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Most of the photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs, 20 to 200 megabytes in size) from the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) Many were digitized by LOC contractors using a Sinar studio back. They are adjusted by your webmaster for contrast and color in Photoshop before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here.

 
 
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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • FLY TO THE CARIBBEAN BY CLIPPER, c. 1950s

Frosted Tracks: 1943

Frosted Tracks: 1943

March 1943. "Between Lockport and Joliet, Illinois, along the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe." Photo by Jack Delano, Office of War Information. View full size.

 

My Location Guess

The location looked familiar to me; we spent a lot of time as teenagers talking to barge hands on the sanitary canal. I believe the bridge is a railroad track overpass for trains heading over the sanitary canal and Des Plaines River. This bridge carries trains over these tracks to the lift bridge right next to it. The lift bridge would raise to get out of the way of barge traffic. The view would be looking north and there are still three sets of rails. The bridge is about a mile south of the Lockport locks and easily visible on google maps or google earth.

That curved track

in front, was to prevent a derailed train or car from colliding into the bridge abutment, only example I have seen of this.

Coaling plant

I've seen coaling plants that were designed and built to serve muliple tracks before, but never one like this. It appears to have been modified from a single-track design.

Joliet Iron and Steel Works

The site is most likely the coke ovens of the Joliet Iron and Steel Works, which dates to the early 1870s. All operations at the plant ended in the early 1980s. It seems likely the ATSF would have supplied coal to the coke facility, and handled finished steel product in local interchange service and points west.

Wonderful composition!

You can tell it's the work of a seasoned professional photographer -- the composition of angles, light and shadow are quite wonderful. How I would love to be a professional riding a freight train with a medium-format camera. On the other hand, I can feel from the picture how cold this assignment must have been!

 
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Shorpy.com | History in HD is a vintage photo blog featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1950s. The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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