The front of Addison station, looking northeast on May 3, 2003. The front facade is very plain, clad in light brown/tan brick with a stainless steel CTA logo. Across the street is an auxiliary exit from the platform to the south side of Addison Street. For a larger view, click here. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

Addison (3600N/940W)
Addison Street and Sheffield Avenue, Wrigleyville (Lakeview)

Service Notes:

Red Line: Howard

Accessible Station

Owl Service

Quick Facts:

Address: 940 W. Addison Street
Established: June 6, 1900
Original Line: Northwestern Elevated Railroad
Previous Names: none

Skip-Stop Type:


Rebuilt: 1994
Status: In Use


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 Addison, opened 1-2 weeks after the inauguration of "L" service. Addison station finally opened for service on June 6, 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 Addison, were built with platforms on the outside tracks (for locals only), but some had two island platforms to facilitate both express and local trains.

A post-game crowd stands on the outbound Addison platform looking north in 1989, as a northbound North-South train trailed by a 2000-series car that just departed is in the distance and another train led by a 2600-series car is approaching on the right. For a larger view, click here. (CTA photo)

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.

The interior featured plaster walls with extensive wood detailing in the door and window frames, ceiling moldings, and tongue-in groove chair rail paneling. The interior also featured an ornate, intricately-detailed ticket agent's booth with paneled walls, dentils ands moldings around the top, and ornate metal grill over the window used by the ticket agent.

The dual side platforms at Addison were typical of those the Northwestern built for its local stations, with wooden decks and covered in the center by peaked-roof canopies of steel supports with a gently-curved bracket and intricate latticework, covered by a corrugated metal roofing. Originally, these covered about half the platform length, but the platforms were subsequently lengthened multiple times to allow longer trains to berth. The platforms had railings which consisted of tubular railings and posts with panels of decorative, ogee patterned metalwork inside. The platforms were outboard of the outer of the line's four tracks, served by local trains and inaccessible by the expresses utilizing the inner tracks.

Addison station's traffic increased after the baseball field now known as Wrigley Field was was built in 1914 a half block west of the station. Originally known as Weeghman Park, the stadium, built on grounds once occupied by a seminary, was the home of Chicago's Federal League baseball team (known as both the Federals and the Whales). After the Federal League folded for financial reasons following the 1915 season, park owner Charles H. Weeghman purchased the Cubs team and moved them from a West Side field to his two-year-old ballpark at Clark and Addison. The first National League game at the ballpark was played April 20, 1916. The park became known as Cubs Park in 1920 after the Wrigley family purchased the team from Weeghman and was renamed Wrigley Field in 1926 in honor of William Wrigley Jr., the club's owner. Now the second-oldest ballpark in the major leagues behind Boston's Fenway Park, the "Friendly Confines" has been the site of such historic moments as Babe Ruth's "called shot" (when Ruth allegedly pointed to a bleacher location during Game 3 of the 1932 World Series and then hit a home run off the next pitch).

Addison had been designed as a local station for the Northwestern Elevated, meant to serve a residential neighborhood. The amount of traffic generated by the adjacent ballpark by far overwhelmed the capacity of the station, with its modest station house and narrow stairs. The CTA and its private predecessors did the best they could to modify the station to accommodate the tremendous gameday crowds, including addicting an extra set of stairs to each platform north of the original stairs and adding auxiliary ticket agents booths outside to the west of the station house, which were closed off with swinging gates during non-game days and opened when home games were played. Still, the narrow side platforms and jury-rigged station were only minimally-sufficient for baseball traffic. Nevertheless, few things are as uniquely Chicagoan as being able to stand on the Addison platform and see the infield from the elevated, or the sight of the "L" from inside the park.

In the North-South service revision of 1949, Addison became a B station in the A/B skip-stop scheme. Howard trains ran on the inside local on the old "express" tracks (tracks 2 & 3) and Evanston Express trains on the outside "local" tracks (tracks 1 & 4). This worked well north of Addison where just about all stations have island platforms between tracks 2 and 3, but Addison had side platforms, creating an irksome situation in which Howard B trains had to be routed through interlockings north and south of the station onto the Evanston Express side tracks to access the station platforms.

The interior of Addison station, looking north from the Addison entrance in July 2001. On game days like this, the station can become very crowded, far more than in this view over an hour before the first inning. For a larger view, click here. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

This bothersome arrangement was rectified in 1994 when the Addison was rebuilt with a new station house, platform and a rebuilt track structure. The project was part of a larger set of capital improvements made as part of the realignment of the North-South and West-South through-routes, which paired the Howard and Dan Ryan lines to create the Red Line. The original station house was demolished and a new tan brick utilitarian structure was built. The track arrangement was simplified by demolishing the side platforms and building an island platform between the center tracks, allowing all Howard trains to stay on tracks 2 and 3 the whole way through the North Side. Although the details were somewhat different, the overall form and design followed that set forth by the stations of the then-new Orange Line stations, which opened in 1993. To accommodate the island platform, the space between the center tracks had to the widened, so the two northbound tracks (3 & 4) stayed on the original steel structure and the southbound tracks (1 & 2) were placed on a new concrete deck with direct track fixation instead of the standard cut spikes and tie plates on the steel-deck elevated. While this concrete structure was being built, southbound Evanston and Howard trains ran on track 3 until August 19, 1994, when both where shifted onto track 1 on the new decking. On August 21, southbound Howard trains moved onto their permanent home on track 2. The new island platform had opened earlier in the summer.

Addison is the station for Wrigley Field, home of the beloved Chicago Cubs. Chicago artist Steve Musgrave, who is regularly commissioned by the CTA to design promotional posters for the annual crosstown classic played between the Chicago Cubs and the Chicago White Sox, adopted the Addison station as part of the CTA's Adopt-A-Station program in 1998. Musgrave has several murals on display at the Addison station, which feature Cubs legends Billy Williams, Ferguson Jenkins, Ryne Sandberg and "Mr. Cub," Ernie Banks (who, in an interesting side note, served on the CTA board between 1969 and 1981). In addition to the baseball themed work for the CTA, Musgrave designed the cover art for the 2002 and 2003 Chicago Cubs programs.

Addison is one of five Chicago Transit Authority sites that are planned to provide access to vehicles belonging to I-GO, a car-sharing program. At their August 11, 2004 meeting, the Chicago Transit Board approved the agreement between the CTA, the Center for Neighborhood Technology (CNT) and its affiliate I-GO Car Sharing (I-GO) to promote the use of public transportation by providing additional options for public transit users. The agreement establishes a yearlong pilot program where members can access I-GO vehicles at locations adjacent to or near public transportation.

During Autumn 2004 and Spring 2005, several "L" stations got new station name signs. As part of a multi-station program, twelve facilities in all on the Blue, Purple, Red, Orange, and Green lines received new, Green Line Graphic Standard station name signs, replacing older KDR-type signs that used an outdated graphic scheme that was inconsistent with the colored line names. The new signs were added at additional locations outside the tracks, facing to the platform, for ADA compliance. The new additional signs outside the tracks were mounted on new steel brackets that are supported and project from below. New signs did not replace the old ones in existing locations in the windbreaks, so at the conclusion of the project there was a mixture of old KDR signs and new Green Line Graphic Standard signs. Installation at all stations was complete by the end of November 2004. Fabrication and installation of the signs was performed by contractor Western Remac.

In 2006, the station received additional signage improvements. New entrance signs installed as part of a signage upgrade project on the Red Line. As part of this effort, the station also received granite compass roses inset into the sidewalk in front of the station entrance to assist customers leaving the station to navigate their way, and three-sided galvanized steel pylons in the station house and on the platform to display maps and station timetables.

As CTA continued the Wilson Station Reconstruction Project, track 1 -- the westernmost, southbound Purple Line Express track -- was closed for demolition over the weekend of March 6, 2015. This began a multi-year period of three-track operations through Wilson station, similar to the operations for construction phasing that took place at Belmont and Fullerton in 2007-08 for those stations's reconstruction. Three-track operations began Monday, March 9, 2015.

Southbound Red Line and Purple Line Express trains share a single track -- track 2 -- between Lawrence and Belmont for one year, with Purple Line trains merging onto track 2 through a new crossover at Leland whose installation was completed over the weekend before three-track operations began. Although the right-hand crossover from track 2 back to track 1 at Montrose is outside of the construction zone and remained in service, it is a non-interlocked hand-throw switch, making its use to re-sort trains slow and likely to cause excessive delays given the close headway of the combined Red and Purple lines. As such, Purple Line trains were kept on track 2 all the way to Clark Junction, where they were sorted back onto track 1 by the tower. Because they were on the same track as the Red Line, and might likely catch up to their Red Line leader on the same track if they ran express, as well for added customer convenience, Loop-bound Purple Line Express trains added stops at the Wilson, Sheridan and Addison stations during this phase of the project, but during morning rush only. Loop-bound trains in the evening rush, as well as all Linden-bound trains, continued to bypass those three stations.

Purple Line Express trains discontinued stopping at Addison weekday mornings effective Monday, March 21, 2016, when the Wilson Station Reconstruction Project moved into phase 2. At that point, the new track 1 opened through Wilson station and southbound Red and Purple Line trains moved to using this track. At Addison Interlocking, north of Addison station, Red Line train were sorted and moved back onto track 2 to call at Addison, but Purple Line trains remained on track 1, as they had before, bypassing the station.


The island platform at Addison, looking north on May 8, 2003. The northbound tracks to the right are on the original right-of-way; The original southbound tracks, moved west in the reconstruction, were where the platform is now. Although the station is simply called "Addison", Cubs logos adorn everything from station name signs to garbage cans. For a larger view, click here. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

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Addison station started life as a typical Northwestern Elevated local station, similar to Diversey or Armitage, but over the years was heavily modified. In large part, the presence of Wrigley Field and the massive crowds it brought were responsible. Changes included the replacement of nearly all the original railings and the installation of tall barriers and the addition of a third set of stairs down from each side platform to help move crowds on and off the relatively narrow platforms quicker. By July 1992, as seen here, the station was getting deteriorated and could no longer support the level of use it received. (Photo by Tony Nowikowski)

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Car 2457 leads a Jackson Park-Howard "B" train of other 2400s past Addison station on November 1, 1980. The Wrigley Field scoreboard is poking above the buildings in the upper left corner. In 1995, the car was sent to Delaware for repair for fire damage the car suffered. (Photo by Roy G. Benedict)

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Addison station is seen here in 1994 while it was being reconstructed. This included replacing the side platforms with an island one and a concrete deck instead of a steel structure. Northbound trains here are rerouted to track 2 while 3 & 4 are being rebuilt. (Photo from Chicago's "L"/Subway System: Take a Ride on the Wild Side from All-the-6000s-You-Missed Productions)

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The interior of Addison station, seen here looking south on June 25, 2003 in the unpaid area, has a layout that is basically the same as the similarly laid out Orange Line stations that opened less than a year before new the Addison facility did. As at those stations, the fare controls are set perpendicular to the vertical access pathways to the island platform. The agent's booth is also similar. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

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Chicago artist Steve Musgrave, who adopted Addison station, has several murals on display in the station that depict famous Cubs players. This one in the unpaid area near the primary (south) entrance, seen here on June 25, 2003, depicts Billy Williams, one of the best players in Cubs history. He was the NL Rookie of the Year in 1961 and a six-time All-Star, and he was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1987. Called "Sweet-swinging Billy Williams" because of his near-perfect swing, he hit at least 20 home runs for 13 straight seasons. He and Ernie Banks are the only Cubs to have their uniform numbers retired. He joined the Cubs' coaching staff in 1980. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

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Another of Musgrave 's murals is near the north entrance to the station, in the unpaid area, seen here on June 25, 2003. Ryne Sandberg, widely considered the best second baseman of his era and arguably the best ever, is depicted going toe-to-toe with one of the St. Louis Cardinals, referencing one of his career-defining moments: On a June 23, 1984 afternoon, Sandberg tied the Cardinals with homers in both the ninth and 10th innings, his 5-for-6 afternoon with seven RBI helping the Cubs eventually win 12-11 in overtime. He is the only second baseman in major-league history to claim nine Gold Gloves and in played in the 1984 All-Star Game. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

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Over the south stairs from the station house to the platform is Musgrave 's mural of Ernie Banks, seen here on July 2, 2003. Ernie Banks, the man known as "Mr. Cub", was a twenty year veteran of the sport who played and coached for the Cubbies from 1953 to '73. Banks is the Cubs' all-time leader in games played (2,528), at-bats (9,421), home runs (512), total bases (4,706) and extra-base hits (1,009); ranks second in hits (2,583) and RBIs (1,636); third in years (19) and doubles (407); and fifth in runs (1,305) and singles (1,574). Six years after retiring from the major leagues as a lifelong Cub in 1971, Banks was elected into the Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility, inducted at Cooperstown in 1977. Mr. Cub coached for the Cubs until 1973 and also worked in the club's front office. His uniform #14 was the first retired by the Cubs organization and currently flies on game days from the left field foul pole. Banks also served on the CTA board between 1969 and 1981. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

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Musgrave 's fourth mural, depicting Ferguson Jenkins, is over the north stairs from the station house to the platform. Fergie Jenkins, who was traded to the Cubs in 1966, won 20 or more games 6 consecutive seasons, from 1967 through 1972. Jenkins led the National League in complete games with 20 in 1967, 24 in 1970, and 30 in 1971; in strikeouts with 273 in 1969; and in victories with 24 and innings pitched with 325 in 1971. He played in two All-Star games -- 1967 and 1971 -- and won the National League's Cy Young Award in 1971. Jenkins was traded to the Texas Rangers in 1973, but finished his career with the Cubs in 1982 and 1983. Jenkins had a career record of 284 wins and 226 losses, with 49 shutouts and a 3.34 ERA. He struck out 3,192 hitters while walking only 997 in 4,500 2/3 innings. Although Fergie Jenkins is one of he Cubs' best players, he rarely received the note that his accomplishments warrant. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

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Following the CTA Board's approval of the program in August 2003, Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) were installed in 11 rail stations around the 1st of December. Bank One, who owns and maintains the ATMs, pays the CTA a percentage of the ATM user fees collected at the stations, creating an additional source of revenue for the Authority. One of the ATMs is seen here in the unpaid area of Addison station on December 2, 2003. The ATMs are installed outside of the paid area of the stations so individuals not using the "L" also have access to them. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

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Rehabbed car 2747 brings up the rear of a southbound Red Line train at Addison on Sunday September 10, 2000. (Photo by Ernie Baudler)

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Car 2740 leads a Howard-bound Red Line train at Addison on Sunday September 10, 2000. (Photo by Ernie Baudler)

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Another view of 2740 at Addison on September 10, 2000. (Photo by Ernie Baudler)

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Although originally advertised as planned to be wrapped for a limited time, the Cubs World Series cars remained wrapped all winter and through the beginning of the Cubs' 2017 season. Here, car 5696 leads a Red Line train in its Cubs wrap stopping at Addison -- the stop for Wrigley Field -- on the day of the Cubs' home opener, April 10, 2017. (Photo by Graham Garfield)



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.