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Chicago Cable Cars Paperback – November 6, 2012

4.6 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Borzo's 192-page book contains dozens of historical photos as well as maps of cable-car lines. He delves into the technology of the cable car and the Chicago politics and economics that helped spur both its realization and subsequent demise because of obsolescence and the benefits of the electric trolley, which was a more comfortable and profitable transportation mode." --Chicago Tribune

About the Author

Chicago native Greg Borzo's published works include articles in Modern Railroad Magazine, Traffic World, The Business World, and Momentum Magazine. His books include The Windies' City, The Chicago L"? and Where to Bike Chicago. Borzo writes independently, speaks publicly and conducts tours about the "L, "? bicycles and cable cars. Editor and Co-founder of Forgotten Chicago"
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: The History Press (November 6, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1609493273
  • ISBN-13: 978-1609493271
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 0.3 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,192,170 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Gary T. Johnson on July 6, 2013
Format: Paperback
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. Six 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.
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First, a disclosure: I know Greg personally. This guy loves Chicago and loves transit. And it really shows in this book. If you have any interest in the history of mass transit, this is a must-read, covering a little-investigated era that came and went faster than the riverboat culture on the Mississippi. If you love Chicago, it's an added bonus. That Greg's writing style is eminently readable doesn't hurt a bit. If you live in Chicago, you'll find yourself looking at the streets as you travel the City, looking for remnants of this amazing Goldbergian technology.
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Until a few years ago I didn't realize that Chicago had a cable car system at one time, replacing or limiting the earlier horse cars and before the extensive trolley system developed.

This book is short, with a number of pictures, but a reasonable amount of text. I'd suggest it to people interested in the history of Chicago or public transportation.
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Cable cars are a rare topic at the best of times, and in the case of Chicago - a city that has always looked to the future rather than its past - soon forgotten by the passage of history. This is an excellent piece of research, supported by useful and extensive maps.
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