Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Chicago Union Station During World War II





The postcards above show the USO Lounge and Servicemen's Canteen in Chicago Union Station. The USO (United Service Organizations) was incorporated in 1941, joining together six service agencies. The USO in Union Station opened on May 20, 1942.

The descriptions on the postcards are about the station's facilities for servicemen and the patriotic displays in the station concourse:
USO Lounge and Servicemen's Canteen

Adjoining the Lounge is the Servicemen's Canteen provided by the Chicago Union Station Co9mpany for the four railroads serving this busy terminal: Pennsylvania Railroad, Burlington Route, The Milwaukee Road, and Alton Railroad. Here food is sold at nickel prices to meet the service man's pay. Fred Harvey provides the service.

World's Largest Patriotic Display

Chicago Union Station houses the largest patriotic display ever built, an endless swarm of 4,500 actual scale model airplanes with wing spreads up to 5 feet, symbolizing the thousands of airplanes our government is building to win the war. 12 mammoth mural paintings are part of this historic display which was built by the Chicago building Trades Council to help in the sale of War Bonds and Stamps. 50,000 travelers see this inspiring panorama every day.
Sepia Saturday 82 has a photo from the Library of Congress of the Chicago Union Station concourse taken by Jack Delano in 1943. Below are some more photos of Union Station by Jack Delano taken in 1943. The first one shows the concourse with signs pointing to trains and the USO Lounge. The second shows some of the flags on display there, and the third one shows the model planes decorating the ceiling.







Visit Sepia Saturday for More Vintage Photos




20 comments:

  1. Marvelous postcards! They really capture the era.

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  2. The postcards are a treasure. The photos capture the station atmosphere.

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  3. I Might Be Mistaken, But The US Seemed To Use Postcards To Promote Their Organizations Much more Than In The UK.
    .Which Makes Sense As Must Have Been An Ideal Form Of Viral Marketing .

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  4. Those Jack Delano shots are wonderfully dramatic!

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  5. Wow! The picture with the model planes suspended from the ceiling is incredible.

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  6. Great pictures. The soldiers on the postcards look very posed, almost like something from an album cover. The model planes on the ceiling are amazing.

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  7. I've never seen postcards like that. The photo with the model planes is amazing.

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  8. Oh, has there ever been anyone better at picking up a theme and giving it so much added value. Wonderful images.

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  9. As Alan said you sure captured this theme. Amazing cards and full of information. I am beginning to love the old post cards.
    QMM

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  10. The photos are certainly dramatic but somehow the postcards reflect the era better for me.

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  11. I have spent a lot of time in Chicago Union station and it is much less dramatic these days! amazing ceiling of planes.

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  12. I think during WWII would have been an interesting time to live with so many reminders of a war that was taking place on countries across the ocean. The Delano photograph Alan used on Sepia Saturday and the first one in this post were taken at about the same time: the seated ladies are the same. The photo of the airplanes is amazing, though I'm not sure if it's the photograph or the arrangement of airplanes that I find amazing. Thanks for sharing.

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  13. Wonderful post! The postcards are definitely unique, but I'm really glad you posted more photos of Union Station, too. Coupled with the postcards, the photos really take you back to the "war years." I'm not sure if I like the airplanes or the flags more. Thanks so much for sharing!

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  14. Terrific post. My mother recently told a story of how she and her cousins, as young teenagers in WWII, were "trained" as airplane spotters for a rural area on the western shore of the Chesapeake Bay. I can imagine that this gigantic plane display may have been intended as a call to patriotism, but probably created more frightening paranoia amongst Chicago's citizens.

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  15. well, you've taken Alan's invitation literally!!
    the one that gets me most is the pic with all of those model planes.
    lovely!!
    HUGZ

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  16. Wonderful! The colour postcards are terrific. Jack Delano certainly knew how to use light. Especially enjoyed the picture of the model planes!

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  17. Wow more wonderful photos of the dark and light. Somewhere I think in my collections I have USO cards as well. When we return I will have to search, if O remember! Great photos and cards of a different time and place.

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  18. Remarkable, the first postcards were awesome, but followed by more of the outstanding photos, he was a true artist in his captures on film for sure....great info too! Thanks

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