Chicago Cable Cars

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Overview

When most people hear “cable car” they think “San Francisco.” Yet for almost one-quarter of a century Chicago boasted the largest cable car system the world has ever seen, transporting more than one billion riders. This gigantic public work filled residents with pride—and filled robber barons’ pockets with money. It also sparked a cable car building boom that spread to twenty-six other U.S. cities. But after twenty-five years, the boom went bust, and Chicago abandoned its cable car system. Today, the fascinating ...
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Chicago Cable Cars

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Overview

When most people hear “cable car” they think “San Francisco.” Yet for almost one-quarter of a century Chicago boasted the largest cable car system the world has ever seen, transporting more than one billion riders. This gigantic public work filled residents with pride—and filled robber barons’ pockets with money. It also sparked a cable car building boom that spread to twenty-six other U.S. cities. But after twenty-five years, the boom went bust, and Chicago abandoned its cable car system. Today, the fascinating story of the rise and fall of Chicago’s cable cars is all but forgotten. Having already written the history of the “L,” Greg Borzo guides readers through a stretch of Chicago’s transit history that most people never knew existed—even though they have been walking past, riding over and even dining in remnants of it for years.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781609493271
  • Publisher: History Press, The
  • Publication date: 11/6/2012
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 774,954
  • Product dimensions: 7.40 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Chicago native Greg Borzo’s published works include articles in Modern Railroad Magazine, Traffic World, The Business World, and Momentum Magazine. His books include The Windies’ City, The Chicago “L” and Where to Bike Chicago. Borzo writes independently, speaks publicly and conducts tours about the “L,” bicycles and cable cars.

Editor and Co-founder of Forgotten Chicago

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Table of Contents

Foreword: Not to Be Forgotten Jacob Kaplan 9

Acknowledgements 13

Introduction: Chicago's Central Role in Cable Car History 15

1 How Cable Cars Work 27

2 The Cable Car Experience 43

3 Before Cable Cars: Horse Power 57

4 Cable Cars Arrive on the Scene 69

5 Cable Cars on the South Side 75

6 South Side Car Barn Bandits 97

7 Transit Titan, Cable Car Czar 103

8 Cable Cars on the North Side 121

9 Cable Cars on the West Side 133

10 Chicago's Cable Car Mail Service 147

11 Demise of Chicago's Cable Cars 153

12 Cable Cars Around the Country 167

13 Chicago's Cable Car Remnants 175

Afterword 185

Bibliography 187

About the Author 191

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 25, 2013

    Born and raised in Chicago.  Did I know there was a cable car sy

    Born and raised in Chicago.  Did I know there was a cable car system in the city?  Nope.  I know now and it was one of the largest.
    How the system was developed, operated and eventually gave way to the trolley system is well covered.  Interesting story about 
    Charles Yerkes, the business leader behind the transit systems.

    I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in the history of Chicago's cable car system.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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