Chicago Cable Cars
March 7th, 2013Filed under: Stories
Greg Borzo. Chicago Cable Cars. Charleston, South Carolina: The History Press (2012).
What’s the secret to publishing history that appeals both to specialists and to a wider audience? If the book has anything to do with transportation, the answer is easy: ask Greg Borzo to tell the story and give him a budget to include almost 100 photographs and diagrams. Five years ago, Borzo wrote a very well-received book about the Chicago “L.” Now he writes about a forgotten chapter in Chicago’s history, the era of the cable car. From 1882 to 1906, there were more than one billion rides on Chicago’s cable cars. The heavy investment required for cable car installations doomed the system when the street car came along and offered similar service at lower capital costs. Borzo’s description of how the cable car worked is particularly successful in pitching descriptions for a wider audience without losing the attention of transit history enthusiasts.