Architecturally, the Douglas Park station was unlike any other on the "L" system. The stop was one of several on the "L" system built on one of the city's park boulevards; its rustic character befits the bucolic environment of the boulevard. For a larger view, click here. (Photo by Charles E. Keevil, from the Chicago Transit Authority Collection)

Douglas Park (3000W/2100S)
Marshall Boulevard and 21st Street, South Lawndale

Service Notes:

Douglas Line

Quick Facts:

Address: 2008 S. Marshall Blvd.
Established: June 16, 1902
Original Line: Metropolitan West Side Elevated, Douglas Park branch
Previous Names: none
Skip-Stop Type: "Partial Service" station
Rebuilt: n/a
Status: Demolished


The Douglas Park station was one of the seven stations that made up the 1902 extension of the Douglas Park branch to 40th Avenue. (As the branch's name suggests, the Metropolitan "L" was clearly always intended to reach this location, at least.) At this location, the Douglas Park "L" crossed over the Chicago Burlington & Quincy Railroad (CB&Q, later the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad, now BNSF Railway), which is itself elevated, resulting in the "L" structure being very high here.

A Douglas Park train crosses the ornamental bridge over the park-like Marshall Boulevard around 1910. The Douglas Park station platform can be seen on the left. For a larger view, click here. (Photo by Fred Borchert, from the Robert Gibson Collection)

Architecturally, Douglas Park is unlike any other station on the Douglas Park line. Although the station house uses the same materials of pressed brick and rusticated stone, its design, layout and massing are different than any other Met station facility. Because of the height of the "L" here, and the positioning of the building adjacent to the elevated CB&Q embankment, the building is two stories tall so that the ticket agent and waiting room on the second level are on the same level as the CB&Q tracks. Passengers reach the second-level front doors by means of a set of entrance stairs extending from the front of the building. The lower half of the building exterior was rusticated limestone, with pressed brick above; sills were stone or cast concrete.

The station's dual side platforms had canopies and railings typical of all Met stations: Designed into the railings were larger cast iron square plates with a stylized diamond design. Each platform had a short canopy in the center of the platform, covering the stairs and a small waiting area. The canopy frame was iron, with arched latticed supports and bracketed rafters, and hipped roofs of corrugated tin.

The Douglas Park station had a number of unusual features. Aside from the station house's unique architectural design, it was also originally intended to be a joint station with the CB&Q. Plans for the station, dated 1902, show a second set of exit doors along the north wall of the station house interior marked "to CB&Q trains"; plans also show a set of exit stairs from the west end of the outbound "L" platform down to a proposed CB&Q platform. However, there is no evidence the Burlington ever built a station here nor that a connection to the "L"'s Douglas Park station ever existed--this may have simply been a proposal by the Met that the Burlington declined to participate in.

The station also included an early type of escalator, possibly the first on the "L". After passengers exited the station house, they ascended to a high mezzanine level, above the CB&Q tracks. From there, inbound passengers continued up one more level to the eastbound platform directly above, while outbound passengers traversed the mezzanine walkway over the Burlington tracks to the north, then up to the westbound platform. Between the back of the station house and the mezzanine, and the mezzanine and inbound platform, passengers could use stairs or a conveyance that was variously referred to as a "moving stairway" (on the station plans), "inclined passenger elevator" and "traveling incline". Whatever the name, it was essentially an early type of escalator. Passengers to either platform could make use of the section to the mezzanine level; a second part extended from this level to the eastbound platform, which had the bulk of the entering traffic.1 How long this early escalator remained is uncertain.

As part of the plan to economize, streamline and speed up service on the Douglas branch, the CTA proposed in mid-1951 to close 20 stations and institute A/B skip-stop service. After consultation with city transit engineers and local elected officials, the CTA modified their plan to retain a few of the stations proposed for closure, although with limited service. On December 9, 1951, the CTA revised Douglas service with the inauguration of A/B skip-stop service, the closure of five stations, and the conversion of three more to unstaffed "partial service" stations -- Roosevelt, Wood, and Douglas Park. The "partial service" stations were unstaffed, with no ticket agent on duty at any time, and entrance only through token-operated turnstiles. Trains stopped at "partial service" stations approximately every 15 minutes during Monday-Friday rush periods and about every 30 minutes at other times. Trains serving these stations did not stop at California, 18th and Polk.

Douglas Park's status as a "partial service" station was short-lived, unjustified by the extremely low entering traffic counts. The Roosevelt and Douglas Park "partial service" stations were closed on May 3, 1952.

The rust and wear on the steel of the trestle carrying the Douglas branch over the Burlington Northern Santa Fe tracks -- the former location of the Douglas Park station -- provides ample explanation for the Douglas Renovation Project. (Photo by Graham Garfield)


1. "Loop Terminals and Transfer Station Metropolitan Elevated RR Chicago." Engineering News, Vol. XLVIII No. 7 (Aug 14, 1902), p. 115-116.