A Video Time Capsule of the E. 63rd Street Green Line

Here is a series of videos filmed of the old E. 63rd Street ‘L’ in real time at various moments during the 1990s.

At the time, service had already been cut back to University, but the tracks between Dorchester and University were still standing. That is, until September 28, 1997.

Warning: each video lasts 5–10 minutes with only the sounds of the former ‘L’ and demolition equipment to waft over you.

The picture quality reflects the raw footage these videos contain.

Source: Dan Chulely, YouTube

Source: msibnsf, YouTube

Source: msibnsf, YouTube

Mapping the Need for Restoration on E. 63rd Street

We’ve put together an interactive map to visualize the need to restore the E. 63rd Street Green Line.

So far we’ve marked the track sections and stations that have been removed over the decades. And we’ve marked the proposed road closures as well as the sites for the new Obama Presidential Center and the Transportation Building from the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition.

We’ve also have included some of the vintage pictures we have in our collection.

If you have pictures or video to contribute or would like us to add something else to the map, please comment or contact us.

Stand with Us to Restore the Green Line

The latest projects proposed for Jackson Park have given the impression to some that the South Lakefront is moving into a more ambitious future. We contend that these plans are not ambitious enough—they are designed for some people but leave others out. We believe that truly great vision is inclusive and that there are ways to take Jackson Park into the 21st century that reflect the foundational values of the park system and the city more broadly—fairness, equity, and opportunity for all.

The elevated rail line over E 63rd St was originally designed to end at the shores of Lake Michigan. It was later cut short of that vision by historical forces that, in retrospect, lacked an awareness of the larger picture. In this moment when the Obama Center is calling for ambitious, audacious vision, we aim to match that vision with the restoration of the E 63rd St branch of the Green Line from Cottage Grove Ave to Stony Island Ave, bringing all who will to the steps of the Obama Presidential Center.

We are calling on city leaders to launch a restoration project for the E 63rd St branch of the Green Line. We further call upon the leadership of the Obama Foundation to support this vision.

A presidential center dedicated to empowering people across the country must have a democratic means of transit knit into its design. Chicago’s elevated rail system is the only transit option poised to meet that requirement. We respectfully request that the citizens of this city together with its institutions that care about fairness and equal access to opportunity support this petition and this restoration project. Stand with us to restore the Green Line.