What is a good book on the history of the "L" in Chicago?
November 30, 2014 10:10 AM   Subscribe

I'd like to read a book with more details on this. This is a cool page. "When the Northwestern Elevated Railroad built its Ravenswood branch in 1906, [lots of cool information with pictures]. Are there any books like that? I want to read all about the development of the area, illustrated with historical photos. What kind of cars did they use? Did they have to build through neighborhoods? how did that work? etc etc etc!
posted by bleary to Society & Culture (3 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I don't know of a better place to learn than that website, actually. There are some solid books (note the bibliography).

Chicago Transit: An Illustrated History comes from the NIU press and is as thorough a history as its academic credentials suggest.

The "L" : The Development of Chicago's Rapid Transit System, 1888-1932 is more of an enthusiast's book (apparently an illustrated version of a railfan journal article). Note that Moffat is affiliated with the website.

For specific and ongoing questions there's a Facebook group, Chicago L. A fair number of the participants are retired CTA.

Related resources where you can learn more about Chicago's urban development include Forgotten Chicago [FB][web] and Living History of Illinois and Chicago [FB][web]. Do read the rules for each group, as they have moderation polices at least as strict as MeFi's.
posted by dhartung at 11:23 AM on November 30, 2014 [5 favorites]

Once in a blue moon the Chicago Reader has good articles about this sort of thing. I remember this article in particular: http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/chicago-privatization-public-transportation-cta-el/Content?oid=1955350

Looks like that one is mostly based on 'Chicago Transit an Illustrated History' http://www.amazon.com/Chicago-Transit-Illustrated-David-Young/dp/0875802419 but also references a whole bunch of harder to find sources.
posted by earlsofsandwich at 2:35 PM on November 30, 2014

This book was mentioned on the current Wikipedia page for the L, so maybe it's good? Who knows. Destination: Loop -- The Story of Rapid Transit Railroading in and Around Chicago
posted by AppleTurnover at 5:04 PM on November 30, 2014

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