The 42nd Place terminal in its heyday, circa 1910s. At this time, Kenwood trains were through-routed to Wilson, meaning more frequent service and a packed lay-up yard. The brick Greek Revival depot tucked below the yard is in good repair, still only a few years old. Like at many terminals, the words "L STATION" are painted above the entrance to draw attention to the station. For a larger view, click here. (Photo from the Collection of George Krambles)

42nd Place (4232S/1200E)
42nd Place and Oakenwald Avenue, Kenwood

Service Notes:

Kenwood Line

Quick Facts:

Address: TBD
Established: September 20, 1907
Original Line: South Side Elevated, Kenwood branch
Skip-Stop Type: n/a
Rebuilt: n/a
Status: Demolished


The 42nd Place terminal in 1955, just a few years before its abandonment. By this time ridership was so low that the main part of the station was boarded and unused, with passengers routed through a side entrance instead. Most of the yard tracks are unused. An Indiana-Kenwood local shuttle waits above at the island platform. For a larger view, click here. (Photo from the Collection of George Krambles)

The 42nd Place station was the terminal of the Kenwood branch, a line built in 1907 by the South Side Rapid Transit line, replacing a grade-level steam line run by Chicago Junction Railway Company. The terminal included a compact yard above the station. The area surrounding the station when rather empty when it opened, but within a matter of years, it was a bustling residential neighborhood, first consisting up upscale housing and later dominated by working class apartments (including many Stock Yards workers).

The station was small and simple, constructed of red brick with light brick highlights and was tucked under the elevated trestle. Its architecture is similar to those at Racine on the Englewood and 69th on the Normal Park Line, possibly indicating the same architect. Interestingly enough, the track above and near the station was the only section built on a steel structure; most was built on a concrete embankment, which was unusual for the "L". Routes run to the Kenwood branch varied throughout the years, including Kenwood-Ravenswood runs (1913-1931), Kenwood-Wilson Avenue rush hour runs and Kenwood-Indiana Avenue non rush shuttles (1931-1943) and finally Kenwood-Wilson Avenue runs (1943-1949), until July 31, 1949 when the CTA revised the North-South service pattern, creating the Kenwood-Indiana Avenue shuttle.

By 1956, it was clear that the Kenwood branch's dropping ridership and deteriorating condition warranted action. This situation was exasperated when the Chicago Junction Railway (which still owned the right-of-way along which the Kenwood branch was located) demanded that the CTA resume rental payments which the CRT had ceased during the Depression. They demanded $100,000 yearly from the CTA and gave them only until May 1, 1956 to agree, yet CTA's operating loses on the line had been $200,000 a year! A minimal station improvement program was contemplated at a cost of up to $46,600 that included removal of the 42nd Place Yard, the north end of the station's island platform, the east station track, and possibly even the station house, leaving only a short platform and one stub track. Mayor Daley attempted to step in and mediate between the CTA and the CJR, hammering out an agreement that allowed CTA to continue service for a token rent of $1,000 per month until July 1957, by which time it was hoped a final agreement could be negotiated. Ultimately the low ridership, high cost of improvement and unreasonable rent payments caused the station to close in 1957 when the line ceased operation.

Left: 42nd Place in early 1908. Lake Michigan is in the background. The attractive neighborhood station house (though currently lacking a neighborhood) is tucked beneath the compact but adequate train yard. (Photo from the Leroy Blommaert Collection)


42ndPlace04.jpg (111k)
42nd Place terminal in less happy time, near the end of its life in 1957. By 1956, it was clear that the Kenwood branch's dropping ridership and deteriorating condition warranted action, which eventually meant abandonment. (Photos by Northcutt, from the Illinois Railway Museum Collection, courtesy of Peter Vesic)