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Take A Ride On The Brown Line In 1981

By Chuck Sudo in Arts & Entertainment on Feb 21, 2013 2:40PM

Here's a treat back 32 years to Chicago's Dark Ages, when Mayor Jane Byrne moved into Cabrini-Green and Lincoln Park didn't look like the tony suburb within the city it resembles today.

WBEZ's John R. Schmidt filmed a ride on the Brown line in 1981, starting at the Belmont station and winding all the way down to the Loop. Schmidt rode an "A" train, which, as he noted, was an innovation from the 1940s where CTA divided stations into "A" and "B" categories based their traffic. (The "B" stations, like Sedgwick, saw less frequent service.)

Take a look at all the vacant lots south of the Fullerton station, which Schmidt describes as a "war zone." It may be a bit hyperbolic on Schmidt's part, but Lincoln Park back then—or Lakeview, for that matter—was not one of the ritzier neighborhoods in the city. (I remember when it wasn't a good idea to hang around Wrigley Field at night; it still isn't, but for different reasons.)