The Cottage Grove-Drexel platform. All those along the Kenwood branch, save for the 42nd Place terminal, were similar. For a larger view, click here. (Photo from the Bruce G. Moffat Collection)

Cottage Grove-Drexel (800E/4100S)
41st Street, between Cottage Grove Avenue and Drexel Boulevard, Kenwood (Oakland)

Service Notes:

Kenwood Line

Quick Facts:

Address: TBD
Established: September 20, 1907
Original Line: South Side Elevated, Kenwood branch
Previous Names: none
Skip-Stop Type: n/a
Rebuilt: n/a
Status: Demolished


Interior views of the Drexel entrance to the Cottage Grove-Drexel station. They show that while the Kenwood stations were simple and lacked excessive ornament, they were not without some decoration (such as the wood moldings). They also show how dilapidated the stations got by the time of their closure in the 1950s. (Photos from the Chicago Transit Authority Collection)

This simple concrete-and-steel station was typical of those found on the Kenwood branch. Its concrete island floor and simple canopy latticework suited the largely unoccupied neighborhood at the time of its construction. The station houses, one at the east end of the station at Drexel and one at the west end at Cottage Grove, were molded into the concrete embankment. Never lavish by any standards, their exteriors were plain concrete with three doors (the main double-doors in the center flanked by two smaller doors) decorated only by a simple pediment over each entrance. Inside, amenities were minimal or nonexistent. The walls were concrete or (usually water damaged) plaster with some wood moldings. Lighting was incandescent and the interior was broken up by naked steel I-beams. Only a simple wooden fare booth usually broke up the floor space.

Developers responded to the new line by building elegant new apartments (especially along scenic Drexel Boulevard) and converting single family dwellings into multifamily boarding houses. During this early development, the neighborhood was quite white collar, including many German Jews, Irish and English workers. By the 1930s, an increasing number of transients and single persons populated the neighborhood, followed by large numbers of African Americans in the 1940s. Stock Yards workers were common here too.

By the mid-1950s, it was becoming apparent that falling ridership and increasing deterioration of the Kenwood Line would require some sort of immediate action. Three plans were formulated for how to continue service -- purchasing the route from the Chicago Junction Railway (from whom CTA® rented the property), leasing it from the CJRwy, and purchase by an outside agency for CTA® use -- but all of these included modernization of the Kenwood stations. As part of a $3,100 modernization plan covering both the Kenwood and Stock Yards Lines, drawings dated July 13, 1956 show that the CTA® planned to minimize and streamline the stations to achieve maximize usage with as little operations costs as possible. The two side doors of the Cottage Grove entrance were to be sealed with transite and the doors of the center passage were to be removed. Floor-to-ceiling cornerless transit walls were to be used to partition off the interior of the station house, creating only a passageway from the door up to the stairs to the platform. Lamps were to be upgraded to a higher wattage for better security and new fare controls were to be installed. Only half the platform and canopy were to be retained. The Drexel station house and the half of the platform nearest to it were to be sealed off and abandoned.

Despite all of these efforts and plans, ridership was deemed too low and costs too high to continue service on this lightly used line. Service was discontinued on the Kenwood branch on December 1, 1957.

The Kenwood Line tracks crossing scenic Drexel Boulevard. A 4000-series train is speeding westbound along the tracks, approaching the Cottage Grove-Drexel station to the right of the photographer. Developers responded to the line by building new luxury apartments along Drexel (like those seen here) and by converting single-family homes into multifamily dwellings to meet the new desire for housing here. The Ellis-Lake Park station is in the distance. For a larger view, click here. (Photo from the George Krambles Collection)

cottagegrove-drexel03.jpg (210k)
The site of the former Cottage Grove-Drexel station, looking west from the corner of Drexel Boulevard and 41st Street in 2000. This is one of the few sections where the former Kenwood Line embankment -- which can be seen continuing in the distance beyond Cottage Grove -- has been completely removed. (Photo by William Davidson)