Beverly Shores, Indiana
The Interurban Era has vanished. Once upon a right of way, electric driven
intercity passenger trains were to be found all across America. Today, the
Chicago, South Shore and South Bend is one of the last if not the only of the
classic era interurbans of North America. During the early years of electric
traction the capital outlay required for electric operations were huge compared
to traditional steam railroading. Yet there were real long term benefits, and
electric operations were making news.
New York Centralís and Pennsylvaniaís New York station electrification
projects were large scale implementations of the new technology. But it was the
electric trolley that led to the next level, the true "interurban"
electric railroad. Generally running on public rightís of way within cities
and on private right of way outside, the interurbans were more heavily built and
often were specifically intended for mainly passenger operations. Wherever a
large passenger traffic base was present, an interurban railroad could make
sense. Interurban depots ran the gamut from simple three sided shelters to
storefrontís to more traditional railroad architecture and even elaborate city
terminals. Sometimes, the interurban shared station facilities with itís
competition, the steam powered railroad.
Samuel Insull assumed leadership of the three major interurban lines out of
Chicago in the early years of this century. Despite a passenger decline after
World War I, Insull believed in electric traction. The 1920ís saw phenomenal
growth in the use of the private automobile as Fordís model Tís and Model Aís
streamed out of Detroit, but the railroad was still king of the passenger
business in the pre Interstate era. Beverly Shores was built in 1929 as the CSS&SB
was upgraded to steam railroad standards.
Still serving commuters today, Beverly Shores, Indiana
on the Chicago South Shore & South Bend Railroad.
June 6, 1999 Photo by Jon Rothenmeyer
Just before the crash on Wall Street in 1929, the Dunes area was starting
to be developed for summer residences for Chicagoís wealthy as well as the
more nefarious members of society with money to spend. The then remote area was
an attractive summer haven for some of Chicagoís finest Prohibition
bootleggers! Summer homes along the sandy shores of the Lake were made all the
more accessible by convenient passenger services of the South Shore Line.
The Beverly Shores depot was built in a Spanish Colonial Revival style,
and included the ticket agents residence as well as the depotís ticket office
and waiting room. Itís most notable feature is the huge neon lit station sign.
A similar depot was built on Insullís other Chicago interurban, the North
Shore railroad but this depot has been demolished. (1) Today, Beverly Shores is
still in use as a railroad depot on the still electric, still an interurban,
revitalized South Shore Line. The Dunes area is now a protected National
Lakeshore and a very popular summer destination for beach lovers.
(1) For more on North Shore depots go here.