On Thursday, I asked my Facebook followers if they knew what this is, and what’s its story.
It is a remnant of an old electric train line that ran through Lake County for nearly 70 years, connecting Chicago to Waukegan and Milwaukee with a combination of trains and trolleys. A western spur extended from North Chicago out to Mundelein, ending at St. Mary’s Seminary.
The whole line was abandoned in 1963. Most of the surviving right-of-way in Lake County has been converted to the North Shore Bike Path (get the name?) and other pathways.
The electric pole is one of a half-dozen in a row along Rt. 176, just west of Waukegan Road in Lake Bluff. The tops look like they have been added to remnants of the NSL’s electrical transmission framework.
My interest in the NSL was inspired when I watched a PBS show, “Chicago’s North Shore” by Geoffrey Baer. He briefly mentioned the line and showed a bridge that still had its name on it. Intrigued, of course I went to Google and found the site, Northshoreline.com, chock full of history and photos (the old photos I’m using here are from that site).
And I found the bridge too!
Stuff like this fascinates me. I don’t know if it’s because it’s history, or because it’s so little known now. Maybe it’s the idea of something being abandoned after so much time and effort. It ties in with a series I’m shooting, but that’s for another post!