In the past, I have written here why currently the residents of Wilmette have great transportation options. Want to go back in a time machine with me to see what past north shore residents' options were? I sure do. Buckle up...here we go! (and thank you JJ Sedelmaier and www.northshoreline.com)
The North Shore Line, concrete chunks & Frank Lloyd Wright
See in these photos the old concrete bases of a long-gone train platform? Those are just north of the Elm Street Metra train station off to the side of the Metra tracks. These used to be for the North Shore Line.
This interurban railroad line operated between Chicago and Milwaukee from 1916 to 1963. Basically it ran along where the Metra Kenosha line is today.
From Wikipedia (sorry but in a rush today): "The North Shore Line of 1916 consisted of a main line whose southern terminus was at Church Street in Evanston, Illinois, somewhat north of the Chicago city limits. The line continued north through Chicago's wealthy north shore communities along Lake Michigan — Wilmette, Kenilworth, Winnetka, Glencoe, and Highland Park. The line continued through Highwood, home of the railroad's headquarters and main shops, and continued through Lake Forest, Lake Bluff, North Chicago, and Waukegan. From Waukegan, the line traversed Zion before entering Wisconsin and tapping Kenosha and Racine, before reaching its northern terminus in Milwaukee. The entire main line in Illinois was double track, but pockets of single track remained in Wisconsin. While some of the line was street trackage, most was on private right-of-way which, along with the paralleling line of the Chicago and North Western Railway bisected the business districts of the north shore communities as far north as Lake Bluff.
At Lake Bluff, a branch diverged to the west to serve Libertyville and Area, now Mundelein. At North Chicago Junction, a branch led to downtown Waukegan via city streets."
100 years ago Frank Lloyd Wright began building homes, a bridge and the North Shore Line's train station in Glencoe. The station was at Maple Hill and Old Green Bay Road. The village this year has many wonderful events to mark this anniversary. Go see more at http://glencoe.chicagotribune.com/2014/09/29/glencoe-historians-seek-celebrate-frank-lloyd-wright/.
In Wilmette this railroad ran down Greenleaf connecting the 4th & Linden area to downtown Wilmette. Today you can see Greenleaf is a wider street than many of the others nearby.
The ultimate source of great information about this line is: www.northshoreline.com
Next post....The Skokie Valley Route
Sarah Rothschild, Realtor & Architectural History Nerd.