconsin Division of the Chicago & North Western Railway, the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul, and the Belt Line, the latter running on the west and near the south city limits. On the Belt Road immense business in the way of storage and manufacturing is being concentrated, and with this connection north via Montrose the proprietors, superintendents, and employees who will naturally seek a village like Evanston for all the advantages we posses, will find the necessary transportation to and from to make it desirable for them to locate here. The Junction Railway is obliged to put on two passenger trains each way daily, and more will come if business demands it. They are now building passenger depots at Emerson Street and at Greenwood Boulevard . Buy a map of Rand, McNally & Co. of Chicago and suburbs and you will see at a glance what I am seeing before me now. My advice is, don’t allow too cheap improvements to creep in that will drive out the immediate future wants. Spend some money in advance for water, sewerage, street improvements, and dictate the quality of improvements, and be assured you will be well repaid for a little delay and money advanced.

Hidden away on the lower left hand corner of page 4 of the April 4, 1891 issue of The Evanston Index (Vol. XIX, No. 46) was an item that sealed the fate of the Junction Railway:
A meeting of the stockholders of the Junction Railroad Company is to be held Tuesday, May 5, at 2:00 p.m., at the office of the company, 22 Fifth Avenue , to take action in regard to the sale of this property and franchise of the road to the Chicago and North Western Railroad. This is simply the formal and legal step to be taken, as the road was practically built and equipped from the first by the North Western Railroad, the other corporation being, in effect, a mere construction company.

During the City Council meeting of May 19, 1896, a matter concerning the Montrose cutoff, as it was then called, was raised. Evanston Index, May 23, 1896, Vol. XXIV, No 49:
… Next came a communication of Public Works Commissioner Wymond stating that the Y tracks of the North Western Montrose branch cut-off are from two to three feet higher than the original surface, and that their present grade is illegal, as it conflicts with the ordinance which requires all railway tracks to conform to the grade which may be established for any street. The raising of the tracks is the occasion of high grade of the sidewalks recently complained of by residents in that section, and if the street is ever paved would impose a great expense upon the property owners to fill in the street. The city attorney was instructed by unanimous vote to notify the North Western Railway Company to lower these tracks to the grade required by the ordinance within 60 days. The city will also lower the grade of the sidewalks correspondingly. …

As reported in The Evanston Index, Vol. XXIV, No. 52, June 13, 1896, page 5:
… At the City Council meeting held on Tuesday, June 9, 1896, City Attorney Baker reported that the Chicago & North Western Railway seemed to have had sufficient authority for the grade of their Y tracks at the Montrose cut-off, and that therefore it was not likely that the company could be made to lower the tracks. Referred to commissioner of public works. …

This is all I have right now.
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Posted by Anonymous on Monday, January 12, 2004 9:47 AM
Hank,

That's awesome! I hope you ddn't spend all afternoon sitting in the Evanston Public Library to collect all of that great info... :) :)

Thanks very much for your help!!
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Posted by Anonymous on Monday, January 12, 2004 1:06 PM
Actually, I've collected almost 300 news articles from 1400+ issues of The Evanston Index on my way to writing a book on the trolleys in Evanston. I just got to 1901 with 1935 as the goal. (The year the trolley system went out of business.)
Lots of hours at Evanston Library with rolls of dimes to feed the microfilm printer.
I have a couple of pages from the Evanston Index which show the passenger schedules of the Mayfair line as well. If all goes well, and I don't spend another 6 months in the Evanston Northwestern Hospital, I should have all the data collected within 2-3 years. Then I can write the definitive book.
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Posted by Anonymous on Wednesday, January 14, 2004 2:11 PM
I'm confused by the geographical/street references in these articles, like "Washington Street"..."Jackson Avenue"..."West Avenue"..."Big Ditch"....these used to be in Evanston? Are these former names for present streets?
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Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, January 15, 2004 4:34 PM
The Big Ditch is the predecessor, dug by Evanston for drainage into Lake Michigan, for the North Shore Channel we all know and love, except if you live east of Howard and McCormick when there's a westerly wind[xx(]. Today's canal follows much of the original right-of-way of the old Big Ditch.
The other street references are streets that were in existence in the late 1890s as they were specifically mentioned in the various issues of the Evanston Index, a local Evanston-based, weekly newspaper. It came out on Saturdays. In my research, I've gone over 1400 separate issues for info and have more than that many more to read through. It's hard to get maps of Early Evanston, so I can't verify what names any of these streets may now go under. The Evanston Library doesn't have any and the Evanston Hisorical Society has highly curtailed hours, making research there tennuous, at best.[:(!]
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Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, January 15, 2004 8:19 PM
QUOTE: Originally posted by hankmorris
Actually, I've collected almost 300 news articles from 1400+ issues of The Evanston Index on my way to writing a book on the trolleys in Evanston. I just got to 1901 with 1935 as the goal. (The year the trolley system went out of business.)
Lots of hours at Evanston Library with rolls of dimes to feed the microfilm printer.


Having spent an afternoon or two in front of a microfilm viewer at the EPL, I feel your pain. ;)

QUOTE: If all goes well, and I don't spend another 6 months in the Evanston Northwestern Hospital, I should have all the data collected within 2-3 years. Then I can write the definitive book.


Please put me down for a signed copy. :) :)
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Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, January 15, 2004 10:11 PM
I'll keep my eyes open for maps for you. [:)] Thanks much!

Since Evanston railways are obviously your bailiwick, maybe you could help me uncover the history behind an artifact I found near downtown Evanston....it's a token that says "Evanston Railway Company" on it, with a large, curvy "E" in the center. I can't recall what is says on the reverse. It seems to be about the same size as a silver CTA token. Any thoughts?
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Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, January 15, 2004 10:35 PM
I just remembered that I had borrowed a neighbor's "Sauganash: A Historical Perspective" book, which contains direct references to the Mayfair/Weber line and its station at Peterson Avenue. It states as follows: "The track that was located on the east side of the Sauganash Park community was called the Weber line and ran from downtown Chicago to Evanston, where it joined the main north-south line. Passenger service was between downtown Chicago and the Peterson Avenue station by the Sauganash Park community. There were no station buildings, only a wooden platform was provided at [the station]. On weekdays there were two passenger trains in the morning and two in the evening." The tracks were elevated in 1931. All passenger service ended on December 1, 1958. An account I read on northeshoreline.com states that the station was still present in the early 1960's. Though the stairs are gone now, it is obvious where they used to be. No evidence of a platform exists to the naked eye.
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Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, January 15, 2004 10:54 PM
In reply to dconof here's more on the street names--
"Washington Street"..."Jackson Avenue"..."West Avenue"...
Washington Street, named after first President, is an east-west street and is the first street south of Main Street.
Jackson Avenue, Named after President Andrew Jackson, is a north-south street in Evanston between Ashland Avenue and Wesley Avenue. However in the area where the Junction Railway once ran, the street is not continuous having been blocked by the earth-filled elevated structure installed in the 1907-1910 time frame.
West Avenue no longer exists in Evanston.
I hope this helps
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Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, January 15, 2004 11:04 PM
The token is probably from the Evanston Railway which was one incarnation of the streetcar line in Evanston which was formed in 1913. In early 1926, the Clare Investment Company acquired control of the stock of the Evanston Railway Company. The last streetcar rolled into the Central Street carbarn just before midnight on November 9, 1935; only two months had passed since ER had requested the ICC to stop all rail service.
I hope that helps.
I'd like to get a reproducable photo of the token. I might be able to use it in my book.
Contact me off -thread if agreeable.
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Posted by Anonymous on Friday, January 16, 2004 8:55 AM
Fool that I am for not having seen it sooner! [;)] Jackson Avenue is the little street that intersects Greenbay Road and Simpson Street to form the triangular lot where the one leg of the Mayfair Cutoff joined the north line. The Washington Street reference is still confusing, however: the Washington Street we know today (I even went to school on Washington Street [:)]) seems too far south to be the same one referred to by the article, wouldn't you think?
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Posted by Anonymous on Saturday, January 17, 2004 11:01 AM
The problem lies with the simple lack of maps of early Evanston, or as some call it, "Evingston." Without a source to check, I can't assure you that you're right or wrong. The info cited came from an article in the Evanston Index newspaper.
So, at some time, there was a Washtington Street at the place indicated. What changed, why, and when are simply beyond the scope of the so-far available dats. Maybe the answer will come as I continue the research. There are supposed to be "Sanborn Maps" available, however only at Northwestern U's library. I have yet to get there.
The answer may yet be found.
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Posted by Anonymous on Monday, April 12, 2004 9:38 PM
here's a question. it might sound like a silly onewhy would the C&NW have passenger service on the mayfair cut off?
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Posted by Anonymous on Tuesday, April 13, 2004 4:16 PM
I grew up a few blocks from the cutoff the main line and the bypass. I'm surprised to see the bypass was intended for freight up the North Shore. As I remember from the sixties there was nothing but locals and few of those.
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Posted by zardoz on Wednesday, April 14, 2004 9:35 AM
QUOTE: Originally posted by mikebennidict

here's a question. it might sound like a silly onewhy would the C&NW have passenger service on the mayfair cut off?


Not a silly question. Hope the answer is not too silly.

Back in the early 20th century, passenger trains went to many places. They were one of the main methods of transportation.

The CNW used to have passenger trains on the KD Subdivision that went from Kenosha, WI west to Rockford, Il, many, many years ago. Service stopped around 1941.
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Posted by Anonymous on Friday, April 16, 2004 5:52 PM
anyone who lives or havw lived in the North Pk. Saugaush neighborhoods know that Bryn Mawr w. of Pulaski is closed off where as you can't go past whatever the side st. is. 2 weeks ago i was in the neighborhood where Bryn Mawr picks up on the other side of the tracks, looks like the street used to cross them at 1 time but what suprises me is that there's no singnal. i would think by law the C&NW would of been required to have at least have something to at least warn people about the tracks. how come was that never done? also while we're at it, when did they close off Bryn Mawr. Ave.
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Posted by Anonymous on Saturday, March 25, 2006 6:12 PM
QUOTE: Originally posted by dconof
Since Evanston railways are obviously your bailiwick, maybe you could help me uncover the history behind an artifact I found near downtown Evanston....it's a token that says "Evanston Railway Company" on it, with a large, curvy "E" in the center. I can't recall what is says on the reverse. It seems to be about the same size as a silver CTA token. Any thoughts?


Does it look like this?




If so, it was indeed from the Evanston Railway Company, which ran streetcars through Evanston until 1935.

Some additional info is here:

http://rani.sir.arizona.edu/~railfan/150years/chap3.html

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