Architecturally, the Douglas Park station was unlike any other on the "L" system. The stop was one of several on the "L" system built in one of the city's park boulevards; the others included Garfield Park (on the Garfield Park branch), Garfield Park (later called Homan, on the Lake Street line), Humboldt Park on the Humboldt Park branch and Garfield Blvd. on the South Side line. For a larger view, click here. (Photo from the Charles E. Keevil/Chicago Transit Authority Collection)

Douglas Park (3000W/2100S)
Marshall Boulevard and 21st Street, South Lawndale

Service Notes:

Douglas Line

Quick Facts:

Address: 2008 S. Marshall Blvd.
Established: June 16, 1902
Original Line: Metropolitan West Side Elevated, Douglas Park branch
Previous Names: none
Skip-Stop Type: "Partial Service" station
Rebuilt: n/a
Status: Demolished

History:

A Douglas Park train crosses the ornamental bridge over the park-like Marshall Boulevard around 1910. The Douglas Park station platform can be seen on the left. For a larger view, click here. (Photo by Fred Borchert, from the Robert Gibson Collection)

The Douglas Park station was one of the seven stations that made up the 1902 extension of the Douglas Park branch to 40th Avenue. (As the name suggests, the Metropolitan "L" was clearly always intended to reach this station, at least.) Architecturally, Douglas Park is unlike any other station on the Douglas Park line, incorporating not only the typical brick walls and stone window sills but also rusticated limestone for the first floor exterior and a layout singular among "L" stations. Why this station is different, when all the others on the extension were identical, is unclear. It may be explained by the fact that it is located on one of the city's famous, scenic park boulevards.

The station's dual side platforms had canopies and railings typical of all Met stations: Designed into the railings were larger cast iron square plates with a stylized diamond design. Each platform had a short canopy in the center of the platform, covering the stairs and a small waiting area. The canopy frame was iron, with arched latticed supports and bracketed rafters, and hipped roofs of corrugated tin.

The elevated structure and platforms are unusually high here, necessary to clear the tracks of the Chicago Burlington & Quincy (CB&Q, later the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad) tracks that cross here diagonally. Because of this, the mezzanine walkway that connected the inbound and outbound platforms is high, over the CB&Q tracks rather than at a lower level as at other Douglas stations. For many years, Douglas Park served as a transfer station with the Burlington, which also had a station at Marshall Boulevard. There was a direct connection between the Douglas Park "L" station and the Burlington's intercity station. This may also explain another of the unusual features of the Douglas Park station: a very early inclusion of an escalator in an "L" station. The Douglas Park station featured a wooden "moving stairway" (escalator) from the station mezzanine area to the inbound platform. How late this escalator remained is uncertain.

As part of the plan to economize, streamline and speed up service on the Douglas branch, the CTA proposed in mid-1951 to close 20 stations and institute A/B skip-stop service. After consultation with city transit engineers and local elected officials, the CTA modified their plan to retain a few of the stations proposed for closure, although with limited service. On December 9, 1951, the CTA revised Douglas service with the inauguration of A/B skip-stop service, the closure of five stations, and the conversion of three more to unmanned "partial service" stations -- Roosevelt, Wood, and Douglas Park. The "partial service" stations were unmanned, with no ticket agent on duty at any time, and entrance only through token-operated turnstiles. Trains stopped at "partial service" stations approximately every 15 minutes during Monday-Friday rush periods and about every 30 minutes at other times. Trains serving these stations did not stop at California, 18th and Polk.

Douglas Park's status as a "partial service" station was short-lived, unjustified by the extremely low entering traffic counts. The Roosevelt and Douglas Park "partial service" stations were closed on May 3, 1952.


ROW@BNSF_WB01.jpg
The rust and wear on the steel of the trestle carrying the Douglas branch over the Burlington North Santa Fe tracks -- the former location of the Douglas Park station -- provides ample explanation for the Douglas Renovation Project. (Photo by Graham Garfield)