FORMER CAR HOUSES/BUS GARAGES IN FOX VALLEY

PHOTOS

When doing research for this Web site, definite information is not always readily available. Such is the case, when researching the history of car houses and bus garages in the Aurora/Elgin/Fox River Valley area. The time was then, to make a trip to the Fox Valley area, in search of the former transit facilities in the area.


The first stop was the former bus garage at 573 N. Crystal., in Elgin, on the east side of the street. Large lettering above the garage doors once read "ELGIN CITY LINES". A photo in the May 1989 issue of Motor Coach Age shows a part of the garage, including some of the lettering.


Detail of the portion which once held the first two thirds of the lettering "ELGIN CITY LINES".


Next stop was Aurora, and in search of evidence of the original and later (1925) car houses, using maps from "The Great Third Rail", The Central Electric Railfans' Association (CERA) Bulletin 105. There was no evidence of the original car house at Water St. and Benton St. But on River St., on the east side of the street and near the location indicated on the CERA map, a building remains standing which looked like it could have been built in 1925, and shaped like the car house shown on the CERA map. That building is now used by NICOR, the local natural gas company, as a garage for its vehicles. The address is 424 S. River St. The portion of the building immediately next to River St. was not the portion with actual streetcar tracks.


Inside the 1925 car house, the actual car house tracks were in the part of the building away from River St. This photo was taken from River St. looking southeast, and the garage doors in the part of the building to the left may have been where the streetcars actually entered and exited the car house. This building was demolished around 2009.


As of 1952, Aurora City Lines was listed as located at 610 Broadway, with no indication on whether it was a north or south address. This building is located at 610 N. Broadway, on the west side of the street, and it looks as if it could have been a bus garage built before 1952. The building is now occupied by various businesses. The Elgin City Lines garage was built after 1952, and does have a more modern look to it.


Prior to the 1994 opening of the present Pace Fox Valley Division garage, the Aurora Transit System was listed at 649 S. River St., a few blocks south of the 1925 car house location, and on the west side of the street.. This bus garage opened in 1974.