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Chicago’s forgotten architecture underfoot and overhead

August 12, 2009

Think trains and subways and you’re on track with some of the unforgotten landmarks of Chicago, and it’s busiest. For decades trains have transported people throughout the city clunking and clanking overhead, metal brakes and squealing wheels slowly manoeuvre those old familiar turns, while surrounding buildings shudder with every rumble. Chicago’s arterial train system is elderly, gradually falling into neglect in a time of hi-tech youth.  But it continues to hold respect with historians and visitors who see beauty in its shapes and lines.


by Cate

Late afternoon, the rain had subsided and I made my way down the old wooden stairs onto Roosevelt Road. Suitcase and boyfriend at hand, the sun appeared through the broken clouds illuminating modern high rises and silhouetting old iron beams. Chicago’s young and old greeted me, contrasting eras and aesthetics values, just from looking at the two could I suppose  something about this city. Yes architecture is an integral part but so is its rail system. A system which has contributed towards a densely populated inner city.


by Cate

The advantage of the rail system is its visibility unlike Chicago’s central subway. Underneath the city around Dearborn Street, lie monuments to Art Moderne, in neglect. These subway stations, reminiscent of European stations and design, feed commuters throughout the city central as well as connect Chicago to its suburbs. Narrow, noisy and cramped, what could have been landmarks worthy in a tourist map or an architect’s coffee table book, are now places of convenience.


by Cate

Regardless of their face lift demise, the two rail systems are incredibly photogenic and a must add on to any Black and White photographers list. Resplendid with lines, angles, curves and tone it is surprising that someone in Chicago hasn’t already started up a photography excursion using these landmarks not to forget the interesting subjects along the way. I’d be the first to jump on board and blog about it.


by Cate

If you want to know more about Chicago’s forgotten architecture click here: Forgotten Chicago, a site packed with some notes and points of interest.

Caffeinated Traveller

  1. August 12, 2009 10:16 pm

    Wow, I just found your blog on She Writes. It is beautiful. from pending to chicago. And chocolate. I really want to keep reading it. Bravo!

  2. August 13, 2009 12:26 am

    Given that we just took 5 kids up to the city of San Francisco today on trains, buses and trolleys – this post hits at an interesting time. I loved being a part of the urban bustle, and found beauty in the transportation. You showed it better than I ever could, which is why I like visiting your blog!

  3. sunflowerluv permalink
    August 13, 2009 3:10 pm

    The photos here are amazing!! b&w-s are perfect for this city and the atmosphere is delightful. Hope I can visit Chicago at some point 🙂

  4. August 14, 2009 9:59 am

    Charlotte and Lorraine – thanks very much for the lovely comments, you made my morning when I read them both.

    Gaby – hello! Yes Chicago is a must for you and your love of bw pictures.

  5. August 14, 2009 1:39 pm

    We are a big fan of public transportation. You have such a wonderful way to display the Chicago rail systems. What a great set of photos!

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