Webster Street and Sheffield Avenue, Lincoln Park
North Side Division
Address: 945 W. Webster Avenue
Established: June 9, 1900
Original Line: Northwestern Elevated Railroad
Previous Names: none
Skip-Stop Type: n/a
The path of the initial section of the Northwestern Elevated Railroad, from Lake and Wells Streets to Broadway and Wilson on the what was then the far North Side, was cleared in 1895 and erection of the steel was begun January 23, 1896. Financial difficulties delayed construction several times, necessitating extensions of deadlines for commencement of service in the company's franchise with the city. All-night shifts were eventually required to complete the structure on Christmas Day 1899, days before their deadline to begin service. But most of the stations were incomplete December 31 and, after some negotiating, another extension was obtained. Northwestern Elevated service between the Loop and Wilson began on May 31, 1900. However, due to a two-week strike construction was not complete at all stations1. As a result, seven stations, including Webster, opened 1-2 weeks after the inauguration of "L" service. Webster station finally opened for service on June 9, 19002.
The only line in Chicago to do so, the Northwestern "L" built four tracks north of Chicago Avenue to allow for both local and express service. Some stations, like Webster, were built with platforms on the outside tracks (for locals only), but some had two island platforms to facilitate both express and local trains.
The original brick station house was similar to those still at Chicago, Sedgwick, Armitage and Fullerton. Their architecture was standard for brick ground-level station houses built on what was the Northwestern mainline. They were designed by William Gibb and constructed entirely of brick with terra-cotta trim and stone. The bold modeling of the details is characteristic of Italianate work of the late 19th century, though these station might better be classified as Classical Revival.
Webster survived the CTA's 1947 takeover, but was one of 23 stations closed in their North-South Route service revision August 1, 1949. The concept of "local" stations, of which Webster's low usage was only suited, was not a part of the A/B skip stop concept and the station was closed. Today, the entire station is gone and nothing of it remains.
This Chicago-L.org article is a stub. It will be expanded in the future as resources allow.
1. "ENDS STRIKE ON NEW "L"." Chicago Daily Tribune, 8 May 1900: 1.
2. "BOYS MEDDLE WITH “L” TRACK." Chicago Daily Tribune, 7 June 1900: 12.