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Menard (5800W/400N)
Menard Avenue and Lake Street, Austin

Service Notes:

Lake Street Division

Quick Facts:

Address: TBD
Established: April 14, 1899
Original Line: Lake Street Elevated Railroad
Previous Names: none
Skip-Stop Type: n/a
Rebuilt: n/a
Status: Demolished

History:

Menard Avenue station was built as part of the Lake Street Elevated's 1899 extension west from Laramie Avenue to Austin Avenue into Cicero Township and what is now the suburban of Oak Park. After leaving Laramie the line descended from the elevated structure down to ground level and continued to the terminal at-grade. The "L" was powered by overhead trolley wire along the extension for safety purposes due to the grade-level running. The tracks also paralleled the adjacent Chicago & North Western Railroad.

The modest stations on this portion consisted of island stations and platforms constructed of wood. The narrow station houses with their clapboard paneling and peaked roofs with overhanging eaves emptied out onto an island platform covered by a peaked canopy that was actually a continuation of the station house's roof. The tall steel poles that carried the "L"'s overhead wires occasionally poked through the canopy, interrupting the platform.

The "L"'s street-level operation began to result a number of crossing accidents, typically due to pedestrians and wagon drivers failing to take note of approaching trains. Neither the "L" nor the C&NW had any type of crossing protection originally. Manually-operated crossing gates and gatemen helped reduce accidents but did not eliminate them. The problem got worse as automobile traffic entered the picture and became more prevalent. The situation was further exacerbated when the parallel C&NW elevated their right-of-way circa 1908-09, creating a blind intersection due to the embankment preventing southbound traffic from seeing approaching "L" trains until they were on the crossing. The Chicago and Oak Park municipal governments tried for decades to get the "L" to elevated their tracks west of Laramie Avenue, to no avail.

Menard station was closed in 1948 when the CTA revamped service on the Lake Street Line -- the first of a series of line-by-line service overhauls -- by closing 10 little-used stations and implementing A/B skip-stop service to speed up trains on the route. The station was demolished in late 1948.

 

This Chicago-L.org article is a stub. It will be expanded in the future as resources allow.