The simple 35th-Bronzeville-IIT station house on September 30, 2003. At each corner of the building's front is a plaque (close-up far below right) listing the neighborhood's points of interest. On the left side of the doors are tile mosaics, also depicting landmarks. On the west face of the structure (to the left) is a mural of famous African-Americans. For a larger view, click here. (Photos by Graham Garfield)

35th-Bronzeville-IIT (3500S/16E)
35th Street and State Street, Douglas (Bronzeville)

Service Notes:

Green Line: South Side Elevated

Accessible Station

Quick Facts:

Address: 16 E. 35th Street
Established: June 6, 1892
Original Line: South Side Rapid Transit
Previous Names: 35th Street, Tech-35th

Skip-Stop Type:

Station (1949-1963)

Station (1963-1993)

Rebuilt: 1965, 1996
Status: In Use

History:

The mezzanine-level station house at Tech-35th is seen here looking from the unpaid area in 1959. If the station seems particularly immaculate, it's because it's been cleaned and spit-polished for the World Series, which would be played at Comiskey Park a few blocks away shortly after this photo was taken. For a larger view, click here. (Photo from the CTA Collection)

35th Street was one of the original ten stations of Chicago's first "L" line, the South Side Rapid Transit. The original station building was a grade-level structure built in 1892 with a brick exterior and a large bay in the center of the front elevation. The station had two side platforms with short "humpbacked" canopies.

In 1907, as part of an ordinance to allow the South Side Elevated to install a third track for express service, all stations north of 43rd Street, including this one, were required to replace their grade-level facilities with mezzanine-level stations, clearing the alley way beneath the tracks. This mezzanine station house was built of pressed metal and wood, located on the south side the 35th Street. At the same time, the inbound platform was removed to allow for the installation of the third track on the east side of the former northbound track. The former northbound track became the center express track and a new northbound track was added on the east side of the structure. A new side platform with a flat canopy was built on this new track, starting at 35th Street and extending northward, making the platforms staggered. The original southbound platform, with its original arched canopy, continued in use.

In the 1949 North-South Route service revision, the station's name became Tech-35th, referring to the nearby Illinois Institute of Technology (through a 1959 CTA map still referred to it simply as "35th St."). The name would later help distinguish it from the nearby Sox-35th, nearer to Comiskey Park, opened in 1969 in the Dan Ryan Expressway. In the same '49 service revision, 33rd Street station to the north was closed, but a walkway built from the 35th northbound side platform connected to the recently closed facility, making 33rd an auxiliary entrance to 35th.

 

Improvements, Fire, and Reconstruction

A new center island platform was built at Tech-35th, seen on June 8, 1961 four days before opening, to replace the old side platforms, though the northbound platform (at left) remained open for a short time to access the auxiliary exit at 33rd. For a larger view, click here. (Photo from the CTA Collection)

In the 1960s, Tech-35th underwent several changes during a relatively short period of time. In 1960, the center track through Tech-35th (which had ceased to be used for express trains in the 1949 service revision) was closed between 34th and 35th streets so a new center island platform could be built for the station. This was completed and opened in June 1961. It was a simple affair, with a wood deck and a short canopy at the south end of the platform near 35th Street. The southbound platform (still original to the station's 1892 construction) was closed, but left in place. The northbound platform was retained for a short period to act was a walkway to the 33rd auxiliary entrance/exit, but this continued only until September of that year. At that time, a simple auxiliary entrance/exit was built at 34th Street -- this consisted of little more than a wooden agent's booth for part-time entrance, a rolling gate to close off the booth for the off-peak, and a rotogate for full-time exiting -- with access directly to the new island platform and the 33rd entrance, walkway, and old northbound platform were closed.

This new facility saw very little service, as in October 1962 the Tech-35th station caught fire, nearly destroying the entire platform level and damaging other parts of the station. The new island platform built only a year before and the old northbound platform were almost completely destroyed, and parts of the station house were damaged. The fire also trapped a train at the station, of which cars 6453-54 were severely damaged by the fire. (Car 6453 was so badly damaged by the fire that it was retired on April 5, 1963.) Service between Cermak and Indiana was suspended for four days as a result of what was the most serious rapid transit fire in Chicago history to that date. Service was resumed through Tech-35th five days later and, in the short term, the station was reopened using the old, closed southbound platform and new, temporary northbound side platform. The mezzanine was repaired and reopened. The next year, the station was changed from an "A" station to an "AB" (all-stop) station on April 8. Three weeks later, a new, temporary island platform reopened on the south side of 35th Street, allowing the closure of the old southbound and temporary northbound side platforms, while a new permanent station was built on the north side of 35th.

On June 21, 1965, a new $500,000 station opened, replacing facilities that were destroyed by fire in 1962 and the temporary structures built thereafter. The station consisted of a tan brick station house on the north side of 35th Street with a signature series of curved canopies over the front entrance. From the rear of the station house, stairs and an escalator led to a new island platform with a concrete deck on steel stringers and an arched canopy similar in design to those found on the embankment portion of the Lake Street Line, built just a few years before the new Tech-35th station. An auxiliary entrance/exit was built at 34th Street, with a headhouse of similar design but of a smaller scale than the primary entrance at 35th. The 34th entrance had an agent's booth that was manned during peak times but was blocked by a rolling grille during the off-peak, when only exiting was allowed at 34th through a rotogate. The hours of manned service at 34th fluctuated over time as traffic dropped, CTA would reduce or eliminate the hours, and IIT would come in with the funds to reopen it. Finally, in 1983, the 34th entranced closed completely, with exiting still allowed at all times.

 

Green Line Renovation

On February 21, 1993, the South Side Englewood-Jackson Park service, formerly paired with the Howard service and forming the North-South Route, was repaired with the Lake Street service and formed the CTA's new Green Line.

On January 9, 1994, the Green Line closed for a two-year rehabilitation. All stations on the line, including Tech-35th, closed for renovation. The CTA considered closing the station due to its proximity to Sox-35th and opening a new stop at 31st, but instead decided to retain 35th. The station house's outer shell was retained, but the building was otherwise gutted and rebuilt. An excerpt from a March 24, 1996 Chicago Tribune article on the Green Line rehab discusses how the CTA simply gutted the building and put a new facade on:

"A check of the line last week showed considerable unfinished work at stations along both the Green Line's Lake Street and Englewood-Jackson Park legs... At the 35th Street station, where [CTA President] Belcaster said work was delayed until the CTA could win a special federal grant, the street-level station entrance was little more than a shell with a dirt floor and exposed pipes."

Ultimately, the rehabbed station house looked little like the 1965 version, with a new facade with different door arrangements, the series of curved canopies over the front entrance replaced with a simple, flat, corrugated drip pan, a decorative tile mosaic to the left of the front doors, and bronze plaques on both sides of the doors, which make the otherwise utilitarian building more interesting. There is also a mural on the west exterior elevation. The platform, except for the addition of an elevator, is largely the same as the 1965 build-out. In the rehab, the 34th Street station house was demolished and a new auxiliary entrance built. This consisted of a simple enclosure on the north side of 34th Street (which is no longer a public street, but rather little more than a driveway) with a corrugated roof and mesh grille walls. A high-barrier gate (HBG) provides entrance at all times with a farecard and stairs lead up to the island platform, which was extended north to meet the new stairs. The name was also changed from Tech-35th to 35th-Bronzeville-IIT, referring to the historic Bronzeville neighborhood that this station serves as well as the IIT campus.

When the station reopened with the Green Line on May 12, 1996, the main entrance at 35th Street wasn't completed yet. Entrance was temporarily through the 34th entrance, where a wooden agent's booth was placed on the platform at the top of the stairs. On Saturday, July 13, a dedication ceremony for the Green Line was held at the 35th station house (along with a simultaneous ceremony at California/Lake, with the duplicate ceremonies symbolizing the Green Line's service to the West and South sides), although the station house still wasn't actually ready for service! On August 5, 1996, the 35th entrance opened at 1000 hours, with its elevator in operation. The ticket agent was relocated to 35th; the 34th booth was subsequently removed and a rotogate was installed at 34th, making it an auxiliary exit only.

Construction began Friday, July 23, 1999 to make the 34th exit an auxiliary entrance. The rotogate was replaced with a high-barrier gate (HBG) that allows customers both to enter and exit. The project was completed in mid-August, 1999. The CTA's then-new automated fare collection (AFC) system allowed for the conversion of exit-only gates to entry/exit capability, and this was done at several stations around that time such as Clark/Lake (Wells/Lake entrance), Medical Center (Paulina entrance), and Morse (Lunt entrance). The auxiliary entrance opened the morning of Monday, September 13, 1999. Officials of the CTA , the Illinois Institute of Technology and IIT student organizations were on hand for the opening. The new entrance was particularly helpful to students and staff at the Illinois Institute of Technology.

In 2003, two new IIT campus buildings designed by famous architects were built north of the 34th entrance -- McCormick Tribune Campus Center by Rem Koolhaus between 32nd and 33rd Streets and a dormitory by Helmut Jahn between 33rd and 34th -- which should bring substantial new traffic to the station and the 34th entrance.

During Autumn 2004 and Spring 2005, several "L" stations got new station name signs. As part of a multi-station program, twelve facilities in all on the Blue, Purple, Red, Orange, and Green lines received new Green Line Graphic Standard station name signs, replacing older KDR-type signs that used an outdated graphic scheme that was inconsistent with the colored line names. The new signs not only replaced old ones in existing locations at these island platform stations, but were added at additional locations outside the tracks, facing to the platform, for ADA compliance. The new station name signs were mounted on new steel brackets that are supported and project from below. Installation at all stations was complete by the end of November 2004. Fabrication and installation of the signs was performed by contractor Western Remac.

 

The North-South Route (Temporary) Returns

In 2013, the CTA launched the Red Line South Reconstruction Project, a track renewal project to rebuild the Dan Ryan branch tracks from the bottom up, excavating down to the bottom of the trackbed to rebuild the underground drainage system then installing new ballast, ties, and tracks. Some modest station improvements were also performed. In order to perform the work more quickly and cost-effectively, the CTA closed the Dan Ryan branch for five months while work was performed. During that time, there would be no 'L' service on the Dan Ryan branch south of Roosevelt station.

As part of the alternate service plan for Dan Ryan riders, Red Line trains were rerouted via the old 13th Street Incline from the State Street Subway to the South Side Elevated, where they operated to Ashland/63rd via the South Side Elevated tracks in a pattern reminiscent of the old Howard-Englewood "A" trains of the North-South Route days. Harlem-Cottage Grove Green Line trains continued to operate as well, but due to limited track capacity some Green Line trains from Harlem that would've gone to Ashland/63rd were turned back to Harlem downtown during the weekday rush periods (at Roosevelt in the morning rush and via the Outer Loop in the evening rush).

Red Line service to Ashland/63rd began on Sunday, May 19, 2013. Following the five-month track reconstruction and renovation work on the Dan Ryan, Red Line service to 95th resumed at 4am, Sunday, October 20, 2013. At the same time, Red Line service via the South Side Elevated and Englewood branch was annulled and Green Line trains resumed service to Ashland/63rd, alternating between the two 63rd Street terminal branches.

 

A view down 35th-Bronzeville-IIT's island platform, looking north on September 30, 2003. The Illinois Institute of Technology is on the left, with the new Helmut Jahn-design dormitory on the left side of the elevated just north of the 34th entrance. For a larger view, click here. (Photo by Graham Garfield)


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This photo of the 35th Street fire of 1962 appeared in the Chicago Tribune. The lead car that's getting a "smoke job" is 6453. It was scrapped and 6454 was used by itself in tests of the Automatic Train Control system, then renumbered 6721 and mated to 6722 (former 6310). (Photo and caption contributed by Michael Roegner)

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The "new" Tech-35th station, opened June 21, 1965, replacing a station destroyed by fire in 1962. The new facility cost $500,000. (Photo from the 1965 CTA Annual Report)

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Painted in 2400-style red, white, and blue, car 6343 makes quite a contrast to the lead cars as it stops at Tech-35th on August 15, 1978. Tech-35th has already gotten its new color-coded A/B signs here. (Photo by Doug Grotjahn, Collection of Joe Testagrose)

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The "Patrick Henry" - Bicentennial car 6473 leading with its mate 6474 behind - take the head of a four-car Jackson Park-Howard "B" train at Tech-35th on August 15, 1978. (Photo by Doug Grotjahn, Collection of Joe Testagrose)

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Due to delays in the rehab of the 35th-Bronzeville-IIT station house, a temporary full-time entrance was in use at 34th Street, previously the site of a part-time entrance and auxiliary exit, when the Green Line reopened. This view looks northeast on May 12, 1996. (Photo by Roy G. Benedict)

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The simple 35th-Bronzeville-IIT station house in 1998, looking north. (Photos by Linda Garfield)

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A view down 35th-Bronzeville-IIT's island platform, looking south from the far north end on September 30, 2003. The Illinois Institute of Technology is on the right. A Harlem-bound Green Line train is alighting and boarding passengers under the canopy further down the platform. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

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The 34th entrance to 35th-Bronzeville-IIT, with farecard-only access through a high-barrier gate (HBG), is seen here looking north on September 30, 2003. When the station first reopened after the 1994-96 Green Line rehab, this was the station's only entrance until the main headhouse at 35th was completed. On the left is a new Helmut Jahn-designed IIT dormitory, for which the 34th entrance provides a convenient access option. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

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Peaking out amongst the bare winter trees, the Garnier ad wrapped 2400-series cars, 2527-2528, are in the middle of a southbound Ashland/63rd Green Line consist stopping at 35th-Bronzeville-IIT on March 4, 2005. (Photo by Matthew Isoda)