Chicago Illinois Sterling Souvenir Spoon w/ Great Railroad History

This interesting Sterling Souvenir Spoon has 3 Different Buildings in the Bowl. the N.W.R.R.Station, The City Hall & Court House, and the Post Office. All the Buildings were in Chicago Illinois. The spoon is 5 & 1/4" long and in very fine condition. Its clearly marked Sterling and has the Webster Trademark. Some history on the Railroad Stations: Chicago and North Western Station: As rail passenger and freight traffic boomed in the early 20th century, railroad companies across the United States recognized the dire need for larger facilities, facilities capable of handling a passenger and freight load many times larger than what had been imagined just thirty years before. During this period, railroads, with strong support from local politicians and civic leaders, sunk enormous sums of money into physical plant improvements in the hopes of carrying ever greater numbers of passengers and increasing amounts of freight between cities at ever faster rates. Chicago was no exception. Here, two new, immense railroad terminals were constructed to the west of downtown during the first quarter century, and plans were frequently broached for one or two additional facilities of comparable size and capacity. The first of these was the Chicago and North Western Terminal, which opened in 1911, and the second was Union Station, which was completed in 1925. As one of the earliest of the great urban terminals to be built in the United States, North Western Station set many standards in modern urban railroad station design. Above all else, the station was designed to accomodate high passenger traffic volumes and the necessary scores of arriving and departing trains. The Chicago and North Western Railroad had all but completely outgrown its former station at Wells and Kinzie. Built in 1881, the Wells Street terminal was cramped and inefficient. It possessed too few railroad tracks, antiquated switching and signaling systems, and a headhouse layout that handled crowds and their baggage rather poorly. Wells Street Station, Wells and Kinzie Streets, c1898: The new station on West Madison Street was enormous and expertly designed by comparison. The headhouse (pictured below) occupied a full city block, with the approach tracks and train sheds spanning an additional two blocks to the north. Though hemmed in on all sides by dense urban development, the entire complex nonetheless covered thirty-eight acres in total. From the beginning, the station was designed to handle 250,000 passengers and 500 trains per day, though its actual usage, even during World War II, never approached these numbers. Chicago and North Western Station, Madison and Canal Streets, c1915:There was little reason to question the station's ability to handle such traffic loads, however. The station's approach tracks, for instance, were configured so as to maximize the efficiency of train movements in and out of the station, as were its state-of-the-art switching and signaling systems. Inside the headhouse, swift and orderly crowd flow was attained through the careful positioning of ticket offices, waiting rooms, stairways, and entryways. The Front Portico: For Chicagoans and out-of-town visitors alike, the headhouse of the Chicago and Northwestern Station must have been an impressive site, easily the most monumental structure on the city's Near West Side. Begun in 1908, it was completed and opened to the travelling public in the late spring of 1911. The exterior masonry was done in a rusticated Renaissance architectural style. The six huge granite columns along the facade rose more than sixty feet above street level. Atop the two towers that shouldered the Madison Street portico, large clock faces alerted travellers and commuters to the passing of the hour. Down below, electric streetlamps brightened the pavement at night. Four stories in all, the headhouse's ground floor was used primarily as an entryway and for the purposes of selling long-distance tickets and the handling of travellers' baggage. Here, one would also have found a drug store, a lunch room, a telegraph office, and several other similar amenities. The station's cabbie stands, as well as all of its mail operations were also located at ground level and extended northward into the space beneath the large elevated, second-level track and platform structure that served the headhouse. The Main Waiting Room: Once freed of their luggage, as well as their late afternoon appetite, long-distance travellers would have proceeded up the main staircase, tickets in hand, to the main waiting room on the second level. Bathed in the sunlight that streamed in through a three-story barrel-vaulted skylight, the main waiting room was the station's showpiece. Its immensity was meant testify to the economic might of the railroad industry and the Chicago and North Western Railroad's contribution thereunto. Also located on the second level were the ticket offices for suburban trains to Waukegan, Harvard, Geneva, and points in between. Main Waiting Room, Chicago & North Western Station, Madison and Canal Streets, c1915: In its second year of operation, this room witnessed the passage of nearly 50,000 passengers a day, of which about 32,000 were commuters. At the time, such numbers established the station as the city's busiest. The Train Shed:Passengers boarded and alighted trains along the eight platforms (sixteen tracks) just beyond the north wall of the main waiting room. The platform area, some two city blocks in length, was covered by a large Bush-type train shed, consisting of a series of parallel concrete vaults supported by several rows of steel columns and arch ribs. Embedded skylights allowed light in, while narrow slots allowed the smoke of the old steam locomotives out. At the far northern end of the shed, the sixteen tracks merged together in an intricate and, for the time, state-of-the-art web of switches, movable frogs, and signals. View Down the Platform, Chicago & North Western Station, Madison and Canal Streets, c1915: Train Shed and Platforms, Chicago & North Western Station, Madison and Canal Streets, c1915: Some sixty-plus passenger trains arrived and departed North Western Station on the average weekday in the 1930s. The majority of these were suburban trains headed up the North Shore toward Evanston, Waukegan, and Kenosha, or northwest toward Jefferson Park, DesPlaines, Crystal Lake, and beyond. The Mail Substation: Underneath the tracks and the platforms, at street level, was the station's U.S. Mail substation, where letters and parcels were sorted for transfer between Chicago and North Western mail cars and the streets of Chicago. Mail Substation, Chicago & North Western Station, Madison and Canal Streets, c1915.

Item ID: RL-2396

$37 USD

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