Chicago’s First Subway (10-16-1943)

HOW--State Street Subway

Seventy years ago today, Chicago’s first subway opened.  A few years back my WBEZ post featured a documentary movie about the building of the subway, produced by the City of Chicago.  Look for the film at the bottom of the page.  Here’s the link–

http://www.wbez.org/blog/john-r-schmidt/2011-10-17/chicago-gets-subway-92157

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11 Responses to “Chicago’s First Subway (10-16-1943)”


  1. 1 brian October 16, 2013 at 2:02 pm

    Great work as usual JS

  2. 3 Kyle L October 17, 2013 at 10:42 am

    Do we know what stop that photo is from? It does not appear to be the State street conjoined platform, and the train appears to be making a turn coming into the station, so possibly Clark & Division? The picture even has some of the first layers of dirt at Clark & Div that they are chipping away for the first time with the current renovation.

    • 4 J.R. Schmidt October 17, 2013 at 2:47 pm

      The photo comes from a 1947 book published by the City of Chicago titled “Chicago’s Report to the People.” There’s no caption indicating the location.
      –JRS

    • 5 Garry October 17, 2013 at 3:03 pm

      Note the curved wall of the tunnel.
      That means it’s a station under State St. in the Loop or south to Harrison or Roosevelt. They’re the only ones with the curved tunnel walls.
      It absolutely can’t be Clark & Division.

  3. 6 Exige Blogger October 23, 2013 at 10:43 pm

    Around 7:20 in the video, the two “tubes” are described, created so they can be submerged only “5ft below the river bed” – ok JRS, does this decision mirror construction of the chicago tunnel company’s tunnel that was breached in the flood of 1992?

    • 7 J.R. Schmidt October 24, 2013 at 6:26 am

      Yes it does. When that freight tunnel was breached, it was about 80 years old. Maybe we should worry about the subway tunnels in another 10 years.
      –JRS

      • 8 Garry October 28, 2013 at 6:11 pm

        Age wasn’t the problem that caused the freight tunnel breach.
        It was an incompetent contractor that punched through it because they didn’t read a map correctly.

      • 9 J.R. Schmidt October 28, 2013 at 9:12 pm

        I was being flippant. But even with 70 years of buildup on the river bottom, the subway tubes are still pretty close to the surface.


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