Left: The station house at Pulaski's auxiliary entrance on Keeler Street shortly after opening in 1958. The one at Pulaski is identical. The entrance is now abandoned. The neon sign over the entrance was standard on all Congress Line stations. For a larger view, click here. (Photo from the Chicago Transit Authority Collection)

Right: The Pulaski entrance, looking northwest in 1999. The 1950s electric neon sign is gone (replaced with an advertising box) and the doors have been replaced, but it is otherwise largely unaltered and none the worse for the wear. For a larger view, click here. (Photo from the CTA Collection)

Pulaski (4000W/530S)
Pulaski Road and the Eisenhower Expressway, West Garfield Park

Service Notes:

Blue Line: Forest Park

Owl Service

Quick Facts:

Address:

530 S. Pulaski Road (Pulaski entrance)

531 S. Keeler Avenue (Keeler entrance, abandoned)

Established: June 22, 1958
Original Line: West-Northwest Route, Congress branch
Previous Names: none

Skip-Stop Type:

Station

Rebuilt: n/a
Status: In Use

History:

Railfan Bill Vigrass stands under the neon entrance sign at the Keeler entrance to Pulaski station circa 1962. Note the bit of Garfield "L" structure in the background. For a larger view, click here. (Photo from the Krambles-Peterson Archive)

This station was constructed in the mid-1950s, replacing the Garfield Park line's Pulaski station, demolished to make way for the Congress Street Expressway and the replacement Congress "L" Line.

Pulaski is nearly identical to every other station built in the Eisenhower Expressway, including an island platform, a small station house on Pulaski's overpass containing only a ticket booth and turnstiles and a long, enclosed, sloping passageway/ramp connecting the two. A brochure, published by the City of Chicago to commemorate the initiation of service June 22, 1958, describes the stations this way:

Each station platform in the expressway right-of-way is the island type, 600 feet long and canopied throughout its entire length. Supported by structural aluminum columns, the canopy extends beyond the platform edge and over the roofs of cars....

A view of the Pulaski station house, its ramp to the platform, and a CTA bus shortly after the Congress Line's opening in the late 1950s. The Congress Superhighway is relatively new too. Note the classic '50s autos. For a larger view, click here. (Photo from the Graham Garfield Collection)

Station design here is somewhat unique, resulting from a compromise between the historic concept of closely spaced stations (favored by aldermen) and widely spaced stations, coordinated with bus feeder routes (preferred by eager CTA planners anxious to improve transit service and system productivity). The fare collection building is about 42 ft x 21 ft. The more important stops (like this one) are located between two cross bridges separated by about 1/4 mile and there is a station house and access ramp at each end.

On Pulaski's east end is its namesake street; on the west is Keeler. The Keeler entrance to Pulaski station was closed Saturday January 13, 1973 as an economy move, but was retained as exit. On Thursday December 28, 1978, the Keeler exit was closed as well. While there are obvious disadvantages to the long ramp concept, the compromise design did avoid the additional stops the CTA planners hoped to get rid of.

The CTA's 2002-2006 Capital Improvement Plan included a $3,070,161 project to design replacement facilities for five rapid transit stations, including Pulaski on the Congress branch of the Blue Line. These stations would be accessible when reconstruction is complete. Initial funding was to provide for station design only; post-FY 2007 funding would be required to reconstruct the stations. The design project does not appear to have proceeded, however.

 

The island platform at Pulaski, looking west in 1999. Except for the signage, tactile stripping, and some other small details, it is largely unchanged from its original construction. For a larger view, click here. (Photo by Graham Garfield)


pulaski.keeler02.jpg
The interior of the station house at Pulaski's auxiliary entrance on Keeler Street. The walls are light blue tile and the turnstiles are stainless steel. (Photo from the 1957 CTA Annual Report)

pulaski.keeler03.jpg
The interior of the station house at Pulaski's auxiliary entrance on Keeler Street. This shot shows an excellent view of the fare controls installed at all Congress Line stations. The stainless steel fare control booth is on the right. When the agent is on duty, patrons enter and leave via the central passageway, through the turnstile or agent's booth. When the fare is collected on the train (a practice now discontinued), the hinged metal barrier on the left is swung across the center passage and passengers by-passed it. At hours when the Keeler entrance was closed, riders boarded through Pulaski. (Photo from the 1957 CTA Annual Report)

pulaski.keeler04.jpg
The passenger ramp to the island platform. The station house is ahead. The door handles are molded in the shape of the CTA shield logo. (Photo from the 1957 CTA Annual Report)