This photo was taken in late November of 2007, in west suburban Brookfield Illinois. These concrete bridge piers are located approximately 2 city blocks north of the Washington Street bridge over Salt Creek. This view is looking east from the west bank of Salt Creek on a cloudy late November day in the greater Chicagoland area.
Prior to April 10th 1947, this was the electric railroad right of way from the La Grange Line of the Chicago & west Towns Railway. Electric 1920's era city style electric streetcars, travelled this line daily from the east terminal at Cermak Road and Kenton Avenue in Cicero Illinois, passing through Berwyn, North Riverside, Brookfield and La Grange Illinois, terminating at the intersection of Hillgrove and Brainard Avenues on the north side of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy railroad tracks in La Grange Illinois. The ride was very rural interurban like, as it passed through the Cook County Forest preserves enroute, plus the fact that the Chicago area suburbs weren't built up back then like they are now. It was a much simpler time in Chicagoland history.
The Pace predecessor Chicago & West Towns Railway, had began a program of bus conversion during the 1940's. The La Grange line was the last West Towns line to go, ending streetcar service on April 10th 1947, and quickly converting to bus operation immediately afterward.
A small number of West Towns remnants exist today. Electric Streetcar # 141 built in 1924 by the Mc. Quire Cummings Company, is under restoration at the Illinois Railway museum in Union Illinois, an operable late 1940's era ACF bus is privately owned by Pace and used for special occasions. An inoperable 1947 Mack Bus, an operable 1950 GM TDH old look bus, and
an inoperable 1964 GM Fishbowl windshield bus are owned by the Midwest Transit Bus Museum in Cresthill Illinois. The Bridge Piers over Salt Creek, and the concrete and grass islands in the middle of Des Plaines Avenue in North Riverside, as well as the ones on Monroe Street and Lincoln Avenue in Brookfield Illinois, is the old right of way where the streetcar tracks were located on the La Grange Line.
Could You imagine taking the streetcar to the south gate of the Brookfield Zoo?
Long Live the Chicago & West Towns!