I.C. Freight Depot, Chicago

A view of the Illinois Central’s South Water Street freight depot in Chicago, Illinois. Jack Delano recorded this facility on a beautiful spring day in May of 1943. It’s 11:26 in the morning according to the clock on the iconic neon Pabst Blue Ribbon sign looming above.

Note the blue flags on each cut of cars, along with a carman at right. At left those appear to be blocks of ice in a trough, and behind that one can spot the roofs of a few passenger cars (commuter cars or express?). Studying the boxcars themselves, one can easily see the evolution of this workhorse as they grew larger and larger over the years.

ICRR Freight Depot - Chicago, Ill.

2 thoughts on “I.C. Freight Depot, Chicago

  1. Jack

    Big-time memories here, Jack. My mother’s father , Frank Ratajik, was a wholesale fruit and vegetable dealer who bought his produce from a jobber at the Water St market. That market opened at 0345 and starting at around 12 years of age (in the summer) I went with Grandpa to haul his veggies up to his “store, ” in reality a garage on Randolf. That opened at about 530 AM and most sales were complete by 1100, or earlier. Most days, Grandpa bought around $300.00 worth of stuff—a lot of veggies. Some days two trips were required. We always wore a tie.

    Roger Sekera
    Potomac, Maryland

  2. That’s an interesting story, Roger. It’s hard to imagine a young boy getting up so early to work a job during the summer. And the tie is a great illustration of how our society has “relaxed” the dress code over the years. My childhood (50s-60s) saw a lot of folks wearing white shirts and ties for even “mundane” occupations. I remember wearing a bow tie during my part-time “career” working at a Winn-Dixie grocery store back then.


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