If you happen to take the Purple Line going south, stop and notice these enlarged mementos from the CTA of yesteryear.
1946 Chicago Rapid Transit Company Map. The 4000 Series cars were featured on the cover.
(L) Enlarged version of child’s half fare ticket. (R) Main Street CTA Station, 1946, Charles E. Keevil photo, Walter R. Keevil Collection.
In 1908, the Northwestern Elevated Railroad extended “L” service into Evanston using tracks leased from the
Chicago Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway. Within a few years’ time, the surface level tracks were placed on an embankment and the present-day Main Street station and platforms were placed in service.
In 1973, the Chicago Transit Authority’s venerable 4000-series rapid transit cars were retired after a half century of service. A total of 205 of these cars were built for the Chicago system over a several year period in the early 1920’s by the Cincinnati Car Company and saw service throughout the Chicago ‘L’ system. After the last cars were retired from the Evanston rapid transit line in 1973, cars 4271 and 4272 were selected for preservation by the Chicago Transit Authority. In February 2014, these cars paused at Main for a photo.
Final Ride for 4000 Series Transit Cars, Bruce G. Moffat photo
I love color. Rich, saturated chroma draws me in. While I admire many colors, I am partial to purple. My bedroom walls glow a deep purple, I collect amethyst glass, and incorporate different patterns of fabric with purple on my pillows and upholstered furniture.
Despite my admitted attraction to purple, it was only by coincidence that I ended up living in a town served by the CTA’s Purple Line, so named because purple is Northwestern University‘s official color. I enjoy the purple highlights of Northwestern pride around Evanston–the lights in the fountain on Davis Street, the purple fire hydrants, and the liberal sprinkling of purple flowers that pop up from the grounds to signal winter’s end.
A mile and a half south of campus there is a patch of land lovingly tended by an urban gardener. Bordered by an apartment building and the sidewalk, it looks wild and untamed. It is lush and deep, the antithesis of a manicured lawn. I walk by it nearly every day and admire its density and array of plant life. Today all the various shades of purple on this small plot glowed in harmony. The effect was stunning and complex, ranging from soft shades of violet to a Cabernet color that was nearly black. It was breathtaking and artistic, a gem among the ordinary goings on of commuters, school children, dogs and dog walkers, my own private purple showcase.