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Throwback Thursday: Dunning Was Once Criss-Crossed By Train Tracks

By Alex Nitkin | June 8, 2017 5:27am
 A photo taken in the late 1800s, showing some of some of the first buildings erected in Dunning
A photo taken in the late 1800s, showing some of some of the first buildings erected in Dunning
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Northwest Chicago Historical Society

CHICAGO — Located way on the city's outskirts, it's impossible today to reach the Dunning neighborhood without driving or hopping on a bus.

But infrastructure looked different when the neighborhood served the Chicago State Hospital and Poor Farm more than 100 years ago, as the Northwest Chicago Historical Society explains in this week's #ThrowbackThursday:

Ever wonder why Sunnyside Avenue is such a wide street west of Milwaukee Avenue? It is because train track ran down part of the street. See the map:

A 1927 map of Dunning bound by Belmont Avenue, Harlem Avenue, Lawrence Avenue and Central Avenue [Northwest Chicago Historical Society]

These tracks connected the Mayfair Railway Yards (long gone) to the Dunning State Hospital/Poor Farm to bring in supplies. These tracks also went southwest along Forest Preserve Drive (the old Indian Boundary Line) to the railroad yards in Franklin Park.

The map also shows another set of railroad tracks, coming from the south into the Dunning State Hospital. These railroad tracks connected the State Hospital from the tracks near Grand Avenue. This train operated until the 1960’s to bring supplies into the hospital. While in some places, houses or buildings have gone up where the tracks were, one can still see places where these trains once traveled through.

Also on this 1927 map, Chicago's borders at that time can be seen. North of Irving and west of Austin were unincorporated Cook County. North of Montrose & Forest Preserve Drive and west of Narragansett are now the Villages of Norridge and Harwood Heights. but in 1927 the area was also unincorporated Cook County

This 1910 photo shows the Chicago State Hospital and Poor Farm, around which the neighborhood was built in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. [Northwest Chicago Historical Society]

DNAinfo is partnering with the Northwest Chicago Historical Society for a new history post each week. All photos are the property of Northwest Chicago Historical Society unless otherwise indicated.

For more photos and information, visit the Northwest Chicago Historical Society's Facebook page.