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From the 1850’s until 1912. the intersection of 75th st. and Woodlawn and South Chicago avs. also was a crossing for the I. C., the Pennsylvania, the Nickel Plate, the Pere Marquette, the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern, the Chicago, Cleveland, Cincinnati, and St. Louis, and the Michigan Central railroads. The latter three are now part of the New York Central system. More than 1,000 trains passed over the crossing daily and all were required by law to come to a stop.
It was a grand crossing–so that s what the railroad men began to call it. Gradually others picked up the term and today, altho the “grand crossing” was eliminated in 1912 when the road was elevated and tracks placed on three levels, the area is called Grand Crossing rather than by its original name of Cornell after Paul Cornell, an early settler.
From Andrea’s History of Chicago, Volume I:
1853 April 25: Occurred the first great railroad accident near Chicago. A train on the Michigan Southern collided with a train on the Michigan Central, at their crossing (at Grand Junction). Eighteen persons were killed outright, and forty of the wounded were brought to Chicago. On the 27th resolutions were passed at a meeting of the citizens, condemning the accident as owing to carelessness, and demanding that thereafter every train should come to a full stop before crossing any other railroad. This was the first time that this very essential safeguard, now universally adopted, was ever suggested
75th and Chicago Avenue in 1902.
Looking north along the six-track (two suburban, two intercity passenger, two freight) Illinois Central Railroad, with the Pennsylvania Railroad’s Pittsburgh, Fort Wayne and Chicago Railway and New York Central Railroad’s Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railway crossing.
75th and Chicago Avenue in 1912.
Looking north along the Illinois Central Railroad, with the Pennsylvania Railroad’s Pittsburgh, Fort Wayne and Chicago Railway and New York Central Railroad’s Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railway crossing overhead. At the left is the planned alignment of the New York, Chicago and St. Louis Railway.
Chicago Examiner August 13, 1912
NICKEL PLATE SUES CITY
Asks Injunction to Prevent Interference in Track Elevation.
The City of Chicago was sued in the United States District Court yesterday by tbe New York, Chicago & St. Louis Railway Company, otherwise known as the Nickel Plate Railroad. An injunction is sought restraining the city from interfering with the construction of the company’s elevated tracks at Seventy-ninth street, in Grand Crossing.
The complainants also seek to compel the city to grant a permit and approve its plans for the construction of the tracks.
The railroad avers that the city, by erecting new ordinances, is unlawfully blocking tbe railroad company in elevating its tracks in Grand Crossing.