'Safe Highways'--a 1925 traffic safety film

January 20, 2012

Today's film was produced in 1925 by the CTA's predecessor, Chicago Surface Lines. CSL wanted to educate the public on traffic safety, and was willing to smash a lot of cars to do so. As a result, much of the film is unintentionally hilarious.

What's interesting to the historian is the street scenes from nearly 90 years ago. The downtown sites are easy to identify.  But the film also goes out into the neighborhoods. I've been able to place a few of these outlying locations (see below). If anyone recognizes other sites, let me know in the comments section.

1:50--Archer Ave at RR just east of Cicero. Conductor is flagging the streetcar across the tracks.

2:10--Cicero Ave at 22nd St (Cermak Rd). The old Western Electric complex is clearly visible. Notice that CSL ran two-car trains on some of the busier routes.

3:15--Cicero Ave at Erie. The Lucille Theater was at 653 N. Cicero Ave.

7:00--Possibly North Avenue. The center-of-the-street trolley poles are a clue.

8:14--Traffic signals were new in 1925, and the public was still getting used to them

9:20--Either Broadway or Clark Street. The streetcar is signed for Route 1.