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Chicago Illinois: Eisenhower and Northeast Expressway Views

Today’s Congress and Northeast Expressway views are dated to 1961 by the source. The Congress Expressway in the lead image and enlargeable picture of it below was later renamed the Eisenhower Expressway in honor of President Dwight D. Eisenhower. He initiated the Interstate Highway System in the early 1950s and later signed Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956 that officially started the design and construction of the network of National Highways.

The Northeast Expressway in the bottom shot was renamed the Kennedy Expressway after the President’s death in 1963. This picture was taken from the South Morgan Street overpass in 1961 of rush hour traffic on the highway. Another view of the Roadway in earlier coverage can be seen here.

Share with us what you find of interest in these photographs by Kaufmann and Fabry that are courtesy of the University of Illinois at Chicago.

  • Eisenhower above and Northeast Expressways below.






23 responses to “Chicago Illinois: Eisenhower and Northeast Expressway Views

  1. In the lead photograph, in the center of the picture, is a 1961 BUICK convertible, either an Invicta or a LeSabre; and to the left is a 1954 BUICK.

  2. Looks like we’re headed west on the Kennedy, generally in the Mayfair area where I94 splits off of I90 and becomes the northbound Eden’s. Have been driving this stretch two to three times a month for the past 21 years and each occasion is an adventure. My heart goes out to those poor souls condemned to drive it every day, especially during rush hour. There is a reversible two lane express between eastward and westward Kennedy traffic, but my experience is the benefit is negligible. The 294 bypass? No! Heck no!

    • Hi Robert, same here. In my 35 years of trucking in the midwest, ( now retired, thank goodness)90% of the time, it involved Chicago in some capacity. Matter of fact, when I usually got to this point ( Edens) I felt I was “home free”. It usually opened up around this curve. I didn’t take the Eisenhower too much, as it’s a toll road past the airport, unless I had to, to get around the Wisconsin scale. I did a LOT of trucking in and around Chicago. Best investment was a low bridge map, although, it’s not like it used to be, as many underpasses have been dug out. One more thing, don’t get caught in the “Express lanes” with a truck, and 294 has gotten a lot better. Not cheap, but with Pre-Pass,( which just amazes me how that works) it’s entirely possible to make it through the Windy without stopping. Not like years ago, with those stupid toll plazas ever 10 miles. Saw a lot of crashes at those plazas.

  3. The Kennedy Expressway photo is showing NB at the I90/I94 split looking north from roughly Montrose. Neither the reversible lanes or the L is present yet.

    The traffic is backed up for the side heading for I94, the Edens expressway.

    What’s remarkable is there is only one idiot trying to jam his way in because he was in the wrong lane for where he wanted to go. Given that traffic the polite thing to do, take the first exit from I90 and get back on I94 a couple blocks north would be faster.

    It’s good to know the split on this side and therefore most likely the junction on the other side never worked well. I have always considered the junction to be the most boneheaded road design in the chicago expressway system.

  4. Wow, the ’59 Chevys really stand out in the second photo!
    Any idea what the old convertible is in near side left of the second photo? Also, more the Square Bird on the far left.

    AML, thanks for IDing the Buick, I thought it was that, but I wasn’t sure.

  5. What is it? Last photo, 2nd row in, (early 40’s?) convertible with a 59 Chevy in front, behind, and to the right. Looks foreign to me. Anyone know??

  6. What is the dark colored convertible in the number 3 lane in the third photo? The one surrounded by Chebys. And what is it doing among all the current Detroit iron?

  7. The Edens still looks like that. Maybe those cars are still stranded out there.

    People are still pulling the same crap as that Falcon wagon. Zoom around everybody in line then sneak in up ahead.

    • Hi Billy, I always let those people in, as long as they signaled, that is. This was the end of the truck lane restrictions, and you could finally hammer down in the left lane going up the Edens.

  8. Oh for the day when traffic was that light on the Ike!

    That looks like a ’57 Ford Retractable in the right lane in front of the Comet with the big trunk in the trunk (wonder if he’s hauling a body?).

  9. Small point but this would be the Northwest Expressway, the lefthand lanes leading on to the Northwest Tollway as it was called then. The Northeast Expressway remains unbuilt to this day, approval for draining Lake Michigan still not having been granted. 😉

  10. It was no small task renaming the Congress Expressway in Chicago after a Republican President. It is the only Chicago expressway named for a Republican.

  11. Wish I had a photo to upload, but my husband and I who were dating in our teens, drove onto the Eden’s expressway before it opened; can’t believe we did this, but we felt very daring. This was the first expressway to open in the Chicago area. He had a beat up 42 Pontiac coupe. We are still together.

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