Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Coming to Chicago Bus Tour

This past Saturday, we had a blast hosting our annual bus tour.  This time we focused on transportation history of Chicago.  Craig Pfannkuche was kind enough to give us an in-depth tour of the ways our Chicago relatives may have traveled into Chicago.
Ogilvie Transportation Center Lobby. This station is the site of the Chicago and Northwestern Station. 
Chicago is a great crossroads. Trains from all over the country pull into Chicago.  As we learned on the tour, "No passenger trains could travel nonstop through Chicago- Even today!"  We visited the first passenger train station, and the stations built to carry immigrant settlers and travelers in all directions.
Union Station, Great Hall

Many family histories contain ties to Union Station. 

Site of the first railroad station in Chicago at Kinzie and Canal. Served the public from Chicago to Galena by the "Pioneer" locomotive now on display at the Chicago History Museum.

Kinzie Street Bridge.
Forty feet below this river and throughout the city is the deep tunnel built in 1890's for more efficient movement of freight and coal. The Kinzie bridge is the site of the "Great Chicago Flood" which was caused by pylons in the river being staked too deep, penetrating into the deep tunnel causing water to flood throughout the city.

We toured both the North and South sides of Chicago following the historical train routes and waterways. Trains shuttled passengers from New York to Chicago through the LaSalle Street Station, from Baltimore and Ohio at the Grand Central Railroad terminal. We traced the train lines that come to Chicago from Milwaukee, California, New Orleans and beyond! We learned the importance of the transportation at the Chicago World's Fair in 1893 and saw some of the last original street car rails at the intersection of 71st and Cottage Grove Avenue.

A tour with Craig is always more in depth than the subject we are touring. Some fun Chicago facts we learned while on tour were:

The Thornton Quarry in the south suburbs made its last blast two weeks ago. The deep tunnel of Chicago will soon begin draining into the vast space blasted out, creating a very large lake.

The Wrigley Building was made from white terracotta from just north of Crystal Lake, IL.

Wacker Drive is the only street in the U.S that goes 4 directions at the same time. 

Chicago's fire hydrants were designed specifically for our city's needs. You won't find hydrants like these anywhere else. 

Wishing you could have made it? This tour happens every October, so keep your eye on the 2014 calender for more information on 2014's tour.  Book early, seats are limited!