Northward to Belmont Avenue

(Photos taken in 1985 by Tom Burke)

Click here for a detailed reference map of this area, including the industries once served.

On the corner of Lakewood and Nelson Street, the last surviving Chicago & Evanston (C&E) RR depot (converted to a residence) stands at the upper right. This gabled frame structure was built in 1896 as the C&E's Belmont Avenue station. Sadly, it has since been demolished.

Looking south on Lakewood from Nelson, the switch in the street reminds the onlooker that this area was once double-tracked. A spur track also went to the left to serve two industries further south, Acme Continental Foods and George Street Packing.

Again turning north, we can see the vacant Reed Candy Company building at the right in this view at Barry Avenue. Today, northbound Lakewood Avenue dead-ends at this point and the tracks shown ahead are now paved over.

This is the Reed Candy plant at Lakewood and Fletcher Street. Reed's parent company had shifted production to a Naperville plant in the early 1980's. Note the multiple tracks still visible and the crossing signal still guarding them. The Reed complex was replaced by a townhouse development named 'Sweeterville".

The paving gives way to dirt and grass at the switch for the Reed plant's spur track just south of Belmont Avenue. At one time, other nearby freight customers here included a scrap metal yard and a brewery!

This interesting shot shows the multi-talented crossing signal at Belmont. Not only does it warn traffic on Belmont with added overhead flashers in both directions, but it also has signals pointed at a 90 degree angle toward northbound traffic on Lakewood!

The rails disappear under a patch of asphalt paving at the Belmont Avenue grade crossing, but manage to emerge on the other side... this narrow, overgrown right-of-way, which was used by trains backing into the Reed Candy spur track. The fenced area at the right was another former industry served by the line, Bel-Ray Building Supply.

Although this was "the end of the line" in these 1985 photos, there once were many freight customers even farther north, including a team track at the Cubs' Wrigley Field!

For more articles written by Tom on this rail operation, please refer to the following:

All photos, Copyright © 1999 Tom Burke. All Rights Reserved.

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