When we blogged on the first quarter century of Glen View Club in Golf, Illinois, one of the coolest discoveries was the find that the club was once served by a trolley or streetcar line that ran 3.75 miles from the club grounds to Evanston, where the bulk of the membership resided at that time. The line jutted through Harms Woods across the East Fork of the North Branch of the Chicago River, and then paralleled Old Orchard/Harrison Road into Evanston. The single track system comprised a streetcar, a snow plow and two employees. It was operated for the convenience of the membership and transported employees and caddies, as well as whatever members of the sparse population who lived along the route desired. It took Evanston picnickers to Harms Woods too. The streetcar line operated between 1907 and 1933, when improved roads and rapidly increasing automobile ownership made it obsolete.
We identified the right of way's route by reviewing old maps,
|USGS 1953 topographic map showing Glen View Club, Harms Woods and the North Shore and Western right of way.|
|Aerial image of Glen View Club and Harms Woods, 1939, showing North Shore and Western right of way across top.|
|Satellite vuew of Glen View Club and Harms Woods, 2005, faint image of North Shore and Western right of way across top.|
From the North Branch trail, which runs just west of the river, it would be straightforward to explore the old right of way, and, identify, perhaps, what remains in the way of old ties, rails or earthworks. I would not be surprised if footings of the trolley bridge over the river remain visible as well. These explorations I cannot perform from Bozeman, Montana, so I can only hope an intrepid reader will do so, and photograph and report on what they find.Sure enough, Brian Morrison, an intrepid professional photographer working out of Northbrook, Illinois, responded. Brian found time in between weddings and commercial photo shoots to reconnoiter Harms Woods off of Old Orchard Road and the North Branch trail, searching for remains of the old right of way. He reports
After a trip to Harms Wood this afternoon, I was looking for more info on the NS&W and came across your blog. There are definitely visible remnants of the line. I had done the same recon with old and new aerial photos that you did, and came to the same conclusion - that research onsite was necessary.Brian found berms that were built up to raise the right of way above the marshy bottom land, remnants of concrete piers and footings, and areas layered with stone aggregate. Here are several of his photos.
|Remnants of concrete pier, single wooden bridge/trestle support post embedded, east side of river, short view.|
|Remnants of concrete pier, single wooden bridge/trestle support post embedded, east side of river, long view|
|Path trod on right of way berm extending between river and North Branch trail.|
|Concrete footing embedded in berm.|
|Another concrete remnant.|