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Train cars with the Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus logo ride across a bridge.

A Circus on the Bloomingdale Trail

This image was posted on the Bucktown Community News group by Steve Jensen. As he put it, “the circus train would use the tracks that became the Bloomingdale Trail.”

It’s a wonderful reminder that Chicagoans lived with the Bloomingdale embankment looooooong before it was transformed into an elevated trail.

We strolled under it thousands of times, trespassed a bit to check out the views, and played ball off the walls. And for anyone who grew up by the trail from the late teens until the ’90s, they remember the freight trains rolling by, usually slowly. Lucky kids would sometimes get a candy treat tossed by a conductor.

Do you have a photo or memory to contribute?

This post is part of the Memory Project. We’re always looking for more images and remembrances from the times before the trail! To contribute yours, email

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