A recent visit to Chicago reminded me of how enamored I am of its rapid transit. It’s so much a part of what makes Chicago unique and exciting to me. Chicago is one of those cities with a “sound” to it—San Francisco being another—and the elevated “L” system is the reason why. Much of the original structure is almost 125 years old, yet it continues to be a vital element of the city’s circulatory system. When the “L” was built, and way before we all used automobiles as our primary means of transport, the dependence on interurban transit (including streetcars and motor coaches) stretched beyond merely commuting. It provided the population an opportunity to venture into outlying areas for recreation as well.
This post reflects on a half-century of graphics (mostly the brochure covers of transit maps) relating to Chicago’s elevated and subway system, known as the “L”.
(I’ve tried to be as accurate as possible concerning dates, but if anyone sees a screwup, please leave a comment and I’ll revise.)
The above is somewhat of a companion piece to one I wrote last year (http://imprint.printmag.com/branding/%E2%80%9Ca-true-visionary-gives-chicago-a-landmark-branding-campaign-circa-1920-30%E2%80%9D/)—so please check that out if you’re interested in further info
Finally, the best site covering EVERY aspect of Chicago Transit is Graham Garfield’s http://www.chicago-l.org/. It’s as comprehensive as it gets!
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