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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

© 2019 SHORPY INC.

[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Playtime Under the El: 1941

Playtime Under the El: 1941

April 1941. "Children playing under the elevated on the southside of Chicago." Medium format negative by Russell Lee for the FSA. View full size.

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Not Everything Gone

The "L" (elevated) tracks are mostly still there. The South Side Rapid Transit (also known as the "Alley L" because it mostly ran over alleys) used this type of construction between about Roosevelt Road (12th St.) and about 42nd Street. Note the two lefthand columns in the picture are of one design, while the right hand is different. A third track was added fairly early in the SSRT's life. A few sections have been replaced (notably over the Stevenson Expressway), but much of the "L" structure still looks the same. The center track (which was reversible) has been removed.

S & L Auto

apparently extended from Michigan and across Wabash then, with its address as 3840 South Michigan. Here is what the area looks like today, part of the Bronzeville neighborhood. The Lee photograph was probably taken close to the corner of Wabash and Pershing Road, now the site of a much newer apartment building shown in the lower left.

XX64 S. Wabash

The columns on the elevated match the design of the South Side L, today's Green Line. The Green Line runs mid-block between S. Wabash, out of sight on the right, and S. State Street, which is off-image to the left, where the front door of the building would be.

S & L Auto Co. had an office or showroom at XX64 S. Wabash. If you've got a subscription to the Chicago Herald Archives, you can see their advertisement from Nov. 30, 1941, p. 74, here and pull the exact address. It would have to be north of 40th Street, given the route of the L. And yeah, most everything there has been knocked down and rebuilt since 1940.

S & L auto seems to have had other locations including on one South Michigan Avenue, but the street and L don't line up right.

Blues Brothers

Jake: "How often does that go by?"
Elwood: "So often you won't even notice it"

"The baddest part of town"

According to the late Jim Croce. My guess is that everything in this photo is long gone, due to urban renewal.

SHORPY OLD PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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