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First motorbus service in Chicago: Aug 11 1917

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So says Hank Morris of the Rogers Park Historical Society (see page 9 of this pdf), apparently with simultaneous service initiations on Diversey and Sheridan Rd.

Apparently Bernie Stone is still dead.*

Krambles's book (page 44) has the first date of operation as March 25, 1917, which doesn't match what is in the article, but does agree that the first route was on Sheridan Road. It also says that the south side service started in January 8,1918, but a judge gave the franchise to a different company sponsored by NY interests affiliated with Fifth Avenue Coach, which eventually became CMC and took over the other companies.

Morris is apparently in error on the date of the first CSL gas bus on Diversey, as Lind's book says it was assembled in 1927 (page 388). You might have confused the Chicago Motor Bus Co. with CSL, which was until 1927 solely a streetcar operation, and basically only used gas buses on extensions.

Lind's book reflects the litigation over Diversey, which originally was a CMC route only on the boulevard portions. The CMC gas bus from west of Kedzie was soon replaced by trolley buses, and then extended east to Western. CTA finally put the routes together.

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*Another article there indicates that something else that was posted here about Bernie Stone was false. It says that Lincolnwood fought the Pratt Ave. bridge; Stone wanted it.

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Krambles's book (page 44) has the first date of operation as March 25, 1917, which doesn't match what is in the article, but does agree that the first route was on Sheridan Road. It also says that the south side service started in January 8,1918, but a judge gave the franchise to a different company sponsored by NY interests affiliated with Fifth Avenue Coach, which eventually became CMC and took over the other companies.

Morris is apparently in error on the date of the first CSL gas bus on Diversey, as Lind's book says it was assembled in 1927 (page 388). You might have confused the Chicago Motor Bus Co. with CSL, which was until 1927 solely a streetcar operation, and basically only used gas buses on extensions.

Lind's book reflects the litigation over Diversey, which originally was a CMC route only on the boulevard portions. The CMC gas bus from west of Kedzie was soon replaced by trolley buses, and then extended east to Western. CTA finally put the routes together.

The discrepancy between 3/11 and 3/25 might be explained by the statement that there were only 11 buses the first day, but 30 were on order. This might have been a case like the Northwestern L, where there was a "theoretical" startup to meet the franchise requirements, and a "real" startup later when stations were finished, etc. 3/11 might have been when the dignitaries rode the "first bus", but regular service didn't start until two weeks later when there were enough buses to actually run the schedule.

However, this might not have been the beginnings of what is now the 151, by a long shot. According to "coachbuilt.com", an outfit called American Motor Bus Co started a bus line between Adams/State and Lincoln Park 12/10/1902, a full 16 years earlier, using seven 20-passenger buses. The same entity, as New York Motor Bus Co, also tried to get a bus franchise in Manhattan. How long this actually operated is a very good question, there is reason to believe from reading the article, it did not last long at all. The same principals, the Conklin brothers, then incorporated Chicago Motor Bus Co in 1913 and applied for a franchise from the Chicago Public Utilities Commission, which was awarded 12/31/14, with the caveat that the Lincoln Parks Commission would grant a franchise on streets it controlled. In 1917 CMB also got a franchise from the South Park Commissioners. In April 1917 Chicago Stage Co was organized by interests associated with Fifth Ave Coach Co in New York, and by court decision in January 1918 got the South Side franchise away from CMB. After a long court fight, Chicago Stage's franchise was upheld, but never acted upon. Around 1920, Conklin sued Theodore Shonts, head of the IRT Subway, FACCo, and Chicago Stage, for breach of contract, saying that Shonts had violated an agreement to let Conklin opbtain a Manhattan franchise in return for his ending opposition to Chicago Stage's Chicago plans. The result was a stalemate, and neither company ever ran anything. CMB never made any money, and in 1921 National Motor Bus Co, CMB's holding company, was reorganized as Lake Shore Motor Bus Co. In 10/1922, control of CMB's new holding company, passed from Conklin to Hertz, but John Ritchie was brought in from FACCo to run the operation. A south side (and west side) franchise was quickly acquired. Meanwhile, Conklin still was trying to get a franchise in New York under the New York Motor Bus Co name, but never got anywhere. In 1924, Chicago Motor Bus Co was renamed as Chicago Motor Coach Co, and made a subsidiary of New York's Omnibus Corp, along with FACCo.

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Try reading again. Morris said August 11, not March.

I wonder if somebody at the historical society misread a 3 as an 8? The photo of the supposed first bus is on an apparently cool day, more likely in March than in August.

CSL's first gas buses were in 1927, so saying Sheridan and Diversey started on the same day is obviously wrong.

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