In the mid 1980s my mom would take me into downtown Chicago and usually we would take the L. Often the trips I remember was by the L. Until 1993 the Dan Ryan line would be elevated and routed to the Loop L and west along Lake Street to Harlem/Lake. Today the Dan Ryan line is routed through the State St. subway to the north side!
These pics posted by davidwilson1949 on flickr takes us back to 1986 and I had no idea that they started to build that eventual connection to the subway near Cermak/Chinatown that early!
Man this takes me WAY back!
If you want some more information check out Chicago-L.org!