The exterior of the renovated Addison station is seen looking northwest on December 30, 2007. The elevator towers, which feature metal sculptures recreating Ron Santo's handwritten box score symbols describing the May 14, 1969 Cubs-Padres game, are a prominent feature of the facility's street elevation. For a larger view, click here. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

Addison (3600N/1800W)
Addison Street, Ravenswood Avenue and Lincoln Avenue, North Center

Service Notes:

Brown Line: Ravenswood

Accessible Station

Quick Facts:

Address: 1818-20 W. Addison Street
Established: May 18, 1907
Original Line: Northwestern Elevated Railroad, Ravenswood branch
Previous Names: Lincoln & Addison
(on station signage)

Skip-Stop Type:

Station (1949-1973)

Station (1973-1995)

Rebuilt: 2006-07
Status: In Use


Addison opened with the initial construction of the Ravenswood branch of the Northwestern Elevated, which was placed into service May 18, 1907. The station was designed in 1905-06 by the Northwestern Elevated's Engineering Office and overseen by Chief Engineer C.M. Mock and Consulting Engineer Charles Weston. The station was built by the Angus Brothers construction company.

An exterior view of Addison station, looking northwest on October 8, 2002. Addison station was well intact architecturally until its 2006-07 renovation. Note the largely smooth brickwork with simple brick ornamentation around the cornice, belt rail, and in the hood over the front entrance. The Tiny Lounge, a neighborhood landmark, is on the right. For a larger view, click here. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

The station house measured approximately 25 feet by 25 feet -- a modest size and scale, relating to its role as a modest neighborhood station -- and, when viewed in plan layout, was shaped like a bow-tie. Passengers entered through the front doors and could exit through the building as well, but ancillary exits were also available along the sides of the building's exterior. The building narrowed in the middle to provide space for an exit-only rotogate on each side of the exterior, which passengers could exit through without entering the building. The inclusion of such egress was a result of experience with earlier stations, at which circulation could become congested when passengers tried to enter and exit through the same confined space simultaneously. In later years, the west rotogate was removed and that side passage closed. The east rotogate and side passage remained in use until the station was demolished and rebuilt.

The building's exterior was constructed of dark red brick and had a fairly simple design. The foundation was built of stone and concrete. The exterior walls were largely unadorned, except for simple ornamentation around the cornice, belt rail, and in the hood over the front entrance, all of which were executed in the same brick as the rest of the exterior. The doors originally had multi-pane windows.

The interior of the station was similarly modest. The interior walls were clad in glazed brick and had paving brick flooring. A large, bracketed, heavy wood beam ran across the width of the interior in the center, relating a Craftsman influence to the simple design. As built, there were two open areas on either side of the doors at the front for circulation and concessions. The interior then narrowed into the fare control array (due to the aforementioned rotogates along the exterior), which originally consisted of an agent's booth in the center flanked by turnstiles on one side and a heating stove on the other. The original ticket agent's booth was removed in the mid-1990s when the electronic farecard turnstiles were installed, replaced by a new booth on the west wall. In later years, a concession stand was permanently built into the west side of the unpaid area interior, with a rolling metal door to enclose it when it was closed.

Addison station's platforms, looking north on October 8, 2002, were typical of the Ravenswood branch elevated stations. Addison had a lot of its original platform materials still intact until 2006, including the typical Ravenswood canopies and platform railings, with flat panels alternated with thin balustrades and sunflower rosettes. For a larger view, click here. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

After exiting through the station house's rear doors, passengers walked down an enclosed passageway to access the stairs to the platforms. The passageway featured full-height grillework consisting of bars arranged in a geometric Craftsman pattern punctuated by ornamental cast iron rosettes and an arched galvanized iron roof. Originally, there was a full-height grille down the center of the passageway, meaning passengers had to exit through a specific rear door to access their desired platform, or they would have to reenter the station house to switch to the other side. Most of the center panels were later removed to allow access to either platform from the passageway. The decorative grillework was carried up the stairways to the platforms.

Addison featured dual side platforms, constructed of a wood deck on a steel frame. The platforms featured canopies in the center, covering the stairs from street-level. The canopies, which were typical of the 1907 Ravenswood branch stations, featured a gently arched roof with curved support columns and latticed framing. The platform railings consisted of cast iron posts supporting thin metal bars and ornamental sunflower rosettes in a geometric design alternating with flat panels, topped with an oak handrail. The canopy design would be reused first on the Chicago & Oak Park Elevated (also owned by Charles Yerkes) before becoming the standard for the "L" under the Chicago Elevated Railroads and Chicago Rapid Transit. The railing design was also reused elsewhere on the system, most notably at Clinton/Lake where it was duplicated almost exactly.

Addison became an "B" station under the skip-stop express system instituted on August 1, 1949, but changed to an "A" station on September 2, 1973 when its neighbor to the south, Paulina, was closed. Paulina, however, was reopened just a month later, probably due to political pressure, as an "A" station, creating an odd stopping pattern of two such stations in a row. The station reverted to an all-stop when A/B service was discontinued in 1995.

Addison station retained much of its original material until it was renovated in 2006-07. In addition to the original station house and canopies, a great deal of the original platform railings were also intact from the north ends of the platforms (including the original curved end pieces) to approximately over the centerline of Addison Avenue. The platform extensions at the south end had simple, modern metal railings. The platform also utilized bus shelters as windbreaks in later years.


Brown Line Capacity Expansion Project

By 2004, ridership had exploded on the Brown Line -- an 79% increase since 1979 and a 27% increase since 1998 -- that during peak periods many trains were at crush-loaded, resulting in commuters left standing on platforms unable to board the loaded trains, sometimes waiting as one or two trains passed before they were physically able to board. The problem in large part was that all Brown Line stations could only accommodate six-car trains (with the exception of Merchandise Mart, Chicago, Fullerton and Belmont, which could already hold eight-car trains), which, along with the limitations of the cab signal system, limited the line's capacity.

As a result, the CTA decided to plan for the Brown Line Capacity Expansion Project, the largest capital improvement project undertaken by the CTA at the time (surpassing even the Douglas Renovation Project, which was the largest up to that point). The main objectives of the Brown Line Capacity Expansion Project are to expand the line's overall ridership capacity by lengthening station platforms to accommodate eight rather than six-car trains, rehabilitate rail infrastructure and stations, provide for station enhancements to meet the accessibility requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and upgrade or replace traction power, signal and communication equipment. By far, the largest part of the Brown Line Capacity Expansion Project was the station renovations. Of the Brown Line's 19 stations, only one (Merchandise Mart) was not touched at all due to its modern construction (1988) and ability to berth eight-car trains.

On April 13, 2004, the CTA announced that it had officially received a Full Funding Grant Agreement (FFGA) from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). However, in May 2004, CTA received construction bids for the project that substantially exceeded the budget. As such, the Chicago Transit Board voted on June 9, 2004 to reorganize the project into several discrete pieces to help attract more competitive construction bids. Station renovation work was modified and grouped into five separate packages according to location to help reduce the overall cost of station construction. Addison station was grouped with Damen, Montrose, and Irving Park in a bid package, all of which were designed by the same consultant, Earth Tech, Inc. Station designs were also revised to reduce costs. Most changes concentrated on non-customer areas such as reducing the size of janitor closets, employee restrooms, electrical rooms and communication rooms. Other areas that were studied for cost reduction were standardizing common station elements, the use of less expensive materials, canopy designs and coverage, and temporary station closures to provide contractors better access to the sites.

The Damen/Montrose/Irving Park/Addison contract was the fourth of the reorganized station packages to be bid out. At the July 20, 2006 board meeting, a $58 million contract for the renovation of these stations was awarded to James McHugh Construction.

Following contract approval, the construction contractor prepared and submitted a construction plan to CTA for approval. CTA held a community meeting to provide further construction details and timelines for the work.


Station Design

The contract included construction of a new, modern station house, extension of the platforms to accommodate 8-car trains, and installation of elevators for ADA accessibility. The new expanded station facility featured an increased number of turnstiles and farecard vending machines.

Artist's rendering of the design for the renovated Addison station. A new masonry station house with glass panels and prominent elevator towers replaced the 1907 entrance. Brown Line-standard railings and lights are visible at platform level above. For a larger view, click here. (Image provided courtesy of the Chicago Transit Authority)

The new station house is located on the north side of Addison Street, the same side of the street as the original 1907 station house. The station house is clad in glazed brick with metal coping along the top. The elevator towers frame the station house's street elevation. The front of the station house is divided into bays, with sets of double doors framing a center bay of solid brick. Sidelights frame the doorways, while transoms top all three bays. A thick cornice tops the metal, glass, and brick storefront.

The dual elevator towers are prominent features of the facility when viewed from the street. The towers are clad in glazed brick on their sides (east and west elevations) and backs (south elevation), with the brick facing wrapping around the corners to frame the front elevation. The front elevation is clad in white metal panels. The sides of the elevator towers facing away from the platforms feature three long, thin dark green vents.

The elevator towers also feature original artwork created by artist Gregory Gomez. The east and west elevations of the elevator tower to the outbound platform and the east elevation of the inbound tower are decorated with pin-mounted metal sculptures recreating game announcer and retired Chicago Cub Ron Santo's handwritten box score symbols describing the May 14, 1969 game between the Cubs and the San Diego Padres. The Cubs won this game, in which treasured Chicago sports icon Ernie Banks figured prominently, with a score of 3 to 2. To foster a sense of ownership and identity within each station and the surrounding community, the CTA partnered with the City of Chicago's Department of Cultural Affairs to install public art at all 18 renovated Brown Line stations. Public art for each station in the project was a requirement of the Full Funding Grant Agreement and is part of the overall project budget.

The interior has a largely open plan. A Customer Assistant booth is located in the middle of the interior, with a row of turnstiles to the west and a pair of exit rotogates to the east separating the unpaid and paid areas. The farecard vending machines are located on the south wall between the front doors. The walls are clad in white square tiles, while the floor is cast concrete (except under the turnstiles, where it is granite tiles).

A set of stairs and an elevator provide access from the paid area to each platform. As previously described, the elevators are in the front of the station while the stairways ascend to the platforms from the rear of the station house. The stairways to the platforms are enclosed in a white-painted steel grille system of thin bars punctuated by ornamental sunflower rosettes divided by a heavy tubular steel framework. Although the design of the grilles are meant to evoke the original station's railings and stairway grilles, they are new construction. The rosettes, however, are reused from the original facility.

The dual platforms were renovated with new decking, railings, lighting, signage, and other fixtures. The existing original canopies were retained and refurbished, stripped of decades of paint, repainted dark brown, and topped with new corrugated metal arched roofs. The new railings are a standard design for the rebuilt Brown Line elevated stations, with thick tubular top and bottom horizontal members with rectangular panels with a grid pattern cut out. The railings and light poles, as well as the other new metalwork, are hot-dipped galvanized steel. The light poles are integrated into the railing posts. The platforms are finished with windbreaks integrated into the railing system with the glass panels protected by metal grilles matching the railings. New benches with sandboxes integrated into them dot the platform, posts with projecting horizontal arms for A/V signs (to be installed later) are suspended over the platforms, and Transit Information panels are posted near the elevators.

Auxiliary exits are provided from each platform. The auxiliary exit from the inbound platform leads to the south side of Addison Street, while the auxiliary exit from the outbound platform leads to the corner of Patterson and Lincoln, one block north of the station. The auxiliary exit stairs are enclosed by the same decorative white-painted metal grilles as the stairs from the station house. Egress is provided by stainless steel exit rotogates at platform level.

The former location of Addison station, under reconstruction, is seen looking northwest on December 31, 2006. Note that the canopies have been striped down to the bare structure for refurbishment and the station house has been removed. For a larger view, click here. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

Other improvements include new signage; new electrical, communications, and HVAC equipment; customer heaters on the platforms; security cameras; and a state-of-the-art announcement system.


Station Renovation Work

Addison station closed at 3am, Saturday, December 2, 2006 for renovation, the same day as Montrose station two stops north. The station temporarily closed for 12 months while construction crews worked to upgrade and extend platforms, rebuild the station house and make the station accessible to customers with disabilities. Consistent with the CTA's pledge that no two consecutive stations would be closed at the same time on weekdays, the adjacent stations -- Paulina and Irving Park -- remained open during the temporary closure of Addison station so customers may continue to use it to access Brown Line service. In addition to the neighboring stations, alternate service was also available from several area bus routes.

Work at Addison began almost immediately after the station closed. During December 2006, the station house and platform decking were completely demolished. Many of the platform stringers were also removed for replacement. The platform canopies were also disassembled, with the roofing removed and the structure stripped down to the frame. During winter, the canopies were refurbished and primed.

The decking having been stripped and the original platform stringers refurbished, new joists are being installed as flagmen protect the contractors from passing trains as they work on May 23, 2007. For a larger view, click here. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

During April 2007, work began to install a foundation for the new station house. Installation of the steel framing for the platform also began in mid-April. Steel installation continued throughout spring and into summer 2007. During early June, steel stringers for the platforms were installed over Addison Street. The steel framework for the elevator towers and for the station house were also erected during June and continued into July.

During summer 2007, work began on installing various surfaces and fittings. Work on the station house masonry -- first heavy cinder block walls, then finished face brick cladding on the exterior -- began in late June and continued into August. Installation of the galvanized steel railings on both platforms also began in late June and continued into July. Wood decking began to be applied to both platforms in early July and continued for several weeks as the structure for different sections of the platforms were completed. Work to build the two auxiliary exits -- to the corner of Lincoln and Patterson from the northbound platform and to the south side of Addison Street, opposite the station house, from the southbound platform -- began in mid-July. Work on the auxiliary exits proceeded over several months. The stairs were prefabricated and the last section was not lifted into place until early autumn. July also saw work begin on the installation of the elevator systems and equipment.

The steel frames for the elevator towers have been erected, new platform stringers installed, and masonry is beginning to be applied to the new station house structure in this July 27, 2007 view looking northwest. For a larger view, click here. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

Most work during August and September 2007 continued efforts that had begun earlier in summer. Work continued on finishing the station house's structure and systems, as well as on installing the wood platform deck; the steel railings, light poles, and grille panels; and on installing the elevator systems. During the period, work also began on a few new items as well. Contractor crews began work on the stairs from the station house to the two platforms during late summer.

During autumn 2007, work continued on all parts of the new station. Station house construction progressed, with work on the framing and masonry continuing. By September, the face brick on the station house and elevators was largely complete. By October, the vent louvers on the elevator towers were installed, as were the metal panels on the elevator towers and station house cornice. Work was underway at that point on installing the windows and storefront system on the front of the station house.

Installation of elevator equipment was performed during autumn. Work also continued on railing installation and refurbishment of the original platform canopies. By October, the canopies were painted and had new corrugated roofs installed. The stairs from the station house to the platforms were also installed during October and November, as were platform light fixtures and speakers. During Fall, the new steelwork was painted.

A stainless steel Customer Assistant's booth, whose design is standard for the renovated Brown Line stations, stands in the middle of the new Addison station's interior, seen looking west in the unpaid area on December 16, 2007. For a larger view, click here. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

Contractor crews spent late Fall 2007 finishing the details of the new facility. Raised concrete and glazed brick planters were installed outside the station house, under the elevated structure. Other items installed during this period also included a compass rose on the sidewalk in front of the station entrance, bike racks at the bottom of the auxiliary exit stairs on the south side of Addison Street, and new signage throughout the station facility.

Addison station reopened at 4am, Monday, December 3, 2007. CTA President Ron Huberman, 47th Ward Alderman Eugene Schulter, 11th District State Representative John Fritchey and 6th District State Senator John Cullerton gathered at the Addison station to mark the reopening of the station at a press conference that morning. With the new elevators in operation on opening day, Addison became the 80th of the CTA's 144 station to become accessible, with other ADA-compliant features including an accessible turnstile, tactile platform edging, gap fillers, TTY telephones and Braille signs.

At the same time Addison reopened, the Irving Park station closed for renovations for up to one year. Modest work continued at Addison station after the reopening, as the contractor completed various punchlist work.

The Brown Line Capacity Expansion Project Full Funding Grant Agreement with the federal government requires that the CTA complete the entire project by the end of 2009.


Addison station's renovated dual side platforms, with their Brown Line-standard galvanized steel railings, masonry and metal-clad elevator towers, and refurbished 1907-vintage canopies, are seen looking north on December 30, 2007. For a larger view, click here. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

Old Addison (1907-2006) | New Addison (2006-present)

Old Addison station (1907-2006)

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The interior of Addison station on October 8, 2002, with its glazed brick walls and Craftsman-inspired wood beams. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

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The rear doors from the station house to the walkway to the platforms featured blue and white porcelain signs like this one at the Ravenswood branch stations. Many, like this one at Addison -- seen on October 8, 2002 -- survived into the 21st century. One door would be labeled "TO CITY", while the other would be labeled "FROM CITY". A century ago, "the city" was a common was to refer to downtown for railroads, even though Addison station was within the Chicago city limits, making the sign somewhat inaccurate. Originally, a fence ran down the middle of the walkway behind the station house, making it important which door you exited out of. Later, the center fencing was removed. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

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The inbound Addison station platform is seen looking south on October 8, 2002. Elements familiar to generations of Ravenswood Route riders include the latticework on the back of the canopy and the structure's gently curving arches, the railing design, and the "Pay on Train" sign overhead. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

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A detail of the railing on the northbound platform is seen looking east on July 25, 2001. The railings are typical of those designed for the Ravenswood branch in 1906, featuring thin balustrades with rosettes cast with a sunflower design alternated with large flat panels. The red signs, the color signifying Addison was an "A" station in the old skip-stop service scheme, date from the mid-1970s. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

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When A/B skip-stop service was implemented in 1949, new signs were added to the platforms to inform passengers of which type of station -- "A", "B", or "AB"/All-stop -- the facility was. This "symbol sign" or "column sign", as they are alternately called, dates from the 1950s. Addison was a "B" station until 1973, when it was changed to an "A" station following Paulina's short-lived closure. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

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6000-series car 6018 leads an eight-car Ravenswood "B" train at Addison/Lincoln on August 21, 1970. The reflection of the blue and white enamel sign can be seen in the window of the motorman's cab. Note the unusual diagonal-lettering A/B symbol sign on the light post; only three years later, Addison would become an "A" station. (Photo by Joe Testagrose)

New Addison station

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The Addison platforms are seen after closure of the station for renovation, looking south in December 22, 2006. Less than a month after closure, some portions of the wood decking and railings have been removed and the canopy roofing has been dismantled. Sandwich boards on the platform remind operators not to top their trains at the station. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

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One month after the station's closure, the Addison station house was completely demolished. The only indication that a station was once there is the outline of the building's foundation, seen looking northwest on December 31, 2006. The stairs to the platform are still in place, soon to be demolished. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

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The Addison platforms are seen looking south on January 4, 2007. The decking has been removed except in the center under the canopies, allowing the steel stringers to be refurbished. Some sections of steel platform supports have also been removed for replacement. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

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The canopies at Addison have been completely stripped in this May 27, 2007 view looking northwest and only the original platform steel remains after the various platform extensions of past decades have been removed. Footings have been set for the new columns that will be placed by the curb, while the bases of the existing columns have been rehabbed. Steel has been set for the top landing for the new stair to the northbound platform. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

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Work is underway in this May 27, 2007 view on the foundation for the new station house. The existing columns, cross-braces, and bases have been refurbished and will be enclosed within the new station house when it is built. New foundations for the headhouse are being excavated, with some rebar already installed. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

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New steel stringers for the extended, wider platforms over the street have been installed, as well as the columns that support them, seen looking northeast on June 10, 2007. The steel frame of the southbound elevator tower is also in place. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

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Contractors are working on the northbound platform canopy at Addison in this June 10, 2007 view looking south. While placing a ladder on a set of railroad tracks might seem risky, the track is closed and the Brown Line was under a single-track operation using the right (southbound) track at the time of the photo The flagman protecting the workers is visible on the right. Joists to support the new wood platform deck are still being installed at this point. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

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The staggered positioning of the new, extended platforms is evident in this view looking south on June 24, 2007. The new steel stringers for the platform extensions are in place, as are most of the joists. A set of stairs would later be installed at the end of the platform down to the street corner below to provide an auxiliary exit. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

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Work on the platforms is progressing, as evidenced by the completion of the new steel stringers and joists in this view looking north on July 22, 2007. The stacks of wood on the right behind the orange construction fencing show that the contractor is getting ready to begin installing the platform decking. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

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The buildout of the station house is advancing on multiple fronts on this July 27, 2007 view, with scaffolding erected all over the entrance and elevators. Work is underway on steel work, masonry, and tile installation. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

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With the structure of the station and elevators and their brick facing largely completed, work has turned to installing metal frames on the elevator towers and station house cornice, among other tasks, as seen looking northeast on September 2, 2007. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

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Renovation of the Addison station platforms is progressing in this view looking south on September 16, 2007, with the installation of the galvanized steel railings and light poles and wood platform decking proceeding. The orange construction fencing allowed contractors to work on the platform without interfering with train operations. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

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Work on the platforms at Addison is nearing an advanced state in this September 16, 2007 view looking south, with the wood decking, steel railings, and lights nearly complete. Installation has begun on the auxiliary exit stair at Patterson and Lincoln: the top half has been installed but ends in the air with the lower piece still on the ground awaiting installation. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

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The new Addison station is nearing completion in this view looking east on October 7, 2007. Some sections of railing and most of the station house's storefront still need to be installed, as does most signage. Work was also still underway on the elevator equipment. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

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By October 7, 2007, most of the station house was complete, including the planters in front. Work was still underway on the glass and metal front facade of the station house, as well as interior work. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

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The paid area of the new Addison station house is seen looking west on December 16, 2007. The Customer Assistant's booth is in the center of the interior, with twin exit rotogates on one side (foreground) and turnstiles on the other. The stairs and elevator to the northbound platform are behind the photographer, while those to the southbound platform are ahead. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

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The north end of the northbound Addison platform is seen on a snowy December 16, 2007. The station name signs indicate which way to go for the different exits, with the auxiliary exit to Lincoln and Patterson seen in the background at the end of the platform. The galvanized steel railings and grilles are typical of the new Brown Line elevated stations. The mast-arm post will eventually have an A/V sign suspended from it. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

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The new Addison station house, with its brick exterior, large windows, and metal copping, cornice, and panels, is seen looking northwest on December 30, 2007. The drip pans over the sidewalk protect customers transferring between the station house and bus stop from rain or snow falling through the open elevated structure. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

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The auxiliary exit from the southbound platform descends to a small plaza on the south side of Addison Street, across from the station house. A bus stop for the #152 Addison, complete with JC Decaux bus shelter, is conveniently available for transferring passengers, just out of view on the right. The plaza, seen looking west on December 30, 2007, features bike racks for customers who chose to bicycle to the station. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

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The new Addison station platforms are seen looking south on December 30, 2007 as a Loop-bound Brown Line train pulls into the station. The platforms over the street are very wide, providing ample capacity for customers. The canopies, built in 1907, have been refurbished with new roofs and lighting. Note the bench in the lower right corner that doubles as a sandbox. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

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The elevator towers feature original artwork created by artist Gregory Gomez. The pin-mounted metal sculptures recreate game announcer and retired Cub Ron Santo's handwritten box score symbols describing the May 14, 1969 game between the Chicago Cubs and the San Diego Padres. A detail of the metal sculptures on the west side of the northbound elevator tower are seen here on December 30, 2007. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

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Addison's rebuilt dual side platforms are seen looking south on December 30, 2007. Note the covered windbreaks to supplement the original, vintage platform canopies. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

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Addison station is seen looking east at the station entrance and bus stop in front on April 15, 2008. (Photo by Errol Bergadon)