Hammond Whiting and East Chicago Ry ERHS Bulletin #8
Hammond Whiting and East Chicago Ry ERHS Bulletin #8
Hammond Whiting and East Chicago Ry ERHS Bulletin #8
Hammond Whiting and East Chicago Ry ERHS Bulletin #8

Hammond Whiting and East Chicago Ry ERHS Bulletin #8

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Hammond Whiting and East Chicago Ry ERHS Bulletin #8
 
Hammond Whiting and East Chicago Ry ERHS Bulletin #8
Electric Railway Historical Society
Soft cover
Approx. 31 pages
Copyright 1953
INTRODUCTION
The Calumet District is located at the foot of Lake Michigan and is one of the most important industrial and commercial centers in the state of Indiana. The Calumet region takes in the four cities of Hammond, Whiting, East Chicago and Gary, all of which are heavily industrialized, dominated by manufacturers of steel railroad equipment, chemicals and the refining of oil. The region possesses over 200 different companies which manufacture over 1200 products; all this has been built up comparatively recently. In 1905 more than half of the region was still a wilderness of swamps and sand dunes, which accounts for the fact that the Hammond Whiting and East Chicago Street Railway had only three routes. After the first World War the region really got going and at this same time numerous bus lines also came into being, thus curtailing street railway expansion.
Of the four Calumet cities, Hammond is the oldest. Hammond, formerly known as State Line, is situated in the northwest part of Lake County, Indiana and is directly adjacent to the city of Chicago. In 1868 George Hammond, in whose honor the city was later named, located his packing industry in this territory and was instrumental in the community's early development. The city charter was secured in 1873 and Hammond's growth as an important packing center was rapid. The beginning of the 20th century, however, saw the meat packing business largely replaced by numerous diversified industries seeking to locate in a region that offered excellent transportation facilities by rail and water and an accessibility to markets and raw materials. Since 1900 Hammond has become one of the important centers for bookbinding and the manufacture of railroad equipment. Hammond today is a typical industrial city with over '70 different companies.
Whiting is located 17 miles southeast of the center of Chicago and five miles north of the business district of Hammond. Its chief industries are petroleum refining, the production of chemicals, and the smelting and refining of metals and alloys. Originally named Whiting's Turnout, in memory of a Lake Shore freight train conductor who lost his life at that point, the name was changed to Whiting in 1899. Whiting was founded by the Standard Oil Company and most of its area is taken up by the refineries and auxiliary facilities of that company or the homes of its employees. The Sinclair Refining Company and the Cities Service Company also have extensive facilities in the area.
East Chicago and Indiana Harbor are under one municipal government. The site of East Chicago was originally owned by Jacob Forsyth and was known as the Forsyth farm. In 1887 General Torrence organized the Standard Iron & Steel Company, and bought 1000 acres in the middle of the Forsyth tract. This is now the town site. The other property, consisting of about 7000 acres was purchased by the Calumet Canal and Improvement Company, which was also organized by General Torrence. The Chicago & Calumet Terminal Railway (now B8 CT), another of General Torrence's creations, was built primarily for the purpose of giving the new town railway connections. In January 1892 a syndicate
deal as agents for wealthy capitalists of the East and Europe. It was stated that no town ever had a stronger financial backing. With this backing substantial progress was made in the way of public improvements and ' East Chicago rapidly carne into being the busy industrial center that it is today.
In 1893 the Grasselli Chemical began operations in East Chicago and is now one of the largest industries in East Chicago. The Chicago and Calumet Terminal Railway made East Chicago its terminal point and constructed its yards and shops there. This railway connected with all the trunk lines that entered Chicago and gave East Chicago first class shipping facilities.
In 1901 work was begun on Indiana Harbor and in the same year the Inland Steel Company began working on their huge steel mill which was located there. The Youngstown Sheet and Tube Company also has a large steel mill in Indiana Harbor. Other important industries in Fast Chicago are the General American Transportation Company and the Pressed Steel Company.
Nearly all of the main line railroads entering Chicago from the east pass through this district, and while this fact in itself is of tremendous commercial advantage to the district in its provision for most excellent shipping facilities, nevertheless these main line railroads, together with the switching railroads connecting them, give these 40 square miles of territory the appearance of a vast railroad yard, and the maze of tracks presents many difficulties in the way of local transportation. Literally hundreds of grade crossings exist and the delays to local traffic, both public and private, are not only dangerous and annoying, but costly. The worst crossing is that one near State and Hohman in Hammond. At or near this intersection one or both of these principal business streets are crossed by the main lines of the Michigan Central, Nickel Plate, Erie, C&D, Monon and Il-1B Railroads, so that these streets are closed to motor traffic a very large portion of the time. The elimination of this particular grade crossing has been discussed and planned for 30 years without anything to show so far for all the time and money thus spent on the proposal. The Hohman Avenue and State Street car lines of the HW&EC Ry both crossed all of these railroads at this point, adding to the congestion. Since in later years the street car fare was 8 cents and the Shore Line Motor Coach 10 cents, people rode the street car whenever possible to save money, and the delays to the street cars by these railroads crossing worked great hardship on those who relied upon them for transportation. While this particular crossing was the worst, the HW&EC Ry maintained a total of 40 different railroad crossings, every one of which was subject to some delay at one time or another. Even today, although several viaducts and bridges have been constructed over the worst points, buses, automobiles and trucks are still subject to the same conditions with these railroad crossings, so that the running time of the buses is not much better than


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