Chicago Tribune, February 14, 1859
The Horse Railroad a Fixed Fact—The Bill Passed—The Work to be Completed Immediately.—It will be received with very general satisfaction in this city, the intelligence that the bill incorporating the Chicago City Railroad Company has become a law, having passed both houses of Legislature, as announced by our dispatches from Springfield on Saturday.
The work on State street will now go on without interruption, and a very few weeks will see the beautiful cars of the Company making their way between Lake street and a Southern terminus.
And this is really good news to the increasing population of our Southern Lake shore suburbs. Let next spring see the Railroad completed from Garrett Block to Uhlich’s Hotel, and there is no a direction from our business centre that will attract residents who desire suburban homes with a speedy, frequent and easy connection with up town.
Horse railroads in other cities than Chicago, have shown themselves to be not unlike babies in their exposure to the “diseases of infancy,” from which the Chicago City Company are now happily exempt.
This important enterprise we believe to be in the best of hands, not only for its speedy completion, but for such management as shall subserve fully the interest and good of the public. Dwellers on State street, and those doing business thereon, wil miss, and much to their advantage, the noisy rattling omnibuses. The street will be left more free to other vehicles while the patrons of the cars will find an exchange for their benefit, and their entire comment.
Chicago Tribune, April 1, 1859
CHICAGO CITY RAILWAY—ELECTION OF OFFICERS.—At a meeting of the Board of Directors of the Company, Liberty Bigelow, Franklin Parmelee, Henry Fuller and David A. Gage held at their office, No. 58 Randolph street, Liberty Bigelow was appointed President, and Geo. W. Fuller, Secretary and Treasurer.
Chicago Tribune, April 2, 1859
THE STATE STREET RAILWAY—The tracklayers are pushing rapidly southward, and ten days will see cars running from Lake as far south as Harrison street, at which point they will be put on, for a time to run side by side with the omnibuses. For the present, we are very sorry to learn, a single track only is to be laid. It will be a feature of the road the managers will do well to dispense with—the plans of turn-outs and a single track. The great importance of this thoroughfare demands a double track, and we trust no false economy will dictate anything else.
Chicago Tribune, April 28, 1859
NORTH SIDE RAILROAD—Since the cars were put in motion on State street, and timid property-holders have had a chance to see for themselves just how much obstruction the track and equipment will be to the business of that thoroughfare, all fear of the effect of the horse-railroad upon the value of real estate has departed. A fortnight will not elapse before men will be ashamed of their opposition; and before the end of the year not a man can be found on the street who will not be willing to make an affidavit that he was always in favor of the improvement.
We trust that the lesson which the State Street experiment teaches will not be lost upon property-holders on the North Side, by whom railroads in that Division are opposed, nor by the Common Council, a few members of which are inclined to throw obstacles in the way of what the business convenience of the city demands. Street railroads are a necessity of the times. Their utility has been so conclusively demonstrated by the experience of older cities, that it is worse than folly to stand in the way of their construction here. Give us the North Side railroad as speedily as men and money can build it!
Chicago Tribune, June 18, 1859
We learn that about two-thirds of the property holders along the line of the State street Railroad have consented to the laying of a double track. Those who still oppose it will undoubtably, be favorable to such an improvement in the working of horse railroads ere a few days are past.
Chicago Tribune, July 22, 1859
The West Randolph street Horse Railroad is finished as far east as Canal street.
Chicago Tribune, July 30, 1859
Four new horse cars for the North Clark street railroad are in the city.
Chicago Tribune, September 2, 1859
The North Clark street railroad cars are running to the city limits (Fullerton).
Chicago Tribune, June 1, 1860
The Madison street Horse Railway is now laid to city limits, and workmen are busy with a double track, from the bridge west. The Randolph street double track is now laid a block and a half west if the market building.
Chicago Tribune, June 28, 1865
The above map shows the lines of road given up to the Horse Railway companies within the city limits. The dotted lines are section divisions. The whole city plat is shown from east to west. Half a section is cut off from both the and south ends of the city. The streets now occupied and granted to the different companies, are as follows:
CITY RAILWAY COMPANY.
Laid—On State street from Lake to Twenty-Second street, on Twenty-Second from State to Cottage Grove avenue, thence to city limits south. On Archer road from State street to Raber’s.1
Authorized—On Twelfth street from the river to Wabash avenue, on Wabash avenue to Old street, on Old street to Indiana avenue, on the avenue to city limits south. Extension of State street and Archer road to city limits. On Clark and Wells, each from Randolph to Polk. On Polk from Clark to the river. On State street from Lake to the river.
WEST DIVISION R.W. CO.
Laid—On Randolph from State to Union Park, thence to Lake, and through to city limits. On Madison from State to limits. On Halsted from Randolph to Milwaukee avenue. and thence to Chicago avenue..On Market street from Randolph to Madison. On Clinton from Randolph to Van Buren, thence on Van Buren to Jefferson, and down that street to Twelfth.
Authorized—Extension on Blue Island avenue. Extension on Halsted both ways to river. On Twelfth from river to Blue Island avenue, and on Catherine from avenue to Robey. Van Buren from river to N. W. Plank road. Polk from river to Jefferson, and Harrison to Halsted. Canal from Harrison to river. Jefferson or Desplaines extended to Meagher, and Meagher thence to Canal. Indiana from Halsted to city limits. Chicago avenue from river to city limits.
NORTH DIVISION R.W. CO.
Laid—Clark street from Kinzie to North avenue, thence on Green Bay Road to city limits. Chicago avenue from Clark to the River to Division street from Clark to Clybourne avenue, on Clybourne to North avenue. On Sedgewick from Division to North avenue.
Authorized—Chicago avenue from Clark to Rush. Wells from river to Division. Michigan from Clark to Rush, on Rush to Green Bay street, and thence to Elm, along Elm to Clark. Wolcott from Michigan to river. Extension of Clybourne to city limits. Sedgewick from North avenue to Little Fort Road, and along that to limits. Eugenie from Larrabee to Clark.
EVANSTON R.W. CO.
This congtrolled by the West and North Division Companies.
Authorized—On Lasalle from Madison to Erie. Along Erie and Roberts streets to Larrabee. On Larrabee to Hawthorne. Hawthorne to Halsted, and Halsted to Northern city limits. Also on Halsted from river to Hawthorne street.
Chicago Tribune, September 5, 1880
The general advantage and convenience of horse-railways are not more conspicuous in any city in the country than they are in Chicago. They have become a public necessity. This necessity is shown by the fact that, though the lines are already numerous, they are still too few for present purposes, and that the increase of routes must continue for many years to come. The men who supposes that all the routes needed for horse-cars have been taken up greatly mistakes the present and future wants of the city. The time is rapidly coming when the number of lines must be quadrupled, or there must be some other means of transportation supplied.
The steam transportation on the lake-shore roads may furnish for a time a means of reaching that part of the South Division near the lake. But an elevated railway on a line nearer State street is as much needed at this time as was the first horse-railway when constructed on State street in 1859.
The South Side, however, is but a small portion of the city. It contains but a fraction over one-fourth of the whole population. The great spread of population is in the West and North Divisions. Between the central part of the city and these divisions the river interposes an insuperable barrier to the construction of elevated railways. Such improvements, when constructed, as they undoubtedly will be, must have their down-town termini at Canal or Kinzie street. An elevated railway with branches may yet, and within a short time, become indispensable to furnish the rapidly-increasing population now living in that part of the city west of Canal street. This district, ten years hence, if it be furnished with the means of rapid communication with the oher parts of the city, may contain a half million inhabitants, and the greater number will be the necessity for speedier transit than can be furnished by
horse-railways. In like manner the North section of the city will need something faster and something capable of moving more people than horse-cars; and LaSalle or Franklin street may yet become the route of an elevated railway extending even into the suburban villages, and rendering Lake View in point of time as near as is Chicago avenue at present.
But, however remote may be that day for lines of elevated roads to meet the pressing wants of city travel, nothing is so much calculated to make them an immediate necessity as an insufficient supply of horse-railways. However numerous may be the cars now employed, their insufficiency on the North and West Sides is shown whenever travel is interrupted by the opening of a bridge. In a few years, to accommodate the travel on Clark street and on Madison and Randolph streets, there will have to be continuous double processions of cars occupying those streets exclusively by day and by night. There must be more lines of travel opened for horse-cars, or living west of Halsted street and north of Chicago avenue will become intolerable to persons doing business in the southern part of the city. To open these additional streets for horse-railway travel would be a simple thing were it not for the necessity of crossing the river. The cars now are so crowded that they greatly incommode all other vehicles. All the bridges crossing the main river, except that at Rush street, are now used by horse-railways, and there are now pending applications by several companies to establish a line on Lake street; and we do not see why lines may not also be put on Adams street, Harrison street, and Twelfth street. The additional lines are all needed, and the want of them is positively a great inconvenience.
Just here it is probably the time to suggest that, while the city has been heretofore most liberal in its dealings with horse-railways, the City Government should remember that the general public have some rights and interests which might now be as well asserted. The horse-railways are not struggling for existence; they are all able to maintain themselves, and to declare dividends that are so large, no matter what proportions their capital stock may be increased. Without saying anything as regards the past, and without raising any question as to disturbing vested rights, would it not be well for the Council to withhold any further franchises unless there be some compensatory consideration made to the city? There is not a dray, a truck, an express-wagon, or a hack, or any other vehicle, used in this city for hire or gain which does not pay into the City Treasury a license-fee. We except the cars of the horse-railways. The bridges used by the horse-cars are are occupied one-half the time by the cars, which in like manner have the right of way, to the exclusion of other vehicles, on both bridges and streets. Has nit the time now arrived when the City Government, before extending these privileges and these franchises, or granting them to new lines, should stipulate (1) that the horse-railway companies using any bridge shall be compelled to keep the same in repair, and when thereto required shall build a new bridge in place of the old one; or (2), that the company shall be allowed to use its additional privileges upon condition of paying an annual license-fee for each car run by it in the city; or (3), in lieu of these considerations, that the company shall pay monthly into the City Treasury one cent, or one-half cent, or even a quarter cent, for each passenger carried by it during said month, not only on the newly-authorized lines or routes, but on all the lines operated by said company in the city?
It is possible that within the next few years there will be many miles of new horse-railway opened in the city as there are now operated. Such additional service has or will become a public necessity; and it is for the City Government now, and before it enlarges existing or grant new franchises, to consider that if these franchises are worth granting at all they are worth paying for, and that now is the time to make them contribute to the City Treasury and to the benefit of the general public. We submit this suggestion to Mayor Harrison, to the City Controller, to the Railway Committee of the Council, as well as to the City Council generally, and to the public.
Horse-drawn streetcars operated by the North Chicago City Railway Co.
Chicago Sunday Tribune, May 19, 1895
When all the present plans of the Yerkes system are carried out the horses will almost cease to be a factor in the street car transportation facilities of Chicago. As planned now all horse car lines with the exception of a few on the North Side and a few on the West Side will be run by electricity. This means a saving of 10,000 horses to the companies of this system, and it has been said that in all 100,000 horses which were in use a few years ago will be cut down to considerably less than 10,000. The old horses are being sold, at least such of them as not needed. If a horse has not been used too long on a street car it is considered valuable to drive an express wagon or to do other work of like character. Where a horse has grown so old as to be practically valueless it becomes food for human beings. There is a regular market price for horses at the Union Stock-Yards, where they are killed and the meat shipped to certain foreign countries. There is a suspicion that some of this meat finds its way into Chicago markets, though this is denied by all who are interested in the sale or purchase of the worn-out animals. The West Side alone has made a saving of 6,000 horses, which were in regular use on its various lines, while the North has done away with nearly or all of 4,000. It will thus be seen that in addition of giving people much better and much more rapid transportation it makes a big saving to the street car companies in the purchase of horses and in the buying of feed for them.
Horse-drawn streetcars, South Cottage Grove Avenue
1 City Railway Co.’s State street and Cottage Grove lines were the first to be converted to cable power in 1882.