Grid Shots: Vintage Chicago Transit Authority

Chicago photographer Oscar Arriola posted these old Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) map and brochure covers to his Flickr photostream. Jared Kachelmayer posted even older brochures to our Flickr group.


System map from February 1993, which includes the rail system reroutes that created the Red and Green Lines. 


Night owl transit improvements guide from 1994. 


System map from spring 1994, welcoming the World Cup. 


System map from January 1995, with what looks like a staff photo on the cover, taken from Navy Pier.


Brochure from 1949 describes and displays the north-south route changes. Notice how what is now the Red Line operated as a sort of Red-Green Line. This was changed in 1993 (see first image above). 


Brochure from 1961 describes CTA routes and what services to take to particular attractions. See Jared’s full set of Vintage CTA.

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15 thoughts on “Grid Shots: Vintage Chicago Transit Authority”

  1. My favorite old CTA materials involve the little cartoon men HoDar and L.E. Jack., two little cartoon men that looked like the Little Caesar’s pizza guy who were meant to explain the combination of the Howard and Dan Ryan lines (now known as the Red Line) and the Lake and Englewood-Jackson Park lines (now the Green Line). See cool image below from the excellent

      1. I still call the Green Line the Lake Street L because Lake Street was a significant marker to me at the time as a UIC student.

        The Dan Ryan and Howard names never meant anything to me. I moved to Chicago in 1987 to go to UIC. Howard was farther north than I ever went in the city and I didn’t drive so the Dan Ryan Expressway was another meaningless marker. HoDar and L.E. Jack seemed like such ridiculous mnemonic devices to me that I ended up remembering them very well because they cracked me up. I think they might have seemed less ridiculous and more contrived to people with a deeper knowledge of the local Chicago landmarks that made up their names.

         The color names were introduced in 1993. If I recall Chicago hosting the World Cup in 1994 was a contributing factor to the simplified color coded system. It made the system easier for new visitors and new riders and a lot of the local knowledge (the Dan Ryan line rides in the middle of the Dan Ryan Expressway) got lost in the mix.

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