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Video: Check Out Historic Early Footage Of The CTA

By Stephen Gossett in News on Jul 5, 2016 9:47PM

Some historic footage released by the Chicago Film Archives offers a fascinating glimpse of the CTA's early days.

The 15-minute video, culled from eight CFA collections, spans from 1948 to 1970 and features images in black-and-white and color. The footage includes a wealth of nifty, vintage train cars operating on old L tracks and servicing stations that appear alternately ages old and surprisingly contemporary. It's also an absorbing document of the city's architecture, fashion and general milieu, shot from a variety of inspired POVs.

The footage made the train-blog rounds recently, although CFA told Chicagoist the video was uploaded to the site three years ago. (They kindly published it to their YouTube page Tuesday afternoon per request.) Still, it's such a boss time capsule that we wanted to share nonetheless.

The Chicago Film Archives won the 2016 MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions along with 13 other local arts organizations. Some past favorites include videos of the Chicago's pro wrestling glory days, Wrigley Field in 1938, an early glimpse of the Vice Lords gang, and a John Belushi appearance on a public-television pilot in 1973. Consider it the Internet's most culturally significant rabbit hole.