Left: The original Dempster Street station, relocated 130 feet east of its original location and renovated back to its original appearance, is seen on December 30, 2003, in its new life as adaptive reuse retail. For a larger view, click here. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

Right: The 1994-built Dempster-Skokie station house, behind and to the west of the original facility, is seen looking southwest on February 7, 2012. For a larger view, click here. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

Dempster-Skokie (8800N/5000W)
Dempster Street and Bronx Avenue, Village of Skokie

Service Notes:

Yellow Line: Skokie Swift

Accessible Station

Park'n'Ride: 776 spaces

Quick Facts:

Address:.

5001 Dempster Street (former NSL/CRT station)

5005 Dempster Street (current CTA station)

Established:.

March 28, 1925 ("L" service inaugurated, original station opened)

March 27, 1948 ("L" service suspended)

January 21, 1963 (NSL service suspended, original station closed)

April 20, 1964 ("L" service resumed, new station opened)

Original Line: North Side Division, Niles Center branch
Previous Names: Skokie Terminal, Dempster, Skokie
Skip-Stop Type: All-Stop
Rebuilt: 1993-94
Status: In Use

History:

Dempster station was established as part of the Chicago, North Shore & Milwaukee Railroad's Skokie Valley Route, a high-speed bypass for the interurban around the more congested North Shore suburbs on which the Chicago rapid transit had trackage rights as far north as this station. Both the North Shore Line and Chicago Rapid Transit Company were owned by utilities magnate Samuel Insull.

The CRT provided local service between the North Shore Line's stations at Howard and Dempster Street in the Village of Niles Center (later renamed Skokie). Construction of the new line was contracted to the Chicago North Shore & Northern Railroad Company. Work began on the five-mile segment for the CRT in April 1924 and progressed rapidly.

The original Dempster Street station, looking southwest on April 13, 1925, about two weeks after its opening. The clean, horizontal lines of the Prairie School-influenced station are evident, but so is the limited potential for passenger traffic judging by the open space around the building. For a larger view, click here. (Photo from the Krambles-Peterson Archive)

Arthur U. Gerber, staff architect for Sam Insull, designed the depot in 1924. The station is generally considered Gerber's crowning achievement and was nearly identical to stations built at Kenosha and Mundelein further north on the interurban. The station was designed as both a terminal (for the "L") and a through station (for the North Shore Line) and featured a single high-level island platform projecting from the rear of the station house for the former as well as dual low-level platforms adjacent to the west to serve the latter.

The Dempster Street station's architecture is an interesting mix of styles. While the building is often classified as Prairie School based on its intricate eaves and bracket work, low-pitched roof, multi-paned casement windows and strong horizontal lines, closer examination of the structure indicates that elements such as its textured exterior brickwork and elaborately bracketed eaves with exposed rafters more closely classify the building as belonging to the bungalow vernacular style, a building type popular at the time with residential development at the time but rarely seen in rail stations.

The exterior is executed in dark textured brick with a foundation, belt course (through the windows) and plain slip windowsills of light cast stone. The station has a low-pitched hipped roof with overhanging eaves on all four sides, especially in the front and rear where it creates a porch supported by massive tapered cement posts. The window along the side elevations have a typically Prairie School design, with each bay consisting of three long, narrow, vertical multipaned windows flanked on either side by smaller square nine-paned windows, with each window bay divided by a pier and eave bracket. Exposed rafters and wooden brackets under the eaves fill out he exterior decoration and a signature Gerber touch included globe lamps under the eaves.

The Dempster station's original interior on April 13, 1925. Except for the restrooms and baggage room in the rear, the interior of the station was an open waiting room with just benches and a lunch counter. For a larger view, click here. (Photo from the Krambles-Peterson Archive)

The interior was simple and open, but still quite attractive. It included pink and green terrazzo floors, brick walls with cast stone sills, wooden moldings, and coved ceilings. Most of the interior was a waiting room, an open space with rows of heavy carved wooden benches. Toward the back of the interior, at the south end, were a men's restroom with a smoking lounge on the west side and a baggage room and ladies' restroom on the east, bisected by a hallway that led to the south doorway to the platforms. A wooden ticket agents' booth stood at the mouth of the hallway in the back of the waiting room, while a lunch counter was located in the southwest corner.

The official opening of the "L"'s new Niles Center branch was held on March 28, 1925 at the Dempster station. Three special trains carried dignitaries and officials to an elaborate ceremony at Dempster where an estimated 2,000 onlookers were assembled. Speeches were made and an air show was performed in the skies over the terminal. "L" service to Dempster station and seven other intermediate stops on the Niles Center branch began at the conclusion of the ceremony. North Shore Line service through the station was inaugurated on June 5, 1926.

At the time of the station's construction, Niles Center was a largely unsettled place with what little population there was huddled a mile or so south near the Oakton Street station, which had a similar but far more restrained design. The Niles Center branch typically operated single-car shuttle trains between Dempster and Howard, which was more than adequate to serve the population. During rush hours, the train lengths were doubled to two cars, but remained shuttles until 1929, when a rush hour through-service south of Howard was instituted. In the morning, eight Niles Center trains were coupled onto the back of southbound Jackson Park expresses for the trip downtown and nine northbound Howard expresses in the evening carried two cars to be split from the train at Howard for the trip to Dempster. This level of service, although much more convenient, was unwarranted by the sparse population along the line and dropped in 1930. Little changed on the line for the following decade and a half.

 

"L" Service is Withdrawn, North Shore Soldiers On

The construction of the interurban/rapid transit line was part of a larger development plan for the suburb, which was subdivided and improved with streets, sidewalks, and utilities around the same time. Many lots sold and some homes and buildings were built, but Niles Center's land boom was short-lived. Within just a few years of the opening of the Skokie Valley Route and the CRT's Niles Center local service the Depression hit. New construction virtually halted and thousands of the 30-foot lots that had been platted and sold just a few years earlier were worthless.

By the time the Chicago Transit Authority took over in 1947, the Niles Center branch's prospects for high (or even respectable) ridership levels were still dim. The hoped-for development of Niles Center was squelched by the Depression just a few years after the line opened, and remained unfeasible through World War II. After assuming operation of the "L" system, the CTA studied each rapid transit line and monitored each station. Then, bit by bit, they closed the stations and lines that were most uneconomical and had the lowest ridership to concentrate on the stronger routes. The Niles Center Line fell victim to this systematic pruning when on March 27, 1948, service between Howard and Dempster was replaced by the #97 Skokie bus line. This date was chosen in large part because it so happened that the North Shore Line's employees went on strike on this date -- one of several NSL strikes of the 1940s -- meaning that the Skokie Valley Route was not staffed, preventing the Niles Center branch from operating. Service had to be suspended on the branch due to the North Shore Line strike anyway, so it was a convenient opportunity served to drop a service that was marginal at best.

The North Shore Line continued to operate on the Skokie Valley Route and provide service to Dempster station. Although it was not long after the Second World War that Skokie experienced its second major expansion boom, its low density, new wider streets, and the construction of the Edens Expressway on the west edge of the village meant that the postwar vision for Skokie was not centered around transit. The North Shore Line continued to struggle financially and after repeated petition filings, the Interstate Commerce Commission granted the North Shore Line the right to begin abandonment process on May 18, 1962. The Chicago North Shore and Milwaukee ceased operation in the early morning hours of January 21, 1963.

 

Conversion to Retail and the "L" Swiftly Returns

The Skokie Swift service was popular from its opening day in 1964, when 6,500 traveled the route daily. The 1-50 series cars seen here at the "temporary" Dempster station were later supplemented by 5000-series units. For a larger view, click here. (Photo from the Chicago Transit Authority Collection)

The original Dempster Street station, looking south circa 1985, was no longer in transit use had been converted to commercial space. Buses circled the building, exiting onto Dempster on the driveway at right that was formerly the North Shore Line ROW. For a larger view, click here. (Photo by Olga Stefanos)

Within a matter of months after abandonment of the North Shore Line, the CTA bought the station as part of its purchase of the former interurban right-of-way as far north as Dempster Street. The Transit Authority planned to resume "L" service over the line, though rather than a local branch service it was envisioned as a nonstop shuttle between Dempster and Howard. The "Skokie Swift", as it was dubbed, was a "demonstration project" conducted under the terms of the National Housing Act of 1961 and was to be provided on an experimental basis for a duration of two years beginning in April 1964. The project was funded by the Chicago Transit Authority, Village of Skokie, and the U.S. Housing and Home Finance Agency (which became the Department of Housing and Urban Development [HUD] during the project).

The goal of the Swift was to see if an effective, economical, and passenger-friendly service could be established linking a typical postwar suburb to an urban center. A park'n'ride lot for 555 cars was constructed at the Dempster Swift terminal, along with a kiss'n'ride area (novel for the time) where riders could be dropped off and picked up by auto. Space was also provided for interchange between the Skokie Swift and suburban bus companies. All of these facilities were provided based on the idea that suburbanites heading to the city might be drawn out of their autos if a transit service was provided that was fast, attractive, and efficient, plus that they could drive (or be driven) to. These features allowed the new service to cater to the auto market, which was fast taking hold in suburban America in the postwar era. The station's close proximity to the Edens Expressway additionally helped this objective.

The Skokie Swift operated for a few hours on April 18, 1964 to provide demonstration rides. For the inaugural train on this demonstration day, the four 1-50 series cars 1-4 were coupled together into a four-car train, though only single-car trains were intended to run during regular service. VIP passengers were carried from Dempster to Howard (with no station stop) and returned to Dempster where speeches were made. Officially, the Swift opened to the public on Monday, April 20, 1964. Initially only weekday service was to be offered, but because of the line's instant popularity Saturday service was added effective April 25, the first weekend after service began.

Given that the service was initially envisioned as a two-year experiment, the CTA chose not to use the existing station at Dempster as the investment for improvements and operating costs required by re-inhabiting it were not warranted by what was supposed to be a short-term demonstration project. Instead, two small platforms were built to the southwest with green plexiglas canopies and a wooden ticket agent's booth. Still, the CTA now owned old Dempster station building and could put it to some beneficial use. So, in 1964, the building was converted to rented concession spaces and served in that capacity for 30 years.

The old Dempster station building entered a period of decline following the abandonment of North Shore Line service. Over the years, piecemeal changes took their toll on the station's appearance. The interior, previously a single open waiting room, was partitioned into separate spaces. All but two of the side window bays were in-filled with brick (of a different type and shade than the rest of the exterior walls, no less), as they no longer matched with the interior. The front doors and windows were altered to create a better storefront and the rear portico was enclosed with aluminum and Plexiglas curtain walls to create additional tenant space. The building became the center of a turnaround for CTA and suburban buses. Still, despite these unfortunate changes, the building still retained the majority of its design integrity.

 

A New Station Threatens the Old

After the Skokie Swift ended as a demonstration project in 1966, the line became a regular CTA rapid transit line. The "temporary" Dempster Swift station built for the demonstration project in 1964, however, served for about thirty years. In the early 1990s, it was finally replaced with a new, more substantial, permanent brick station house. Designed by the architectural firm of Dubin, Dubin and Moutoussamy at a cost of $3.4 million, the new rapid transit station house is roughly in the same location as the temporary inbound platform, and the new platforms were immediately to the south of the old ones.

A new, permanent terminal was built at Dempster in 1994. Looking south on December 30, 2003 as an inbound train boards passengers, the station consists of a station house and boarding platform on the west and a simple alighting platform on the east. Note that the tracks are converging as they approach the camera: trains switch directions and change ends on a single tail track north of the platforms. For a larger view, click here. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

The new station house is a simple, rectilinear brick building with a cast concrete watertable and cast stone sills and large projecting cornice over the front entrance. The interior is equally simple, with brick walls and concrete sills. The floors are concrete and lighting is recessed in the ceiling. A small concession space is provided to the west of the front entrance. A stainless steel agent's booth, fare controls, TransitCard vending machines and a payment station for the park'n'ride finish out the interior. The side platforms are short, only able to berth about a two-car train. They have simple canopies of green steel supports with posts that flare at the bottoms and white metal roofing, partitions, and railings. The inbound platform projects from the back of the station house. The outbound platform has no fare controls and is accessible to anyone, though it's filled with signs warning "DO NOT BOARD". Construction began in 1993, with the completed terminal coming into use at the end of May 1994. The facility opened as "Dempster" station, but the name was changed to "Skokie" station in 1995 as part of a systemwide effort of changing the names of several suburban stations from streets to the municipalities in which they're located. The station name signs were changed to read "Skokie" and adhere to the Green Line Graphic Standard, but the old KDR symbol signs that say "Dempster" were left in place until being updated in 2009.

The master plan for the new Swift terminal included not just the rapid transit station, but also improvements to the site as a whole. Over the years, the CTA and suburban bus agencies grew to feel that the turnaround encircling the old Dempster station was inadequate for both safety and operational reasons. Funding was obtained under Operation Green Light, a Midwestern effort to improve traffic flow and reduce vehicle emissions, to enlarge the park'n'ride and create new off-street taxi stand and bus terminal facilities at Dempster... on the site of the old CRT/North Shore station. The Village of Skokie, who administered the Operation Green Light -funded portion of the $1 million project on behalf of the village, the state and the various transit companies that use the terminal, planned to demolish the Gerber station as part of the project. Confident in the details and timetable for the terminal master plan, the CTA terminated all of the old station's tenants' leases effective September 30, 1992 in anticipation of its demolition (except for Greyhound, who was to continue to occupy the building until they could move into a new building for their exclusive use elsewhere on-site).

With the interurban station's demolition imminent, the threat galvanized a group of railfans, architects, historians, and preservationists to mount a campaign to lobby for the building's landmarking and preservation. In 1995, a nomination for the building to the National Register of Historic Places was prepared. Placement on the register would provide a great deal of protection for the station, as any government-funded project that threatens a listed or eligible structure with alteration or demolition must come under a review to determine what the effects are and how they can be mitigated. However, the nomination was rejected on August 29, 1995, citing heavy alterations to the building that striped it of sufficient historical integrity. Now more vulnerable than ever, the building's fate seemed sealed. But a devoted group, which included the Landmarks Preservation Council of Illinois (LPCI) and the Skokie Historical Society, continued the fight and appealed the National Park Service's decision. The Illinois Historic Preservation Agency (IHPA), the state historic preservation office, resubmitted the application and on February 28, 1996 the National Park Service reconsidered: the station was granted listed status and was now protected.

The building still needed a buyer, however, who would agree to move the station out of the way of the terminal improvements and restore it. Four years later, the station still awaited a savior and the situation became dire. Things seemed especially perilous when, in July 2000, Skokie's Village Board voted to tear the historic station down. The building was for sale for $1, but whoever bought it was required to move it and renovate it according to historic preservation guidelines. If no one came forward, the village would document the building, then they would demolish it.

 

A New Life for an Old Station

With a date with the wrecking ball looming on the horizon, a development team stepped forward less than a year later with a plan for rehabilitating the building that met the requirements of IHPA and the village. A partnership of the Taxman Corporation, led by president Seymour Taxman, and Scott Gendell's Terraco Inc. paid $1 to buy the building from the CTA , but pledged close to $1 million to move the building, refurbish it according to the Secretary of the Interior's Guidelines for Historic Structures, and reopen it as a retail outlet. Plans for the restoration of the building included cleaning the brickwork and replacing missing masonry, restoring the Prairie-style windows (which it turned out were still underneath the brick veneer the filled in the windows) and installing duplicates where necessary, replacing the asphalt-shingled roof with the original green clay tile, and adding copper gutters and other historically-accurate finishes.

The 4,000-square-foot building was to be moved 130 feet east to make room for the parking and transit improvements that had been programmed for the site under Operation Green Light. The developers brought in noted Chicago architecture and planning firm Antunovich Associates, who has worked on a number of high-profile historic restorations, including the former Reliance Building in downtown Chicago, to lead the restoration project.

The prospects for the building's restoration took an ominous turn, briefly, in Fall 2002 when two fires occurred in the station in a 48-hour period. First, a small fire broke out on September 10, 2002, which was blamed on a short in the building's 78-year-old wiring. Firefighters had the fire, which was on the roof of the commercial space last occupied by Greyhound Lines, who had relocated into a concession space in the CTA Yellow Line station about three weeks before, quickly extinguished. But Skokie firefighters returned to the building on September 12 to extinguish another blaze. This time the fire was more substantial, causing damage to the roof at the south end of the building. Skokie Fire Department Captain Barry Liss said at the time that the damage was "easily repairable" during restoration, and that the damage beneath the roof was minimal. None of the exterior historic fabric was damaged in either fire. With that, Taxman and Terraco went forward with their plans.

The rear porch of the Dempster station -- with its columns matching the front -- from which the CRT island platform once projected, has been uncovered for the first time in decades, as seen in this view looking northwest on October 26, 2002. For a larger view, click here. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

Work on the historic station began in late August 2002. By mid-September 2002, removal of all of the non-historic partitions and additions was nearly complete. Preparations for relocation of the Dempster station began in mid-October. As a result of the construction activities beginning for the massive building's relocation, the CTA vacated the bus turnaround that encircled the structure. Effective at 2000 hours, October 15, 2002, the Dempster Street entrance to the park'n'ride lot closed and buses no longer entered the station area to drop off and pick up passengers. By the end of October, excavators had dug a trench around the former station, about 12-15 feet deep and about five feet wide in preparation for the building to be lifted from underneath and moved. A new two-way steel frame was welded underneath the building for the move. While excavating the driveway along the west elevation, last used as part of the bus turnaround around the station, some tie remnants from the former North Shore Line northbound track were still in place below the asphalt.

A new foundation in the station's new location had been laid at the new building location by December 2002. After several months of preparation, the building was moved into place over its new foundation on January 15, 2003. The concrete columns were moved separately to their locations on the new foundation, so during the move the porch eaves were dramatically cantilevered, supported by angled steel tube columns attached to the steel frame under the building. The station was lowered onto its new foundation in early February.

Restoration work accelerated once the station was in its new location. When all of the bricked-over windows were opened up, it was revealed that most of the original windows and frames were, in fact, still intact behind the face bricks. Once the building was moved, crews set about restoring the structure, rehabilitating those elements still in place and in good condition, and replicating those that were missing or deteriorated. A new roof of matte green, speckled clay Spanish-style tile made by the same firm that manufactured the originals was applied and largely complete by the end of August 2003. The brickwork was cleaned and those windows that needed replacement were duplicated according to the original designs. The exterior woodwork, including window frames, eaves, and rafters, were repaired and painted. New lights that replicate the original globes on the edge of the roof eaves were installed.

The historic Dempster station stands in its new location on August 13, 2003 with its exterior restoration largely complete, with the afternoon sun glimmering on the copper flashing. Note the notch in the sill of one of the side windows for the drive-thru. For a larger image, click here. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

The interior was not restored to the original design, instead electing to provide an open, unfinished interior, a common practice in the retail industry where a tenant is given a "shell" to build out to their needs and specifications. Early in the process, Starbucks, the trendy Seattle-based national coffee chain, expressed interest in leasing part of the building. Other occupants for the building that were discussed have included a bank branch and a small museum space, but these did not come to fruition. The developers and architects worked closely with historians and architectural preservationists to make sure that the interior design and build-out of the lessees is appropriate to the building, in addition to meeting the needs of the tenant businesses. For instance, Starbucks requested to have a drive-thru window in the building, a feature of many new Starbucks, especially those in suburban areas. Starbuck's need was accommodated by installing a new window on the east elevation that copies Gerber's Prairie School design, with the exception of a small opening to pass food and beverage orders through. Overall, the modification is barely discernible.

Restoration work, as well as construction of the parking and transit improvements on the former site of the building, continued through the spring and summer. By Fall 2003, Dempster station was ready for occupancy. Starbucks built out their retail space during October and November and was ready for business by the week before Thanksgiving.

The official dedication of both the Dempster station renovation and the improvements to what the Village of Skokie dubs the "Skokie Swift Transportation Center" was held on Monday, November 24, 2003 at 10am. Inside the Starbucks, housed in the front half of the restored station, a capacity crowd of journalists and invited guests listened to supportive and impassioned speeches by officials and individuals to worked on or supported the project, perhaps in some ways mirroring the ceremony marking the opening of the station 78 1/2 years before. Among those attending included developers Sy Taxman and Scott Gendell; Joseph Antunovich, chairman of LPCI and head of Antunovich Associates; Skokie Mayor George Van Dusen; CTA President Frank Kruesi; and Pace Executive Director Thomas Ross. After the speeches, the ceremony moved out to the entrance to the new intermodal terminal beside the station, where officials cut a ceremonial ribbon stretched across the driveway. After cutting the ribbon, the guests moved back into the station to mingle and enjoy refreshments supplied by Starbucks.

The new parking lots and taxi stand came into use shortly before the station dedication, in mid-November. The CTA waited to divert its buses off Dempster Street and into the new bus terminal until the installation of the globed lights under the bus canopy is complete, making it suitable for both day and night use. The lights were installed in late December 2003 and the CTA and Pace began using the new Dempster bus turnaround at 0400 hours, Monday, January 19, 2004. It serves the CTA's #97 Skokie and #54B North Cicero/Skokie Boulevard routes, as well as Pace's #250 and #626 routes and Greyhound intercity buses.

Greyhound Lines Inc., which had been struggling financially since the 2001 terrorist attacks, announced plans on Friday, June 25, 2004 to discontinue service to Skokie as part of the elimination of 14 million miles from its system, representing 10 percent of the carrier's total locations across the United States. Greyhound will make the cut sometime before 2007.

During Summer 2004, the restored historic station became fully occupied with retail businesses. On July 30, 2004, Washington Mutual, a west coast bank, moved into the rear rental space and opened its "Skokie Swift Station Financial Center." In an interesting irony, there is a drive through window at the building, but it's for Starbucks not for the bank.

 

A New Name

On June 8, 2011, the Chicago Transit Board authorized the renaming of the Skokie station and approved names for two stations currently under construction, including the new Oakton station one mile south on the Yellow Line.

The new station being built at Oakton Street was officially named the Oakton-Skokie station. Skokie station was renamed the "Dempster-Skokie" station to differentiate it from Oakton, which is also located in the Village of Skokie and is adjacent to downtown Skokie.

Signage at the station was updated in January 2012. System maps, and pre-recorded announcements and car card maps inside the railcars will be updated to reflect the changes when the Oakton station project is completed.

 

The side platforms at Dempster-Skokie terminal are seen looking north at the inbound platform on February 7, 2012. The station house for inbound riders is in the background. The platforms are short, only capable of berthing a two-car train. For a larger view, click here. (Photo by Graham Garfield)


 

Dempster (CRT/NSL) station | "Temporary" Skokie Swift station | Yellow Line station

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Although few people lived along the Niles Center line, a large crowd was on hand for the dedication ceremonies at Dempster Street on March 28, 1925. Car 1808 led the long train of otherwise steel 4000-series cars, which in fact rarely operated on the branch. (Photo from the Bruce G. Moffat Collection)

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The historic Dempster station, looking south on September 13, 2002. In later years, a drop ceiling was installed under the front porch eaves, which unfortunately turned out to be a sanctuary for pigeons. The building is blocked off by yellow Skokie Fire Department tape following two small fires, one on September 10 and another on September 12, 2002. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

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A plexiglas partition was built around the original rear of the historic station building -- when the "L" used the station in 1925-48, an island platform projected out from here -- after it was concerted to commercial space. The rear sections last tenant was a dry cleaners. Following a fire on September 10, 2002, the rear partition;s windows and doors were covered with plywood, as seen on September 13, 2002. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

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Several of the original, Prairie-style windows are still extant in the station house, as seen here looking south along the west elevation on September 13, 2002, although most have been bricked over, like those on the extreme left. The North Shore Line, which used this as a through-station, would have had its outbound platform where the driveway is now. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

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The best examples of original windows in the historic Dempster station can be found at the south end of the east elevation, seen here on September 13, 2002. The tall, thin, vertical windows alternated with the horizontal band of square windows, both with thin wooden mullions, gives the windows (and the building as a whole) a particularly Prairie School feel. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

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After the old 1920s station was converted to commercial space, an entrance was added to the east side for the retail space in the middle of the building. Last occupied by Greyhound bus lines, the space was vacated on early September 2002 when Greyhound moved into the current CTA Yellow Line station's concession space. A small electrical fire over the former bus station entrance on September 10th caused minor damage to the station roof and eaves, as seen on September 13, 2002. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

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By October 26, 2002, the front elevation has not yet seen significant work, with most attention thus far given to the sides and rear. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

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The driveway along the west elevation, seen here on October 26, 2002, was originally the right-of-way of the northbound North Shore Line track. Some old ties were found below the asphalt and excavated. Although this strip seems exceptionally narrow, the North Shore Line actually ran their track along the right side, while a narrow side platform was squeezed between the track and the station house. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

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The historic Dempster station has been relocated to its new home on the east edge of the property, looking southeast on March 7, 2003. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

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The former site of the North Shore Line Dempster station is now empty, as seen in this view looking south on March 7, 2003. The North Shore Line's catenary towers are still delineating the former right-of-way of the interurban, which the station served, on the right. The current Yellow Line terminal is visible in the background. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

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As part of the extensive exterior restoration, the Dempster station's Prairie School windows and green slate roof were restored, as seen in this side view of the west elevation, looking east on August 13, 2003. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

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This view of the station's rear looking northeast on August 13, 2003 shows that some work is still underway, including completion of the new roof. The interior is not being restored so that the retail occupant can build to their needs. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

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By Fall, the station's restoration was largely compete. Seen looking southeast on November 9, 2003, the station's exterior renovation work is mostly complete, including the installation of the trademark Gerber globe lights and the replica of the station entrance sign on the front eave. Only small touches like landscaping and other minor finishes remain. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

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The overall layout of the new intermodal improvement is seen in this November 9, 2003 view looking north: a new bus terminal at left, a main driveway in the center, and relocated Dempster station on the right. Additional parking is out of frame to the right. The CTA station is behind the photographer. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

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The Craftsman-influenced brackets of the new bus terminal canopy, a replica of the canopy that was over the island platform that Gerber designed to serve the "L" in the original station design, is seen looking north on November 9, 2003. Although the canopy is structurally complete by this point, the lights are still yet to be installed. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

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Starbucks began to build out their store in the north half of the restored Dempster station in October 2003. By this November 9, 2003 view looking west, the counter and overhead soffit, vestibule at the entrance, and many other features were in place or under construction. During the following couple weeks, the remaining finishes were applied. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

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The south half of the historic Dempster station is still yet to be leased as of early 2004. Seen looking north on November 9, 2003, it is merely a shell, an open space that whatever lessee moves in can build out to their own needs and specifications. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

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The restored and relocated Dempster station is seen looking southeast on November 24, 2003. The freestanding Starbucks sign in front is a near-replica of one that North Shore Line had in front of the station. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

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The front porch of the station, seen looking south on November 24, 2003, is used as an outdoor seating area by Starbucks. The sign hanging from the eaves is a reproduction of one that originally adorned the station. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

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Behind the station is the entrance to Starbucks's drive-thru, whose overhead sign frame design is reminiscent of a North Shore Line sign that was in front of the station. Looking northeast on November 24, 2003, there is some customer parking provided along the west side of the station. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

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The new off-street bus terminal, seen looking south on November 24, 2003, has enough room for a couple of buses to berth at the curb and for buses to maneuver around one another. A canopy has been provided to shelter waiting passengers whose design replicates the one that was formerly on the "L" platform on the rear of the Gerber-designed station. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

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Although much of the interior is a standard Starbucks decor, the coffee chain worked with the developer and architects to make their build-out as sympathetic to the station design as possible. The service counter is seen here on November 24, 2003. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

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The official dedication of the restored station and new intermodal terminal was held on November 24, 2003 at 10am. At the entrance to the new intermodal terminal beside the historic station, officials and VIPs join Skokie Mayor George Van Dusen as he cuts a ceremonial ribbon stretched across the driveway. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

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By the time of this view looking northwest on December 30, 2003, the "L"-platform canopy replica in the new bus terminal was complete, with the globed lights lining the rafters and benches and garbage cans underneath. Although Greyhound had begun using the terminal for its intercity service by this point, neither the CTA nor Pace had yet begun using the terminal yet. When CTA moves in, they plan to install a an information pylon with maps and schedules. (Photo by Graham Garfield)


"Temporary" Dempster Skokie Swift station

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One of the novel aspects of the Skokie Swift operation was the way it catered to the auto with the provision of a large park'n'ride lot to entice auto-oriented suburbanites to the system. This view looks southwest in the parking lot, with the temporary Dempster station and a Swift train in the background, in 1964. (Photo from the Chicago Transit Authority Collection)

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Just before the official inauguration of Skokie Swift service on April 18, 1964, customers were treated to free rides on the new express operation from Howard to Dempster/Skokie. The double-ended, 1-50 series cars from the St. Louis Car Company that were to be used for the service were on hand to provide the demonstration rides seen here. (Photo from the Chicago Transit Authority Collection)

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As the 4000s were nearing the end of their service lives, many railfans wanted to enjoy the cars while they were still active on the property. A train of 4000s are seen on the turnback track at Dempster at the end of the Skokie Swift on March 20, 1973 on one of many fantrips that were run in the cars' final months, this one sponsored by CERA. (Photo by J. Terrell Colson)

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A train painted for the country's bicentennial celebration stops at the inbound Dempster (Skokie) platform on August 14, 1978. The "temporary" platform that ended up being used for about thirty years was eventually replaced with an all-new station in the early 1990s. (Photo by Douglas Grotjahn, Collection of Joe Testagrose)

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1-50 series car 26 unloads commuters at the "temporary" Dempster station in 1978. Note that by this point the platform has been lengthened, but the cars aren't berthing and discharging passengers under the canopy. (Photo by Dave Mewhinney)

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Car 30, still fresh from its rehab just a couple years earlier, is loading passengers at Dempster Terminal at the end of the Skokie Swift in July 1988. Car 30 remained in service after many of the other 5-50s were retired circa 1993 and made one of the last 5-50 revenue trips on the Yellow Line (Skokie Swift) in early 1998. (Photo by James Raymond)

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Passengers are unloaded at the northbound platform of the "temporary" Dempster/Skokie station from car 24 on July 31, 1974. In reality, the "temporary" Dempster station - built in 1964 - remained in service for 30 years. Car 24 is sporting its unique silver and charcoal paint scheme and Skokie Swift logos. (Photo by Doug Grotjahn, Collection of Joe Testagrose)

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The "'Light House' Harry Lee" - car 25 in its Bicentennial scheme - prepares to turn around for the trip back south on the Skokie Swift on August 14, 1978. Because Dempster/Skokie has two side platforms (one for unloading, one for loading), to turn around trains pull north of the station onto a single stub track, then change ends and head back south to the "loading" platform. Car 25 has not yet changed ends... (Photo by Doug Grotjahn, Collection of Joe Testagrose)

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Car 29 completes its Skokie Swift run by depositing its riders on the east platform at Dempster (Skokie) on July 22, 1968. The line being only four years old, the yellow station sign was unique to the Dempster station. (Photo by Doug Grotjahn, Collection of Joe Testagrose)

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Dressed up as "The Minutemen", car 53 loads passengers at the southbound Dempster-Skokie platform on August 14, 1978. (Collection of Joe Testagrose)

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Car 54 completes its turnaround on the Dempster stub track to head back southeast to Howard on September 23, 1976. The original NSL/CRT Dempster station, albeit with an unfortunate later plexiglas addition on the back, is on the right. (Photo by Doug Grotjahn, Collection of Joe Testagrose)

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Car 53 stops at the Skokie Swift Terminal on July 7, 1975. (Photo by Doug Grotjahn, Collection of Joe Testagrose)

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Car 53 - The Minuteman - finishes its Skokie Swift run arriving at Dempster on May 29, 1975. (Photo by Ed McKernen, Collection of Joe Testagrose)

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In its mercury green, croydon cream, and swamp holly orange paint scheme, car 53 arrives at Dempster on July 22, 1968. (Photo by Doug Grotjahn, Collection of Joe Testagrose)

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Bicentennially painted car 53 loads passengers at Dempster/Skokie on July 7, 1975. (Photo by Doug Grotjahn, Collection of Joe Testagrose)

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Cars 4271-4272 have just recently undergone an overhaul, as evidenced by its gleaming exterior finish. They would be the last 4000-series cars to be overhauled, contributing to their being chosen to become the CTA's preserved Historic Cars. Although it bears an Evanston/Wilmette sign, it's actually at Dempster on the Skokie Swift on April 22, 1973. (Photo by Joe Testagrose)

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Car 4271 leads the CTA's Historic Train on a fan trip at Dempster Terminal on July 6, 1975. (Photo by Doug Grotjahn, Collection of Joe Testagrose)


Dempster-Skokie Yellow Line station

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A motorman takes a quick brake between runs at the Skokie (Dempster) station as his 3200-series train loads passengers in August 1997. (Photo by Jon Bell)

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The interior of the current Yellow Line station house, looking south on September 13, 2002. The interior is spacious, although most of it is not used for anything in particular. The agent's booth (now for a Customer Assistant) is in the center, while AVMs and park'n'ride payment boxes are on the left in the unpaid area and a concession area (off camera) is on the right. The concession was vacant from the opening of the station until 2002, when the Greyhound bus station moved in from their former space in the adjacent historic station building. By 2012, Greyhound had moved out and ceased making stops at Dempster station. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

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Trains change direction at Skokie terminal by pulling forward from the station into the turnback track, adjacent to the west of the old North Shore Line Dempster station. The single track turnback stub is essentially the southbound track, connecting to the northbound track by way of a spring-and-return switch. The train when changed and ends and proceeds to the inbound platform for the trip to Howard. This view looks north on September 3, 2000. (Photo by Mike Farrell)

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Car 3451, half of unit 3451-3452, prepares to head back south toward Howard in this photo looking southwest at the Dempster (Skokie) station on July 8, 1998. Note the raised pantograph. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

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Car 3452 leads this Skokie Swift train, loading passengers at he Dempster (Skokie) terminal on July 8, 1998. The destination sign reads "Howard". Cars 3441-3456, identical in all other ways to cars 3201-3440, were delivered with pantographs, two per two-car unit, for the "Skokie Swift" Yellow Line; the front pantograph is visible on the roof, lowered, attached to the yellow roof board. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

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A 3200-series Skokie Swift train, stopped at the Skokie terminal in January 1999, is seen soon after the Blizzard of '99 in this dramatic nighttime photo. (Photo by Sean Gash)

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Having completed its station stop at Skokie terminal, car 3446 trails a Yellow Line train pulling through the station to the turnback to prepare to load passengers on the inbound platform and head back to Howard in July 1999. (Photo by Mike Farrell)

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Car 3443 leads a two-car Yellow Line train dropping off passengers at the alighting platform at Skokie Terminal on July 2, 2003. This platform has no fare controls to speak of, since the line ends here and anyone boarding would be spotted by the operator when he switches ends. (Photo by Leon Kay)

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The 1994-built Skokie station house, behind and to the west of the original facility, is seen looking southwest on December 30, 2003, with its original backlit entrance graphic. (Photo by Graham Garfield)
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The dual side platforms at Skokie terminal, looking north on the outbound platform on November 9, 2003. Although this platform is for alighting passengers only and is replete with signs instructing riders "DO NOT BOARD", it is freely accessible to the public. The station house for inbound riders is in the background, connected to the platform on the left. The platforms are short, only capable of berthing a two-car train. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

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On a fantrip on May 1, 2005, 2200-series cars 2224 and 2319 are at Skokie terminal. Although it was not the first ever instance of the third rail-only cars to the former catenary territory, it was the first fantrip. Operated as a 4-car train for most of the trip, the cars were split at Skokie. The destination signs on 2319 and 2223, which were on the ends of the consist, had older destination signs installed for the trip. (Photo by J. Terrell Colson)

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In a shot that would have been nearly impossible to take eight months before, a fantrip of 2200-series cars sits at Dempster/Skokie terminal on May 1, 2005. Car 2223 sports a 1980s-era roller curtain, brought and installed specially for the fantrip. (Photo by J. Terrell Colson)

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A 4-car charter of 2200-series cars was split to reverse the train on the Dempster turnback track and to photograph them side-by-side on May 1, 2005. Looking south from the pedestrian crossing at Skokie terminal, car 2319 sports a mid-1990s-era roller curtain showing the Evanston Express reading, brought specially by trip organizer Mark Wolodarky for the charter. (Photo by J. Terrell Colson)

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The outbound platform at Dempster-Skokie is seen looking north on February 7, 2012. The platform is for alighting only; after trains discharge their passengers, they pull forward onto the turnback track, change ends, and pull into the platform on the left to board inbound customers. Signs on the platform tell customers, "Do not board". The stairs on the right provide convenient access directly to the park & ride lot next to the station, while the ramp at the far end of the platform provides accessible passage to the kiss & ride pickup lanes, bus terminal, and various paths to surrounding streets. The station name and column signs were updated in January 2012 with the station's new name. The station name signs originally did not have the colored tabs standard under the Green Line Signage Standard, having been installed in the last days of the KDR Signage System. They were added when the signs were updated to make them standard. (Photo by Graham Garfield)
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The inbound platform at Dempster-Skokie is seen looking southwest on February 7, 2012. Unlike the outbound discharge platform, the inbound platform has benches, windbreaks, and heaters, since it is intended for boarding. There is a supervisor's booth at the far end of the platform for use when operations require special attention to the operation of the terminal, but under normal conditions no supervisor is assigned here since intervals are relatively wide and scheduled services simple enough to monitor remotely. (Photo by Graham Garfield)
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Yellow Line run 595 has completed one of its trips, alighting its passengers on the discharge-only platform at the Dempster-Skokie terminal on April 25, 2014. Once everyone is off the train, cars 5238-39 will pull into the turnback track and change ends, starting a new trip back top Howard (seen below). (Photo by Graham Garfield)
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A Yellow Line train composed of 2-car unit 5238-39 loads passengers at the short platform of the Dempster-Skokie station on April 25, 2014. (Photo by Graham Garfield)
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After completing its trip north and discharging its passengers at Dempster-Skokie station, a Yellow Line train trailed by car 5177 is pulling through the switch at the entrance to the turnback track, where trains switch the the inbound track and train operators can change ends -- powering down the motorcab at one end, walk the length of the train, and power up the cab at the other end -- without blocking the mainline track or station platform, on April 25, 2014. The train is passing over the ground-level walkway that connects the station park & ride, kiss & ride and bus terminal with the station house on the west side of the tracks. The crossing is labeled as "Dempster", but the street is actually several hundred feet north, beyond the end of the turnback track. (Photo by Graham Garfield)
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Yellow Line run 591 discharges its passengers at Dempster-Skokie station before preparing to pull forward onto the turnback track, looking south from the turnback track on April 26, 2014. On the turnback stub, the train's operator will "change ends" and operate the train from the opposite end to begin its southbound return trip. The turnback switch it not interlocked, but it is powered and run automatically by a "speed frater". (Photo by Graham Garfield)
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The operator of run 591 is pulling her Yellow Line train through the speed frater switch and onto the turnback track so she can reverse direction and begin the return trip to Howard on April 26, 2014. The train sports classic Skokie Swift signs on its front and rear chains in honor of the line's 50th anniversary -- in the 1960s and 70s, cars normally assigned to the line had these signs permanent mounted to the cab-end of each car, but extras that could be hung on end-door chains were kept to use on other cars that needed to "sub in" for Swift service. With the "Swift bird" used since the line began still used on the 5000-series cars' LED destination signs, the bird icon is seen on car 5238 simultaneously in both digital and analog forms. (Photo by Graham Garfield)


1 Information from the Official Arthur U. Gerber Homepage