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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • VINTAGE ALASKA, c. 1920s

Winter Roundhouse: 1942

Winter Roundhouse: 1942

December 1942. "Proviso Yards, Chicago. A Chicago & North Western Railroad roundhouse." 4x5 Kodachrome transparency by Jack Delano. View full size.

 

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Time rolls on

A lot has changed in 70 years. The Proviso Yards are an impressive sight today and have been for many years. Despite the advent of trucking and air cargo, this facility continues to flourish. It's massive in size. I've driven by many a time and never without awe.

The turntable

Aerial view of the remaining turntable, courtesy of Google Maps:

My Grandpa used to say

the same thing about never getting cornered in the roundhouse. This 58 stall beast was still being built in 1912 according to volume 36 of "Railway Master Mechanic" from Sept. 1912. They don't get any bigger than this one. It only had a two-track entrance at "3 O'Clock" from this view, the rest was a complete circle. Those two tracks only took up about the total space of one stall. The turntable is all that's left there today. Here's a 1938 view from historic aerials:

As my dad used to say

Run for the roundhouse, Nellie! He can't corner you there!

(I found out today via Google that this was actually the title of a song.)

A fire-breathing beast

is attached to each of the short smokestacks on the roof, I think. That way they could fire up engines and send the exhaust outside.

That's a pretty big roundhouse!

Dad!

Why is it called a roundhouse?

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