Illinois Central Railroad Photograph Album

Dates: 1923 March-August
Size: 2 folders, including 16 photographs
Repository: Chicago Public Library, Harold Washington Library Center, Special Collections, 400 S. State Street, Chicago, IL 60605
Collection Number: spe.c00178
Immediate Source of Acquisition: Purchased from Zephyr Used & Rare Books, 2021
Conditions Governing Access: Materials are open without restrictions.
Conditions Governing Use: Please consult staff to determine ability to reuse materials from collection.
Preferred Citation: When quoting material from this collection the preferred citation is: Illinois Central Railroad Photograph Album, [Image #], Special Collections, Chicago Public Library
Processed by: Johanna Russ, 2022


This photograph album documents a construction project on the Illinois Central Railroad tracks in the downtown Chicago lake front area. The 16 images were taken by the Illinois Central Railroad.


The Illinois Central Railroad often called “the I.C.,” runs south from downtown Chicago, through the center of Illinois, all the way to New Orleans, Louisiana. The Illinois Central Railroad Company was incorporated in 1836, and the line was completed in 1856. At that time, the tracks terminating in downtown Chicago ran right alongside Lake Michigan and were exposed to the air. In 2022, those same tracks lie somewhat west of Lake Michigan, and terminate beneath Millennium Park. In 2022, the tracks were used by Metra, a Chicago regional commuter rail company, Amtrak and various freight shipping companies.

Scope and Contents

This collection includes sixteen photographs of a construction project in 1923 to work on the Illinois Central Railroad tracks in the Grant Park area. In addition to depicting period construction equipment and techniques, the images also show the laborers who completed the project and surrounding scenery including the Grant Park peristyle, the Field Museum, the Art Institute of Chicago and the skyline along Michigan Avenue. Of note is one image taken of a railroad workers’ camp.


Images are arranged in the original order of the album.

Related Materials

Subject Terms

  • Grant Park (Chicago, Ill.)
  • Illinois Central Railroad Company

Collection Inventory

Small Collections Box 1 Folder 30 Photographs 1-16, Illinois Central Railroad construction project, 1923
Small Collections Box 1 Folder 31 Photograph album covers, 1923
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