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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 • THE TOY DEPARTMENT, 1913

For Them, Bombs: 1943

For Them, Bombs: 1943

        Pretty much a taboo sentiment these days in mass-transit hubs. Sequel to the poster seen here.

January 1943. "Chicago, Illinois. Union Station train concourse." Medium-format negative by Jack Delano for the Office of War Information. View full size.

 

Union Station: 2014

My photo below shows the same location as the 1943 photo.

The grand hall is gone, but the busy train station persists underground.

The arched doorway in the center of the 2014 photo is in about the same spot as the arched doorway in the 1943 photo (with the illuminated sign reading, "Adams St. Street Cars" and "Jackson Blvd. Motor Buses"). It may be exactly the same spot, but it's not the same stonework.

Today Union Station serves 130,000 commuting passengers per weekday on Metra trains, plus an average of 10,000 Amtrak riders. This actually surpasses the World War II traffic of about 100,000 per day.

Actually, it's long gone

This part of Chicago's Union Station, the concourse, was demolished c. 1970 to make way for a new office building. Saint al is thinking of the Waiting Room, which is actually in a separate building and was reached by a tunnel under Canal Street (see the signage in the other picture posted above). The Waiting Room is still a magnificent space; it was famously featured in Brian De Palma's 1987 film "The Untouchables," where a baby buggy bounces down a marble staircase during a shootout reminiscent of the famous Odessa Steps scene from Sergey Eisenstein's "Battleship Potemkin." The concourse was also impressive, featuring exposed steel columns and arches rather than the finished marble versions found in the Waiting Room. The concourse's replacement is a dingy low-ceilinged space that gives access to the trains, but it reminds me all too much of that other architectural massacre, New York's Penn Station.

Still in use-

-and a very beautiful room waiting for your Amtrak trip. Today, pew-like benches make up a sitting area with a sandwich shop/ bar around the corner. I think it was built for the 1893 Columbian Exposition. Perfectly situated downtown, super-easy walking distance from the Sears Tower or whatever they call it these days.

 
THE 100-YEAR-OLD PHOTO BLOG
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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