The Damen station house, elevator tower, and island platform canopy are seen looking southwest on July 23, 2004. The station features a large, spacious station house with a plaza on the corner of Damen and Cullerton and wider accessible island platform, all executed in a postmodern design. For a larger view, click here. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

Damen (2000W/2100S)
Damen Avenue and Cullerton Street, Heart of Chicago (Lower West Side)

Service Notes:

Pink Line: Cermak (Douglas)

Accessible Station

Quick Facts:

Address:

2010 S. Damen Avenue (Damen entrance)

2009 S. Hoyne Avenue (Hoyne auxiliary entrance)

Established: September 7, 1896
Original Line: Metropolitan West Side Elevated, Douglas Park branch
Previous Names: none

Skip-Stop Type:

Station (1951-1958)

Station (1958-1995)

Rebuilt: 2002-04
Status: In Use

History:

The Hoyne station platforms, looking west on August 1, 2001. Hoyne's platforms retain nearly all of their original features, including canopies, supports, and railings, and, aside from many layers of paint and some rust, in pretty good shape. For a larger view, click here. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

The Douglas branch of the Metropolitan West Side Elevated Railroad was originally planned to extend to 46th (Kenton) Avenue in its original stretch. This, however, opened incrementally. The branch was only open as far as 18th Street on April 28, 1896 (long after the other Met branches were in service) and Hoyne was activated August 7, when the branch was extended as far as Western. Further extension to 40th Avenue (Crawford, later Pulaski) wasn't complete until 1902. Kenton wasn't reached until 1907.

The original station was typical of those on the original 1896 portion of the Douglas Park branch, a largely rectangular building with a bay extending approximately five feet in front of the building. The one-story headhouse, situated beneath the elevated structure, employed an unusual vernacular form with influences from the Craftsman and even Prairie School styles. The exterior walls were clad in dark red/brown bricks while a rusticated stone base lined the bottom of the wall at ground level while the corners had stone quoins. The Craftsman influences came through in the wide overhanging eaves with exposed rafters and the battered half-timbered treatment over the front entrance, while the Prairie School style can be seen in the low pitched roof, extended eaves (one of several qualities shared with the Craftsman) and tall, thin, banded windows on the side elevations.

After passengers paid their fare and passed into the paid area, they began their trek up to the platforms. One central staircase led from the station house to a mezzanine level beneath the tracks. From this mezzanine landing, the stairs split to the inbound and outside platforms. The stair railing structure was somewhat decorative, with curved and twisted strap metal balustrades, cast iron newel posts with small designs cast in them and carved wooden handgrips. A series of square cast iron plates with a square-in-square design of descending size were placed along the bottom of the railing near the stair treads.

The dual side platforms were each nearly identical to each other and to other Met station platforms. The flooring was treated timber planks, while the railings and balustrades were similar to those on the stairs. Added to the railing design here were larger cast iron square plates with a stylized diamond design cast into them. Each platform had a short canopy in the center of the platform, covering the stairs and a small waiting area. The canopy frame was steel, with latticed supports and bracketed rafters. The canopies had hipped roofs of corrugated metal. Strung beneath the canopy roof were incandescent lights for nighttime illumination. The platforms were additionally lit by gooseneck lamps that were integrated into the railing design, with certain posts extending above the railing -- above seven feet high, total -- and forming the fluted pole with a decorative capital onto which a gooseneck light fixture with a porcelain saucer-shaped shade with two or three incandescent light bulbs was attached.

The Hoyne station as it appeared in 1998. All traces of the original station house are gone. The wooden shack inside the cage was for the fare collector. For a larger view, click here. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

In 1905, a casket elevator was installed at Hoyne, as well as Laflin on the Met main line, to handle the funeral train operations that the Met, in conjunction with the Aurora Elgin & Chicago Railroad, started running that year. Additional elevators were planned for other parts of the system, but those plans were abandoned when it was discovered that pallbearers were able to carry to caskets up the "L" station stairs with relatively little trouble. Funeral trains, which proved popular in a time when roads were often unpassable during poor weather, were run to Concordia, Waldheim, Oak Ridge and Mount Carmel Cemeteries until 1934, when paved roads and motorized hearses made the service obsolete.

The Hoyne station house was subsequently demolished in the mid-1950s as a result of deterioration. It was replaced with a fare collection area on the stair mezzanine. An agent's booth was cantilevered off the back. Many low-use "L" stations had no turnstiles for fare control in the early days and Hoyne was, in fact, the last to receive such devices. Because the agent's booth was at the back of the stair mezzanine, a separate turnstile was installed on each side, in front of each stairway up to the two side platforms.

When the CTA installed the Cubic-built electronic TransitCard turnstiles in the late 1990s, the fare control area had to be relocated once again because this equipment could not be accommodated on the stair mezzanine. This time, an area on the sidewalk leading from the street to the stairs was paved with asphalt and enclosed with a high chainlink fence, creating a fare control "structure" similar to those found at Lawrence and Wellington, and previously at Indiana until 2001. Topped with a metal roof with fluorescent lights, this enclosure included a small wooden customer assistant's booth, Automated Vending Machines (AVMs), and TransitCard turnstiles. The former agent's booth on the stair mezzanine was converted into a janitor's/porter's closest.

 

Douglas Renovation Project

By the time of new millennium, the station was aging and in need of renovation. Over the years, the condition of the Douglas branch deteriorated to a point that permanent "slow zones" were present throughout more than 47% of track and many of the stations were in poor condition. After a long battle to secure funding from both the state and federal governments, the CTA decided it was time to embark upon a complete rehabilitation of the entire branch. The Douglas Rehabilitation Project was the largest single capital improvement project the authority had embarked upon up to that time. The project was to restore the branch so that it would be 100 percent ADA compliant with eight of the branch's 11 stations (six elevated and two at-grade) completely rebuilt and to allow for faster travel times from one end of the line to the other.

As part of the renovation project, Hoyne was replaced with an entirely new station facility. The primary entrance was relocated one block east to Damen Avenue, where connections could be made on this busier arterial to #50 Damen buses. The new headhouse is a modern glass and steel facility on the west side of Damen Avenue. The building exterior features quarry tile at the base, a metal-frame storefront on the front and side facades with large picture windows, glass walls and a band of art glass along the top, and capped by a large metal cornice divided into boxes. The long station house stretches from Cullerton Avenue to the alley underneath the elevated, a full half block. A small plaza is located to the north of the station, at the corner of Damen and Cullerton. The interior features white ceramic glazed tile walls, a waiting area in the unpaid area with seats for waiting bus riders, fare controls, fare vending machines, a customer assistant booth, and various auxiliary equipment rooms.

To serve patrons of the old Hoyne station, there is an auxiliary entrance and exit one block west of the main station house at Hoyne Avenue on the site of the old station entrance. This farecard-only entrance is enclosed inside a small station house whose exterior design resembles a miniaturized version of the primary headhouse. Inside are two high-barrier gates (HBGs), a transit information board, and a customer assistant call button. The stairs from the auxiliary entrance ascend at the west end of the platform.

The old side platforms at Hoyne are replaced with a new, wide island platform. Despite the station house having been missing since the 1950s, Hoyne was considered eligible for the National Register of Historic Places and classified as one of CTA's historic stations. By the time the Douglas Rehabilitation Project was planned, all that remained at Hoyne of the original station were both original platform canopies and a large amount of original railing. So, as a compromise between retaining some of the old fabric and providing a new, modern station, the CTA installed a Douglas-standard "showpiece" canopy on the east half of the platform, with clear glazed roof sections that allow natural light on the platform alternating with triangular solid, three-dimensional metal wedges and clear triangular panels that led the canopies to be dubbed by some as the "flying triangles". "Honeycomb" paneling adorns the platform canopy fascia, as well as being around the various columns and poles at platform level. The original historic canopies, however, were disassembled before the old station was demolished and reconstructed on the west half of the platform, over Kedzie Avenue. The Metropolitan Elevated side platform canopies were reinstalled back-to-back on the island platform. This has the effect of preserving the material of the original station, but not the context of the original design, with the two hipped-roof structures back-to-back creating a "sawtooth" roof profile. The section around the historic canopy also has a wood platform decking in contrast to the concrete floor of the rest of the platform. The CTA installed a plaque under the historic canopy at Hoyne to denote its historic status and describe its background.

A new elevator at the east end of the station provides ADA access from the Damen station house, with the tall elevator tower cladded in white tiles with a blue band around the top and a steel "cta" on the north and south sides dominating the street elevation the facility. The platform amenities carry through the angled motif of the canopy, with benches, lights, windbreaks, and some signage angled off-axis from being parallel or perpendicular to the tracks. For customer comfort, the platform features benches, overhead heaters and enhanced lighting. In addition to the elevator, a wheelchair-accessible gate in the fare controls, TTY telephones, tactile edging and Braille signs offer accessibility for customers with disabilities. Audiovisual station signs and a public address system help customers navigate the station and receive travel information.

The Hoyne station platforms were still extant in this view looking east on December 10, 2002 over a week after closure, though a sign reminds motormen not to stop at the station. For a larger view, click here. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

The official groundbreaking for the Douglas Rehabilitation Project -- also known as "Renew the Blue" -- took place at Pulaski station on September 10, 2001, but actual construction work did not begin at Damen/Hoyne station for over a year as crews worked on stations and structure farther west. Early in the morning at the conclusion of weekday service on Saturday, November 30, 2002, the Hoyne station closed for reconstruction. Effective at 0400 hours, the station closed pending its demolition and replacement with new facilities.

While the work is in progress, the temporary Western-Hoyne station with entrances at Leavitt (two blocks east of Western) and at Cullerton (a half block west of Hoyne) served customers from both stations. The Western-Hoyne temporary station was placed in service at 0400 hours on Monday, December 2, 2002.

The temporary station featured temporary wooden dual side platforms in the vicinity of Leavitt Street. These platforms fed from the dual fare control areas at Leavitt (2200W) and Cullerton, a half block west of Hoyne (2135W/2000S). This second entrance is unusual in being the only temporary station entrance not located under the tracks (like most of the temporary stations), but from the street running parallel and to the north of the right-of-way. The fare control areas consisted of concrete and asphalt floors, chainlink walls, and wooden agent's booths. The platforms had wood decking and railings, wooden canopies, and temporary signage largely relocated from the closed Western and Hoyne stations. During the weekend between the old stations' closures and the temporary station's opening, after Hoyne station was closed and locked, CTA forces removed the fare controls and AVMs in that station and relocated them to the Cullerton entrance to the temporary station. The temporary station remained in use while the old station was demolished and new station built over the following year and a half.

The interior of Damen station, seen looking south in the unpaid area on July 23. 2004, has a large, open, spacious interior. Note the art glass along the top of the large picture windows. For a larger view, click here. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

The new, accessible Damen station opened at 0400 hours on Thursday, July 22, 2004. Opening concurrently with the new California station a mile west, these two rebuilt stations were the last to open as part of the rehabilitation of the Cermak (Douglas) branch of the Blue Line. A modest press event was held in midmorning, after the station was in service.

"With the reopening of these last two stations today, the highly visible part of our work is done," said CTA President Frank Kruesi. Added Chicago Transit Board Chairman Carole Brown, "The $33.4 million CTA investment in these two stations is a clear contribution to the economic strength of the area."

Coincident with the new station opening, the temporary Western-Hoyne station closed. The Cullerton (2135W/2000S) entrance was locked and fenced off at 0200 hours on July 22 at the end of the previous service day, the Leavitt entrance (2200W) having already been closed and converted to an exit on June 4 when the new Western station opened. The temporary station was subsequently dismantled over the weekend of August 7-8, 2004.

On Saturday, December 4, 2004, Mayor Richard M. Daley was joined by Chicago Transit Authority officials at Damen station to dedicate the station's artwork, a new glass mosaic by local artist Juan Chavez. The mosaic was made possible through a partnership between the CTA and the City of Chicago's Public Art Program and is one of nine new pieces of art installed at all eight rehabilitated stations along the branch. Juan Chavez' glass mosaic consists of a collage that depicts everyday scenes and images that can be observed in the Pilsen neighborhood near the Damen station. The 25' x 9' piece is located outside in a plaza to the north of the station house. In 2002, Chavez, along with artist Corrine Peterson of the Chicago Public Art Group, created the "Hopes and Dreams" mosaic located in the underground transfer tunnel between the Roosevelt Red Line subway station and Roosevelt Green/Orange Line elevated station.

In 2003, the CTA entered into an Intergovernmental Agreement with the City of Chicago's Department of Cultural Affairs to procure original artwork for the eight newly renovated stations along branch. The CTA allocated $1 million of the $483 million project budget. A panel consisting of city, CTA , art and community representatives served as advisors over the past year to select the appropriate artwork for each station.

After conducting a West Side Corridor Study and holding public meetings during 2004 and 2005, the CTA began operation of a new service over the Cermak branch. Beginning Sunday, June 25, 2006, the new Pink Line began providing the primary rail service to the branch. Operating seven days a week during the same service hours as the Blue Line had operated, Pink Line trains operated on the Cermak branch from 54th/Cermak to Polk, then terminated around the Loop via the Paulina Connector and Lake branch of the Green Line. Service levels increased with the introduction of the Pink Line, with trains running more frequently including a 7.5-minute interval during weekday rush periods. To address community concerns, Blue Line service to the O'Hare branch from 54th/Cermak via the Dearborn Subway was maintained during morning and afternoon rush hours. The Pink Line and revised Blue Line services were instituted as an 180-day experiment, extended for additional 180-day experimental periods subsequently, while ridership and other effects were studied. As the experimental period continued, the CTA revised service on the Cermak branch to eliminate the rush period Blue Line trains, leaving the Pink Line to provide all service to 54th/Cermak. Although ridership had risen overall since the introduction of the Pink Line, Blue Line trains had consistently low ridership on a person-per-railcar-basis. The last day of Blue Line Cermak service was Friday, April 25, 2008.

 

Looking east on the Damen platform on July 23, 2004 with the downtown Chicago skyline in the background, one of the station's standard "showpiece" triangular canopies is up ahead. Following the angled motif of the canopy, some signage like the station name sign seen here, are also off-axis. To supplement the off-axis station name signs, signs are also posted on the outside of the tracks to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. For a larger view, click here. (Photo by Graham Garfield)


Hoyne (1896-2002) | Damen (2003-present)

Hoyne station

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Car 6101 leads an usual assortment of "Not in Service" equipment past Hoyne station on May 28, 1973. (Collection of Joe Testagrose)

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The Hoyne station fare collection facility, looking east in 1999. This facility was built to replace a station that burned down circa the 1950s. The corrugated metal along the bottom of the fencing was installed in late 1998/early 1999. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

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A front-loader tears down the drip pan over the former fare control area as the Hoyne station entrance is disassembled on December 10, 2002. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

 


Damen station

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The new station facility, which will have it main entrance on Damen Avenue, will feature comfortable waiting facilities for transferring bus riders. The design for the new Damen-Hoyne station has a decidedly modern design, with a simple box-shaped glass and steel building beneath the elevated structure and an angular postmodern canopy in this artist's rendition looking southwest. (Drawing provided courtesy of the Chicago Transit Authority)

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The new inbound track for the new Damen station is being erected on the right as remnants of the former Hoyne platform structure remain in this view looking east on February 6, 2003. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

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The new trackway is complete and foundation excavation work for the new Damen station house is underway, looking southwest on March 18, 2003. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

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The new Damen station facility has been quickly constructed over the last eight months, seen looking southwest on December 8, 2003 as an outbound Blue Line train passes through. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

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In part because of the alley that runs along side the tracks which prevents it from being centered under the right-of-way, the Damen station house is a long building that projects far to the north of the tracks, almost to the next street over, Cullerton. Looking west on December 8, 2003, the exterior is worked on, with a workman applying a section of the cornice on the right. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

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The canopy at Damen is still substantially under construction, as seen in this December 8, 2003 view looking west. Note the construction personnel working on the glazing from a cherry picker (seen through the glass at the top left) and the blue roof of the historic Hoyne canopies in the far distance. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

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To continue serving passengers from the old Hoyne station, the new Damen facility will have an auxiliary entrance on the site of the former station. The new Hoyne station house is substantially in place by the time of this December 8, 2003 view looking northeast, but a lot of the finishes, such as the cornice, are still being applied. Note how the cornice pieces are hollow segments that are attached to a guideway behind. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

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The CTA's Douglas-standard "showpiece" canopy, seen looking west on July 23, 2004, has clear glazed roof sections that allow natural light on the platform alternating with triangular solid, three-dimensional metal wedges and clear triangular panels that led the canopies to be dubbed by some as the "flying triangles". (Photo by Graham Garfield)

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At the west end of the station are the reinstalled historic Metropolitan Elevated canopies, originally across the tracks from one another on side platforms and now placed back-to-back on the new island platform. This has the unusual effect of preserving the material of the original station, but not really the context or integrity of the original design. Seen looking west on July 30, 2004, they cover the stairs to the auxiliary exit. (Photo by Tony Coppoletta)

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Looking east on July 23, 2004, this view shows how the latticework on the historic canopies looks when they are reassembled back-to-back on the new island platform. Because they have hipped roofs, a channel is created down the middle. The lighting on the columns provides illumination without disrupting the aesthetics of the canopy framework and cross-bracing. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

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The CTA installed a plaque under the historic canopy at Hoyne to denote its historic status and describe its background, seen here on July 23, 2004. The plaque includes a view of the Hoyne station in the 1930s and a description of the original station and the development of the Lower West Side community in which it's located. If the text of the plaque sounds familiar, there's a reason: it was written by this site's administrator! (Photo by Graham Garfield)

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The auxiliary entrance/exit to the station is on east side of Hoyne Avenue -- the location of the entrance of the original station the new Damen facility replaces -- seen here looking southeast on July 23, 2004. The exterior design of the auxiliary entrance resembles a miniaturized version of the primary headhouse a block east on Damen. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

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The Hoyne auxiliary entrance has modest amenities, featuring two high-barrier gates (HBGs), a transit information board, and a customer assistant call button, seen here looking east on July 23, 2004. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

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The building exterior features a metal-frame storefront capped by a large metal entablature divided into boxes and topped with a metal cornice. Seen looking southwest on July 30, 2004, each Douglas station also has a small stainless steel pylon in front, with perforated metal facing, a triangular cap, and a small sign reading "cta Blue Line". (Photo by Tony Coppoletta)

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The spacious interior of Damen station is seen looking northeast from the bottom of the stairs and escalator to the platform in the paid area on July 30, 2004. The walls are clad in white ceramic glazed tile walls and the fare controls and customer assistant booth are stainless steel standard designs. This station also has rotogates in the paid area so that customers can exit without fouling the entrance turnstiles. (Photo by Tony Coppoletta)

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The freestanding light posts on the Damen platform are covered in the same "honeycomb" paneling that adorns the fascia of the canopy wedges, seen looking east on July 30, 2004. The Damen platform is narrower than the other new Douglas stations, as seen in the shallow angle of the station name sign, which is at something closer to a 45 degree offset at the other stations. (Photo by Tony Coppoletta)

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These two views looking out at the neighborhood surrounding the Damen station on July 30, 2004 exemplify the community that the station serves. The Lower West Side is one of Chicago's oldest areas and much of its housing stock belays that heritage. Much of the community consists of two-story frame houses, many divided into multiple-unit residential buildings, some of which date from the late 19th century. A longtime portal for new immigrants and a workingmen's community, many of the houses are old enough that their first stories are below street-level, a result of their existence predating the raising of the streets and sidewalks to accommodate the installation of sewers and utilities in the late 1800's. (Photo by Tony Coppoletta)

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The mosaic Vida Simple is seen looking west on the purposely-built wall to the north of the station house, facing the small plaza on the corner of Damen and Cullerton. (Photo courtesy of CTA Arts in Transit Program)

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A detail view of the glass and stone tilework of the Vida Simple mosaic. (Photo courtesy of CTA Arts in Transit Program)