C&NW Tower “HM”

The Chicago and North Western’s tower “HM” was located on the mainline at Elmhurst, Illinois. This is just a bit west of the huge Proviso Yard, and it controlled a pair of crossovers on the three tracks running by. HM is the telegraph call, and tower designation. Jack Delano documented the tower as he rode by in January of 1943, apparently while heading in each direction on different tracks.

The first photo shows that the tower was in a residential area. When researching it’s location, I found that it was located at the intersection of 1st Street and Haven Road, just east of York Street. The view here is looking to the east (toward Proviso Yard). Note the rodding for the mechanical control of the track switches. The tower even had a vestibule to allow sheltered entry into the upstairs room during inclement weather.

C&NW Tower HM - Looking East

The second photo is the view from a caboose platform, and is looking to the west. The crossovers are readily seen in this image. And note the crossing gates at right. I find it curious that the tower doesn’t have it’s HM designation displayed on it’s east side.

C&NW Tower HM - Looking West

Also while researching this tower, I stumbled across this last photograph showing the interior of the second floor room. The towerman manning those Armstrong levers is Mr. George L. Thorpe, Jr. These levers actuate and power all of that rodding, which in turn lines the track switches. This image was taken by an unknown photographer in 1948, and the notes say that Mr. Thorpe operated in this tower until 1964.

C&NW Tower HM - GL Thorpe

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