TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: Old Chicago Numbering

Re: Old Chicago Numbering

BobT (
Sun, 30 Oct 2005 14:25:35 GMT

On Sat, 29 Oct 2005 13:22:09 +0100, TELECOM Digest Editor noted in
response to Paul Coxwell <>:

> [TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: The 'Wabash CannonBall' a/k/a Wabash


> and of course, Uptown Station, the very elegant train stop which
> served the Chicago, North Shore and Milwaukee Electric Railroad, one
> of Samuel Insull's properties which was located at Wilson Street and
> Broadway, in the heart of beautiful Uptown, a shopping district only
> second in glamor to 63rd Street and Ashland. Its all gone today.

[many snips]

Pat -- Not telecom related, but just FYI. I'm a long time south sider
(since 1948). I think you will find the major shopping area along
63rd was at Halsted. 63rd at Ashland, and from Cottage Grove to
Woodlawn, were secondary.

[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: I think you are probably correct,
except that on east 63rd Street, it ran from Cottage Grove to
Stony Island Avenue. It didn't stop at Woodlawn. All those stores,
at least on the east end of 63rd Street are long gone now; many
blocks through there are totally empty, just weeds growing. Where
there had been a Walgreen's store (63rd and Woodlawn as I recall?)
is now just a vacant lot littered with debris. I guess the Sears,
Roebuck store over on the west end of 63rd is long gone also. I know
that Englewood Hospital filed bankrupcty and closed down completely,
and I think Woodlawn Hospital is also gone. The Illinois Central
Hospital [originally, it was the medical department for the railroad's
Chicago area operations] went 'public' for several years in the
1960-70's but I am told it bit the dust also. Hyde Park High School is
around -- barely -- but whatever happened to Englewood High School
further west? Englewood and Hyde Park (high schools) used to be rated
in the top ten high schools in Chicago, sixty years ago, both with
very excellent music study programs and college prep programs.

I know that after Chicago Transit Authority deliberatly allowed its
property (the Dorchester Bridge over 63rd and Dorchester) to
deteriorate so badly that they had an excuse to completely abandon the
Jackson Park Elevated Railroad (the Jackson Park 'L' dated to the
1890's World Fair [Columbian Exposition at the site of the present day
Museum of Science and Industry]) that was pretty much the end of
things for all the merchants on the east end. I guess CTA still
operates the 'L' trains on the west end of 63rd Street (what I always
knew as Englewood) or have they abandoned that section of their
system also when it got to be too deteriorated to use safely?

I cannot recall (if I ever knew that much) about the phone exchanges
on the Englewood portion of 63rd Street; the only ones I can remember
for sure were ENGlewood (773-364) for whom the central office was
named, TRIangle (773-874) and NORmal (773-667). Both the hospital and
the high school by that name had ENGlewood phone numbers. The Chicago
Normal School (sort of like a college) was the rationale for that
name, and all I know about TRIangle is the old Englewood Fire Alarm
Office took alarm calls on TRIangle-4-0002. That was sort of odd;
in the old days of POLice-5-1313 and FIRe-7-1313, where calls to
police went to each central office and there were translated into
(various)-1313 and sent on to the police headquarters downtown, calls
to FIRe-7-1313 were translated in each central office as follows:
telephone exchanges (and callers) north of 39th Street (in other
words, all the north side and about half the south side) were
translated into DEArborn-2-1313 and sent to the City Hall Fire Alarm
Office in City Hall. Exchanges and callers south of 39th Street were
sent to the Englewood Fire Alarm Office on TRIangle-4-0002. I am
not really sure how they handled that.

Oh, and the CTA had (still has?) a converted horse barn (125 years
ago, the CTA predecessor companies used horses to pull carriages
around town; they housed the animals in the barn at 77th and Vincennes
Avenue); at 77th and Vincennes, their 'counting room' is located there
in addition to parking a few hundred busses there all night. Several
years ago, when CTA came up several million dollars short and traced it
back to employee thievery, several of the 'counting room' cashiers got
the axe when the worker's union permitted CTA to fire them. Those folks
also had a TRIangle phone number, quite similar to the phones at the
Merchandise Mart HQ offices of CTA; MOHawk-4-7200 and TRIangle-4-7200
I think.

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