Lakewood is a funny street. It abruptly ends in places. It gets cut off by a building or courtyard here and there. In some areas it is unusually wide.
I used to live by Lakewood and Wrightwood and would ocasionally notice train tracks on Lakewood surfacing from under the pavement. Some stretches were only visible where the pavement was worn, but some stretches of track were totally exposed and maintained to the point that a rail car could fit. Indeed, I sometimes saw a rail car out in the middle of the street every now and then. I have no idea how they ended up on these islands of exposed rail (brought there by truck for temporary storage I’d assume).
I was curious about the history behind those old lines.
Lakewood and Schubert - Facing West
The site Chicago Switching has maps and photos detailing the Lakewood Branch.
The Chicago Rail Fan site chronicles the location of old landmarks for the Lakewood Branch.
I made my way down there today to take some photos and track it as well as I could.
Lakewood and Wolfram - Facing South
Lakewood and Diversey - Facing Southeast
Lakewood and Schubert - Facing South
Alley Directly West of Lakewood and Fullerton - Facing East
Alley Directly West of Lakewood and Fullerton - Facing South
Alley Directly West of Lakewood and Belden - Facing South
Lakewood and Clybourn - Facing South
Kingsbury and Clifton - Facing Southeast
Kingsbury and Willow - Facing Southeast
Separately, in my research, I learned that Chicago was once covered in streetcar lines. These lines were distinct from the lines on the Lakewood Branch, which, as I can gather was not part of the Chicago Surface Lines. Rather, the trains along Lakewood were steam-powered.
The Chicago Surface Lines ran all over the city, and were a precursor to the Chicago Transit Authority.
The Lakewood Branch was part of a separate, commuter train line that ran from the north side of Chicago to Evanston.